President Clinton was called the winner of Wednesday night’s San Diego debate with Republican Bob Dole by five of six debate coaches who judged the event.
They said Dole failed to effectively drive home his ethics complaints against
Clinton and Clinton was more persuasive in citing specific accomplishments against Dole’s “trust me” promises.
In quick polls, the public agreed with the judges. In an ABC telephone poll of people who watched the debate, 56 percent said Clinton won, 27 percent said Dole did better and 14 percent called it a tie. A CBS poll came up with comparable results: 56 percent called it for Clinton, 26 for Dole and 11 percent said it was a tie.
Overall, the debate coaches awarded Clinton 159 points to 148 for Dole, with 180 representing a perfect score. The debaters were judged on six debating criteria - reasoning, evidence, organization, refutation, cross-examination and presentation.
In the two previous debates, Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were called the winners over Dole and his running mate Jack Kemp by the same panelists.