Kemp “argued with moderator… shaking his head and smirking”
Abrams “continually stressed the themes of leadership, bipartisanship, and Medicaid expansion”
ATLANTA — Prominent national debate coach Aaron Kall gave his take on last night’s head-to-head matchup between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp. Excerpts of his analysis follow:
…Abrams scored a moderate victory tonight because she continually stressed the themes of leadership, bipartisanship, and Medicaid expansion. She mentioned working with current Republican Gov. Nathan Deal on criminal justice reform and pointed out that Vice President Mike Pence expanded Medicaid while governor of Indiana
…a few subtle actions from Kemp hurt his overall debate performance tonight. Early in the debate he argued with the moderator about the amount of time he should have for a rebuttal. All candidates and their campaigns agreed to the debate rules in advance and anytime spent arguing with the moderator is distracting and takes away precious time that could be used better elsewhere.
Ironically, when given an opportunity for an extra rebuttal later in the debate, Kemp demurred. A few of the split-screen camera shots showed Kemp shaking his head and smirking while Abrams was answering questions. A more stoic and measured demeanor would have been more advisable.
…Ultimately, Abrams made a few more persuasive arguments during the hour affair and had a slightly better debating style given this format. She did a good job of preempting some of Kemp’s arguments in advance, which lessens their rhetorical impact. Abrams also repeatedly mentioned what she would do as the next Georgia governor, which can be presumptuous, but also instills confidence and optimism.
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