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Department of Communication Arts presents second, third DebateWatch events

Georgia Southern University’s Department of Communication Arts continues its screenings of the 2012 presidential candidate debates on Tuesday, Oct. 16, and Monday, Oct. 22, in the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Information Technology, Room 1005. The debates are scheduled for 9-10:30 p.m., but the events will begin at 8:30 p.m. with brief pre-debate presentations by Dr. Patrick Wheaton, a political communication scholar and former collegiate debate coach. Wheaton will also mediate discussions following the debates.

The second presidential debate of 2012 will take the form of a town hall meeting, during which attendees will ask the candidates questions related to foreign and domestic issues. Candidates will have two minutes each to respond, with an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town hall participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

“2012 marks the sixth time that the town hall format has been used in the presidential debates – it has been used in every presidential election since 1992,” Wheaton said. “Though challengers have typically outperformed incumbents in the first debate, as Mitt Romney seems to have done this year, we can likely expect that President Obama will perform better in the second debate, as incumbents typically do.”

The third and final debate event will follow the same format at the first debate, with a single moderator asking questions of the candidates. The general topic for the third debate is foreign affairs.

Georgia Southern’s airing and discussion of the presidential debate is presented in conjunction with DateWatch, a voter education event associated with the Commission on Presidential Debates and the National Communication Association. This year, the NCA is inviting debate viewers to tweet their reactions to the candidates’ responses using #NCADebates12. The University has participated in every DebateWatch presidential election event since 2000.

For more information about the event, contact Wheaton at


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