Obama succinctly describes his administration’s efforts to promote clean, renewable energy in response to a question about meeting “the demand for energy while ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future.”
Romney starts his response by positioning himself as the champion of the middle class, careful to throw in the “independence” buzzword (“a crucial component of my plan for a stronger middle class is to dramatically increase domestic energy production and partner closely with Canada and Mexico to achieve North American energy independence by 2020″) and makes sure to mention he has a six-part plan and a white paper (we’re advised to check out MittRomney.com) with even more details.
Do Obama and Romney Make the Grade About Science?
Just as Romney’s love of using white boards to explain his platform’s policies (and running mate Paul Ryan’s of PowerPoint) has been oft-remarked, the bullet points and over-scrupulous attention to details gives Romney’s responses a properly wonkish look and feel. His team must have gone to pains to answer the questions but some of his commentary veers towards the rhetorical: “In a Romney Administration, sound science will inform sound policy decisions, and the costs and benefits of regulations will be properly weighed in that process,” says Romney about a question on science in public policy.
What, indeed, is “sound science” vs. plain old “science science”?
If I were assigning grades, I would put both Obama’s and Romney’s answers in the B/B+ range. Obama’s to-the-point responses answer the questions, but, as Helmuth notes, their solid and accurate content’s effect is lessened by a lackluster presentation, poor organization and weak argumentation.
Romney’s offerings certainly look as if they merit a higher grade. But the introduction of not-entirely-relevant topics and repeated attempts to turn the discussion back to a platform (decreasing government regulation, promoting the private sector) make one wonder, if the bells and whistles of bullet points were stripped away, what’s left?
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Graphic by Cain and Todd Benson
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