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What The Debates Have Taught Us

The 2008 presidential debates are over. What, if anything, have we learned about the candidates' message or temperament?

David Folkenflik says the most recent debate was better than the previous two because the candidates were pressed to focus on domestic issues, specifically the economic meltdown. There was also a chance for the candidates to address the William Ayers issue. Though a debate may not be the ideal format to find out about candidates, he adds, the split screen format provided important clues into the candidates' personalities even when they weren't speaking.

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David Folkenflik
David Folkenflik was described by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News as "a really weak-kneed, backstabbing, sweaty-palmed reporter." Others have been kinder. The Columbia Journalism Review, for example, once gave him a "laurel" for reporting that immediately led the U.S. military to institute safety measures for journalists in Baghdad.
Alex Chadwick
For more than 30 years, Alex Chadwick has been bringing the world to NPR listeners as an NPR News producer, program host and currently senior correspondent. He's reported from every continent except Antarctica.
Madeleine Brand
Madeleine Brand is the host of NPR’s newest and fastest-growing daily show, Day to Day. She conducts interviews with newsmakers (Iraqi politicians, US senators), entertainment figures (Bernardo Bertolluci, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ricky Gervais), and the everyday people affected by the news (an autoworker laid off at GM, a mother whose son was killed in Iraq).