presentation tricks & tips from the US presidential & VP debates

presidential 1: “no, i wouldn’t have gone over the time limit if you hadn’t interrupted me to point out the limit.

VP: “no, i can’t give you more specifics but i can repeat the same thing, slower and with hand gestures. (or try link here.)

presidential 2: don’t do this while other people are talking. the slower, non-defensive response can work quite well. also, how you listen is important.

presidential 3: actually, the third debate was pretty upsetting. maybe the daily show will pull me out of it. a few things:

  • clever lines and the now-ubiquitous ‘zingers‘ stick, even if they are untrue (and, yes, i thought obama had some good ones but, no, they weren’t fully accurate). this actually makes the lesson of romney’s leaked first debate strategy not that one shouldn’t spend time coming up with zingers, it’s just that you shouldn’t let anyone find out that you are doing so because it sounds silly if you have to practice.
  • can we stop pretending that ‘flip-flopping’ is such a horrible thing? i agree that saying different things to different audiences is bad, as is the need to change one’s opinion because you spoke too hastily the first time around. but changing one’s position or, i don’t know, updating one’s prior based on new information, should be accepted, if not rewarded.
  • can the phrase ‘you’re all over the map’ be stricken from foreign policy debates? first of all, because that should simply be a statement of fact in a foreign policy debate. and, second, because it was not a statement of fact about last night’s debate. if we were talking about a map that, say, alexander the great (actually, erosthenes) had, then, yes, perhaps the conversation on 22Oct would have appeared to be ‘all over’ it.
  • really, nothing on ‘development’ efforts? no hearts and minds and bodies and lives and livelihoods? geez, mcgovern for president.

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