By CNN's Jack Cafferty:
As the clock ticks down to Election Day, the debates are the next big hurdle for the candidates.
Mitt Romney, who has had a rough few weeks to put it mildly, is under the most pressure to use the first presidential debate to turn this thing around. Some actually think October 3 is his last best chance.
Which is probably why he's been practicing a lot.
According to Politico, Romney recently did five mock debates in 48 hours. He's apparently told his advisers that it might be hard to win a debate against the president.
If you're on Mitt Romney's staff, the debates have got to make you at least a little nervous. Their candidate famously puts his foot in his mouth when he goes off prompter.
But the debates could also be a challenge for President Obama, who can give long-winded answers that sound more like a college lecture than a game plan for a second term. This is a man who once gave a 17-minute answer in a town hall meeting. The president can go on and on.
No surprise Team Obama was out lowering expectations this week, saying the president hasn't debated in four years, while Mitt Romney had lots of practice in the primaries.
We now know half the first debate in Denver will focus on the economy. Other topics will include health care, the role of government and governing. Pass the NoDoz.
Debates can be a defining moment for a presidential candidate, and October 3 will be huge.
Here’s my question to you: How much will the presidential debates matter?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
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