Key v Clark: First leaders debate. by underground

I had expected John Key to get slaughtered by the far more experienced and capable Clark, but he didn’t do too badly. However considering the opportunities gifted to him, he should have done much better. There were chances for him to put Clark on the back foot, in particular he could have made much more of Labour’s recent student allowance announcement and the apparent hypocrisy of it. Instead Key opted to speak over Clark, repeating slogans and popular terms. He sounded like a poor man’s Obama echoing his “change” motto and became simply irritating when he continued going on about “mum and dad”. Helen Clark was not above meaningless rhetoric, but she certainly knew her arguments and articulated them well. Although Key got some good comments in, Clark arguably had the best calls of the night, when she silenced his constant interruptions and when she nailed him over the Springbok tour. Some of Key’s arguments were a bit of stretch, particularly on Labour’s influence on the economy, considering international factors. I doubt his performance will hurt him, and his supporters will likely disagree with my observations, but I think he could have potentially sown up the election with a more competent performance. Sometimes he came across like a smarmy private school boy, not a leader of a country.


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Well summed up Paul. I felt the same way after way. I watched the US presidential debate after that one and it was so refreshing to sit down in front of a well-formatted show in which you could listen to both sides without either one talking over the top of one another. They did a split screen and both candidates wrote down what they were going to say and were prompted to respond as their right of reply. Key was trying to prove he wasn’t Brash, but he ended up going over the top and it was annoying.

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