If you've watched a few presidential debates over the years, you've probably been a bit puzzled by some of what takes place. Why do the candidates stand stiffly at podiums, instead of relaxing in chairs? Since it's supposed to be an argument, why don't they actually just talk to each other? Who writes the questions, and are they a surprise to the candidates, or do they get to see them in advance? Why are the Democratic and Republican candidates invited, but not the third-party candidates who may be on the ballot in your state?
With President Obama holding a narrow lead in the polls and looking to close the sale, and challenger Mitt Romney searching for a game-changing big play, the stakes in this year's presidential debates are probably even higher than usual. The initial debate, which will focus on domestic policy, takes place on Wednesday at 9 p.m. (Eastern Time) in Denver, with PBS NewsHour host Jim Lehrer moderating. From PBS, here's a preview of the debate.
If you're a fan of Saturday Night Live, you may have gotten a chuckle from the spoof advertisement poking fun at what political pundits call "low information" undecided voters. "Before you're going to get our vote, you're going to have to answer some questions," the ad explains. "What are the names of the two people running? And be specific!"
Unless you bend over backwards to avoid reading about politics (in which case, would you be here?), you probably know that President Barack Obama does better among younger voters than Mitt Romney, and that Romney does better among older voters than Obama.
This year's presidential campaign, more than any in history, will play out on a digital battleground - everything from the candidates' own websites to Facebook and Twitter and anything, really, that comes to us byte-by-byte. Digital ads have joined television and radio ads as instruments of political persuasion and propaganda. E-mail is crowding out direct mail in the same way. Even fundraising has moved increasingly online, where campaigns can collect money (in mostly small amounts) nearly as fast as they can ask for it with little in the way of overhead - and no door-to-door solicitation.
Mitt Romney's "favorable" rating has been on something of a roller coaster in 2012. But the more older Republican primary voters have seen him, the more they seem to like him.
Political tradition in Virginia comes down to shad - an oily, bony fish that someone once decided would be just delicious if it were split in two and cooked on wooden planks over an open fire.
It bugs me when marketers refer to "the over-50 crowd." Whether hawking online dating services or warning about the dangers of STDs, they seem to see us as one huge lump of aging humanity. It feels like we disappear as individuals. Sure, I'm over 50, but that isn't top of mind as I go about my day.
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