Some of my former Philadelphia colleagues may humorously recall me yelling every Wednesday morning upon my entry into the office that: “It’s hump day!” Well now that I’m on a different schedule, Tuesday is now that day. And for my blog, Tuesday will be “Helpful Hump Day.” From Web sites and app reviews to shopping deals and travel tips, I’ll use this space to offer readers a way to get over various “humps.”
Today’s is on tonight’s presidential debate:
As President Obama and his GOP rival Mitt Romney go head-to-head again tonight, it’s good to know what’s at play. Besides the focus on domestic issues, including health care and the deficit, the face-off’s interactive town-hall format promises to be lively — even without Pizza Hut’s withdrawn PR stunt for lifetime pizza. Also, moderator Candy Crowley is a sharp journalist who won’t allow any softball questions or non-answers. And this CNN reporter is not one to sit on any sidelines and not play a very active role in this debate.
As critiques of the first presidential debate and last week’s vice presidential matchup keep pouring in, it appears that sometimes style of delivery overshadows what is being delivered. For instance: a distracted Obama, a finger-pointing Vice President Biden, an aggressive Romney, a serious Rep. Paul Ryan.
Facts definitely matter and there are plenty of fact-checkers out there who will pounce within minutes of the debate ending. But I find it helpful to really think about the issues that matter most to me and then see which candidate addresses those issues to my satisfaction.
In 2004 and in 2008, I surveyed the candidates’ Web sites to see how they tackled things such as health care, employment and almost anything that could affect my daughter’s future (a helluva long list — environmental conservation, taxes, Social Security, college aid, public education, etc). And when — not if– what I read didn’t satisfy my questions, I then e-mailed the campaign. Thanks to my involvement with the National Association of Black Journalists, I was able to meet or get the contact information for someone on each campaign’s communications staff. Usually, someone directed me to where I could find the answers to my questions.
There are plenty of organizations, such as unions, non-profits and other trade groups that offer tailored topics from the candidates’ camps to various constituencies. So it’s worth surfing around to find different position papers. Also take a look at FactCheck.org, which is a non-partisan, non-profit run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center that looks into the level of accuracy (or lack of accuracy) out on the campaign trail.
Enjoy the debates and enjoy Hump Day!