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  • Listening Exercise: Debate or Debacle?

    debate  noun —— a discussion between people in which they express different opinions about something

    debacle noun——a great disaster or complete failure

    (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

    U.S. presidential elections always get a little ugly.  Attacking the opponent often gets in the way of answering important questions and talking about real plans. This year, however, feels unlike any other.  

    Each week brings surprise, shock, and usually horror. It’s like seeing a car accident-you want to look away but you can’t. So, if you would like to practice your listening skills while having a good laugh, let’s take a look at some highlights from the second presidential debate.  

    By the way, if these clips are challenging to understand, don’t blame your English skills. The candidates rarely answer questions in a direct way, and spend time attacking each other instead of getting to the point. Don’t be discouraged if you are confused. Americans are too!  Now, let’s have some fun, shall we?

    One of the biggest problems problems for Hillary Clinton in this election is her irresponsible use of a private email while she was secretary of state.

    Many people believe this could be linked to attacks in Benghazi, Libya in 2012. If you’d like to know more about this issue, here’s a helpful article from the New York Times that explains the events in detail.

    The following clip is Hillary’s explanation.  After listening, write your answers and share your opinions in the comments section.

    Click here for the 1st video

    1. The FBI said that there were 110 classified emails that ____ ________, 8 of which were ___ ______, and that it was possible _______ actors did gain access to those emails.
    2. Why was Hillary “extremely careless with her emails?
    3. Obviously, if I ____ __ __ it over again, I would not (use a personal email account).  
    4. In number 3, Hillary used the 2nd conditional to express regret for her mistakes.  If you were Hillary, what would you say to Donald Trump?
    5. After a yearlong _____________, there is no evidence that anyone ______ the server I was using, and there is no evidence that anyone can point to at all (anyone who says otherwise has no basis) that any classified material ended up in the _____ _____.
    6. Can you summarize Donald Trump’s response?  What is his argument about the emails?
    7. Just like number 4, If you were Trump, what would you say to Clinton?
    8. At the end of the clip, why does Trump say the debate is “one on three”?

    Now, let’s take a look at Donald Trump’s position on a very important issue: immigration. Continue to answer the questions and share your opinions below.

    click here for the 2nd video

    1. Mr. Trump, in December you said this: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete ________ of Muslims ________ the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
    2. Trump says, “we have no choice.”  Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  How do you think countries should approach the refugee crisis?  
    3. The Muslim ban is something that, in some form, has _______ into a[n] _______ vetting.
    4. “People are coming into our country.  We have no idea who they are, where they are from, what their feelings about our country is, and she wants 550% more.”  Can you find Trump’s grammar mistake?

    Do you have a headache yet? Are you frustrated and/or confused? At times like these, it is important to find the humor in this debacle. We know Trump wants to get to know the immigrants and who they are.

    He proposed an ideology test to make sure immigrants share some of the same values of US citizens. Watch the video below to see if some of Trump’s supporters can pass the test.

    What political issues are most important to you?  Which candidate would you vote for and why?

    We’d love to hear your opinions in the comments section below!  If you would like to talk politics with one of our instructors, or if you’re sick of hearing about politics but want to improve your English, sign up for a class with LOI today!