Style Is Key to Debate Outcome: Substance Comes 2nd, History Shows
DiBacco, Thomas V., The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
If history is any guide to the role of debates in American elections, it is that style will be much more important than substance. To be sure, if a candidate makes an enormous blunder as to fact or intended policy, then substance could prevail, as in 1976, when Gerald Ford contended "there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe."
In 1960, John F. Kennedy's appearance as rested and vigorous could be contrasted with Richard Nixon's tired and pale look, no matter the substantive arguments they espoused. In 1980, Ronald Reagan put on a better outward show than Jimmy Carter, usually through a nod of the head, a broad smile and the modestly admonishing phrase "There you go …
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Publication information: Article title: Style Is Key to Debate Outcome: Substance Comes 2nd, History Shows. Contributors: DiBacco, Thomas V. - Author. Newspaper title: The Washington Times (Washington, DC). Publication date: October 6, 1996. Page number: 4. © 2009 The Washington Times LLC. COPYRIGHT 1996 Gale Group.
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