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Robert Watson

Blog Entries by Robert Watson

In the Trenches of Democracy

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 1:08 PM

I wrote this column the night before the election to emphasize my point that, no matter who wins today, there is one clear result of the 2012 election: We need to reform our electoral system.

The American election system is convoluted, inconsistent, and, frankly, nearly indefensible. To offer a point...

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In Memory: George McGovern

(5) Comments | Posted October 23, 2012 | 7:52 PM

One of the highpoints in my career was the opportunity to work with George McGovern. I first met the former U.S. senator and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee 12 years ago at one of the "McGovern Days" programs he offered for the people of his home state of South Dakota. As...

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The Vice Presidential Debate: Five Takeaways

(262) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 12:49 AM

1. The debate moderator, Martha Raddatz, was a big improvement over Jim Lehrer, who moderated last week's debate. She maintained control of the debate while also allowing the candidates to scuffle a little. Her questions covered a wide range of important issues and she held the candidates to actually answering...

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And the Real Loser Is...

(1) Comments | Posted October 5, 2012 | 11:28 AM

Let me state at the outset that I have always been a Jim Lehrer fan. I have watched his television show for years, had the pleasure of meeting him, and the students in my course on the American presidency this semester are required to read his new book on presidential...

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Five Takeaways From the First Presidential Debate

(2) Comments | Posted October 4, 2012 | 1:16 PM

After two years of constant campaigning, hundreds of millions of dollars raised, countless thousands of hands shaken, and hundreds of speeches given, it comes down to this... three 90-minute debates. The first one is now in the can, so it must be asked: "How did the candidates do?" Here are...

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The Crystal Ball: History!

(6) Comments | Posted September 14, 2012 | 4:25 PM

All candidates and their political handlers spend a lot of time on debate "prep." And for good reason! A single gaffe could doom a candidate (Gerald Ford on Soviet domination during the 1976 debates) and one well-timed, well-delivered zinger can score the candidate points (Ronald Reagan on his age during...

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The Best/Worst Vice Presidential Picks in History... and Paul Ryan

(3) Comments | Posted September 5, 2012 | 11:25 AM

Something of a cottage industry has emerged on ranking the presidents. Indeed, ever since the first scholarly ranking poll debuted in 1948, historians and pundits have debated the standing of the nation's commanders-in-chief. More recently, the selection of Paul Ryan as the Republican vice presidential nominee has produced a flurry...

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Florida 101: 10 Things to Know About Florida for the 2012 Election

(13) Comments | Posted July 30, 2012 | 3:12 PM

10. Flori-duh

The Sunshine State is important in presidential elections for several reasons, but one of them is simply that Florida is the land of butterfly ballots, hanging chads, and Katherine Harris (and her makeup). Florida is therefore symbolically important and all eyes are always on the state whose controversial...

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