Presidential debate season starts this week with the first main event between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
All voters should pay attention to these key campaign matches, which will be vital to forming an opinion as to who should lead the country for the next four years. All of the debates will air on major networks at 8 p.m. Central Time.
The first debate, focusing on domestic policy, is Wednesday in Denver and will be hosted by PBS’s Jim Lehrer. Other scheduled debates are as follows:
• The vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan will be held Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky. It will include discussion of both foreign and domestic policy, and will be hosted by Martha Raddatz of ABC News.
• Romney and Obama will face off again Oct. 16 in New York for a townhall meeting-style format where citizens are allowed an opportunity to ask the candidates direct questions in the debate moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley. Discussion will include both domestic and foreign policy.
• The final debate between the presidential nominees will be held Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla. The discussion led by Bob Schieffer of CBS will focus on foreign policy.
While some responses might be scripted in anticipation of what questions will be asked, voters will have the opportunity to hear the candidates field questions with their own words.
There will be no teleprompters to read off of, no campaign spokesman filters, no pundits to spin remarks one way or the other, and no flurry of attack ads – at least within the framework of the debates.
While we shouldn’t have expected many direct answers during convention season as to how to reduce the national deficit, lower unemployment, fix troubled entitlement programs, deal with Iran, and turn the economy around, we should expect those answers now.
There will be plenty of noise and bluster, gotcha politics, personal attacks and focus on things that don’t matter much in the coming weeks.
We hope there’s little of that during the debate hours.
Instead, we want to hear the candidates’ specific plans for leading the country the next four years.
If you’re still on the fence, tune out the campaign spin. Tune into the debates.