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STUDENT HANDOUT: Candidate Narratives


Note to students: Candidate speeches or debate performances are obvious forms of persuasion. In those events, audiences know the candidates are attempting to influence them. Candidate narratives are less obvious types of persuasion. In these instances, audiences may not be anticipating how the candidates are attempting to influence them.

Please watch the candidate narratives or read their biographies and complete the chart below to expose how the McCain and Obama campaigns are attempting to persuade voters of their qualifications for the presidency.

  Sen. John McCain Sen. Barack Obama
  • What is the opening image of the film (or the first sentence of the biography)?




  • How does the film or biography end?




  • List biographical data listed in the film or biography.




  • List events, speakers and audio and visual cues in the film. What words are used to describe the candidate?




  • Why do these details appear?




  • How does this film or biography argue that the candidate is qualified for the presidency?




  • Are these strong arguments? Why? (Or why not?)




Comparison to The Choice 2008:
  • How does the film compare to the portrayal of the candidates in The Choice 2008?




  • What did you learn in The Choice 2008 that did not appear in the candidate narratives?




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