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When It Comes to Debates, Winners Say 'Growth'

February 1, 2013 by Matthew Denhart
Ever since Paul Ryan was announced by Mitt Romney as the republican candidate for vice president, there has been great anticipation for his debate with Joe Biden. The excitement culminates tonight as Ryan and Biden face-off for their debate from the campus of Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. Who will win? Pundits on both sides of the aisle will give you their takes, but the advice we can offer both candidates, as Amity Shlaes and I convey in a column today for Bloomberg, is to use the word "growth":
To win, say “growth.” That’s the takeaway from a survey of past presidential debates. In election years when economic troubles are the main issue, the advisers of candidates tend to settle on one of two themes: “jobs” or “growth.” Then they instruct their candidate to hammer home the ideas that the terms evoke. A quick survey of past election debates suggests that some terms work better than others when it comes to wooing voters. “Grow” or “growth,” when uttered in reference to the economy, may help win elections; “job” or “jobs” doesn’t work as well.
You can read our entire column here. And be sure to stay tuned to www.fourpercentgrowth.org tonight to read our live coverage of the debate.

Author

Matthew Denhart
Matthew Denhart

Matthew Denhart is an expert on immigration policy and is the author of the Bush Institute’s America's Advantage: A Handbook of Vital Immigration and Economic Growth Statistics, now in its third edition. He currently serves as executive director of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation and is a founder of the Coolidge Scholars Program which provides full-ride merit scholarships to America's most promising college students. A summa cum laude graduate of Ohio University, Denhart has written and spoken widely on a variety of policy topics including the economics of higher education, labor, and taxes. He has contributed articles to numerous national publications including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, CNN Opinion, and Bloomberg View. 

Full Bio