News Release: Faculty Experts, Politics

Oct. 3,  2008

VP Debate Battle of Style vs. Substance, says Debate Expert

Emory University debate coach James Roland says Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden both hit their marks in the only vice presidential debate Thursday night.

"I think Gov. Palin definitely exceeded expectations. She held her own and had no major problems or mistakes. Biden, though, was far superior in his content and presentation," says Roland.

"Neither one did a bad job. Both were quite effective in persuading their target audiences and communicating the differences in their ideologies. If you're more moved by style and presentation then Palin definitely won for you. If you prefer substance and content, then Joe Biden was far better and the stronger debater," he says.

Roland is director of Community Debate Programs and debate coach for Emory's Barkley Forum. He is a former nationally ranked debater and as s director of programs for the National Debate Project, Roland is one of the nation's foremost experts on the role of debate in urban education. He has been a debate advisor to the U.S. State Department, Atlanta Housing Authority, Open Society Institute and Urban Debate Leagues in Miami, Milwaukee, Memphis, Washington, D.C., New York, Nashville, Baltimore and Jamaica. 404-727-6189,

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