Presidential Debates

Risky Business on the Campaign Trail, third edition

Alan Schroeder

Columbia University Press

Presidential Debates

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Pub Date: June 2016

ISBN: 9780231170574

424 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£24.95

Pub Date: June 2016

ISBN: 9780231170567

424 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£74.95

Pub Date: June 2016

ISBN: 9780231541503

424 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£24.95

Presidential Debates

Risky Business on the Campaign Trail, third edition

Alan Schroeder

Columbia University Press

Alan Schroeder's big-picture history recounts the phenomenon of American televised presidential debates and its evolution over the past half century. From pundits to political operatives, from debate moderators to the viewing public, Presidential Debates reveals how the various stakeholders make and experience this powerful event. For this third edition, Schroeder analyzes the presidential debates of 2008 and 2012 and the crucial role that social media and contemporary news outlets had in shaping their design and reception. He also expands his coverage of previous campaigns, including the landmark meetings in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Schroeder details an insider's view of the key phases of the debate: anticipation, in which the campaigns negotiate rules, formulate strategy, and steer press coverage; execution, in which the candidates, moderators, panelists, and television professionals create and project the event; and reaction, in which the commentators, spin doctors, and viewers evaluate the performance and move story lines in new directions. New chapters focus on real-time debate responses and the extent to which postdebate news coverage influences voters' decision making and candidates' behavior.
Schroeder reaches beyond the political junkie and occasional academic with Presidential Debates. Packed with illustrative stories and enough intrigue to be an 'insider's' view, this book not only can be read as a history of presidential debates, but, more importantly, brings alive the dynamic and evolutionary nature of political debates. Allan Louden, Wake Forest University
Schroeder's savvy analysis and candid, behind-the-scenes tales of candidate tension and campaign brinksmanship show why presidential debates have become television's most consequential events. Ted Johnson, Senior editor, Variety
Throughout it all -- from questions about Richard Nixon's makeup to the size of Donald Trump's appendages, from Ronald Reagan's one-liners to Marco Rubio's same-liners -- presidential debates have helped decide primaries and elections since 1960. Alan Schroeder has compiled a comprehensive and masterful overview of these encounters. Sometimes dull, sometimes comical, always informative, they are the quadrennial Super Bowls for political junkies. We can't take our eyes off them. And nobody understands them better, or can add the precise historical perspective, than Schroeder. Ken Rudin
Introduction: The First Presidential Debate
Part I. Anticipation
1. The Predebate Debate
2. Predebate Strategy
3. Candidate Preparation
4. Predebate News Coverage
Part II. Execution
5. The Debaters
6. The Questioners
7. The Productions
Part III. Reaction
8. Social Media and Real-Time Reactions
9. Postdebate News Coverage
10. Debates and Voters
Conclusion: The Globalization of an American Tradition
Schedule of Televised Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates, 1960–2012
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

Read the introduction, "The First Presidential Debate":

About the Author

Alan Schroeder is a professor in the School of Journalism at Northeastern University and has worked as a journalist, television producer, and diplomat. He is the author of Writing and Producing Television News: From Newsroom to Air (2009) and Celebrity-in-Chief: How Show Business Took Over the White House (2004).