John Kerry won the first of three debates against President George W. Bush last Thursday because he is a stronger debater, said Language Arts Division Chair Jean Perry.
The same goes for his running mate John Edwards, she said, who debated Vice President Dick Cheney Tuesday and “had a clear concept of sound bites,” referring to how Edwards was careful to fully outline month-by-month the increasing number of U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq.
Social Sciences Division Chair John Bowerman concurs. “They (Cheney and Edwards) were more interested in outlining their party’s platform and when it came to the question about AIDS among African Americans, both said how tragic it is but didn’t talk about the issue itself.”
As for Kerry’s success, “he spoke more confidently than the president,” said Perry. “He (President Bush) paused constantly and also he made a lot of funny faces, which didn’t help.”
Political Science professor Mona Field believes the television format played a role in Kerry’s victory. “The T.V. networks apparently violated their agreement of not showing both candidates’ face while the other was speaking,” said Field. “I think the president understood he would not be filmed when Kerry was speaking so now the whole American public saw a lot of his facial expressions of annoyance … it didn’t give a good impression.”