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Deliberating Political Debates

File photos
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR
Foley vs. Malloy - 2014!

The notion of a political debate embedded in a campaign for office is a younger idea than you might think. It became codified as a result of a 1960 debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Prior to that, debates were rare. Okay, now you're thinking about the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Those were really unusual for their day, and it's worth noting that in 1858, senators were elected by state legislators. So those debates - conducted before huge crowds - weren't really held for the same reasons that they're done today. The history of debates is really the history of television.

With the rise of the Connecticut gubernatorial campaign, Colin McEnroe gives listeners a pre-debate glimpse into the complexities of moderating these matches.

What do you think? Comment below, email Colin@wnpr.org, or tweet @wnprcolin.


  • Kevin McMahon is the John R. Reitemeyer Professor of Political Science at Trinity
  • Dennis House is an Emmy Award winning journalist and news anchor at WFSB Channel 3
  • Jennifer Bernstein is a journalist and news anchor at Fox Connecticut


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