Tonight in Nashville, don’t expect either a real “town hall” format or a true debate, advises Jack Shafer in Slate. We won’t see unvetted questions or reasoned exchanges. What we can expect are some interesting moves, with the candidates taking cues from earlier performances by Bill Clinton, “the living genius of the town-hall format,” who perfected the art of debate choreography.
Clinton maneuvered himself into other candidates’ shots, used “challenging body language,” and faced the camera in an appealing way, a study found, “reinforcing his own oration and ‘invading’ the discourse of others.” Watch agile Barack Obama to see if he busts some Clinton moves; McCain’s “age and war injuries” could make his gestures stilted. “A robot just can't dance with a cat,” Shafer writes.