Debate Flaws: Romney 'Fake,' Obama 'Long-Winded'

Romney, stop saying 'thank you;' Obama, kill the long pauses
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2012 1:02 PM CDT
This combination of file photos shows Mitt Romney and President Obama. Their first debate is Wednesday night.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Both campaigns are trying to lower expectations ahead of tomorrow night with my-guy's-not-a-great-debater claims. Don't believe it, writes Southern Illinois debate coach Todd Graham at CNN. He's been analyzing presidential debates for 20 years, and he thinks these two are rock solid. Mitt Romney is "smooth" and well-prepared, and he's adept at moving from defense to offense in a single answer. Barack Obama is poised and presidential, and he knows how to "focus and crystallize."

But that's no fun. How about their weaknesses?

  • Romney: He can be too smooth, "almost fake." Graham hates how he ends his answers with an "awkward smile" and a "thank you," even after a diatribe. "To me, this demonstrates insincerity," writes Graham. It's like he's "practicing his speeches" instead of debating. Romney also struggles when pressed to expound on his original answers.
  • Obama: He can come off as aloof and detached at a time when people want passion from a leader. Graham also says his "long-winded," professorial answers don't play well in the format, along with his tendency to use "canyon-sized pauses," as if he's unsure of what he's going to say next.
Click for the full scouting report here. (Read more Mitt Romney 2012 stories.)

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