How They Did

Communications expert Ruth Sherman submitted these comments right after the Republican debate on Oct. 28:

Lindsay Graham won the “undercard” debate by far. As the last time, he was funny, seemed reasonable, has the knowledge and gravitas. His speaking voice is thin and not particularly commanding, but he makes up for it. I wish he were on the mainstage.

John Kasich – Focused on inserting himself into the conversation from the get-go. He had a good first debate but lacked opportunities in the second debate, so this debate was a last chance. Although he’s a generally good communicator, his body language and gestures weren’t smooth and made him look excitable.

Marco Rubio – Extremely articulate as usual. He had ready answers for the question about his Senate performance. He pivots to his own message or interpretation of facts brilliantly regardless of what has been asked. He exhibited toughness tonight, which works in his favor because he looks so young.

Carly Fiorina – Still the best of the bunch as a speaker. Not only is she polished in her prepared answers, but she can pivot with the best, as she showed when Becky Quick challenged her on whether she should be touting Tom Perkins as her big fan. This goes beyond practicing. The woman is seriously gifted as a communicator.

Ted Cruz – Tried as hard as he could at the very beginning to poke fun at himself. It didn’t quite work, but was a good start. Poked fun at himself a couple of other times, which worked better. He needs to do more of this because he has been unlikable

Donald Trump – His schtick is getting tired. He’s a one-trick pony and he’s now seriously overexposed, the death-knell for an entertainer, which is what Trump essentially is in this context.

Jeb Bush – In big trouble. His continuing lack of fluency as a speaker may be beyond repair. That he was barely able to speak during this debate, and when he did, he did so poorly, doesn’t bode well. His attack on Marco Rubio didn’t go well since Rubio was ready. He does have an extremely pleasing speaking voice, but if no one hears it …

Ben Carson – Did better tonight. He was significantly looser in his presentation. He was more prepared and his presentation was more engaging, though his physical and vocal affect are still too quiet.His voice is especially monotonous, which causes a mismatch. He is unable to show excitement or passion. His facial expression is flat, though he didn’t close his eyes as much, which is a bad habit.

Mike Huckabee – He was more his old self in this debate, more the folksy, friendly ex-governor-next-door. Very quick, great presenter, very expressive speaking voice.

Chris Christie – Tonight, he got a little more pugnacious. Generally though, he presented in pretty much the same way as he did last time. He seemed to get more air time in Debate #2. He comes across more likable than his reputation would indicate. He has a longstanding speech impediment with his pronunciation of the L sound. We have not elected a president with a speech impediment in modern times.

Rand Paul – Still not having any fun and this lack of humor will be his undoing. It’s too bad. He’s an articulate communicator, but tends to be singsong in his vocal pattern. No charisma at all.

Previous articleWhat the Republican Candidates Need to Do
Next articleNovember 2015 Hikes and Programs