Aggressive or annoying? Some find debate too rude

Associated Press + More

By CONNIE CASS, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — This is presidential? They bicker, interrupt, talk over the moderator.

To some, the Obama-Romney rematch was squirm-inducing. But shedding some dignity probably won't cost the candidates much. Both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney came out swinging. So neither was likely to claim a decisive advantage among viewers who thought the debate smacked of the wrong type of reality TV. And many people were actually looking for a scrappy face-off.

Americans traditionally expect presidents seeking re-election to maintain a certain level of decorum. Challengers get more leeway but still are expected to pay deference to the office of chief executive, if not to the man. Maybe that tradition is doomed in a conflict-addicted popular culture where even television cooking shows are "throwdowns."

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