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Candidates in Conflict, Candidates in Conflict, 0817308687, 0-8173-0868-7, 978-0-8173-0868-1, 9780817308681,

Candidates in Conflict
Persuasive Attack and Defense in the 1992 Presidential Debates

Quality Paper
1996. 272 pp.
978-0-8173-0868-1
Price:  $29.95 s

Candidates in Conflict provides a new perspective for understanding
presidential debates by analyzing the three televised debates in 1992 among
candidates Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Ross Perot. The debates, now
an expected part of presidential campaigns, were literally viewed by millions
and captured the attention of the nation.

Many scholars of communication view presidential debates as flawed (if
not failed) academic debates. Benoit and Wells depart from this view by
arguing that while presidential candidates may fall short on academic standards
of evidence and reasoning, their debate style is nonetheless extremely
calculated and effective in terms of attack and defense. By using persuasive
attack and defense strategies, the authors maintain that candidates are
able either to undermine (in the case of their opponents) or to preserve
(for themselves) the vital issues of personal credibility and policy matters.
In evaluating the success or failure of these strategies, the authors are
careful to bear in mind important contextual variables for each debate.
For example, how well were the candidates doing in public opinion polls?
What did voters think about the need for change or the desirability for
continuity in government? What were political commentators saying about
the candidates before and after the debates?

This study is the first to analyze the 1992 debates from the new perspective
of attack and defense strategies. In doing so, the authors provide invaluable
tools for gaining insights into both the 1992 debates and the complexities
of the debating process within the political arena more generally. The
book also includes complete transcripts of the debates.



"This book is clear and logical, and provides good insights into the1992 debates and into the principal strategies of attack and defense usedin political debates."

— Kathleen E. Kendall, State University of New York at Albany

"A contribution both in terms of the presidential debates and of thegeneric theory and criticism of persuasive attack and defense. . . . Shouldbe of interest to all people interested in presidential debating, includingthe communication discipline, political science, and perhaps even politicalfigures."
—Wilmer A. Linkugel, University of Kansas

Also of Interest

Presidents and Protestors
by Theodore O. Windt


Lift Every Voice
Edited by Philip S. Foner, Robert Branham


Voice Of Their Own
Edited by Martha M. Solomon


Reagan and Public Discourse in America
Edited by Michael Weiler, W. Barnett Pearce