Who won the 'West Wing' debate?

Who do you think won last night’s live debate on The West Wing?

You may vote at an online poll at NBC.com, where, at this writing, respondents are favoring Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) over Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda), 70 percent to 30 percent.

PopWatch readers have been offering their opinions in response to Whitney Pastorek’s live-blogging of the event, and so far, more of you seem willing to give the edge to Vinick, citing Alda’s record as a more experienced live-performance actor. One thing I think we can all agree on: there’ll be no post-debate bounce for the American voter, who’ll never get to see a face-off this ”real” and ”spontaneous” between any two candidates for the actual presidency.


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  • jane mead

    Of course Congressman Santos is the hands down winner. His diatribe about “Liberals” was not only informational for folks born after 1970, it was brilliant writing. Yes, he made some real life blunders and seemed a bit nervous but consider this; he is not a theatre actor and does not have nearly the experience at live performing that Alan Alda has registered. That said….Smits rose to the occasion. One would expect Alda to be polished at this forum who by the way I predict will be nominated for an Emmy for his performance last night. He did an exceptional job and displayed some of the best acting of his career. His just was not presidential!

  • Allen Matsumoto

    I think that this “debate” is, unfortunately, one of those that reinforce the preconceptions of viewers. That is, liberals will think Santos won and conservatives will think Vinick won. Remember that “All in the Family” had the same problem.
    One point that I wish had been made is in response to Vinick’s questioning the audience whether any of them had been to ANWR. (Since no one had, he concluded that it doesn’t matter as a place for ordinary people. However, he would be willing to protect the Grand Canyon since people do go there.) This should mean that he would have been okay with drilling or mining or whatever in the Grand Canyon 50 years ago, since few people went there before that 1950’s.

  • Dan

    The thing that made me frustrated with the debate was Vinick’s response that there’s no medical break-through in Canada. I’m from Canada, and I know for a fact that there are medical break-throughs in Canada. Islet surgery is just one of them, something that diabetics can definately benefit from. To say we have no medical break-through is complete ignorance on Vinnick’s part

  • Liberal Sam

    I thought Vinik’s views were refreshing, because they certainly weren’t neo-conservative. If you’ve been paying attention for the last eight years, you’d know modern conservatives want nothing to do with a smaller, more controlled government. The term conservative used to mean something much different than it does now.
    Somewhat similar is how progressives like Santos have corrupted the term liberal, equating ending slavery and civil/voting rights with creating social security and medicare. 50 points to the person who can see the irony in that.
    This was a great debate because it grew beyond pragmatic issues and got to the philosophical core of any government debate: freedom versus government controls. True classic liberals and true classic conservatives would side with Vinick. The modern variants, by principle, would not want anything to do with him. It’s obvious how polls would reflect on a man promising to stop big government in a nation wrought with infantilism. Why make your own choices when you can just pay the government to be your nanny and make them for you?
    But back on topic, yes the scripting gave Santos the advantage (i.e. Vinick’s convoluted argument for drilling). Come the December 7th episode I’m sure we’ll see quite a bit of fake national support for the Democratic President.

  • Susan

    I thought Santos was going to win but I think Alan Alda was MUCH better! He won me over. A great speaker.

  • Bill Cody

    Anyone know when the next West Wing will be airing? It’s 11/20/05, Sunday night and I am suffering like a junkie without my West Wing.

  • Bill Cody

    Anyone know when the next West Wing will be airing? It’s 11/20/05, Sunday night and I am suffering like a junkie without my West Wing.

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