Video Exercises


Watch the videos below and answer the questions that follow.

Issue ads during a presidential campaign are an important and effective way for candidates to explain their positions on key policy issues. During the 2008 election, the economy emerged as a key issue for voters and candidates alike.

Plan for Change
Obama/Biden 2008

McCain/Palin 2008

1. In what ways did Barack Obama and John McCain address economic issues in the above two videos? How are their proposed solutions similar? How are their proposed solutions different?

Attack ads are used by candidates to contrast themselves with their opponents and to cast doubt in the minds of voters on the policies, legislative records, or personal character of their opponents.

McCain/Palin 2008

Obama/Biden 2008

2a. Which of the two videos above did you find more persuasive or compelling? Why?
2b. In general, do you think attack ads are an effective means of winning support from prospective voters? Why or why not?

Ads produced during an election year by political action committees are independent from those produced by the campaigns themselves, and they frequently will address controversial topics or use more aggressive rhetoric in attacking a candidate’s opponent.

Know Enough
American Issues Project, 2008

“Bomb Iran”, 2007

3. How would you summarize the messages from the above two videos? Do you think these videos from political action committees are fundamentally different from those produced by the campaigns themselves? Why or why not? Did you find either of these videos persuasive? Why or why not?

Political satire is an important part of any campaign season, as it often reflects the personalities and policies of the candidates while not seeking to carry an agenda or directly influence the outcome of the election.

Colbert Report
09 Off-Year Semi-Presidential Electferendum
November 4, 2009

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
'09 Off-Year Semi-Presidential Electferendum
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

4a. What arguments or predictions are being made in this video about the consequences of the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections for the future electoral chances of President Obama and the Democrats?
Do you agree with these predictions? Why or why not?

VP Debate Open: Palin/Biden
Saturday Night Live
First aired October 4, 2008

4c. What commentary do you think the above video is making about presidential and vice-presidential debates? Do you feel that debates during an election year are an effective way for voters to learn about the positions of candidates? Why or why not?

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