Democrats Have Grabbed More Time in 3 Debates

Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 03:06 PM

By David A. Patten

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Democratic candidates get more time to talk than Republicans.

That’s not a partisan assertion. Based on the talk time allotted to the candidates so far in this year’s debates, it’s a fact.

“If you want more time to get your message out in debates, it’s good to be a Democrat,” comments the National Review’s Katrina Trinko in a post on The Corner blog.

Democrats are three-for-three in the debates so far, in terms of receiving more time to present their case to voters than their Republican opponents. Just a strange coincidence, perhaps?

Consider: In the first debate, although President Obama appeared oddly passive, the incumbent actually received 4 minutes and 18 seconds more talk time to make his case than did his Republican challenger.

In the vice presidential debate, moderator and ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz gave Vice President Joe Biden a 1 minute, 22 second talk-time advantage over GOP Rep. Paul Ryan.

And in Tuesday’s second presidential debate, President Obama was allowed to talk for 3 minutes, 14 seconds more than Romney – although at one point Obama quipped “I want to make sure our timekeepers are working here,” suggesting he was worried about receiving equal time.

Republicans also were miffed that moderator Candy Crowley stepped in to interrupt Romney 28 times during the debate, compared to only 9 interruptions of Obama.

Overall in the two debates, President Obama has enjoyed about 10 percent more time to answer questions and present his case to voters than the former Massachusetts governor.

To balance things out, CBS newsman Bob Schieffer would have to grant Mitt Romney an advantage of 7 minutes and 32 seconds in the third and final presidential debate on Monday at Lynn University. But no one expects that to happen.

Some observers say the rather obvious advantages that Democrats have enjoyed -- the questions asked at Tuesday’s town hall forum skewed heavily toward a progressive viewpoint, and none of the moderators hosts works for a conservative media outlet – simply reflect the chronic inability of the Republican Party to negotiate more equitable terms.

“I’ve got to tell you that I’m not going to let the Republicans off the hook on this,” Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell told Newsmax Wednesday. “Every four years, we have the gnashing of teeth and the beating of breasts by Republican leaders – ‘Look how the moderators behaved.’

“In fact, it was the Republicans who chose those moderators or who allowed those moderators. Every four years -- and then liberals behave like liberals and they say, ‘Oh my goodness, did you see how he behaved like a liberal?’

Conservatives are also complaining that it makes little strategic sense for Republicans to agree that the last debate before the election would focus on foreign policy questions, which almost always favors the incumbent president.

“TERRIBLE miscalculation for GOP to agree that final debate would be on foreign policy,” talk-radio host and Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham tweeted on Tuesday. “Whose bright idea was THIS when jobs/economy [are the] No. 1 issue?”

Comments Bozell: “Republicans are partially responsible for this one …So I don’t get them off the hook.”

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