The first ever Commander-in-Chief forum between the two presidential candidates was held this evening at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America sponsored the one-hour event.
The format called for each candidate to separately answer questions by a moderator for a measly 25 minutes. And therein lies the problem with what is otherwise a great idea.
The short questioning period did not allow for any in-depth answers on the many important topics covered. The format clearly favored the less prepared and less knowledgeable candidate. And it showed.
Matt Lauer, the moderator, was forced to cut off many of Hillary Clinton’s detailed answers, undoubtedly due to time constraints. Lauer found no need to ever interrupt Trump’s pointless ramblings.
Trump was allowed to bob and weave by Lauer. The Republican presidential candidate spoke but his words didn’t amount to anything resembling answers.
Asked what experience has prepared him to be commander-in-chief, Trump said, “Well, I built a great company, I’ve been all over the world.” When asked what kind of preparations he was doing to brush up on policy, Trump answered he had been studying. But Lauer let Trump get away with “I’m campaigning, I’m running a business, I’ve got a lot of hats right now.”
Besides improving the forum by lengthening the question and answer period, asking each candidate the same questions would also improve the format. The public could then compare the two candidates’ answers.
Hopefully this forum becomes an annual tradition. But it needs some tweaking if it is going to be more than a cursory, superficial one hour news special.
The 25-minute Q&A was like a nice appetizer. It still left you hungry for the main course… in this case, one that never came.
Oh, but we do have the debates coming up, don’t we!
Photo | cbsnews.com