I'm not sure if Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos are anarchists, but they're moderation style seemed to fit the mold. One minute responses to the questions and 30 second responses for rebuttals were the agreed upon rules, so we're told. For the record, of the 42 "questions" (I use quotations, because not all of the questions contained an actual question so much as a prompt to weigh in) 19 of them went over 65 seconds in length, and of the 22 rebuttals a whopping 17 went over 35 seconds with the average response time to all 22 rebuttals coming in at 46 seconds. As a deregulation kind of guy I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be in favor of this style or not. Just kidding, it may prove how regulations only hurt those who follow them.
Pedantics aside, this was a fairly open style of debate and anyone who decided to not take advantage of it cannot be all too irritated with the moderators as it was plain to sense that you were given ample time in your responses to get your platform off your chest. However, it seemed the opportunity to rebuttal was rather inconsistent and dished out arbitrarily rather than on the consistent principle of having one's name invoked.
The debate itself ranged from substantive arguments of foreign policy and the economy, to more fruitless discussions of Federalism regarding contraception, an issue that is not in the news cycle nor specifically a part of any candidate's platform which is why it seemed odd to press Mitt Romney for over two straight minutes and four follow-ups regarding the non-issue. It may have made more sense to me if after Mitt's non-answer and still lacking any philosophical substance to then pose to the rest of the candidates the issue of state's rights vs federal power regarding behavior in the bedroom, but it seemed George was leaning on Mitt as if he were playing Rick Santorum interrogating a Muslim. Too much?
As far as which candidate came out the winner in talking time, Mitt Romney fielded nearly 20 minutes of total talking time, good for over 29% of the overall speaking time allotted to the candidates. Rick Perry really had the short end with 5:20 and only seven turns talking. I expect that number to drastically drop after the South Carolina Primaries all the way to zero. Guess I'm feeling snarky today.
Here's the stats on the ABC debate:
|Avg b/w Talks||Longest Wait|