Politico: Worst Debate Ever?

Politico is up with a piece on last night’s joint press conference (otherwise known as the second presidential debate.) Politico piles on the overwhelming sentiment from last night, that the debate and its format were garbage. Generally, I agree with the article, but they’re defense of Tom Brokaw I would have to disagree with…

It’s not Brokaw’s fault. Or Jim Lehrer’s…

To lump Brokaw’s performance in with Lehrer’s is absurd. Brokaw threw his hands up from moment one. Refusing to jump in at the first whiff of a talking point was indeed at Brokaw’s discretion. Jim Lehrer set the tone early in the debate by pressing the candidates to answer what they would change in light of the economic crisis. While they may have dodged giving a totally direct answer, the tone was set for the night and a real debate took place. 

Brokaw was certainly at a disadvantage with the town hall format, but rather than fight for his fellow questioners he was content to sit back and allow the candidates to recite the talking points we’ve heard before. Moreover, in his “discussion” periods rather than get a simple clarification to something already said, Brokaw would ask candidates to compress BOTH of their answers to a window of a minute or less. That would have been OK. But he would ask open-ended “coffee talk” style questions:

Russia: Evil Empire Yes or No?


Name the Obama Doctrine, name in the McCain doctrine, in 60 seconds please so we can get to section F’s question. It was a bad format and the candidates were primed with stock answers, but Brokaw dropped the ball.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: