Mesa holds the last debate before Super Tuesday

February 22, 2012

Mayor of Mesa Scott Smith, NPR Washington senior editor Ron Elving, and ASU assistant professor at the School of Letters and Sciences Kelly McDonald explain the significance of the Mesa Presidential Primary Debate for candidates and the state of Arizona.

Smith says he’s proud that the city of Mesa got the debate, and that it’s a perfect fit for CNN and Republican presidential candidates. His ideal debate is engaging to the audience and focuses on issues instead of attacks. Smith doesn’t think people will be looking for a definite winner of the debate since we’re electing the best leader, not the best debater.

Elving weighs in on what candidates need to do to come out ahead in the Mesa debate. He also gives his opinion on what each candidate can expect after the debate.

McDonald says a good debate has the ability to present an argument and advance it. Leadership is about deeds and words, a leader must have the ability to mobilize people to do what is important. McDonald says the debate isn’t for the 30-40 percent of people on either side of the spectrum, it’s for the 20 percent in the middle who are undecided, and the stakes are very high at this point.

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