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Politico: First 30 Minutes of Debate Will Matter Most

Politico: First 30 Minutes of Debate Will Matter Most

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By    |   Monday, 26 September 2016 09:39 AM

The most important part of the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is the first 30 minutes, according to an analysis by Politico.

Debate coaches and campaign strategists said the first minutes of the debate are crucial and real-time response on social media matter the most.

"You have your maximum audience at its most impressionable stage in the first minutes of the debate," veteran Republican debate coach Mari Maseng Will said.

Debate professionals call the first minutes of a debate "the primacy effect," the idea that whatever is heard first will be remembered best, according to Politico.

"In debates and in trial work, there's the doctrine of primacy. If you do a good job—or a really bad job — it will stay with the viewer," according to Judd Gregg, who helped George W. Bush with debate preparation in 2000 and 2004.

Southern Illinois University debate director Todd Graham said, "The first half of the debate is absolutely the most important."

Politico included the example of Ronald Reagan in 1984 saying, "I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." The analysis also noted an example from the Republican presidential debates, when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pointed out Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's repetition of talking points, saying, "There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody."

Graham pointed out the importance of the first few minutes of the debate: Reporters need to get stories done, and viewers can change the channel.

"Reporters are lazy and they have deadlines and those two things combined — they don't have all night," said Graham. adding that "95 percent of people are talking about what happened in the first 45 minutes" after a debate.

Politico's analysis noted that neither candidate has a strong resume for debate performance. Republican candidate Donald Trump was never in a one-on-one debate during the primaries, and Clinton's opponent, then Sen. Barack Obama, took down the former secretary of state in 2007, when she took two different positions on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.

Republican debate coach Brett O'Donnell said, "Attention spans wane. They're really set in the first 30 minutes."

Many of the most remembered moments from presidential debates happened in the first 30 minutes, says Politico, including Richard Nixon wiping away sweat during the moderators' introductions, and Al Gore sighing and smirking while future president George W. Bush talked about "fuzzy math."

Trump has said he is not interested in practicing for the debate by studying policy points or holding mock debates, while his handlers are focusing on keeping him on message.

Ahead of the debate, Clinton posted a tweet with a video of Trump's "lies."

 

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The most important part of the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is the first 30 minutes, according to an analysis by Politico.
Politico, Debate, 30 Minutes, Clinton, Trump
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2016-39-26
Monday, 26 September 2016 09:39 AM
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