Friday, October 01, 2004

Losing by Winning the Debate

At about 30 seconds left in each statement Bush would lean towards and stare directly at the camera. It was probably planned that way but if you were to turn the sound off Bush would have won the debate on mannerism alone. It's a good pshychological move. It gave the impression Bush was trying to talk directly to you as the American voter. The sharpness of how he would nearly snap his head at the camera made Kerry's looking at the moderator seem like he was just too aloof. It made Bush stand out as trying to connect to the American voter.

The presidential debates are not about who can "win" the debate. They are about who can connect better with the undecided voter. When you talk at these debates you are answering the questions the moderator asks. The biggest mistake Kerry made during the debate was to answer the questions to the moderator. The moderator is not formulating his voting opinion on how well you can reach him. The Americans watching at home, or at work in my case, are your target audience.

If you turned the sound back on it was quite clear who won the debate on eloquence. Kerry is most definitely the more eloquent speaker hands down. Just as an example, Kerry did not say "ummm..." one time during the debate. That is a matter of eloquence. If you had judges for debating there is no doubt who the winner would be. That's what happens when you pair a Massachusetts Lawyer with a Texas oilman. Unfortunately for Kerry, winning the debate on a professional standpoint does not equate to votes.

Something I learned a long time ago in high school is that you need to speak to your audience. This is probably one of the most overlooked points in politics today. Kerry speaks as an intellectual and misses the litmus test of the standard American. Joe Six-Pack does not want to try and figure out how Kerry will "legislate" better than Bush. Joe Six-Pack wants to hear real and tangible plans of action. Joe Six-Pack wants his answers straightforward with a yes or no, not with a nuanced explanation of a particular shade of gray.

Kerry won the debate but lost voters.

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