Musings on the Dems’ Debates

 In Public Speaking Tips

Commentary on the performance of the 20 candidates on June 26 and 27 is abundant: what they said or did not say, who attacked whom, who got the most time to speak, and who polled best.   My observations are much more practical: Who needed to look taller and who picked the wrong clothing.

During the first debate, the optics of being the shortest person on stage did not bode well for Amy Klobuchar, who is probably a foot shorter than Beto O’Rourke to her right and even shorter than the giant Bill Di Blasio (6’5”) on the far end of the row.  Generally, lecterns are a challenge for short people, more so for lecterns of equal height designed for television.  A step stool or foot-tall riser would have evened the height issue for Klobuchar and no one watching would have known the difference. 

As for wardrobe: The media made a point of counting how many candidates sported a pin of the U.S. flag.  In a sea of grey, dark blue and black suit jackets the pins suggested, perhaps, a higher dose of patriotism.   With so many eyes nitpicking every detail, it may be useful to carry a pin in your pocket or purse to get in step.

Wardrobe colors on the stage were consistently dark and solid with a splash of red tie or blouse.  Elizabeth Warren strayed to purple, perhaps a nod to bipartisanship.  The outlier who broke the dress code was Marianne Williamson, the gifted spiritual author and teacher, who wore a light grey suit with a floral blouse.  Media chat rooms were filled with snarks questioning why she was on the stage at all, and the grey speck on a ribbon of black did not help.

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A step stool helps even the disparity in heights at the lectern. On appearances, Senator Amy Klobuchar would have benefited from a little lift next to Beto O’Rourke.

Marianne Williamson stood out from the pack with a light grey suit and floral top.
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