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Posts Tagged ‘presidential debates’

Do We Really ‘All Love Teachers?’ (No, We Don’t.)

When it comes to the 2012 presidential debates, we have to agree with Lindsay Lohan for the first and hopefully last time: we’re “so relieved that it’s over.”

Both candidates showed up to last night’s event armed with zingers and insults, but moderator Bob Schieffer may have scored the evening’s best line when he expressed his frustration with domestic policy squabbles by asserting that “I think we all love teachers.

Do we, though?

Ask a teacher whether the public truly appreciates the work they do and you might get a different answer. (Hint: the average American teacher’s job satisfaction level is lower today than at any point over the last 20 years.)

Based on recent events, we’d say the teaching profession has something of a PR problem—especially when its members form groups and dare to make (gasp!) collective demands. For example, The 44th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools found that, while a vast majority of Americans still say they have “trust and confidence” in the men and women who teach our children, we remain deeply divided on individual issues–and many of us think that teachers have too much power.

Based on the popularity of aggressive charter school advocates like Michelle Rhee and films like Waiting for Superman and Won’t Back Down that convey strong anti-union messages, we’d say Americans don’t love or trust public schoolteachers much at all.

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‘Binders Full of Women’ Is a Thing Now (Updated)

Well that didn’t take long, did it?

We’re not going to spend too much time analyzing or fact-checking last night’s debate; you’ll already read more than enough of that business today if you so much as glance at any news feed.

We’re more interested in the meme that emerged, with stunning speed, right before 10 last night–call it Big Bird 2.0 if you must (please don’t). Let’s put it this way: Well before the end of the Hofstra rumble, someone created the “Binders Full of Women” tumblr based on this well-meaning but poorly executed Mitt Romney quip:

“I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’” said Romney. “And they brought us whole binders full of women!”

This was Romney’s attempt to boost his standing among female voters by explaining the actions he took back in the day upon realizing that, when he was Governor of Massachusetts, his cabinet didn’t include many women. It was…awkward. Read more

Inevitable Big Bird Campaign Ad Hits (UPDATED)

Today in Why Did This Take So Long News: The Obama campaign has decided to capitalize on Mitt Romney’s much-discussed Big Bird debate comment in a video ad, and we have to say it’s pretty good!

The ad lists a few notorious financial criminals (Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff, etc.) and implies that Mitt Romney’s adversity to financial regulation would reward the bigwigs who brought our economy down while punishing innocents like everyone’s favorite fluffy yellow…thing.

We don’t really want to get into a debate about whether Obama himself has gone far enough to rein in financial abuses, but it is nice to know that political hacks can make a decent joke from time to time.

UPDATE: Sesame Workshop just released an official response to the ad, noting that it is a non-profit, non-partisan entity and requesting that the Obama campaign stop airing the ad. Score one for consistency!

KitchenAid Apologizes for Insulting Obama’s Grandma

To all those who work with social media: When was the last time we warned you to keep your personal and professional accounts separate? Well, it’s time to make that point again.

During last night’s presidential debate, moments after President Obama mentioned his late grandmother, appliance maker KitchenAid’s official Twitter account sent out the following tweet:

“Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’. #nbcpolitics”

The brand’s account was immediately bombarded with angry responses, and the tweet was swiftly deleted. In its place appeared this apology:

“Deepest apologies for an irresponsible tweet that is in no way a representation of the brand’s opinion. #nbcpolitics”

Later, Cynthia Soledad, KitchenAid’s Senior Director of Marketing, began sending tweets from @KitchenAidUSA, trying her best to perform some acrobatic damage control:

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Calm Down, Everybody: Big Bird Will Be Fine

We’ll just go ahead and say it: last night’s debate was a big bore. Mitt Romney did quite well, Jim Lehrer did quite poorly, and a few million people became aware of the current President’s sleepwalking problem for the first time. (It is worth noting that, way back in June, Chuck Todd predicted that Obama would probably not win this first debate because “no one has cut his remarks short during his term in office”.)

The night’s most contentious moment, however, clearly concerned none other than Big Bird. When listing public entities that he would stop funding if elected, Romney took a moment to pick on perennial bogeyman PBS, telling Public Broadcasting employee Lehrer that he would have to cut funding for the channel despite the fact that “I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too.”

The Internet quickly made it a meme, and a predictable number of mildly amusing tweets ensued. So yeah, it was a weird line—but it wasn’t quite accurate. (In case you hadn’t noticed, this is a common problem in presidential debates.)

Unfortunately, we have to ruin everyone’s fun by calling an official end to this non-scandal. Take it away, Sherrie Westin, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Sesame Workshop–give CNN’s Soledad O’Brien some of that sweet, sweet damage control!

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What’s a Presidential Debate Worth, Anyway?

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!

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