How important are the debates?

  • Article by: JOHN HARWOOD , New York Times
  • Updated: October 2, 2012 - 12:00 AM

History shows that candidates have different ways to score in presidential debates: the forceful put-down, the surprising show of skill, the opponent's fumble, superior post-debate tactics. But it also shows that to fundamentally alter the direction of a campaign, a candidate usually has to accomplish all those things. That underscores the challenge Mitt Romney faces on Wednesday night in Denver, in the first debate against President Obama.

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aarghmebuckoOct. 1, 12 8:18 PM

I remember the Bush Gore Debates. It was painful to watch Gore, and I knew at the time he was blowing it. However, I also remember George Bush making a complete fool of himself with completely vacuous and nonsensical responses. I think that was his whole strategy - say outrageous things to try to get your opponent to overreact, which is exactly what happened. Karl Rove is indeed the evil genius.

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owatonnabillOct. 2, 12 5:32 AM

How important are the debates? An illogical question, as the debates are not "debates" at all. They're rehearsed, choreographed regurgitations of talking points. You can see the same thing on any political ad. I may tune in to the VP "debate" (never pass up an opportunity to watch Foghorn Leghorn stuff his feet into his mouth) but Romney-Obama? Nope. Waste of time.

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rita56Oct. 2, 12 7:17 AM

I think they are very important. It will be interesting on the questions asked because we know Obama now and his tale, then Romney & what he will do for the country. I am interested in all of it. I am so afraid because my freedoms are being eroded daily.

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jpcooperOct. 2, 12 8:19 AM

ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC already have their stories written on how magnificent Obama was in the debates and how Romney did not get it done!

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hrearden57Oct. 2, 12 8:26 AM

I think Romney needs to bring up the economy and 47 million people on food stamps.

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avejoeconOct. 2, 12 8:46 AM

I am interested in seeing how the questions are asked. In the last debates, Obama was given lob's, while his opponent was thrown fastballs. I'm guessing, given the "moderators" this will be the same thing.

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bredpathOct. 2, 12 8:57 AM

"I am so afraid because my freedoms are being eroded daily." - rita56. That's exactly what Fox News wants you to think...be afraid, be very afraid.

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rita56Oct. 2, 1210:35 AM

Seriously bred, what do you call it when your country is under attack, a solialist, ie communist, in the WH, money picked from my pocket to put in yours, cannot trust the government in any way, lies, gas prices, food prices, every day a new law put in place on how we can live. on and on, so bred think again!

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jonnyappOct. 2, 1210:55 AM

According to every poll taken Gore had won the "sigh" debate. Only a few noticed the sighs until the media pumped up the volume and made a big deal of it. Same with Nixon looking scruffy. It isn't true that people who listed to the debate on the radio had Nixon winning, and those who watched on TV had JFK winning. These silly debate tales were manufactured by the media and had little effect, if any, on determining the winner. This whole article is just a script the mindless media repeat every 4 years. Ignore it.

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roadtoruinOct. 2, 12 3:57 PM

The debates will be more important then ever this year. When you have a mainstream media who does everything in their poewer to shield an inept sitting President from harm while doing everything in their power to demonize his far more qualified oppnnent, the debates will be the only place many will be able to witness Obama's many shortcomings and Romneys's vast superiority.

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