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And the winner is…

October 9, 2008 - Kevin Sweeney
Political debates are good ways for people to see candidates side by side, hear them compare their views on different issues and topics, and see how they respond in uncertain situations.

But the big question people have after any debate is, “Who won?”

Sometimes I wonder which is more important – the debate itself, or the debate afterwards about which candidate won. A lot of people can’t be bothered to watch a whole debate all the way through, so they depend on the pundits and analysts to declare the winner.

The answer is easy to ascertain. Just as a candidate’s campaign manager and he’ll tell you — his candidate won.

Take the Senate debate held Sunday in Rochester between Sen. Norm Coleman, Al Franken and Dean Barkley.

The debate ended at 8:30 p.m. At 8:33 p.m. I had an e-mail message from Coleman’s campaign, in which campaign manager Cullen Sheehan declared, “As first debate ends, Norm Coleman comes out on top.”

At 8:54 p.m. Barkley’s campaign manager sent an e-mail headlined “Dean wins First Debate.”

The Franken campaign modestly waited until 9:15 p.m. to send a press release with the heading, “Franken Wins First Debate.”

Not only did each of them win the debate, but according to the various campaigns, the other candidates really stumbled badly. It was no contest.

Perhaps we need to schedule debates where campaign managers can argue the merits of their candidates’ performances.

Or better yet, let them compete in an Ultimate Fighting ring, where they will beat up on each other until one says, "OK! Uncle! Your guy won!"

 
 

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