From Stu Rothenberg:
Debates reward the quick quip, the snappy rejoinder, the cutting comeback and the clever response. Because some of the fallout from a debate is generated by news reports and chatter after the actual event, a sound bite played over and over the day after the debate can be more important for one of the candidates than all of the talk during the event.
Debate skills might be useful if we had a question time in Congress the way the British prime minister has in the House of Commons, but we don’t.
A quick repartee is a nice weapon at a dinner party, but it simply isn’t vital when trying to decide how to respond if Israel launches a pre-emptive strike on Iran, how to close the deficit or what an administration should do in reaction to the next crisis.
Presidents are supposed to give thoughtful consideration to complicated problems that involve difficult trade-offs (or at least I think that is what many Americans hope that they do). Once in office, they rarely need to shoot back a quip or react to an opponent’s attack. The presidency isn’t a game show, no matter how much some in the media treat it that way.
Full article available here: http://www.rollcall.com/issues/57_61/debates_strange_way_pick_presidential_candidates-210390-1.html?pos=adp