The Instigator
aaronr8684
Pro (for)
Winning
43 Points
The Contender
JBlake
Con (against)
Losing
40 Points

The term "Assault Weapon" is a liberal media created scare tactic.

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Started: 9/2/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,165 times Debate No: 5236
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (13)

 

aaronr8684

Pro

I propose the following arguments.

1. The term "Assault Weapon" is a term created by the liberal media to scare the general public into believing it's ultimate hidden agenda (gun bans).

2. The classification of a "Assault Weapon" is flawed and is based on looks and "scary features" instead of actual firearm capabilities.

The purpose of this debate is to prove/disprove the concept of the "Assault Weapon". Good luck!
JBlake

Con

Claims:
1. The term "Assault Weapon" is a term created by the liberal media to scare the general public into believing it's ultimate hidden agenda (gun bans).

2. The classification of a "Assault Weapon" is flawed and is based on looks and "scary features" instead of actual firearm capabilities.

Rebuttal:
1. There are two major faults with this statement.
a) The first is that "Assault Weapon" is a term made up as a scare tactic. The opposite is actually the case. Gun manufacturers and sellers originated the term. Eventually gun restrictionists picked up the term.
b) Your arguement assumes that all liberals are for gun restriction. Speaking for myself and many liberals I know, I am all for gun rights in their entirety. The second amendment clearly protects that right.

2. This statement is correct for the most part. "Assault Weapon" does classify looks and features, but does not have the negative connotation (scary) that my opponent claims. After all, the term was originated as a way to sell weapons, not ban them.
Debate Round No. 1
aaronr8684

Pro

First of all, thank you for picking up this debate. I hope it can be informative for everyone. I like your format, I hope you don't mind me copying ;-)

Claims:
1. The first is that "Assault Weapon" is a term made up as a scare tactic. The opposite is actually the case. Gun manufacturers and sellers originated the term. Eventually gun restrictionists picked up the term.

2. Your argument assumes that all liberals are for gun restriction. Speaking for myself and many liberals I know, I am all for gun rights in their entirety. The second amendment clearly protects that right.

3. "Assault Weapon" does classify looks and features, but does not have the negative connotation (scary) that my opponent claims. After all, the term was originated as a way to sell weapons, not ban them.

Rebuttal:
1. In fact, this claim is wrong. Many claim that Josh Sugarmann from the Violence Policy Center (anti-gun) coined the term with his study titled, "Assault Weapons and Accessories in America" published in 1988. Before that, the term was unheard of. Here is an excerpt, "Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons..." I think the confusion is the difference between the term "Assault Rifle" and "Assault Weapon". Assault rifles are any of various automatic or semiautomatic rifles with large capacity magazines designed for military use.[1] This term is an English translation from the German sturmgewehr, which means "storm rifle." [2]

2. While I agree that all liberals aren't for gun control, you would be mocked for saying that the majority weren't for gun control. In fact, an exception exists in my home state (Ohio) with D. Gov. Strickland. However, the majority of people that would call themselves liberals agree with most of the political ideologies of the Democratic Party and it is well established that one of the ideologies is stronger gun control. On a side note, I am personally proud of liberals that can stand up for a protected right in our Constitution while going against the majority.

3. In fact, that was exactly why the term "Assault Weapon" was created. Let me expand on the earlier quote from Josh Sugarmann's study (my apologies for the repeated part, but I feel that you need to read the whole quote to get the point). "Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons." Notice how even the gun control supporters admit that because the guns "look" scary, they should be outlawed.

Second point. The infamous Clinton Assault Weapon Ban of 1994. This classified 19 named guns and other semi-automatic guns as "Assault Weapons" based on whether or not they had a certain number of features that "looked bad" (pistol grips, flash suppressors and bayonet mounts to name a few). In case anyone is wondering, a flash suppressor is just the slots on the end of some rifle barrels designed to suppress the flash (who would have guessed :-P). None of these features affect the lethality of the weapon. In fact if you removed just two of those three features from the weapon. It would still be fully functional and just as lethal, but it would look less scary and therefore, be legal under that ban.

I hoped that I have proved that the term "assault weapon" has always been used as a scare tactic (since it's creation) and because of the majority's ideology (which happens to be liberal) are the proponents that use this in it's intended negative connotation, it can be said that it is a "liberal scare tactic".

[1] http://wordnet.princeton.edu...
[2] http://www.freep.com...
JBlake

Con

Claims:
1. The term was actually coined by Josh Sugarmann from the Violence Policy Center.
2. Pro-gun liberals make up a small minority of liberals.
3. [Original contention] The term "Assault Weapon" is a term created by the liberal media to scare the general public into believing it's ultimate hidden agenda (gun bans).

Rebuttal:
1. I must concede this point due to a lack of readily available and reliable sources suggesting otherwise.

2. I counter that 'gun control liberals' do not make a majority of liberals, they are merely the loudest on this issue. Most liberals either support gun rights or have no opinion on this subject.

3. The person you cite as having coined the term, Josh Sugarmann belongs to the Violence Policy Center, which is an organization unaffiliated with the media. Therefore it is not part of 'liberal media' conspiracy to advance a hidden agenda (gun control).

I challenge my opponent to produce evidence of his allegations that a 'liberal media' has a 'hidden agenda' for gun control.
Debate Round No. 2
aaronr8684

Pro

Claims:
1. I counter that 'gun control liberals' do not make a majority of liberals,

2. The person you cite as having coined the term, Josh Sugarmann belongs to the Violence Policy Center, which is an organization unaffiliated with the media.

3. I challenge my opponent to produce evidence of his allegations that a 'liberal media' has a 'hidden agenda' for gun control. (I love challenges :-P)

Rebuttal:
1. Gallup reports that there is a big difference on the partisan's gun control view. Here is an interesting statistic supporting that view.

*The strong majority of Democrats feel that gun laws in the United States should be stricter, while only about 4 in 10 Republicans feel this way. Forty-eight percent of Republicans feel gun laws should remain as they are at the present time.

2. I must argue quite the opposite. While Josh Sugarmann and other gun control advocates aren't necessarily on the salary of the "media", they are a part of it. Consider this...

In a two year study by the Media Research Center of over 653 morning and evening news stories on the major new networks brought these results.
a) TV News Has Chosen Sides (nearly 10 to 1 advocating more gun control)
b) Evening News Shows Favored the Anti-Gun Position by 8 to 1
c) Morning News Shows Favored the Anti-Gun Position by 13 to 1
d) News Programs Are Twice as Likely to Use Anti-Gun Soundbites
e) News Programs Are Twice as Likely to Feature Anti-Gun Guests
f) Pro-Gun Themes Were Barely Covered

Some of the resolutions provided
a) More debates and less lectures
b) Factual context instead of emotional anecdotes

I don't know how you can claim that the gun control advocates aren't a part of the "liberal media" when they are given that much more airtime. Since this debate is about the liberal media on gun control, I will leave it at that, but there are plenty more examples in other topics to prove that the media is liberal in most issues.

3) I will admit, hidden agenda does kind of imply they they aren't to verbal about it. While they may not always come out and say that "guns should be banned", the previous argument decisively proves that they do lean toward it. However, every once in a while, we do get direct quotes of this. Here are some examples.

"There is no reason for anyone in this country ... to buy, to own, to have, to use a
handgun ...The only way to control handgun use in this country is to prohibit the guns."

"In fact, only police, soldiers -- and, maybe, licensed target ranges -- should have
handguns. No one else needs one."
-MICHAEL GARDNER, PRESIDENT OF NBC NEWS

"Why should America adopt a policy of near-zero tolerance for private gun ownership?
Because it's the only alternative to the present insanity. Without both strict limits on
access to new weapons and aggressive efforts to reduce the supply of existing weapons,
no one can be safe."

"...The Times supports a near-total ban on the manufacture and private ownership of
handguns and assault weapons, leaving those guns almost exclusively in the hands of law
enforcement officials."
-EDITORIAL, LOS ANGELES TIMES

"Why not just ban the ownership of handguns when nobody needs one? Why not just
ban semi-automatic rifles? Nobody needs one."
-JACK E. WHITE, TIME MAGAZINE NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT

"Every civilized society must disarm its citizens against each other."
-GARY WILLS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST

Resolved:
The majority (not all) of Democrats are against gun control (It would save to assume that the liberals would agree more with the Democrats)

Resolved:
The media is biased and is decisively leaning toward the liberal side of gun control. This is in an effort to eventually pass all out bans on weapons. The term "Assault Weapon" was created (among others) to help promote that.

Conclusion:
While I will commend the proposed result that the liberal media is trying to accomplish (less violence), they are going at it the wrong way. In fact, to lower crime and violence, gun restrictions should be lessened. Anything else that restrict gun rights will eventually lead to confiscation and banning.
JBlake

Con

I will only use this round to make a couple of statements and ask a couple questions of my opponent.

My opponent assumes that a 'biased liberal media' in fact exists, despite no evidence supporting this assumption. There is an equally biased portion of the media with a 'conservative agenda'. However, this is not the topic on which we are debating. If my opponent wishes to shift topics that is alright with me, so long as he concedes the question at hand first. He may also open another debate on the existence of a 'Liberal media' with no existence of a 'Conservative media' and we can debate both. Putting them both in the same debate is too confusing, and facts for one do not support the other.

Claims:
All my opponent has done is attempt to prove that 'some' news is biased toward gun control.

Rebuttal:
This does not change the fact that the man who coined the term, Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center, is not affiliated with the media.

Conclusion:
Since the man who coined the term is not affiliated with the media, it cannot be said that "the term 'Assault Weapon' is a term created by the liberal media to scare the general public into believing it's ultimate hidden agenda (gun bans)." because it was instead coined by a separate organization with the not so hidden agenda of gun control.
Debate Round No. 3
aaronr8684

Pro

Since no question marks could be found to point out the questions that were asked, I will have to assume that the following were the questions (reworded in question form).

1. Does a biased liberal media exist?

2. Isn't there an equally biased portion of conservative media?

3. Do you want to shift this debate to the argument of media bias?

4. Josh Sugarmann isn't part of the media, right?

5. Isn't right that the because Josh Sugarmann is part of a "separate entity", that you can say the media didn't create the term?

If I missed any questions, feel free to expand on them in the next round.

Now to answer the questions...
1. Yes! But as my opponent stated, that should be saved for another debate (I would welcome that). However, I was not trying to prove that the media is liberally biased on all topics, just on one topic. Gun control. This is to prove that the media is biased toward gun control, therefore, having a reason to create fear about guns.

2. I wish there was. Again, this should be saved for another debate. However, on the issue of gun control, there is hardly a conservative side to the story. This was proved in the last round with the statistics given. By the way, this wasn't the only study done, others proved the same results. I just used one of the more current ones.

I should note about the above two questions posed by my opponent. For the media to be biased toward gun control, doesn't mean that I have to prove that 100% of the media is leaning on that side. Rather that only 51% be on the side of gun control. In fact, this isn't the case. The media is clearly and solidly on the side of gun control as proved by my previous arguments. My opponent is trying to distract you from the truth of these facts by saying that if everyone isn't that way, it must prove that most aren't. He has used this tactic for liberals against guns and the media for gun control. I have never said that the majority means everyone, but rather that the majority is exactly that, 51% or more.

3. No. I wish to remain on topic. However, like I've said, if you would like another debate, bring it on. :-P

4. Like I've said before, just because someone isn't on your payroll, doesn't mean they aren't a part of the media. He is one of many gun control advocates that the media uses (by giving them airtime) to push the agenda of the media company themselves. So no, Josh isn't paid by the news networks, but he is definitely part of them.

5. While the media themselves did not "coin" the term "Assault Weapon", they did in a sense "create" the word. Aside from the answer to question 4 (Josh being a part of the media), they also spread the use of the word and created it's mainstream use. Let's look at the definition of create to explain this further.

create - to be the cause or occasion of; give rise to

The media "gave rise to" the use of "Assault Weapon" in the main stream media and in the public. This isn't the first case in history of this happening. If I asked people who created the automobile assembly line, most if not all would say "Henry Ford" when in fact it was "Ransom Olds (Oldsmobile)". Don't believe me? Ask a couple people around you. That is because he took an original concept and expanded it so much that people assumed he created it and in a sense, he did.

Conclusion:
My opponent keeps trying to twist my words to "prove" that my statement and arguments are not true. He says that when I make a statement about MOST, it must me ALL. In every case, I have proved that indeed "MOST" supports my claims. I have given you facts and examples that support my examples. What has my opponent done? Say "prove it". The problem with this argument is that I do prove it. Since he cannot find facts to support the opposite of my claims, he is left with picking apart the wording of my argument and not the argument itself. The fact is that there is a "liberal media" on the issue of "gun control", they did "create" the widespread use of the term "Assault Weapon", and finally, they do have the (hidden or not) agenda to ultimately ban all (or most with a few exceptions) guns.
JBlake

Con

Claims:

1. We should debate the existence of a liberal biased media, or the existence of a conservative media in another debate.
2. Concedes that Josh Sugarmann isn't paid by the news media.
3. Just because someone is not on the payroll of the media, does not mean they are not part of them.
4. Alters the meaning of the word 'create'
5. The media "gave rise to" the use of "Assault Weapon" in the main stream media and in the public"

Note:
This debate is about whether the 'liberal media' 'created' the term "Assault Weapon" as a scare tactic, not whether they used the term as a scare tactic.

Rebuttal:
1. Agreed. I'll allow you to draw up the debate guidelines if you wish.

2. Agreed. Josh Sugarmann is not on the payroll of the media.

3. With this definition, then George W. Bush is part of the media; John McCain is part of the media; and anyone else who goes onto the media to express his/her opinion, including gun rights advocates. This is, quite simply, not an accurate definition. The various parts of the media choose what and who to report. Simply being on, or having your views used on the media does not make you a part of the media.

4. 'Create', as defined by Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com...

transitive verb
1: to bring into existence
2 a: to invest with a new form, office, or rank b: to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior
3: cause, occasion
4 a: to produce through imaginative skill b: design
intransitive verb
1: to make or bring into existence something new
2: to set up a scoring opportunity in basketball

Clearly, 'create' means to begin, not to give rise to.

5. My opponent is correct, the media gave rise to the term "Assault Weapon". However, that is an entirely different question.

"If I asked people who created the automobile assembly line, most if not all would say "Henry Ford" when in fact it was "Ransom Olds (Oldsmobile)". Don't believe me? Ask a couple people around you. That is because he took an original concept and expanded it so much that people assumed he created it and in a sense, he did."

That does not mean that Henry Ford 'created' the assembly line, he merely picked up the idea and ran with it, as did the media with the term "Assault Weapon". The fact that people incorrectly attribute the creation of the assembly line to Ford does not mean that Ransom Olds was not factually the creator.

Conclusion:
There are too many rounds in this debate.
I have clearly proven, with the help of my opponent, that the term "Assault Weapon" was in fact NOT created by the liberal media, but by Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center. This is the only fact necessary to prove that the term was not originated in the liberal media.
Debate Round No. 4
aaronr8684

Pro

I agree that this debate should have been 3 or 4 rounds...o well next time I'll know when starting.

Since only 3 of the arguments are not agreed on, I'll only list those.

Claims:
1. Everyone on the media is part of the media.

2. I altered the definition of 'create'

3a. Conceded that the media gave rise to the term Assault Weapon (I'll connect this to the main argument later in argument #2).

3b. Merely an example of the definition. Will handle this in argument #2.

Rebuttal:
1. While this is in part true, it's not entirely true. Everyone that is featured on the media, whether it be by interview or just a story about them, is part of the media by providing them content. I don't think this is really a point that should be argued and I think is a generally accepted idea. However, if the media uses guests to push their own agenda, then those guests are as much a part of the media as the people on the payroll. It is a kind of you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. In this case the media is the gun controls medium to reach the public and the media helps push the agenda of gun control. Without the so called "experts" to talk on the media, it would just be reporters expressing opinions. The "experts" give credit toward the viewpoint (even if it is mis-based).

2. I in no way altered the definition of the word create. I looked it up just as my opponent did and gave the definition that I felt best fit my use of the word. Since just that wasn't enough, here is the full definition with source (I've stripped the items not relevant to this point such as Audio Help, Links to help, and symbols that didn't transfer over).

cre�ate [kree-eyt] verb, -at�ed, -at�ing, adjective
–verb (used with object)
1. to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.
2. to evolve from one's own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.
3. Theater. to perform (a role) for the first time or in the first production of a play.
4. to make by investing with new rank or by designating; constitute; appoint: to create a peer.
5. to be the cause or occasion of; give rise to: The announcement created confusion.
6. to cause to happen; bring about; arrange, as by intention or design: to create a revolution; to create an opportunity to ask for a raise.
–verb (used without object)
7. to do something creative or constructive.
8. British. to make a fuss.
–adjective
9. Archaic. created.

http://dictionary.reference.com... (Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary)

Note the fifth definition. Word for word what I had typed earlier. All that this proves is that words have different meanings and my meaning fits my argument.

Seeing as "gave rise to" IS part of the definition of a well known dictionary (www.dictionary.com/Random House) and my opponent agrees that the media gave rise to the term, this debate should have a clear winner. I have shown that this indeed is not a different question but rather the same question.

Conclusion:
My opponent has failed to disprove the original statement in question. In fact based on my argument in this round (#2) and my opponent's argument (#5) in the last round, he has indeed affirmed the original statement. This should conclusively prove that my side is the stronger side of this argument. Aside from this, these other points should prove that my statement was right.

1. Gun control activist, Josh Sugarmann, created the term in the sense that he came up with it.
2. The media is strongly biased toward gun control (liberal) which I have proved with the study, thus establishing a liberal media on the issue of gun control.
3. The media unfairly uses gun control activists on air (by giving them more time) to promote their agendas for gun bans (also proved).
4. The media "gave rise to" the term after it's conception, thus also creating the term as it is known today.
5. The term "assault weapon" was created to confuse the public into thinking that the guns they refer to are in fact more dangerous ("scary") than they are.

These 5 points (as well as all of my previous supporting arguments above) all point toward the affirmation of my original statement.

*****The term "Assault Weapon" is a liberal media created scare tactic.*****

Since my opponent has failed to address these arguments with strong points against them, this should be considered a victory for the PRO side.

NOTE: I'd also like to point out that throughout this debate, my opponent has tried to discredit my arguments by twisting my words to make them appear contradictory. This should also support my case because, if my opponent had strong arguments against me, he wouldn't have to resort to these tactics as I pointed out in an earlier round.

Thank you!
-Aaron

PS Thank you JBlake for providing a though provoking debate for this entire community. I look forward to challenging you again.
JBlake

Con

I will attempt to make this short.

Claims:
1. "[I]f the media uses guests to push their own agenda, then those guests are as much a part of the media as the people on the payroll."
2. Cre - ate. 5. ..."to give rise to"

Rebuttal:
1. This is just blatantly untrue. There is nothing supporting this 'fact', and there can not possibly be anything to support this 'fact' because it is simply untrue. Suppose that the media used John McCain's words against him, or against conservatism. No one would then say that John McCain was a part of the liberal media. However, the 'liberal media' used their guest (John McCain) to push their own agenda.

My opponent used a quote by Michael Gardner, President of NBC News (among others). Does that mean that Michael Garner is a part of the aaronr8684 media? Of course not, even though he used Mr. Gardner to push his (my opponent's) agenda (proving a liberal media created "Assault Weapon").

2. The definition (5) in this context clearly means to give rise to as if from a beginning.

Here is the definition of 'give rise to' and its source:

"give rise to something
to cause something to exist. Her experiences have given rise to the passion she expresses in her poetry. Stem cells produce more cells of the same kind — liver stem cells give rise to liver cells, skin stem cells give rise to skin, and so on.
Related vocabulary: give birth to something"

(Source: The Free Dictionary, Idioms, http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com...)

Conclusion:
It is quite clear that the statement presented by my opponent is proven to be false:
"The term "Assault Weapon" is a term created by the liberal media to scare the general public into believing it's ultimate hidden agenda (gun bans)."

The term "Assault Weapon" was created (given rise to [as if from the beginning]) by Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center. My opponent readily concedes that this is the case and the argument should end there, since the Violence Policy Center is not affiliated with the media. Instead, he contends that the fact that someone's arguement or terminology is picked up by the media to advance their agenda makes the original person a part of the media. This is very obviously not true. Despite having sources for many arguments (some irrelevent), he does not provide any for this last and crucial point.

The day clearly belongs to CON.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by JBlake 5 years ago
JBlake
We are agreed. Some people...
Posted by Leftymorgan 5 years ago
Leftymorgan
I have to laugh at the word Assault when used with weapon. I think all weapons can be termed as an Assault weapon. If it is used against someone else, aren't they being assaulted by someone? Then the anti gun people like to use Automatic or semi-automatic as if that has an even more scary sound.
Posted by JBlake 5 years ago
JBlake
That's fine, I'm fairly busy with class as well. Three or four rounds would do for that topic.
Posted by aaronr8684 5 years ago
aaronr8684
I'll save the liberal media topic for you...I'm just exhausted from a 40+ hours overtime this w/e. Give me a few days or longer and I'll draft up the debate. How many rounds this time? I think 5 was too long for this debate.
Posted by JBlake 5 years ago
JBlake
Note:
I forgot to thank my opponent. This has been the most fun, interesting, and friendly debate I have had since I joined this community. I would very much like to do it again some time.
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Research this debate: United States,Barack Obama