For much of the 2000 campaign for the Presidency, Vice President Al Gore has been seen the candidate who will win this years Presidential Election. The polls show Gore as leading, political analysts have been saying Gore all the way, and most of the general public seem to be in agreement that Gore will succeed President Bill Clinton. But recently, the past two Presidential debates have seemed to abolish the idea that Vice President Al Gore will easily be elected President over Texas Governor George W. Bush.
Al Gore known as an assertive, well-spoken, intellect with plenty of political experience has been both praised and criticized for his approach to debates. Everyone knows that Gore is a very intelligent, energetic, and liberal candidate; but many lack appreciation for the way he plays down his counterparts. Gore comes across on televison as an arrogant person, who uses very aggressive tactics in exposing his opponents vulnerabilities. His preparation and approach to the debates is impeccable, this can be credited to the fact that he has been involved in such debates since 1988. On the front page of the October 2, 2000 The Washington Post, Ceci Connolly and Dan Balz depict the two candidates and their respective styles of debating. The two journalists give a general overview of what to expect from these two candidates in the upcoming Presidential Debates.
Connolly mentions that restraint would have to be Gores top challenge, insinuating that he would have to refrain from lashing his opponent too frequently, which could make him appear tasteless to the audience. Even though Gores approach sometimes rubs his opponents the wrong way, Connolly does agree with most that Gore is a successful debater. She states, For all of the criticism of Gores robotic style, discipline has been a key element of his debating style. On the other platform George W. Bush seems to have different strategies and tendencies in his debating technique. Dan Balz believes Bush is inconsistent, however, his largest weapon is the fact that he is underestimated.
Bush being more of a newcomer to the national debate scene more so than Gore, tends to seem nervous and flustered when on stage. According to other political observers Bush is not as knowledgeable as Gore; he is not prone to go into great details, but he does however communicate with people at a much more understandable level than Gore. Although inconsistent, Balz believes that Bush has risen to the occasion at the time of previous debates (Republican Primaries), and believes Bush can prove himself in the upcoming Presidential Debates. He predicts that Bush could prove to be a formidable opponent for the Vice President. Following the first Presidential Debate, Dan Balz and Terry M. Neal of The Washington Post reported the debate in an article on October 4, 2000.
In a debate full of clashing, noticeable body language, and critique the morning headline read Gore, Bush Clash Sharply On Issues in First Debate. The article describes in detail the events of the debate, but also leaves you with a good mental image of each candidate. The two journalist give a good description of the emotional state of Bush and his campaign staff prior to the debate, where they portray him almost to be immature, and persistent in taking cheap shots at Al Gore. Referring to Gore, Were ready for Jekyll or Hyde, said Mark McKinnon a member of the Bush team. The quote shows the partys willingness to insult Gore behind the scenes, but Bush isnt prepared enough to do so in the big show. However, the two journalists mention Gore and his days leading up to the debate, but do not give specifics or direct quotes concerning Bush, almost as if they are protecting the Vice President.
By portraying Bush in such a manner, the paper makes Gore look more laid back and experienced, possibly winning him votes. In another article by Dan Balz in the October 5 th edition of The Washington Post, the journalist discusses how the first Presidential Debate did very little to affect the polls. Both candidates conceded to the fact that their first debate was rusty, but both parties also agreed that their respective candidates helped themselves out with specific issues. Again in this article Bush is portrayed as the underdog. It seems as if he is given little chance to stand in there and take hits from Gore, but as long as he does he succeeds.
Even in such a close race as this, Gore still appears to be heavily favored. Following the second Presidential Debate journalists David Border and Ceci Connolly joined to write the following article in the October 12 th edition of The Washington Post: Bush, Gore Find Some Accord On Foreign Policy in 2 nd Debate. This debate, opposed to the first was less confrontational, and the candidates seemed to agree on more issues than disagree. The debate itself was set for a low key event, the two candidates sat at a roundtable setup facing the moderator. The debate overall seemed to lack the fire and excitement of the first, as did the events leading up to and following the affair. The two candidates are involved right now in one of the closest races of modern time, but one still has to think that Gore has the upper-hand.
But polls following the second debate have shown Bush leading Gore slightly. In The New York Times on October 13 th, Richard Berke wrote an article titled, No Room For Error In The Final Weeks Before The Vote. In the article Berke points out that Bush has jumped slightly ahead of Gore in most polls, but competition is still intensely close. The Republican party believes that Bush should continue to press his issues on Gore and the Democrats, for that is what has worked for him the whole way. The Democrats, however, fear that Gore has become complacent and relaxed with the idea that his experience will win him the vote. Neither party however, is over anxious to make a dramatic move.
The parties will probably remain conservative and stick to their overall strategy. Berke notes, If attention to foreign policy continues to escalate, Mr. Gore could capitalize on his much richer foreign affairs experience and the tendency of Americans to rally behind an administration in a time of crisis. But also mentions that voters may not approve of how the administration is handling foreign policy and may turn to Governor Bush. These two major newspapers (The Washington Post and The NewYork Times) have provided complete coverage of the entire 2000 campaign. Besides writing about and discussing each candidates stereotypes and exploiting their weaknesses, their coverage has remained fairly neutral and mostly unbiased.
However, since the media generally favors the liberal end of the spectrum, more often than not, they have portrayed Al Gore as America's "Golden Boy." The two candidates seem to feel similarly about many issues, with the exception of a few; abortion, capital punishment, and government spending. The 2000 campaign for the Presidency appears to be as close as any previous elections, neither candidate gives a lot to be criticized for, therefore making it difficult for the media to defame both Gore and Bush.