Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tough questions: A quick look back at the second presidential “town hall” “debate”

Last week I was going off on my issues with the (then-upcoming) second debate: The “town hall” format, combined with an audience stuffed with (and questioners restricted to) “undecideds” -- voters who've somehow made it to mid-October with not much information about the candidates and no decision about who they're voting for, meaning it's not much like any town I ever lived in -- seems like a waste of opportunity all around.

I wasn't able to tune in until the final question of the night and (although watching the whole thing later eased my concerns a little) that final question confirmed every bad feeling I'd had:
QUESTION: Hi, Governor. I think this is a tough question. To each of you. What do you believe is the biggest misperception that the American people have about you as a man and a candidate? Using specific examples, can you take this opportunity to debunk that misperception and set us straight?
You think it's a “tough question”? For two guys who've been campaigning for 2012 for at least four years, both prepped for a live debate that could help determine who'll be President of the United States in slightly under three months? You think they can't run out the clock on that one without managing to give us some blinding new insight into themselves and their candidacy? Seriously?

Does this no-doubt well-meaning voter (assuming he does vote next month) understand the difference between a presidential debate -- even a lame one -- and a game of “Truth or Dare” when the parents are gone?

Again: Ditch the “town hall” format.

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