Debate preview, a history

One of my only vivid memories from the college admissions process blur is sitting in an optional one-on-one information session, across from a woman only a few years older than me. Our conversation was perfectly nice and casual – she hadn’t thrown any curveballs or asked anything particularly interesting – until I mentioned I was interested in political science.

Out of nowhere, she cornered me: “What do you think of the way the media has been portraying the presidential debates so far?”

It was 2012, Obama vs. Romney, and I had barely paid attention to the first debate during dinner earlier that week. I still don’t know if she could see me suddenly grasping for straws, but I fired off something about the media making the candidates seem “more different” than they actually were. I told her I was excited to see what happened in the next one.

“You mean the one tomorrow?”

She got me there. I pretended I had any clue what I was saying, we moved on, I got into the school, everything worked out.

Fast-forward four years, and I’ve been scouting out the best place to watch this first debate for the last week and a half. We’ve watched Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump lunge at each other through the television screen – now we’ll get to see them within physical striking distance.

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