You’re probably aware that the first debate of the 2012 Presidential election takes place tonight. We know, we know–you can’t wait to hear more about this incredibly exciting race, right?
Well, we’re going to ask the question anyway: What’s the real PR value of a debate? We can’t imagine that too many voters would honestly describe themselves as “undecided” at this point, but an estimated 50 million people will watch the events live—and an audience that big has to be worth something, right?
Maybe not. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently predicted that the debates would be a “game changer” for challenger Mitt Romney, but the general consensus holds that the overall influence of these events (which are heavily scripted, despite what they all tell us) is negligible.
Candidates love to play along. In fact, the most irritating element of the debate build-up is the lowered expectations game in which each candidate tries to convince the news media and the public that his or her (okay, his) opponent is a master debater who may well triumph—although it won’t matter in the end.
This is why President Obama recently rated his own debate skills as “okay” while veep nominee Paul Ryan called him “a very gifted speaker” and an “experienced debater”. Obama’s spokesman David Plouffe followed by saying that Mitt Romney has “…prepared more than any candidate in history. And he has shown himself to be a very, very good debater through the years.”
Geez, we get it—you can all be very annoying!