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Local experts identify key points to assess in presidential debate
It's common knowledge how important presidential debates are and the vital role they play in helping voters make their final decision on who they believe will turn the economy around. But local speech coaches and debate experts will be looking for much more than that.
Performance and non-verbal communication could completely turn the heat up during the next few days.
Once a candidate walks on the stage up to the podium, everything they do will be watched to a T.
If you didn't think performance is important compared to political issues think again.
The first televised debate in 1960 between former President John F. Kennedy and former Vice President Richard Nixon set the tone for 21st century political campaigns.
"I think Ronald Reagan put it best when he said in Hollywood that camera doesn't lie," said UNK Forensics Director Rachelle Kamrath.
Kamrath says the next three days could make or break Romney or Obama.
"Some of the things that can go well or against a candidate is nonverbal communication. We are looking for confidence, we're looking for no hesitation when the candidate is asked a question," Kamrath said.
How each candidate answers a question will also stand out.
"Does the candidate actually answer the question that has been brought to him? Another thing we'll be looking for is the accuracy in the answer, if there's any inaccuracy at all with the response," said Kamrath.
Claude Louishomme, Associate Professor of Political Science at UNK, identifies what key points political gurus will pay close attention to.
"The challenge for Mr. Romney is to help people see him differently; Obama has a different challenge he has to explain to people what he has done," said Louishomme. "One thing that Barack Obama has in his favor is that he's done this before. Romney, I think, will do a fine job of keeping up."
If there's anything that could turn the tables for what could be the biggest Presidential race ever. Between content and non-verbal feedback both will be weighed heavily.
"If there's one prediction that I can make tonight is that neither candidates will be wearing a watch. In the 1992 presidential debate Herbert Walker Bush looked at his watch during the debate and the public became very angry with that because what that said to us is: 'I have somewhere else to be when is this going to be over,'" said Kamrath.
Both Hastings College and UNK will be heavily encouraging students to watch Wednesday's debate.
Following the debate forensic students will be debriefing and this weekend at a tournament they'll be put to the challenge themselves.
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