1. The real outlier in this last debate was Romney. He addressed the president directly 37 times, either as Mr. President or just as “you” — almost twice as often as he referred to the president in the third person. That was dramatically different from Obama, who referred to Romney in the third person fifty times and addressed him directly only six. It was as if Romney had shown up armed for a cable news face-off, while the president was prepared for an episode of Meet the Press. That’s presumably why Obama spoke to the moderator Jim Lehrer with the slightly hesitant style he uses when he wants to convey thoughtfulness to an interviewer, drawing out words like “and” and “but” and pausing briefly between word groups, as if he were carefully composing each sentence on the spot. 
- Linguist Geoff Nunberg: One Debate, Two Very Different Conversations View in High-Res

    The real outlier in this last debate was Romney. He addressed the president directly 37 times, either as Mr. President or just as “you” — almost twice as often as he referred to the president in the third person. That was dramatically different from Obama, who referred to Romney in the third person fifty times and addressed him directly only six. It was as if Romney had shown up armed for a cable news face-off, while the president was prepared for an episode of Meet the Press. That’s presumably why Obama spoke to the moderator Jim Lehrer with the slightly hesitant style he uses when he wants to convey thoughtfulness to an interviewer, drawing out words like “and” and “but” and pausing briefly between word groups, as if he were carefully composing each sentence on the spot. 

    - Linguist Geoff Nunberg: One Debate, Two Very Different Conversations

  2. Geoff Nunberg

    Presidential Debate

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