TSU debate coach not impressed by Obama, Romney 'theatre' - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

TSU debate coach not impressed by Obama, Romney 'theatre'

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In the days before the debate, both sides have been inflating their opponent's prowess.

"Mitt Romney is a great debater.  I'm just okay," President Barack Obama told supporters over the weekend.

"President Obama is a gifted speaker," Mitt Romney's VP Nominee Paul Ryan told ABC news.

TSU's debate coach said both Obama and Romney are talented debaters, but what we are about to witness is not a debate.

"Both of them know the questions and we know their answers," Dr. Thomas Freeman said.  "What kind of debate is that?"

Freeman said both men have had plenty of time to prepare and have pat answers at the ready.  He called these styles of debates "staged presentations."  His students practice parliamentary style debate, where nobody knows the questions beforehand and teams have just 15 minutes to prepare.  He said presidential debates boil down to acting.

"Not which can think better, not who can analyze better, not who can reconstruct ideas better, but who can act his role better," he said.

He knows a thing or two about it.  He's coached debate for 63 years.  Under him, TSU teams have won three international competitions.  For the last 40 years, they've placed in the top four in national competitions.  He's been there, done that and gotten the trophies.  Although he thinks these debates are almost Kabuki Theater, he encourages his students to watch them.

"Yes, it is productive for them to be aware in the real world what happens in politics," he said, laughing.  "They ought to know that, but not to get instruction on debate."

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