Speaker’s Disappointment

by John J. Pitney, Jr.

Several  years ago, Newt Gingrich cited the Lincoln-Douglas debates as a model for contemporary presidential debates. In each of the 1858 exchanges, the first candidate spoke the 60 minutes, the second responded for 90, and then the first had a 30-minute rejoinder.  That format obviously appeals to Gingrich:  as a former college professor, he is at his best when giving extended lectures.  Tonight’s debate must be frustrating for him. With only 60 seconds to answer a question, he has a hard time distinguishing himself from the six other candidates on stage.

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