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Hub Opinion Debates may show unvarnished images

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Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 3:00 pm

Americans planning to vote in the presidential election will be tuning in to this evening’s debate because they want to get it right on Nov. 6. They’re hoping that the three scheduled presidential debates will give them useful, unvarnished information for the ballot box.

It’s generally agreed that the media has been doing a lousy and biased job on campaign coverage. When Obama hasn’t been in the spotlight, the emphasis has been on Romney’s awkwardness.

The media likes Obama, and he flatters them — as he did at his first White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, when he joked that most journalists voted for him.

Romney seems incapable of expressing such a humorous jab, but then we say that because as voters and Americans, we still don’t know that much about Romney, except what the media chooses to feed us.

Absent from the media’s coverage — in addition to substantive, issues-oriented reporting — has been any glimpse into Romney the man. Americans know of his accomplishments, his business success and, with the release of his tax returns, of his charity, but we don’t know what makes him tick.

Romney’s strategy tonight should not be to better Obama in the debate, but rather to give Americans an idea of who he is. Don’t worry about beating the incumbent, focus on winning over Americans.

It is because potential voters want to get it right on Nov. 6 that much anticipation precedes tonight’s matchup. Can Obama trip up Romney? Can Romney get under Obama’s skin?

The showdown is interesting because the election now is just five weeks away, and Americans still hope they can learn something substantive about the candidates and the issues.

They’ve seen Obama fielding easy questions on the late night talk shows. They’re aware of Romney’s goofs. Voters want to believe there is more to these two candidates than shallow reporting, staged appearances and the national conventions have provided.

Which candidate will be more convincing and present better visions for the nation? Which will emerge as the one who seems capable of fulfilling his vision?

These and many other questions must be addressed. Americans want leadership in Washington. They’ll be watching for a leader tonight.



Today — 8 p.m.

Oct. 16 — 8 p.m.

Oct. 22 — 8 p.m.

—Vice Presidential

Oct. 11 — 8 p.m.

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