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tab Kris Lazaro

ABC News Debate - Unfair for Kucinich and Gravel

August 23, 2007

Candidate Words % of Total
Barack Obama 2462 19.8%
Hillary Clinton 2399 19.3%
John Edwards 1644 13.2%
Joe Biden 1415 11.4%
Bill Richardson 1319 10.6%
Chris Dodd 1230 9.9%
Dennis Kucinich 1059 8.5%
Mike Gravel 896 7.2%

We took a look at the entire ABC News Debate transcript from 8/19, parsed the file, and counted how many words each of the candidates were able to speak. The two candidates with the least amount of words were Kucinich and Gravel. Obama and Clinton as you would expect dominated in how many words they were able to speak.

The total number of words spoken at the debate was 14,528. Stephanopoulos spoke 1907 words and Yepsen spoke 197 so a total of 12,424 words were spoken by the candidates. Here is how it broke down.

But the biggest discrepancy comes when you only look at the first half of the debate. If you only looked at all the words spoken up to the half point, Word # 7264, here is how it broke down.

Candidate Words % of Total
Hillary Clinton 1465 25.2%
John Edwards 1093 18.8%
Barack Obama 953 16.4%
Joe Biden 758 13.0%
Bill Richardson 680 11.7%
Chris Dodd 548 9.4%
Mike Gravel 325 5.6%
Dennis Kucinich 204 3.4%

So what happened was Kucinich was practically ignored during the entire first half of the debate and at the end of the debate (garbage time) the moderators tried to make it a bit equal. Too much emphasis was given to the top tier candidates. In fact, even Chris Dodd got more air time than Kucinich which is ridiculous because Kucinich is beating Dodd in the majority of state polls. So if the emphasis was on giving the most time to the leaders in the polls, then what was Dodd doing speaking more than Kucinich.

I have noticed that the lower tiered candidates tend to struggle at these debates because they are always talking out of fear that they might be told to stop speaking by the moderator.

That is a travesty to the Democratic process.

Read The Full Transcript >

 

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david charles terrDavid Terr
Ph.D. Math; Berkeley
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