With the debates tied 1-1, what's next?







Before the first presidential debate I wrote a post that questioned whether the debates made a difference.  My thought was probably not.

The last couple of weeks have proved me wrong.

First Mitt Romney came out swinging and shellacked President Obama.  Then Joe Biden took Paul Ryan to school.

I was a little surprised by some of the Twitter traffic during the Biden-Ryan debate.  It seems that the very people who lauded Romney for his aggressive approach against Obama resented Biden’s use of the same tactic, albeit on steroids.

That gun kicks as strong as it shoots.

Well, the VP debate is history, and the score is tied Republicans 1, Democrats 1.

With the stakes growing higher day by day, both parties are, I’m sure, huddled up trying to decide how to play the last two games.

Usually it’s the team that wins the last game that receives the trophy. It’s a ninth inning thing. But the advent of early voting makes it difficult to decide what inning we are in.  I have seen statistics that suggest as high as 60 percent of the  votes in the presidential election will be cast before November 6.  So, in effect, if there is a bump from a debate some voters will vote in the seventh inning.

What lies ahead for the debaters?

It would seem obvious that President Obama will have to ramp up his engagement with the American people.  He can’t play the next two debates like they are just an annoyance.  Likewise, Romney has to know that his first performance may have knocked the president back on his heels, but that Obama won’t be the same person in rounds two and three.

Will it get personal?  You bet.  Is that good?  No.

Will it focus on the facts?  No.  Is that good? No.

With the election hanging in the balance, Romney and Obama will have to play to their strengths.

What we saw in the first two debates proves that the “winner” is the one who takes command.  Rounds two and three will be about leadership.  Who exudes it, who doesn’t.

This is the first time in my political life when I am fired up about the presidential debates.

How about you?  Will you watch the last two debates?  Will they have an impact on how you vote?

(Stephen Woodfin is an attorney and author of legal thrillers.)


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