People who watched the first Bush-Gore debate thought Gore won, but over the next few weeks media went after Gore’s performance and by the time the election came around perceptions had completely reversed. Anybody who lived through 2000 knows how true it was that while Karl Rove made Bush passably presidential enough, it was the media who denigrated Gore enough that an election that should have gone one way, went the other (thanks Florida!!)
Among people who actually watched the debate, Gore seemed fine. He knew his stuff, he attacked without seeming mean, and no one seemed to notice any sighing. But then the analysts put together a mix tape of every one of Gore’s sighs, and it was game over. Gore was a laughingstock.
It sure made sighing a debate no-no. Lord we are a stupid people!