The Art of Debate

How much do today's political debates really matter?

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Dennis House of WFSB.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Colin McEnroe.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Kathy Lynch of Kingswood-Oxford.
Photo:Chion Wolf
The Art of Debate
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The Art of Debate

We’ve seen some interesting political debates in the past few weeks. President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney have had a first round, and Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan had their first and only debate. At the state level, we’ve seen two debates so far featuring Linda McMahon and Congressman Chris Murphy. 

At this point in any presidential campaign, the same question gets asked: “Do debates really matter?” I mean, after a two-year campaign, what can we really learn? Can a gaffe really derail a candidate? Does the moderator matter? 

Today, we kick off our political doubleheader with the Colin McEnroe Show as we talk about candidates sparring and “the art of debate.” Does it matter if candidates tell the truth, or speak succinctly, or keep to a time limit? Would you rather hear the candidates go at it, of have it tightly moderated? 

We’ll also look at how high school debate teams prepare to face off, and how the skills they learn might go beyond debate itself. 

Joining us in studio, along with Colin McEnroe, we have Dennis House of WFSB and Kathy Lynch, head of the Kingswood-Oxford school's debate team. By phone, we are joined by Aaon Zelinsky, editor of The Presidential Debate Blog.