Presidential debate sets new bar - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Presidential debate sets new bar

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By Stacy Jacobson

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- It started off friendly, but the tone of last night's debate shifted quickly.

While it seemed like the candidates couldn't agree on anything, at least those who watched could.

"I just thought it was chaos," Seth Coker said.

"It was more upbeat, sometimes a little confrontational," Carol Lee said.

Michael Lee is an assistant professor of communication at the College of Charleston. He said he studied every debate in the last 20 years, and this one stuck out.

"Obama walking too close to Mitt Romney, Romney walking too close to Obama. It signified aggression. This is the most aggressive presidential debate I can remember," Lee said.

But viewers had mixed feelings.

"When we're dealing with issues, they need to be tough in character. So I think it's good there. I just think it comes off poorly in a debate," voter Nick Yzzi said.

"I liked the intensity. It was all very vicious, but it was also just hard to understand them all talking at the same time," Coker said.

Lee said he thought the president won this debate and seemed better prepared for the second than he did for the first. Romney won the first debate, he said.

"His air of confidence, his lack of 'ums,' verbal pauses and performance issues of that nature were very planned," he said.

"It's going to go down to the third debate, the issues and where you feel like the country is headed," Yzzi said.

Lee said incumbents have lost almost all the first debates in recent elections.

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