Trump's 'comic-book' campaign and what would make debates more meaningful

Republican debate
Presidential candidates Ohio Governor John Kasich (L-R), Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz (R-TX), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) take the stage at the CNBC Republican Presidential Debate at University of Colorado's Coors Events Center October 28, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

"Is this a comic-book version of a presidential campaign?" journalist John Harwood asked Donald Trump during CNBC's October GOP debate.

The question is problematic according to Annenberg Public Policy Center director Kathleen Hall Jamison.

"The problem occurs when you ask a question in a way that the respondent can easily duck," Jamison told Kerri Miller. "When you add the snarky coda to the end of a question, the candidate is now given a license with the audience — which are all partisans that is why they are all there — to attack the media or attack the question and not address the substance of the question."

A good primary debate, Jamison said, should teach us two things: 1) What is the boundary of the ideological disagreement and agreement within the party; 2) How does this candidate position within that agreement or disagreement

"The role of a good moderator is to frame the question in a way that invites answers that will enlighten the electorate," Jamison added.

CNN's John King joined the conversation and said most voters don't realize the campaign's role in organizing the debates. "The campaigns negotiate the [debate] rules and then attack them after the fact," he told Miller.

To listen to the full conversation between Kathleen Hall Jamison, John King and Kerri Miller use the audio player above.

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