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The Not-So-Great Debate

We missed (er, deliberately skipped) the first-ever German TV debate between chancellor candidates Sunday evening. It sounds like we didn't miss much. The consensus from the media, my co-workers, and the German weblogs I've scanned was the that the format was forced and sterile, Schröder was more convincing, Stoiber came across better than expected, and the whole thing was rather boring. And they will do it all over again in a couple of weeks. Here are a few English headlines snitched from News Is Free.

International Herald Tribune: Europe NEWS ANALYSIS Stoiber wins some respect in first TV debate with Schroeder "Edmund Stoiber may not have won Germany's first televised debate between chancellor candidates, but he performed so much better than the meager expectations of the German political world that he emerged into the election's homestretch with both momentum and a new measure of respect."

Bloomberg World News Germany's Opposition Leader Stoiber Wins Support After Debating Schroeder "German chancellor candidate Edmund Stoiber won more support from voters than Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in the country's first televised campaign debate a month before elections, opinion polls showed."

AFXPress: Europe GERMAN VOTE Schroeder emerges as more competent than Stoiber in 1st TV debate "BERLIN (AFX) - German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder came away as more competent than his main rival Edmund Stoiber in Germany's first-ever live television debate last night, nearly four weeks ahead of a tightly contested election, snap opinion surveys said."

Radio Free Europe Germany: Schroeder, Stoiber Discuss Iraq, Economy In First-Ever Election Debate "German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his challenger in next month's election, Edmund Stoiber, clashed in a U.S.-style television debate last night, the first-ever held in a German election. The two candidates sparred over German support for any U.S. attack against Iraq, as well as their different approaches to the problems of German unemployment and the sagging economy. Opinion polls were inconclusive on who won the debate, but commentators minimized its impact on changing voters' minds."

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