Debate judges pick Gore as the winner


WASHINGTON -- A panel of scholastic debate judges assembled by United Press International rated Albert Gore as the winner of Tuesday's three-way vice presidential debate.

Weighing such factors as analysis, evidence and communication, five of the six judges picked the Democratic vice presidential challenger as the victor, while one picked Vice President Dan Quayle.


James Stockdale, running mate of independent Ross Perot, tied for second with Quayle on one ballot, while he finished third on the other five.

The same panel -- three college debate coaches, one high school debate coach and two college debaters -- rated Democrat Bill Clinton as the winner of Sunday's presidential contest. In that encounter, according to the panel, independent Perot was second, and Bush third.

In the minds of the public, political debates are traditionally decided more by style than by substance.


But the panel judged the candidates on the standard debate criteria of analysis, evidence, rebuttal, cross-examination and communication. Judges used a system that allowed them to give candidates from one to 25 total points.

The debate judges were:

--James Unger, debate professor at American University and director of the National Forensic Institute, an organization of 400 colleges and high schools that compete in debate and speech.

--Sherry Hall, Harvard debate coach.

--Ted Belch, debate coach at Glenbrook South High School, Glenview, Ill.

--Paul Derby, student debater at the University of Redlands, Redlands, Calif.

--Joel Rollins, University of Texas debate coach.

--Loren Danzis, a student debater at American University:

These are the scores the judges awarded:

--Unger: Gore 22, Quayle 21, Stockdale 21.

--Hall: Gore 23, Quayle 21, Stockdale 10.

--Belch: Gore 24, Quayle 20, Stockdale 16.

--Derby: Gore 22, Quayle 20, Stockdale 17.

--Rollins: Gore 18, Quayle 15, Stockdale 10.

--Danzis: Quayle 22, Gore 22, Stockdale 15. (He awarded Quayle and Gore the same number of total points, but gave the debate to Quayle).

Unger said, 'Gore best balanced the skills of argument and command. He made the best case for his candidate (Clinton) and did it a fluent manner.'


He said, 'Quayle seemed so intent in making the case against his opponent (Clinton), that he forgot to make the case for his president.'

Unger said assuming that the 'resolution,' or subject of the debate, was who would make the best vice president, Gore won by best articulating his ideas and objectives.

Hall said, 'Quayle and Gore were very similar in style...But I gave Gore a slight edge in use of evidence and rebuttal.'

Rollins agreed with Quayle that Gore never responded directly to the vice president's question: Why does Clinton have trouble telling the truth. But Rollins said Gore effectively countered it by pointing out that four years ago, Bush said, 'Read my lips, no new taxes,' and then broke his promise.

The Texas debate coach said while Stockdale may have scored the fewest points, he may have gotten off the best one-liner when he raised his voice during a heated exchange between Gore and Quayle and said: 'I think America is seeing right now the reason this nation is in gridlock. '

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