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Letters to the Editor

What presidential debate rules exist to allow Romney to bully Obama?

To the editor:

Over the years, I have observed progress in actions taken to prevent bullying of the elderly in nursing homes, bullying in the workplace, bullying at elementary level schools, and now special attention is appropriately being placed on the bullying of students at all levels of education.

While watching the Romney-Obama debate, I wondered what presidential debate rules exist that would allow Gov. Romney to “bully” his way through the debate with interruptions and “talking down” the overwhelmed moderator into frustrated silence. Such a situation can cause uncertainty for the other party, who may not get to complete a statement. This situation canc ause a debater to become rather pensive.

Wikipedia (Competitive Rules and Techniques, McCoy) listed four debate rules, two which I believe should have been enforced in the recent debate.

Rule 2A: “The speeches and speaking times are divided equally between the two teams.”

Rule 4D: “Neither team may leave its plan so vague as to prevent a reasonable attack by the opposition on grounds of practicability.”

I question that the overwhelmed moderator was capable of keeping track of interruption minutes to allow him to enforce the first rule.

When President Obama referred to the absence of details in Gov. Romney’s tax plan, he refused to offer any, stating he would reveal them when he was President and would discuss them with people he would work with. There goes the second.

Unfortunately, the League of Women Voters no longer are moderators for the presidential debates. Debates are now under the direction of the Citizens’ Debate Commission formed in 2004. The CDC established five debate format stipulations, the fourth of which states: “Response times must not be overly restrictive.” I believe a bully can really play with that one.

I choose to continue to support President Obama. He stayed calm in an out-of-control debate. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office calculates the President’s stimulus packages raised actual Gross Domestic Product every quarter, and an average of 2.3 million jobs were created or saved during the first three years.

There is evidence Obama cares for all Americans, even the 47 percent who don’t pay taxes and Romney has said he “will not worry about.” I wonder if veterans suffering from post-war trauma are in that 47 percent.

And I hope the next debate has a moderator who can control the meeting and not allow bullying.

Joyce Moen


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