Election Connection

Tips and Tricks

Why is this debate different from all other debates? As Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama meet in Nashville, Tenn. for the second presidential debate, we've gathered some resources to help discern the candidates' responses and understand what makes a town hall format unique.

In Debate Watching 101 on the Bill Moyers Journal blog, Kathleen Hall Jamieson tells viewers to make their own opinions about the candidates, rather than watching the talking heads before or after.

Jamieson also recommends being prepared.

"Come to a debate with a list of the issues that matter to you and ask what you learned about each candidate's record and promises on those issues. Where are they similar and how do they differ?"

As for tonight's debate specifically, The New York Times Caucus blog previews what to expect from McCain and Obama, including details on the financial crisis and how each would lead the country in its midst.

"Questions posted on the Internet for the debate show that voters are intensely interested in what the candidates will do to shore up the tanking financial system. They also want to know how the $700 billion bailout for Wall Street will alter their plans for other domestic and foreign programs."

And while it may seem like a more open and exciting way to get to know the candidates, the town hall format can also be the debate kiss of death, as Slate points out

"It might be a snooze-fest, full of earnest questions and foggy bromides. But with the spike in negativity coming just ahead of the meeting, there is a chance that one of the two candidates will have to face a question about the harsh tone."

Who do you think has the advantage tonight? What types of questions do you hope to hear  the undecided voters  in the audience ask?


vicki said:

they didn't answer the questions asked. they repeated old accusations. very unsatisfying!

conroegirl said:

This debate meant nothing to me, because I have already made up my mind.

David Spafford said:

My daughter just alerted me that the Right Wing is flooding the PBS online poll asking if Palin is qualified. The results will not be accurate and will reflect the Right Wing deception. Please be aware of this.

Vivian Adams said:

Is the next debate moderator going to ask McCain why he has allowed his running mate and his campaign to become so viscious about character and spread out-of-context half-truths? And a question for the public, on the last debate a room full of "undecided" voters listened and thought Obama won but decided they would vote for McCain anyway. How does that jive with hearing about a fix for our country and hearing and learning that McCain's plans are still the same as Bush's? Does the color of Obama's skin guide their votes? Do they really think that McCain, with Palin as his veepee and her over-the-edge politics and misuse of authority, can run an administration that will benefit all of us?

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