The PRV Report Card: Debate Winner & Loser

 The PRV Report Card: Debate Winner & LoserDEBATE WINNER: “B” (Good Show) to Barack Obama, who won the debate (but only just). Democrats wanted a more aggressive President, and they got him. At times, Obama was jocular: When Romney repeatedly asked, “Have you looked at your pension, Mr. President?” Obama laughed and shot back, “I don’t look at my pension – it’s not as big as yours.” But when Romney accused POTUS of flying off to a fundraiser the day after the attack on the US embassy in Libya, Obama Hulked out and put Romney in his place. Game on. No one in this debate was prepared to turn the other cheek, a recharged Obama stepped up to the plate and met expectations. Is there new momentum in the campaign?

 

 The PRV Report Card: Debate Winner & LoserDEBATE LOSER: “B” (Good Show) to Mitt Romney, who lost the debate (but only by the slenderest of margins). Romney still has a propensity for sinking his own ship with one catchphrase. Previously we had the now infamous “47 percent.” This time, in response to a question about equal pay, Romney told a story about staffing his male-dominated cabinet and said, “They brought us binders full of women.” The comment quickly reverberated around the blogosphere, went viral on Twitter, and was a URL within an hour. Fodder for the next attack ad no doubt, and only time will tell how this affects 50 percent of the voting public.

 

 The PRV Report Card: Debate Winner & Loser

THE “NONSENSICAL TANGENT” PR AWARD TO: Both candidates, for their answers to the question about gun control. Romney began talking about marriage and two-parent families, starting a rapid-fire spree of Tweets beginning and ending with “WTF”? Obama fared no better, veering sharply off into education and higher test scores in math and science. So…guns don’t kill people, divorce and geeks do?

Who Has Already Won Tonight’s Debate?

 Who Has Already Won Tonights Debate?

The PR Verdict: “F” (Full Fiasco) to both Teams Obama and Romney.

Candy Crowley has been warned. CNN’s star political reporter, who is hosting tonight’s presidential debate, has come in for some rare bipartisan criticism from both the Obama and Romney camps. The reason? In pre-interviews, the debate’s host said she plans to ask the candidates follow-up questions and intervene when their answers are not clear. Neither side likes this approach. Their preferred strategy? Let the audience simply ask its question and then, once answered, promptly move on to the next.

A complaint from both campaigns has been lodged with the Commission of Presidential Debates, which oversees the event. Apparently, the Memorandum of Understanding that both campaigns sign, prior to the debate, says explicitly that the moderator is to “play a relatively limited role.” Crowley clearly feels differently. Cue concern.

So how does Candy Crowley want to run her debate? She explained in interviews that once the question is asked, her role is to say, “Hey, wait a second, what about X, Y, Z?” Astonishingly, neither side wants an experienced journalist to do that. It might be easier to ask an intern to host the debate next time around.

The PR Verdict: “F” (Full Fiasco) to both Teams Obama and Romney. Not only undignified to complain, but a great PR opportunity missed.

The PR Takeaway: The better position? Nothing fazes or concerns our Presidential candidate. Complaining that an experienced journalist might simply be doing her job, i.e., asking tough follow up questions, is hardly Presidential. Let the viewers decide. Besides, the PR point here was to let the other side do the complaining, and then come out strongly saying that the hope is whoever is running for Prez can handle tough and probing questions. This was one opportunity where the moral high ground was there for the taking. For the moment, the clear winner in this debate is none other than Candy Crowley.

To read more, click here.

What’s your opinion of the candidates’ debate complaints? Give us your PR Verdict!

Guest Column: Axelrod’s Post-Debate Petulance

 Guest Column: Axelrods Post Debate Petulance

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for David Axelrod’s demonstration of petulance and personal attack on his client’s adversary.

With the first presidential debate completed, the pundits and social sphere weighed in with immediate evaluations of both candidates’ performances. With more debates to come, the general consensus was that for round one, President Obama was disappointing. Even the Democrats said so.

That disappointment was clearly reflected in the President’s chief strategic advisor David Axelrod’s post-debate comments. Axelrod called Romney an “artful dodger” and a person whose statements during the debate  were “devoid of honesty,” “rooted in deception,” “untethered to the truth,” and “well delivered but fraudulent.”

Can Axelrod be more candid and more ad hominem? He did not offer much by way of factual correction, nor attempt to make the mind-numbing statistics provided by both candidates more user/voter-friendly. Do most voters know what Dodd-Frank or Simpson-Bowles are?  By the end of the debate, voters were still trying to absorb the kaleidoscope of  “what was that number” or “how does that math work” confusion?

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for David Axelrod’s demonstration of petulance and personal attack on his client’s adversary.

The PR Takeaway: Take the high road, regardless of your personal feelings.  Address facts and express “disappointment” in your opponent’s argument without the need to call your opponent “fraudulent.” Anger shows weakness, and Axelrod, in those immediate moments of media confrontation about his client, would have served both himself and President better by “correcting the record” rather than taking personal pot shots which, up until now, has been the tenor of Axelrod’s communications leadership. Remember that rather than launching personal attacks on those opposing you, persuasion founded in facts engages those whose point of view you seek to capture.

What’s your opinion of David Axelrod’s post-debate commentary? Give us your PR Verdict!