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Alan Schroeder
Alan Schroeder is a professor in the School of Journalism at Northeastern University in Boston. Schroeder is the author of several books, including Presidential Debates: 50 Years of High-Risk TV (Columbia University Press, 2008) and Celebrity-in-Chief: How Show Business Took Over the White House (Westview Press, 2004). Schroeder has also written for Politico, the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
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Entries by Alan Schroeder

Rick Scott's Epic Blunder

(38) Comments | Posted October 17, 2014 | 1:33 PM

The dust-up over Charlie Crist's portable fan at the Florida gubernatorial debate has degenerated into a war of words over which side violated the pre-negotiated rules. The truth of who plugged in what device, and on whose authority, may forever remain lost in the murk of Sunshine State...

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The Senate Prospects of Ashley Judd

(35) Comments | Posted March 8, 2013 | 6:08 PM

Does Ashley Judd have the chops to defeat Mitch McConnell in next year's U.S. Senate race in Kentucky? Already the possibility of a Judd-McConnell matchup has spawned a mini-tornado of media speculation, not to mention a Karl Rove-sponsored attack ad. If and when Judd actually tosses her hat into the...

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The Dramatic Arc of the 2012 Presidential Debates

(52) Comments | Posted October 20, 2012 | 3:00 PM

Presidential debates are often likened to boxing matches, which makes sense if you view each debate as an individual event. Yet a different analogy merits consideration, particularly as we head into the final Obama-Romney showdown on Monday night. Let us think of the presidential debate cycle as a four-act play,...

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Veep Debate Post-Mortem: What the Pundits Missed

(433) Comments | Posted October 14, 2012 | 1:20 PM

A few lingering thoughts about the vice presidential debate...

Although I am a veteran debate observer, I often have difficulty discerning a clear victor when I watch these programs. Not this time. Joe Biden's performance may have been over-exuberant, even borderline obnoxious, but in two key ways Biden won this...

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Massachusetts Senate Debates, Round Three: Warren Over Brown

(344) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 10:55 PM

The third debate between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown, candidates for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, accomplished something their two previous matches did not: it produced a winner. Professor Warren had her best night in the debate arena thus far, delivering a performance that was focused, confident and energetic. Although...

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Round One: A Post-Debate Post-Mortem

(20) Comments | Posted October 7, 2012 | 11:35 AM

Now that the first Obama-Romney debate has had a few days to germinate, it's time to consider the event from a production standpoint -- because in presidential debates, production decisions have political consequences.

STAGING AND VISUALS: The original proposal by the Commission on Presidential Debates called for a format...

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The Professor and the Jock: Elizabeth Warren Debates Scott Brown

(500) Comments | Posted September 20, 2012 | 10:30 PM

The opening debate between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown, candidates for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, at times felt like the classroom dynamic between an earnest, soft-spoken high school English teacher and the defiant jock who plants himself in the back row and makes sour faces until the bell rings....

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A 2012 Debate Prep Checklist

(110) Comments | Posted September 14, 2012 | 11:44 AM

With the first Obama-Romney debate just around the corner, the presidential and vice presidential candidates are hard at work preparing for combat. What should each of them be concentrating on?

BARACK OBAMA. Debating does not come naturally to Barack Obama, the way it did to Bill Clinton and Ronald...

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The Challenge of Selecting Presidential Debate Moderators

(196) Comments | Posted August 18, 2012 | 12:10 PM

Who should get to moderate a presidential debate? The recent announcement of moderators for the upcoming Obama-Romney and Biden-Ryan debates plants this question in the public arena. Legitimate concerns are being raised about the lack of racial and ethnic diversity among the four journalists selected for the honor....

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Political Olympics Preview

(5) Comments | Posted August 13, 2012 | 4:58 PM

Schedules and venues have been set, formats have been selected, and competitors have begun strategizing for victory in America's upcoming political Olympics: the 2012 presidential and vice presidential debates, now only two months away. Let us scrutinize the recent announcement of formats by the Commission on Presidential Debates...

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Now Is the Time for More Republican Presidential Debates

(13) Comments | Posted March 14, 2012 | 7:05 PM

Can it really be the end of the line for the 2012 Republican debates, just as the presidential primary season kicks into its final, crucial months? A long-scheduled March 19 joint appearance in Oregon now appears unlikely to materialize, and no further debates loom on the horizon. Yet...

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Final Four: The GOP Arizona Debate

(79) Comments | Posted February 22, 2012 | 11:11 PM

Scorpions in a bottle, or comrades in arms? The GOP presidential debate in Mesa, Arizona, was really two separate events: a first half in which the candidates spat venom at each other, and a second half in which they agreed on most everything -- all except contrarian Ron Paul. The...

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Back From Hiatus: Return of the GOP Debaters

(101) Comments | Posted February 19, 2012 | 12:33 PM

After nearly a month-long hiatus, the reality television series known as the GOP presidential primary debates returns to the small screen on Wednesday, February 22nd. The cast of regulars, reduced to a final four, will step back onto the stage against a vastly altered political backdrop. As the players reassemble...

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New Hampshire Double-header: A Tale of Two Debates

(47) Comments | Posted January 8, 2012 | 2:17 PM

Saturday night and Sunday morning. Two back-to-back Republican presidential debates featuring the same cast, the same issues, the same New Hampshire setting, and the same basic format. Yet despite a separation of only 10 hours, the events felt as different as night and day.

Saturday's debate on ABC was largely...

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The Republican Think Tank Debate

(130) Comments | Posted November 22, 2011 | 11:13 PM

The official name of CNN's candidate forum at Constitution Hall in Washington was "The Republican National Security Debate." More accurately, it should have been called the "Republican Think Tank Debate," because the questions came almost entirely from representatives of the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, which co-sponsored the...

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Thanksgiving From Hell: The Republican Family Forum

(14) Comments | Posted November 21, 2011 | 9:29 AM

Imagine a Thanksgiving dinner where only your least simpatico, most judgmental relatives show up, where the conversation veers between religious proselytizing and tearful mawkishness, where no alcohol is drunk and no food served, and where even the pumpkins decorating the tabletop are made of plastic. This largely sums up the...

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The Commander-in-Chief Debate

(49) Comments | Posted November 14, 2011 | 12:50 PM

Two Republican debates within four days. The first, held Wednesday in Michigan, was supposed to be about economic issues and ended up being about Rick Perry's brain freeze. The second, held Saturday in South Carolina, was supposed to be about international affairs and ended up being about... international affairs.


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The Elephant in the Room: Republicans Debate in Michigan

(133) Comments | Posted November 9, 2011 | 11:06 PM

Here's a strategy that Herman Cain might want to consider: hire a Republican debate audience to travel with him wherever he goes as a means of warding off uncomfortable inquiries from the press. At the CNBC debate in Rochester, Michigan, Cain found himself in uber-friendly territory, surrounded by a force...

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Rick Perry: Afraid to Debate?

(36) Comments | Posted October 28, 2011 | 12:45 PM

Let's put this in terms that Rick Perry can understand: When you show up for the rodeo, you've got to ride the bull.

The Texas governor has indicated that he may opt out of some future Republican primary debates, complaining that the formats are too restrictive to...

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What Happened in Vegas: The Romney-Perry Bout

(45) Comments | Posted October 19, 2011 | 12:04 AM

It took the heat of Las Vegas to make Mitt Romney lose his cool. Finally showing his human side -- too vividly perhaps -- the normally unflappable Romney displayed a testiness in the latest Republican debate that did not flatter him. This is a side of Mitt Romney that has...

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