In early April, silly flags were already flapping all around Beirut. A non-resident would think that dignitaries from the entire United Nations were about to make an appearance, adding a touch of color to our city. According to numerous sources, the flags had sprouted much earlier. As early as January, my sister made sure to tell me. I don’t think any earlier than that, my mother said. People were too busy with Christmas and New Years, and in 2009, Ashura, the Shiite holiday fell at the same time—far too much going on for anyone to concentrate.
Forget about the debate. Focus on the spin. What really counts is who wins the debate over the debate. Ok--not really. The actual performances will matter--but just as important will be the post-debate spin that shapes public perceptions of who won, who lost, and why. This week, as the candidates prep for their on-air performances, their teams of rapid responders, communicators, and researchers are prepping for their critical roles behind the scenes.