Both candidates used the emotional appeal persuasive technique.
In the beginning of the debate, Romney is asked to respond to the ambassador’s murder in Libya. He makes an appeal to pity, one of the emotional appeals. He said, “…this is obviously an area of great concern to the entire world and America in particular…our hearts and minds go out to them.” A second use of the technique was to say, “…we can’t kill our way out of this mess.” This appeals to people’s fear. In each case, Romney is appealing to the audience and the American people’s emotions.
President Obama also made use of the same technique.
We did everything to secure those Americans who were in harm’s way… and most importantly we would go after those who killed Americans and bring them to justice. (YouTube)
Obama is appealing both to our fear and our need for justice when he suggests that the people who were responsible will be dealt with. He takes the blame from himself and his administration and focuses it on the terrorists.
Emotional appeal is one of the strongest persuasive techniques because we are so susceptible to it. By definition, it plays on our emotions. We are convinced before we even realize it.