Germany's two primary candidates for the Chancellor job were in a debate last night. The secondary candidates (Greens, FDP, and Linke)? Well....by the agreement between the two major parties and the news media.....it was strictly a small debate without the other players.
Generally, nothing really changed much at the end. Merkel might have been challenged a bit by Steinbreueck. The SPD candidate did say that if he won.....he'd likely kick the NSA folks out of Germany. Whether he'd carry out the threat.....would be a curious thing.
The more interesting parts of Sunday evening? Well.....the two top state-run TV networks carried the forum, along with two of the commercial networks. Yep, four major networks. So it left very little for the rest of the TV spectrum. It's believed that fifteen million Germans watched (roughly a quarter of the nation). The best choice of entertainment if you weren't into this stuff? German Promi Shopping Queens in Africa.....yeah, a pretty limited choice of viewing.
Changing the outcome? No. The SPD might have picked up another three or four points, which they desperately needed. My humble guess is that they are around twenty-seven percent of the national vote right now.
Finally, the analysis after the debate? Well.....the state-run TV folks went to a pretty serious and chatty forum. The commercial networks? It was kinda like a Jay Leno hour, with a comedian or two. Folks observed the attire and dress of the two candidates......in serious fashion. Then some minutes were spent on discussing the "stare-factor" of both Steinbreueck and Merkel. Both tried hard to stare down the other, and it was like two kids in a sixth-grade class.
As an American, I'd say it pretty much was of the same value of an American debate. After ninety minutes, you really haven't changed your mind much over who to vote for, and you feel cheated in someways because you would have asked tougher questions.