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For immediate release: Sept. 30, 2004
Media contact: Eric Quiñones, (609) 258-5748, quinones@princeton.edu

Media advisory: Princeton scholar available to comment on debates

PRINCETON, N.J.-- Voters must evaluate which presidential candidate convincingly articulates the strengths of his own platform in the upcoming debates, rather than which tosses out the best one-liner, according to political scholar Brandice Canes-Wrone of Princeton University.

"The most important aspect of the debates to remember is that they are not rhetorical tournaments where the 'best debater' wins. The winner of these contests is the candidate who walks away with more voters likely to support him on Nov. 2. This is a simple point, but one that is easily forgotten in characterizations of the candidates' oratory performances," said Canes-Wrone, an associate professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton.

A nationally recognized scholar of American politics -- with particular expertise in presidential politics, legislative politics and elections -- Canes-Wrone is available to comment on the upcoming series of presidential debates and other key issues of the 2004 election. She can be reached at (609) 258-9047 or bcwrone@princeton.edu.

"An interesting aspect of the debates will be whether the candidates debate against each other or simply debate past each other," Canes-Wrone said. "President Bush and Sen. Kerry have quite different speaking styles, as well as different types of agendas that they want to convey to voters. Each candidate may well spend his limited allotment of time pushing his agenda, rather than responding to the agenda of the other candidate."

"It also will be interesting to see how many viewers tune in to the presidential debates," she added. "In recent years, viewership of major political events, such as political conventions and presidential speeches, has dropped."

Canes-Wrone is the author of numerous articles in leading journals of political science and the forthcoming book "Who Leads Whom? Presidents, Policy Making and the Mass Public" (University of Chicago Press). She also serves on the editorial board of Presidential Studies Quarterly. Before coming to Princeton this fall, Canes-Wrone was on the faculty at Northwestern University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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