Language & Composition

Mr. Eure | Brewster High School

Presidential Debate Analysis

Use this post to continue our discussion from Thursday’s class. I will fold these comments into the ongoing point aggregate that also includes your artifact analysis. Remember to stay focused on logical fallacies and other kinds of manipulative rhetoric; don’t turn this into a melee.

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4 responses to “Presidential Debate Analysis

  1. Liam Lonegan October 5, 2012 at 12:15 am

    As I realize that we are supposed to be discussing artifact analysis and even specific fallacies, I also remember where our discussion was leading today (at least in period 6). Also, I think that this reply may fall into the category of “manipulative rhetoric” for the presentation of rhetoric is crucial as well. We talked about simple gestures like looking into the camera, as someone in class noted that Mitt Romney did not look into the camera as much as President Obama. Physical aspects of the candidates’ presentation have come to show how important they really are. Now, I don’t know if I’m allowed to do this, but I’m going to post a link in this reply. It’s a video from Anderson Cooper’s show, “Anderson Cooper 360” that I caught a glimpse of while watching CNN recently. It really shows how important body language is when trying to convey a message.

    http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/02/debate-body-language-speaks-volumes/

    • Deanna Torrisi October 5, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      I think everybody agrees that Obama was shaken up by SOMETHING that night, and I think perhaps looking into the camera, and “breaking the fourth wall” could be from his nerves. Whereas, Romney who was perfectly comfortable that night, kept things casual which keeps people comfortable watching. If you see that somebody’s comfortable, you’ll feel more comfortable, and vice versa. Body language does more than just express how another feels, but it influences also how you yourself feel, which could contribute to the fact that Obama’s arguments that night didn’t go over well with viewers. If he seemed uncomfortable or uneasy, so would the audience.

      • Chris Smith October 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm

        I think you might be onto something, Deana. I’m looking at a recording of the debate, and you’re right. In their opening statements alone, Obama seemed to keep his hands moving during his opening statement. He also didn’t make any statements that help us compare ourselves to him, which didn’t help. Obama also had a calm, relaxed voice that helps to soothe and calm people, which is one of the reasons his speeches are so good – his presentation. He also used many, constant, circular hand motions when he was speaking. Romney, on the other hand, started off visibly confident, more authoritative, and used a casual approach to the audience, like he caught you on your way to a meeting. Romney used fewer hand gestures, but his gestures were much bolder than the ones Obama had been making. For example, when he said that “I was on a date, and a woman grabbed my arm…”, he made a small gesture with his left arm forwards, like he would grab something, but he did it with his fist closed. The gesture is similar to when you gesture towards something with a closed fist, you do it with your index finger closest to the object you’re trying to point to. I think that both candidates used these gestures to try and increase their appeal to the audience. On CNN’s undecided voter meter, there were no negative votes for either candidate during their opening speeches.

  2. William Eckner October 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    A specific fallacy from the debate that our group found was this:
    “Spain — Spain spends 42 percent of their total economy on government. We’re now spending 42 percent of our economy on government. I don’t want to go down the path to Spain.”
    This was said by Romney. This statement matches very closely something that the Dartmouth Writing Program packet would refer to as a “False Analogy.” I believe Romney is implying that, because the US has started doing something Spain does, the US will start doing many more things that Spain does.
    I was able to find this quote with the help of this website: http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/03/politics/debate-transcript/index.html
    Hopefully this will be helpful for some.
    Our group also created a webpage,
    https://sites.google.com/a/student.brewsterschools.org/daily-planet-politics-page/good-websites
    where we posted other specific fallacies from the debate.