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War zones, body language off-camera at debates

Associated Press Modified: October 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm •  Published: October 11, 2012
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DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Most voters watching the debate from home didn't get to see what happened before and after Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan went on stage Thursday. Even then, some exchanges were lost in broadcast.

Here's what those voters missed:

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BEFORE THE DEBATE

In the minutes leading up to the debate, moderator Martha Raddatz took her seat with her back to the audience. She joked that she is used to reporting from war zones, a place where she seldom turns her back on anyone.

After a few awkward moments of silence, she spun around in her chair and tried to warm up the crowd. "Anybody have any questions?" she asked to laughter.

Several times, Raddatz turned and looked to the balcony, where TV networks filmed pre-debate coverage. Most correspondents were quiet, but the voice of Fox News Channel's Bret Baier boomed throughout the hall.

When the debate was about to begin, Baier again introduced himself to viewers just tuning in. Raddatz pointedly turned around — to more laughter from the crowd.

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IN ROMNEY'S SUITE

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took in the first and only vice presidential debate from his hotel suite in Asheville, N.C., surrounded by campaign aides and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.

On the television, as Biden answered Raddatz's first question about Libya, Romney turned to his left and asked his aides: "Will Paul attack on this?"

Romney, in a white shirt and tie, otherwise sat with his hands on his knees and watched the flat-screen TV.

Asked to make a prediction on Ryan's responses, Romney said simply: "I think Paul will do great."

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