Grady Newsource Explains: What Makes a Good Debate?

The first Democratic presidential debate airs tonight, October 13th, on CNN at 8:30 p.m. Reporter Allison Gowens spoke with Dr. Edward Panetta, former debate coach and current Communication Studies Department Head, about what we should expect to see.

Panetta says a good debate for a candidate is one where the candidates

  • inspire the public
  • display leadership
  • and have a story line or a set of narratives that they want to share with the public.

For Hilary Clinton to do “well” in tonight’s debate, Panetta says she would want to be perceived as the candidate who is clearly on top of every issue, compared to her opponents. For someone like Bernie Sanders, he needs to convince audiences that he is not only likable, but electable. Panetta says the candidates’ objectives determine whether its a good debate or not. Every debater should have a set of issues that they use to inspire the public.

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