The Spectacle Blog

Re Santorum Not Getting Debate Time

By on 12.10.11 | 9:47PM

I have a habit now of counting how many times each candidate in a debate gets to talk. Rick Santorum is wrong to whine about it (in past debates), but it is absolutely true that in every single debate (but one) he has received less opportunity to talk than anybody on stage. It is patently unfair.

That said, he should go into these debates with a plan. He is almost too prone to follow the rules and to answer only the question asked. His answers always make sense, but are rarely memorable. If he wants to take off, he should go in with an absolute commitment to saying a pre-planned, highly memorable sound bite that captures something essential about his message. He should grab hold of the debate by defining the terms of the debate and saying, dadgum it, that he absolutely can't wait any longer to say "X" because in all these debates he has never once been asked about X. He should say it's just the luck of the draw, that he isn't complaining that he didn't get asked about it.... but, blast it, it's too important not to talk about.

And then launch.

Or something like that. The point is to seize the narrative and bend it to his will. To make a lasting impression. To force the moderators, by virtue of the weight of his presence, to pay more attention to him. And to make the voters pay more attention to him too.

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