Argumentation and Advocacy
American Forensic Association
This study examines the Republican primary debates from the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign. With a weak economy, numerous Republicans vied to challenge President Barack Obama who was completing his first term in office. Of course, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney eventually seized the Republican nomination. This investigation employs content analysis and applies Functional Theory to the primary campaign debate messages. Acclaims were more common than attacks, which in turn occurred more frequently than defenses; and policy was discussed more often than character. Findings from the 2012 debates are compared with results from analysis of presidential primary debates in earlier campaigns.