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Romney Makes the Most of His 47 Percent (Allotted Speaking Time)

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The president receives more than 4 minutes more face time than Romney during the first debate, or a 12 percent greater amount than the GOP nominee

mittromney12.jpgIn a debate in which both candidates were supposed to receive equal speaking time, President Barack Obama was given 12 percent more airtime Wednesday evening at the first presidential debate at the University of Denver in Colorado.

Obama spoke for 42 minutes and 40 seconds or 52.7 percent of the candidate-allotted speaking time.

And while Romney at times appeared to interrupt moderator Jim Lehrer, perhaps he did so for good reason.

A Smart Politics analysis finds that Mitt Romney spoke for 38 minutes and 14 seconds, or 47.3 percent of the candidate-allotted speaking time - a full four minutes and 26 seconds less than Barack Obama.

During the Republican primary debates, Romney frequently was given the most speaking time - doing so in 11 of the last 16 such debates held over the last five months of the campaign.

With largely negative reviews coming in grading his performance, the president seemingly did not benefit from the extra stage time he received Wednesday evening.

Obama gave answers of more than two minutes in length on 13 occasions, compared to just eight times for Romney.

The president spoke for more than two and a half minutes six times with Romney doing so just twice.

Lehrer, meanwhile, seemed to disappear and at times lose control of the debate - speaking significantly less than debate moderators from the GOP primaries this cycle.

Lehrer spoke for just 8 minutes and 10 seconds, or 9 percent of the total time between himself and the two nominees.

During the GOP presidential primary debates, moderators spoke for an average of twice that amount (19.8 percent) ranging from a high of 27 percent to a low of 14 percent.

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6 Comments


  • Great post, I think you're the only one with the time percentages. But I was watching MSNBC and they were complaining that the President didn't get enough time! You should send this article to Rachel Maddow and Chris Mathews. They could use some facts over at MSNBC. Although, maybe they doctored the debate tapes so that Obama had less time? (Was that a low blow?)

  • Obama lost because of demeanor. Although the substance was there, he wasn't his usual dynamic debating self. Hope he snaps out of it.

  • Lehrer should have cut them off after their allotted time. It would have made for a better and more orderly debate. Neither candidate did himself--or the audience--a favor by going on longer than 2 minutes. And there was a lot of repetition. Some commentators thought there was too much detail. I thought there could have been more detail, more economically expressed, especially about how to pay for needed services while reducing the deficit.

  • The president did not get enough time, that is for sure and so he lost it but we know that he was not himself and Obama is certainly better than that.

  • Romney was allowed to have the last word nearly every time before moving on to the next question.

  • Great article!

    Someone should read this article to Froma Harrop, a columnist for Creative Syndicate at 737 3rd St, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 (address shown in her recent newspaper column). She obvously can write but not read or understand what she hears.

    She must have been watching a different debate because she wrote about "Romney's trampling on Jim Lehrer's gentle requests" yet totally ignored the fact that the president completely ignored the time restraints he had promised to comply with.

    But broken promises are nothing new for this president; why would we have "hoped" for him to "change"?

  • Leave a comment


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