RCL Blog: Thoughts on the Presidential Debate

Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 in RCL | 3 comments

As most people did, I tuned in for the first Presidential Debate tonight on CNN. The hype surrounding the debate was very palpable as most people on my floor watched it together. This surprised me as I didn’t know that so many people would be interested in the debate; but I’m glad that we could all be brought together for a short time by what we feel is our civic duty.

CNN stimulated very good discussions before and after the debate and also setup ways for the viewers to understand what was going on. For instance, one could see peoples’ reactions as the candidates were talking.┬áDebates are natural rhetorical platforms. They are an opportunity for the rhetor to utilize various methods of persuasion in order to sway voters to their side. With the use of not only commonplaces but also a mix of logos ethos and pathos; the candidates worked to perpetuate a persona, use facts, and to put a personal touch on their viewpoints. Both candidates tried to deliver an image of a “better America” that could be achieved through their presidencies.

If you looked on Twitter during the debate, your timeline would have been flooded with nothing but tweets of “Team (Candidate)” or some other political tweet. I think its really interesting to see how social media like Twitter or Facebook can aid in the discussion when concerning politics. It only takes a few clicks to find your like-minded peers or to find someone with viewpoints opposite of yours with whom you can argue with. At times like these its important to look at these factors in order to gauge public opinion concerning such an important election.


  1. So many people were watching the debate the other night! It was all over my newsfeed on Facebook and all over Twitter as well! I never thought that people would actually be interested in the debate but I then realized that it’s because they can actually vote this year. I say “they” because I’m not 18 yet so I can’t vote… It sucks haha I did not get a chance to watch the debate but I heard that it was quite interesting. I heard Romney did well especially when using rhetorical devices such as ethos and pathos. Since I didn’t watch it, I can’t provide examples for this but I see what you mean how they used it to promote a “better america”. That’s there way of trying to convince voters that they can change the way things are run to make everything better. These debates are to show voters what each candidate can deliver once in office but I feel as they say they are going to do something, in the end, they don’t do it. I will be interested to see how many voters decisions have changed after this debate.

  2. The presidential debate… I probably should have watched it but I was doing stupid stuff other than the debate. From what I’ve heard Romney is pretty happy about his performance and both candidates pants should be burning up because they lied their butts off (especially Romney) One part of rhetoric that can often trump ethos, pathos, and logos is body language. Obama constantly looked down towards his paper and used poor presentation skill which is a huge departure from his usual demeanor. Oftentimes, I think on the internet, it’s easy to unite over a single issue in politics. Finding people who are very similar politically is often very difficult because we often forget that people are very different and complex. Romney conveyed to his audience through good rhetoric and delivery that he was the dominant one throughout the speech. It’s very difficult to say this, but Obama did not catch Romney on many of his lies and led the audience to believe that his opponent was confident and very prepared.

  3. I think it’s always interesting to keep an eye on social media during political events, too, Natalia. Do you (or those of you reading this) think that social media persuades you or others to feel a certain way about the debate? Are you persuaded by people’s comments about the candidates? I also saw that some news organizations were posting fact-checking tweets. Do you think those are helpful?

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