February 7, 2016

Communications expert say both candidates got across points in debate

A communications professor with Nebraska Wesleyan University says both presidential candidates entered their final debate with goals in mind and those goals guided the debate.

Assistant Professor of Communications Studies Patty Hawk says President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney entered their final face-to-face with a job to do.

“President Obama’s job was to disqualify Gov. Romney as a viable candidate and Gov. Romney’s job was to not get disqualified,” Hawk tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN’s Jack and Dave Show. “And, I think they both stayed on that target all night long.”

Hawk says how you evaluated their success likely has more to do with your political leanings than with any objective evaluation.

“Gov. Romney, I think, came off as less hawkish, as more, sort of calmer; talked a lot about peace, used the word ‘peace’ several times. So, I think he did what he wanted to do with that,” according to Hawk. “President Obama came off looking like somebody who knows an awful lot about foreign policy.”

President Obama, the Democratic incumbent, met with Romney, his Republican challenger, for the third and final time at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL. The final debate centered on foreign policy.

Hawk says now that the debates are over, the two candidates will seek to get their message across through the news media.

“They need to get time on television. So, they have got to do something that will get them on the news and on television. My guess is steady-as-she-goes, both of them, because the race is so tight neither of them want to do something that’s going to potentially upset the applecart,” Hawk says.

Hawk says both candidates achieved a measure of success in the Florida debate.

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