Thursday, September 15, 2011

GOP Tea Party Debate - Perry takes all (the time) yet again

Last week I wrote about the GOP debate at the Reagan library.  Rick Perry had significantly (ridiculously significantly in my scientific assessment) more time than the other candidates, to present his case.

Non-uniform (a.k.a. unfair) time distribution
This week was more of the same at the Tea Party GOP debate in Florida.   This time, the "winner"(the candidate with the most floor time), Perry, had over two and a half times more floor time than the "loser", Cain.

Romney came in second (again) with over 10 minutes total speaking time.  Santorum came in second-to-last (again) with just under 7 minutes.   The remaining candidates were relatively close with between 7 and 8 minutes speaking time each.

The only real change I can see in the Tea Party Debate is that Gingrich had a slightly larger share of the floor time than he did at the previous debate.

The rules were announced at the beginning of the debate: 1 minute to answer a question and 30 seconds for rebuttal.  One minute into the debate, Perry and Romney engaged in dialogue back and forth for four and a half minutes, while the other candidates probably yawned and started wondering what was for dinner.

Debating about Perry and Romney
Not only did Perry and Romney dominate the floor in terms of time, but the following questions from the moderator raised at least my eyebrows:
  • Asking Cain about Social Security: "Are you with Perry?"
  • Asking Santorum about Social Security: "Are you with Romney or Perry?"   Really?  Is this a multiple choice test where these are the only two choices? Not only are Perry and Romney given disproportionate time to speak, but the moderator leads the other candidates to frame their answers around Perry and Romney instead of simply expressing their own opinions.
  • A full six minutes was dedicated to asking each of the eight candidates what they thought about Perry's executive order for cervical cancer vaccinations.
Distribution of debate time
Following are the floor times I calculated for each candidate.  My notes on which this data is based are found below.  For each question asked to a candidate, I counted the time the candidate took to respond, including any dialog with the moderator during follow-up questions.

Candidate Debate time (minutes)
Perry 13.72
Romney 10.40
Bachmann 8.02
Gingrich 7.77
Huntsman 7.43
Paul 7.32
Santorum 6.78
Cain 5.32

In a world...
As the debate video started, and I prepared my files to take notes, my boyfriend, not paying much attention to the debate as he worked on his computer, but hearing it in the background, asked me if what he just heard was a movie trailer parody.  The debate "show" started with suspense music and the dramatic declaration, in a tone reminiscent of the opening lines "In a world..." heard in so many trailers: "Tonight.  Eight Republicans.  One goal.  To win the White House."  I guess the political debates in other countries like France are a bit less entertaining.

My notes
The following are the notes I took from the debate, upon which my calculations and the above chart are based.

Tea Party GOP Debate, Part 1

Social security/medicare
Bachmann: 13:27-14:32
Perry: 14:49-15:58
Romney: 16:15-17:17
Perry: 17:20-17:47
Romney: 17:47-17:56
Perry: 17:56-18:35
Romney: 18:35-18:58
Perry: 19:00-19:06
Romney: 19:13-19:22
Paul: 19:31-20:18
Cain: 20:27-21:19 (Are you with Perry?)
Huntsman: 21:26-22:06
Gingrich: 22:18-23:55
Santorum: 24:10-25:24 (Are you with Romney or Perry?)

Debt/Prescription drugs for seniors:
Gingrich: 26:10-27:33:05
Santorum: 27:39-28:35
Perry: 28:58-29:42
Romney: 29:45-30:47
Paul: 30:55-31:38
Bachmann: 31:45-32:25

Tea Party GOP Debate, Part 2
Economy moving forward:
Huntsman: 00:42-02:02
Perry: 02:20-03:41
Bachmann: 4:04-05:17
Cain: 5:24-06:20
Romney: 06:26-08:45
Perry: 8:50-09:43
Paul: 9:47-10:49
Perry: 10:55-11:24
Gingrich: 11:48-13:06

Cain: 13:22-14:16
Huntsman: 14:28-15:48

Federal reserve:
Santorum: 17:06-18:18
Cain: 18:25-19:04
Bachmann: 19:17-20:14
Perry: 20:35-21:28
Romney: 21:33-22:15

Huntsman: 22:42-24:03
Gingrich: 24:18-26:28

Fair tax:
Romney: 26:55-27:57

Executive order:
Paul: 28:28-29:03
Perry: 29:17-30:14
Bachmann: 30:19-31:23
Perry: 31:33-31:59
Bachmann: 32:06-32:42
Perry: 32:51-33:04
Santorum: 0:00-0:51
Perry: 1:04-1:33

Tea Party GOP Debate, Part 3
Health insurance:
Cain: 2:10-3:17
Romney: 3:34-4:40
Perry: 4:55-5:47
Romney: 5:52-6:49
Paul: 7:17-8:46
Bachmann: 8:52-10:25

Santorum: 11:45-12:39
Perry: 12:43-13:50
Santorum: 14:05-14:44
Perry: 14:56-15:34
Bachmann: 15:41-16:26
Perry: 16:35-17:09
Huntsman: 17:18-18:18
Romney: 18:25-19:40
Perry: 19:43-20:36
Huntsman: 20:48-21:23

Cain: 21:58-22:46

Gingrich: 23:00-24:00
Paul: 24:07-25:43
Santorum: 25:49-26:44
Paul: 26:47-27:39

Huntsman: 28:17-29:20
Perry: 29:32-30:20

Closing comments:
Santorum: 31:29-31:35
Gingrich: 31:37-31:55
Paul: 31:58-32:13
Perry: 32:16-32:21
Romney: 32:29-32:47
Bachmann: 32:52-33:00
Cain: 33:06-33:09
Huntsman: 33:17-33:24

Photo credits
The photographers of the heads above obviously do not necessarily support, or even know of the existence of, this blog :) .

Cain/Santorum/Gingrich/Perry: Gage Skidmore. Wikipedia articles for the candidates.
Romney: Brian Rawson-Ketchum (rawmustard)  on Flickr.

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