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CNN: Obama got more time at the debate because he spoke slower than Romney

By Doug Powers  •  October 18, 2012 04:36 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

An internal memo obtained by NBC ABC CBS New York Times Washington Post LA Times TMZ outlines the spin going on at CNN over Tuesday night’s debate:

CNN’s Managing Editor sent an email around the office today, praising Candy Crowley and trying to blunt criticism that she was unfair to Mitt Romney.

The email — sent by Mark Whitaker and obtained by TMZ — is almost a series of talking points to address Candy’s critics.

After praising a performance that moderator Candy Crowley pulled off “masterfully” (the importance of booting an ill-advised “fact check” mid-debate to avoid any appearance of bias is stressed in Debate Moderator 101 and it showed), CNN’s Managing Editor explained the reason Obama was allowed more speaking time than Romney:

“On why Obama got more time to speak, it should be noted that Candy and her commission producers tried to keep it even but that Obama went on longer largely because he speaks more slowly. We’re going to do a word count to see whether, as in Denver, Romney actually got more words in even if he talked for a shorter period of time.”

If the talk speed tables were turned, I’m sure that explanation that would be perfectly acceptable to Team Obama.

Katrina Trinko at NRO:

I checked the transcript, and by my count, Whitaker is correct: Obama, despite speaking for 4 minutes and 18 seconds more than Romney (by CNN’s own clock!), said fewer words than Romney. Obama’s word count was 7,557 while Romney’s was 8,124.

Now whether it’s the debate moderators’s job to unevenly divide the time so as to make allowances for one candidate speaking more slowly is another matter…

On the CNN debate there was a timer counting backwards from 2:00 that was occasionally visible, but at no point was a word counter spotted.

If CBS employs the same time vs. talk speed method in the third and final debate, all President Obama would have to do is slow down his delivery even more, possibly until he’s offered a membership in the S.T.O.A., and Romney would be lucky to get three total minutes of speaking time in a 90 minute debate.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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