LET THE debating begin.
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney square off in their much-anticipated debate tonight at 9 EDT in Denver. Two additional presidential debates are also planned.
While there is a sense of excitement surrounding the Rocky Mountain vocal showdown, debates very rarely change the course of the electorate. Research has shown that viewers will -- the majority of the time -- believe the candidate they support was the debate's winner.
But such forums do provide the opportunity for a major blunder to occur, possibly breathing new life into a struggling campaign. While Romney is not on a sinking ship, polls indicate Obama is increasing his lead over the former Massachusetts governor.
Moreover, Obama is shown holding leads in all the key swing states, including Ohio. So tonight's political rhetoric takes on added importance for Romney.
The face-to-face dialogue will also help cut through all the mixed messages being delivered in campaign ads. The candidates will be on an island tonight, accountable for everything they say.
Some 60-70 million viewers will be tuning in tonight, providing an audience not possible any place else. So both Romney and Obama want to bring their "A" game. That being the case, both spent much of Tuesday honing their skills.
After all the talking is done in Denver, endless analysis and "spin" will quickly spew on the debate, with each camp and political party claiming victory.
Viewers will likely be bombarded with post-event partisan reviews, clouding the thrust of the forum. But tonight's debate is an ideal opportunity for voters to get a more personal and in-depth look at the two men, one of whom will shape our nation's future during the next four years.