Did Barack Obama perform terribly in the first presidential debate or did the media create a multiplier effect by harping on his haplessness? Is the blogosphere driving the campaign narrative more than issues? What are the voter demographics that will favor each presidential candidate in the upcoming election?

These are the sorts of questions that veteran political reporter and Santa Barbara transplant Jeff Greenfield will address when he delivers a talk hosted by UCSB’s Carsey-Wolf Center at the Pollock Theater next Thursday.

For the record, Romney’s drubbing of Obama was the most one-sided debate he’s ever seen, Greenfield — who served as a speechwriter for Robert F. Kennedy — took a moment to share with The Santa Barbara Independent just before live blogging the vice presidential debate for Yahoo! News.

Over the past 50 years, television has turned politics into a spectator sport, and Greenfield has been along for the entire ride, either working on campaigns or reporting them for outlets such as CBS, CNN, ABC, and The New York Times Magazine, winning plaudits for his analysis.

This Madden-like interpreter of modern electoral politics will help you become a slightly less mindless, bloodthirsty viewer of presidential campaigns. Titling his talk, “If You’ve Had Enough of the Food Fights: A Clear-Eyed Look at the Political Landscape…And Beyond,” Greenfield will explain what to look for on election night as states turn red or blue on your television screen.

He’ll also reflect on the role of media in the campaign, hinting that, as inextricable as traditional and new media have become with presidential politics, they also have their limits. “What’s making this campaign tough for Obama is that the economy is in lousy shape,” he said. “That fundamental stuff matters more than whether or not one campaign has managed social networks better.”


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