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As the first presidential debate approaches, Cornell debate expert Sam Nelson shares his expertise on: why perception matters so much in debates; what candidates and advisers fear most; why performance "spin-down" is essential; who has won or lost big in presidential debates; and how the electorate is influenced by presidential debates.

As director of the Cornell Speech & Debate Society and senior lecturer in the ILR School, Nelson has taught argumentation and debate to hundreds of Ivy League students.