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Mitt Romney

An analysis of the Republican debates in the 2012 presidential race shows that Mitt Romney has been getting a lion’s share of the camera time, including a whopping 25 percent at the most recent event, Tuesday’s New Hampshire debate.

The work was done at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and writer Eric Ostermeier described the impact.

“The dominating presence of Romney during the debate Tuesday – a combination of his comparatively strong debating skills plus the prominent platform he is receiving from the moderators – is a continuation of a surge in camera time he has enjoyed over the last few debates,” Ostermeier said.

At the New Hampshire event, Romney spoke for 18 minutes and 12 seconds. That was one-quarter of the 72 minutes, 49 seconds allotted to all the candidates and double what would have been his share – nine minutes if each of the eight candidates had spoken for an equal amount of time, the report said.

At the Florida CNN-Tea Party debate in September, Romney also was given 10 minutes, 56 seconds – 15.8 percent of the floor time, which was behind Rick Perry’s 13:48.

The report said on Tuesday that Romney had 194 percent more camera time than Rick Santorum, 190 percent more than Jon Huntsman, 171 percent more than Ron Paul, 157 percent more than Newt Gingrich, 103 percent more than Michele Bachmann, 100 percent more than Herman Cain and 77 percent more than Rick Perry.

“Overall, across the last three debates, Romney has tallied 41 minutes and 9 seconds of speaking time, which is nearly seven minutes more than the next closest candidate, Rick Perry (at 34 minutes, 12 seconds),” the report said.

And in the Florida Fox News/Google debate, Romney was given 12:01 – or 19.9 percent of the time allotted for the eight candidates participating.

The Humphrey School’s tabulation of face time for the candidates:

“Although passing mention is given at the start of most debates that efforts will be made to give all candidates equal time, the disparity in time allotted to the candidates was startling during Tuesday’s Republican debate at Dartmouth College,” the analysis said.

At Dartmouth, Romney’s 18:12 was followed by 10.16 for Perry, 9:05 for Cain, 8:59 for Bachmann, 7:05 for Gingrich, 6:43 for Paul, 6:17 for Huntsman and 6:12 for Santorum.

While Romney still leads in face time, the analysis showed Cain is gaining ground.

“Cain tallied the least amount of speaking time in the first Florida debate (8.1 percent, 5 minutes, 34 seconds), increasing to fifth most in the second Florida debate (10.7 percent, 6 minutes, 27 seconds), and third most in New Hampshire (12.5 percent, 9 minutes, 5 seconds),” the report said.


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