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US presidential debates: Game changer or time waster?

10-03-2012 12:49 BJT Special Report:2012 US Presidential Election |

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By CCTV Jessica Stone

Romney and Obama will hold the first of three televised debates on Wednesday night. The event will give voters - who, in many states, are already casting their ballots - the first look at their two presidential options - side by side.

Seventy million Americans watched the first televised presidential debate on September 26th, 1960-Vice President Richard Nixon versus Massachusetts senator, John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy, looking cool and collected Nixon looking pale and agitated. Kennedy went on to win.

Fast forward to 2012 with President Barack Obama debating Mitt Romney in Denver, Colorado, Wednesday. Both campaigns spent the weekend on television- trying to affect expectations.

Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey said, "Governor Romney is going to lay out his vision for a better and greater America for greater opportunity for all of our citizens; and I think that’s when you’re going to see this race really start to tighten."

Obama senior adviser David Plouffe said, "Now challengers tend to benefit from debates. We’ve expected all along that Governor Romney will have a good night."

As a White House reporter, Richard Benedetto has covered every president from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush.

Richard Benedetto, former White House reporter, said, President Obama needs to show that he knows, he’s on top of the economy, he has a solution to making it better. Mitt Romney has to show that he not only knows what to do about making the economy, but he’s in touch with the people."

Debates can break candidates. Remember Rick Perry during the Republican primary

There’s three agencies that are gone when I get there commerce, education and uh, what’s the third one there, let’s see.

And debates can make candidates as in this 1992 question on the national debt.

How has it affected you and if you have no experience in it, how can you help us

In terms of the recession, of course you feel it when you’re president of the U.S. And that’s why I’m trying to do something about it."

In my state, when people lose their jobs there’s a good chance I’ll know them by their names. When a factory closes, I know the people who ran it.

Only one of the "swing" states - states that can affect a presidential election result the most, because voters there are more susceptible to being swayed in one direction or another - appears to be a win for Mitt Romney.

But now the stage is set for viewers to compare President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney in one evening. Benedetto says it’s crucial that the candidates reach the small number of undecided voters who are not politically active.

Benedetto said, The presidency is a very personal vote and people want to connect with their president."

 

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CCTV.com

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