Now that the debates are history, how much did they matter?
October 23rd, 2012
03:49 PM ET

Now that the debates are history, how much did they matter?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Three presidential debates in the history books. So now what?

After all the hype by the media, the expectations games played by both campaigns, lowering the bar for their guy, raising the bar for the other guy, the three 90-minute sessions themselves, the post-game spin by both sides and all the talking heads on television. After all that, here's what we know:

Mitt Romney did himself some good. Maybe even a lot of good.

Headed into that first debate, some had already written Romney's political obituary. They thought the race was President Obama's to lose. And that's just what he did in that first debate. He tried to throw it all away.

Regardless of who wins the election, one of the most memorable moments of this campaign will likely be President Obama's failure to show up for that debate.

The president's dismal, un-presidential and uninterested performance combined with Mitt Romney's strong showing shook this race to its core. As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wisely predicted beforehand, that first debate did in fact turn the race "upside down."

Ever since that moment, as the polls turned against President Obama, he's been playing catch up.

The president came prepped for the remaining debates. He went on the offense against Romney and held his own. However, these last two face-offs didn't provide a clear winner like the debacle in Denver did.

What remains to be seen is whether the president can stop the bleeding and undo the image that he left on the 70 million Americans who watched that first debate.

We'll find out in two weeks.

Here’s my question to you: Now that the debates are history, how much did they matter?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Dave in Kissimmee, Florida:
They mattered little. The only thing different is that Obama didn’t bother to show up for the first dog-and-pony show and that permanently set him behind. I took it as an insult to those of us who support him.

Jack, The first debate's impact was huge. We will all be talking for years about how to win or lose an election by one debate performance.

Ann in Charleston, South Carolina:
Debates matter in varying degrees for different people. For folks who have been paying attention throughout the primaries, the debates mattered little. For those who have just recently tuned in to the election, the debates may have helped them make a decision.

D. in New York:
I think that they did matter and the first debate turned the tide. Romney got to prove that he is not some sort of cold, out-of-touch monster. Obama, getting more desperate with each passing week, showed what an angry, petty street fighter he is. Romney came across as reasonable, smart, able to cross the aisle, capable and presidential.

Annie in Atlanta:
Honestly, Jack, the debates don't mean a thing to me personally. But then I pay attention to what these guys say from the first day they throw their hat in the ring. It's a shame we have so much information available to weed through yet so few of us even bother.

Ken in Seattle:
Some of my favorite TV programs were not on and that was a bummer. In terms of the election, they provided nothing of value.

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Filed under: 2012 Election
soundoff (280 Responses)
  1. Paul From Austin Texas

    The only matter it made to me is that it confirmed to me that Romney is a businessman that is used to all things going his way. When they don't he gets nasty and smug. As a President he could get upset to fast in the real world of being President and he might take actions before weighing all sides.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  2. Lee in Wyoming

    The debates mattered, in different ways to different people.

    Vote November 6 --- your right and your duty.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  3. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    They gave the voters one more chance to judge the veracity and character of the candidates. Anyone trapped in a cave might not previously have seen the flip-flopping mendacious Mitt would aerial through to scam a vote.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  4. annie, atlanta

    Honestly Jack, the debates don't mean a thing to me personally. But then I pay attention to what these guys say from the first day they thrown their hat in the ring. It's a shame we have so much information available to weed through yet so few of us even bother.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  5. Mel - Houston

    Jack, I'm somewhat of a political junky, so; my decision on whom I was going to vote was made quite a few months ago. The debates did nothing for me to change my decision. My impression of the debates was that there should have been a disclosure before the debates got underway. There should have been a "MORON ALERT". The third debate was the worst. Gov. Romney was saying to the morons that he was the likable candidate and really he was just like President Obama except that he was whiite.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  6. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    The debates mattered to the candidates. President Obama seeemed to wake himself up after his lacklustre performance in the first debate and came back to thrash Romney in the second two. Whether they move the electorate is anyone's guess.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  7. jk in MN

    They fed each candidate's base, I would hope they helped the truly undecided voter based on the contect of what was said and not on the theatrics. Sadly, for the lazy voter, they will probably listen to the misleading campaign ads slung out there by the SuperPACS. Let's horpe there aren't that many of those voters out there and they are actually paying attention.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  8. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    In the over-all scheme of things, probably not that much. What they did do however is show to the entire nation, and to the world, what a bully Mitt Romney is. No matter how hard he tried to use his smirky, condescending smile to hide his contempt, the bully in him always comes through. It is now obvious to all that Romney is not presidential material on any level.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  9. Nate NC

    None Jack. Michelle Obama got my vote WITHOUT SAYING A WORD!

    October 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  10. Jim in Aurora, IL

    People are still missing the point. This not a race KOs or winning on points
    it is seeing a clear choice in fact and truth that will help our country keep it's soverinty, dignity and future.
    Winning or losing misses the point completly
    Election day needs to about We the people and our freedom to live

    October 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  11. naturalbud

    Jack, the debates mattered a lot. There is no doubt that voters were paying attention. How could they miss seeing the debates on every major broadcast channel?
    That said, the last debate is the one most will remember, as memories of particulars fade quickly. In that debate, Gov Romney failed to clearly and simply illuminate the tremendous failures of the last four years and offer a clear alternative.
    This is too bad, since he does in fact have alternatives that will move America back away from bloated government, which in the final analysis is the greatest inhibitor of a robust, free economy and jobs.
    It is too bad that "fact checking onsite, since both participants tend to have worse memories that even I do in my old age.
    Bud from Jacksonville, Fl

    October 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  12. Rich Texas

    What debate? If you mean the 3 talking point conferences these presidential candidates and their want to be side kicks had , I learned absolutely nothing. Obama is still Obama and Romney is still Romney neither of which are worth the price of gasoline to drive to a voting place to cast a ballot for. If these two folks are the best this country has to offer then we are all in trouble.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  13. Gurgyl


    October 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  14. NurseLisa in CT

    I personally don't think many were swayed by a debate – most Americans were leaning one way already and our guy's comments were viewed as truthful while the other guy's comments rang hollow. However, this could indeed be one of the tightest elections ever and so, even a few votes swinging due to a debate performance or lack thereof, could make the difference.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  15. Mike J.

    They mattered more to some than others. What I saw was a President that has been truer to his word than your average politician. Although President Obama has not "succeeded" in everything he had promised, he has "attempted" to do what he had stated he would do. That is more than we could hope to expect from Mitt.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  16. Rich Texas

    Last night when I turned the TV on and switched to the debate I could have swore I was watching a re-run of Bevis and Butthead. Believe me when I say this, Bevis and Butthead are much more enlightening and entertaining. The commercials for wart remover were even more informative.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  17. Ken in Seattle

    Some of my favorite TV programs were not on and that was a bummer. In terms of the election, they provided nothing of value.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  18. Dallas of Reno, NV

    They mattered to me in that it gave me better insight in to how each man was thinking. It either affirmed what I was already thinking or it clarified certain points of view for each candidate. I did learn things...but thats because I watched with the intent of learning something.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  19. annie, atlanta

    Normally I'd say no, but the huge shift last night can't be overlooked. I'm thinking either Romney endorsed Barack Obama, or at the very least tried to do the best flip flop of all time and declared himself Barack Obama.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  20. Marc in Canada

    What's incredible Jack is how a good percentage of Americans including many in the media and for 90 minutes even the President allowed Mitt Romney to re-invent himself yet again. He basically went unchallenged and was able to wipe out over a decade of historical data and ever changing positions. More surprisingly no mention of Mitt's unwillingness to come clean on his tax returns in any of the debates. The moderators certainly took it easy on old Mitt. To answer your question I suspect the President did just enough last night to win a 2nd term.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  21. Larry Minnesota

    After last night, it showed just how much Mitt is NOT Presidential material. He is absolutely out of his league. He may be able to push himself around with business, but when it comes to finessing countries, I would be very afraid. He seems to look at numbers without figuring what they mean.(horses and bayonets) ROTF!

    October 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  22. Dave, Kissimmee, FL

    For the 94% of us, or even the 47% of us who have figured it out long ago, they mattered little. The only thing different is that Obama didn’t bother to show up for the first dog and pony show and that permanently set him behind. I took it as an insult to those of us who support him. To the so called “undecided,” it swayed them toward the pathological liar running against Obama. If they really hadn’t made up their minds many, many months ago, it is terrifying to me that our fate is left to a handful of people who are so clueless that they will undoubtedly be snookered into voting for an obvious, flimflamming, flip-flopping, smoke and mirrors, oligarchic plutocrat.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  23. Richard Texas

    Watching these debates was worse then having a tooth extracted with no anesthetic. The painted on Howdy Doody smirk on Romney's face combined with Obama looking like a Cat with canary feathers poking out of the sides of his mouth when the mention of Bengasi comes up was pathetic. Neither of these guys acts presidential. A complete waste of time.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  24. Terry in Virginia

    For the party faithful, no change. For those on the fence, the debates may have helped them decide between the lesser of two flawed candidates. Reality is until Congress changes the middle class and poor will remain on a financial cliff, told to take care of their own while they are taxed to death, and watch in anger while the rich corporations and individuals raid the Treasury. Why? Because both parties are beholden to the top 1%, Wall Street, and the Big Banks. They were the real winners in 2008 and will be the real winners in 2012 and beyond until the majority of Americans toss and keep tossing the clowns in Congress out of office. Just follow the money and you'll see.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  25. FT

    II'm changing my vote after I realized how Romney seem to change his views and go along with Obama views. it made me realize that Romney would change his views after he gets in office and well ,he says what he thinks we want to hear to elect him and if he would win the real Romney would stand up he don't care enough for the poor. and once or if he wins they wont be in the food stamp line but the soup line.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  26. Elizabeth From Toronto

    The debates mattered a lot. They gave Romney a fighting chance to be President. And lost Obama points because he was too easy going in the first debate. Romney through the debates has fooled the American people with his smile and soft words although what he offers is so not possible. BUT Americans have been impatient before – giving "W" a second term and so whatever happens Americans would have voted for it. Americans prefer to vote for the nice, guy or cowboy than the "steady on" guy like Obama.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  27. Wilhelm in Las Vegas

    first one where Obama was asleep obviously mattered because of the poll move toward Romney and the three may be the primary "decision maker" for "low information" voters who don't have the time or inclination to really research the candidates.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  28. calaurore9

    In the words of Romney's dirty trickster buddy, Donald Trump, they were clearly YUGE.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    October 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  29. D from NY

    I think that they did matter and the first debate turned the tide. Romney got to get a word in edgewise after all the attack ads and prove that he is not some sort of cold, out of touch monster. Obama, getting more desperate with each passing week, showed what an angry, petty, street fighter he is with his constant attacks. Romney came across as reasonable, smart, able to cross the aisle, capable and presidential.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  30. Ann from Charleston SC

    Debates matter in varying degrees for different people. The overriding factor for any of us is our basic perception of how government should work and which candidate makes the most sense in light of that perception, so debates offer some insight into how the candidates think and how they fit into our view of government. For folks who have been paying attention throughout the primaries, the debates mattered little. For those who have just recently tuned in to the election, the debates may have helped them make a decision.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  31. Dave - Phx

    They mattered quite a bit. The world got to see Romney change his positions completely from that in the Republican primary. The guy is a liar and will say and do anything to get elected. The worst possible choice for our country.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  32. Brad, Portland, OR

    They probably won't make a difference.

    Most people already knew who they were voting for, and all the debates did was reinforce those beliefs.

    The undecided voters on whom the election hinges tend to be low-information people who probably didn't even watch the debates.

    If they vote at all, it'll probably be based on something like who has the nicest smile.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  33. Linda, St. Louis

    Debates matter, especially substantive debates. The debates clearly showed that Romney is a dangerously ambitious man who will say and do anything to get elected. Romney will team up with anyone, even peddlers of hate, to advance his interest. Romney stands for nothing. He has no respect for 47% of Americans. He has no respect for President Obama or the office of the presidency. Romney is an elitist who doesn't believe the rules apply to him. Ann angrily told "you people" to back off. America can't afford to go back. Forward! Obama/Biden 2012! Mitt Romney 1040!

    October 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  34. bonnie from NJ

    The debates are a joke, no political candidate in any debate ever answers the question asked.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  35. FT from Baton Rouge La

    And if Romney agrees with the President why go thru a presidential transition lets keep doing what the president is doing. The first debate they said the president was not saying anything they said he didn't speak up. and when he spoke up last night they said he was rude which is it , To me he spoke as a man that knows what he is doing and romney agreed

    October 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  36. judy H.

    In my opinion, IF the voters of the United States elect Romney as their President, there will be more trouble than they are facing now. He is unpredictable, changes his story very often and I don't think he is on the up and up. I think he is for Mitt Romney and has no concern for the ordinary person who has to make a living and make ends meet. I believe he does not have a good attitude about foreign policy and would put the US into another useless war, thus putting the military in harms way AGAIN. Just like George W. Bush he, in my opinion is a war mongrel. I live in Canada and I have followed both Candidates'debates and I am very afraid for the people of the USA if they vote Romney in as their President. Rich people don't need that job simply because they do not understand what the ordinary people struggle with every day and you don't need any more wars or higher taxes. Thank you

    October 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  37. Coming in sense

    Jack, not only the first debate's impact is huge, it made the whole election process upside down. We will all be talking for years about how to win/lose an election by one debate performance.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  38. Frank Trousdell

    After the first debate I felt they were a waist of time. But as I listened I started to get what really was going on. Romney was a pathetic puppeteer for the Republican genre. He changed his story to meet the moment and time. If I can say anything for the President he has been constant in his message since he was elected. Obama and the Democrats were dealt a loosing hand of cards since day one. What behooves me is that the U.S. forgets where he started and with what he was given as a starting point. When you begin in a deep hole chances are you may not get out very easily for a long time.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  39. Bob Semetka

    The debates mattered greatly & finally last night the President revealed the different positions held by Gov Etch-a-Sketch or is it Gov Potatohead.
    Toronto, Ontario

    October 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  40. Larry from Kansas


    They matter a lot. There is one thing that all the viewers of these debates realize. They realize that Romney suffers from severe Romnesia and needs a stronger medication and a change of doctors to get his disease under control.

    Larry from Kansas

    October 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm |

    tampa, fl only thing proven is that for the $2bil raised and spent by the 2 major parties and all of the debates is that neither party is worthy of being our president. this is the best we get for $2bil? why should we be surprised? look at what congress spends and what we taxpayers get for it, crap.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  42. Bob C

    Unfortunately for Presidet Obama, that first debate was a disaster. He allowed Mitt Romney back in the ballgame. Last nights debate was telling. The Preeident felt the urgency to become more aggressive while Romney was content at remaining passive and non-confrontational. In essence, Romney seemed content to rest on his laurels while Obama was attempting to reverse momentum. Personally, I beleive Romney will say or do anything to become President. He has been actively campaigning for the past six years. His fathers failure to achieve that goal may be his driving force. He prides himself on being a successful businessman, however, the last successful businessman to be elected President was Herbert Hoover and we all know how well that worked out for us. There's an old Irish proverb that maintains the devil you know is better then the one you don't. I'll stick with Obama.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  43. Maya in Minneapolis

    Jack, according to the republicans the debate did not matter at all since good ol Mitt lost! What do ya know! Huh

    October 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  44. Jeff In Minnesota

    Those were debates? Could have fooled me. I thought they were two guys complaining about one another without the pool table, pool cues, drinks and the bar.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  45. Ed from California

    The debates do matter, Jack. We all hear these candidates on the stump talking their game, with no feedback from anyone. These debates give the opportunity for the other candidate to call the other out. The reaction is fabulous. I love seeing the backpedaling. The debates really doesn't change my mind at all......they just verify who's not a liar and will stand up for their true core values. And isn't that what we all want. A candidate with solid core values? A person that truly believes in our Constitution, and our Declaration of Independence.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  46. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    If nothing else was garnered by viewers of the debates, I think Americans should think long and hard about the candidate for whom they vote. President Obama was very consistant in his statements throughout all three debates. As a contrast, Mitt Romney seemed to morph into something different in each debate. It's apparent that his handlers wanted to show different views of the ex governor to suit each debate. However, what I saw was a chameleon who very conveniently changed his stated policies to pander to specific audiences. I've always been told that if you don't stand for something, you stand for nothing. That is what I learned from listening to Mitt in the debates and is precisely why he will not get my vote.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  47. Eric in Houston

    We won't really know until the real poll of polls is in, hopefully sometime in the late evening two weeks from today. If President Obama is re-elected, then I think most will say the polls were not that important having not derailed the previously leading incumbent candidate. Should Governor Romney win the election, then it is likely that the debates will be considered to have been critical being credited with defusing the prevailing narrative and showing the Governor as a reasonable choice rather than a scary alternative.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  48. Ted

    What debate...I thought that these were re-runs of the Jerry Springer show.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  49. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, Virginia

    They mattered a lot two weeks ago, as they stopped everyone from writing Mitt off. Whether they gave him enough momentum or last night killed it will be seen over the next week or so. Internal tracking polls will know before the polls that the press and public see will tell first. Most campaigns know when its over the weekend BEFORE the election.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  50. Tyrone, NY

    Yes it showed regardless of how much of a liar Romney has been proven to be there is a segment of America that would buy his non specific plan. The President has always presented plans that have been obstructed by Republicans! Now my YTD 401 yields 14% managed by ING in 2008 it was LOSING money!

    October 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  51. Doug Ericson

    For those looking for substance the debates mattered very little. Mortgage Backed Securities were not mentioned once in all of the debates. Some references were made to the Arab Spring abroad, but no explanation was given for why hundreds of riot cops show up for every peaceful protest parade at home. No serious plans were offered to eliminate the 16 trillion dollar debt, and so on. Pundits will say Romney gained ground in the debates, but he didn't gain enough. Obama still remains standing, so he will win another term. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  52. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Not much. Romney spent all of his time talking and not saying a single thing. A whole lot of, "I know how to do this," but not a word on HOW he would do everything he says he's going to do without destroying the country. As for Obama, he spent all of his time trying to defend everything he's done, but too many people have partaken of too much right wing kool aid and don't believe him.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  53. victory50

    The debates brought forth Romney's ability to switch his viewpoint to please the supposed audience. Obama stayed on topic and on message. The choice was easy.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  54. ken, atlantic city, nj

    The debates didn't matter to blacks or hispanics but to people who care about something other than race you can easily see that obama is a joker in chief. obama has done absolutely nothing to solve the problems of our country: violent crime is up 20%, sat scores are the lowest in history, poverty has increased, median incomes are down, gasoline has doubled in price, food is up, health care is up, college tuition is up, new college grads have a 50% unemployment rate, federal debt has increased 5 trillion in the last 4 years, the middle east is in caos, the mexican drug lords and gangs now control every major city in the u.s. and 23 million people are out of work. All obama can do is laugh and blame others because he has no clue on how to solve any of the major problems this coutnry faces.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  55. Julius Houston

    It mattered at the last DEBATE! It seems like Pres.OBOMA scored enough points to win the elections,Im not a voter but I listen to "people that suppose to lead this country"Both of these candidates was just talking a bunch of garbage until last night when Oboma left the best for last,when he started talking about Bush! Didnt no one wanted to here nothing about Bush,but that last comment about Bush,and introduced Chainy into the debate with no comeback from Ramney brought some undecided voters to the pole!Now voters are stuck with a decision,where oranges are mixed with lemons.


    October 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm |

    Now that the debates are history, how much did they matter?

    I think debates matter. Just not as much as experience, character, truthfulness, allances, donors, and policies do.

    I beleive, as much of America, that Obama won 2 out of 3 debates. I also believe that Obama's experience as President, his unwavering Character, his truthfulness, those he associates with, those who give to his campaign (mostly individual Americans) and the policies that he has put forward make him the better choice for President on November 6th.

    I cannot trust Romney as far as I can pick him up and throw him. He has ties to Salvadorian Death Squads laundrying MILLIONS through BAIN, the Koch Brothers, and American HATER Zionist Sheldon Adelson. He lacks Character. He LIES. And the policies he is trying to sell the nation come from the 1980's. the 1950's and the 1920's. He is NOT the correct choice for president.

    Roseville CA

    October 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  57. Ron from NC

    It matters not. I voted last Saturday for change again. Hope I get it this time.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  58. Ed from MD

    In a hypocrisy it's very important to allow people to see both sides of the same coin, I think the debates accomplish that goal.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  59. John E. San Jose, CA


    For me, as an independent voter, they made absolutely no difference. I came into the debates not voting for either of them and I am not going to vote for either of them after the debates. If anything, these debates solidified my desire to vote for someone else. For the first time in my voting life, I am not waisting my vote on the lesser of two evils. I can no longer accept the insanity of the Republicans and Democrats. After all, wasn't it Einstein who said Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? To me a vote for either Obama or Romney is complete insanity.

    John E
    San Jose, CA

    October 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  60. Pensacola Pete

    Not sure – either 47%, or 99% – depending on one's degree of awareness of one's own insignificance to the financial and political forces that actually rule this country. No matter who wins, anyone who isn't rich is screwed.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  61. Craig

    Debates can, and did, show a lack of historical knowledge. The U.S. has been dictating to countries since 1823. How do people think we got control of the Panama Canal, Hawaii, and the Philippines? JFK told (rightfully so) the Soviet Union to get the missles out of Cuba. Ronald Reagan told the Soviets to "tear this wall down" and, told Cuba to get out of Grenada. If our money is involved, we will dictate to that nation.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  62. BERT K. LA, CA

    Hi Jack, debates matter. The famous, “Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy” analogy by Senator Bentsen to Senator Quayle revealed a truth about Quayle. Likewise, President Obama’s analogy that the reason we don’t have as many Navy ships as we had in 1917, is the same reason we don’t have as many horses or bayonets, revealed a truth about Romney; his lack of having a Commander in Chief’s grasp of science and technology!

    October 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  63. Gail, Plano TX.

    The debates did not matter to me, not one iota. I voted yesterday for the President. I did not watch the last debate. Could not stomach Romney's disrespect for tfe President. He thought this would be an election on the color issue. And sad but true, it is. . Romney will win. But he is not the best man. Far from it. He's a weak, sweaty shell of of a man. And Jack, the media is supposed to be the 4th estate. Why have you failed to do your job, and held Romney accountable for his LIES?

    October 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  64. Bob in Ohio

    A lot, as an undecided independent voter not allowing any of the third party candidates to participate in the debates is enough reason for me to vote one of them.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  65. lillie guin

    there have been so many lies from both sides BUT when your the comander and chef you should have a better standing..he is acting llike a ten year old bully..and lost my vote with the big bird jokes..this country is on a cliff and he makes joles..

    October 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  66. Gary-Woodhaven, Michigan

    If we were to use these debates for a rational assessment of candidates it would mean nothing as rationale cannot be based on half truths and false ideology.

    If we were to base these debates on providing you and your colleagues something to do and pretend as if it were important Jack, then the debates meant a lot.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  67. Larry in Houston

    Take a look at your very last sentence, you will find your answer.

    If a person is still un-decided, it's either because they don't keep up with current events, or they just don't care, or they are still planning on going to work the very next day, or their Job isn't going to affect their vote, or vice versa, or it will not affect their lives one bit, one way or another.

    May the Best Man Win – 2012

    October 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  68. raymond

    You look and listen and understand why if you are a teacher, state worker, union affliiated, or a retired railroad worker you had better vote for President Obama or your pension will be cut to ribbions.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  69. Sylvia from San Diego

    Not at all for me. I already had my mind set on change – Romney. Bottom line, just look at Obama's record for the last 4 years........ DISMAL!!

    October 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  70. Chris in NY

    Jack, it seems youve answered your own question. You think debates mattered in this lection because Romney did himself much good and President Obama didn't show up in the first debate. The problem is the media has tried to hype Mitt Romney's performance in the first debate and failed to give President Obama credit with his wins even when the electorate agrees he won the deabte. It's not he who laughs first that laughs the best. It's he who laughs last. President Obama laughs last and he laughs the best.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  71. Dan from New York

    The debates were confirming for me. I was waiting for Mitt Romney to be definitive with his economic plans. However, he simply never delivered. In the meantime, after barely showing up for the first debate, Obama came back with clarity and re-confirming the steady, long-haul that it is going to take to get this country back to where it was a dozen or so years ago, in regard to debt and job growth. I was really disappointed that Romney never tried to answer all the questions about his plans. It was basically a stump speech and never got any deeper. This is a complicated world. We need a President who is measured and can sort through the maze.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  72. Chuck K from Cherokee Village, AR.

    There are so many that think these debates got too ugly. One has to realise that we, as a nation, have created this monster. I have seen an underlying contempt growing for our President that has been based on false information. Be it the birth-er issue, the alleged apology tour, questions about his Christianity, and his desire to purposely damage America. These are just a few. If one were to look at each of these issues separately, they hold no water. Yet slowly we are having this mountain of misinformation and hatred fed to us. Not through the alleged "main stream liberal media," but through our personal emails, FB, Twitter, and all social networks. We have created this ugliness.
    Regardless of who wins this election, we need to get behind our President, and force our elected representatives to work with him to solve the problems we do have. We can't have another 4 years with a signed, "Contract with America," that defies our President, and defies what the majority voted for. We know this was President Obama's last political debate. My hopes is that it was the last political debate for both candidates.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  73. Curtis in Philadelphia

    Jack, the debates, as far as the job of being president goes, do not matter: Presidents don't debate, they listen to advice and then make a decision; they negotiate with allies, but they don't debate them. Will these made for TV debates matter in this election, they could sway some voters, but the biggest impact they will have is to the advertisers and media outlets bottom line. After all, the business of America, is business and "we the people" are screwed because of it.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  74. bob ocala fl

    do they matter? No, no a thousand times no,
    What they discuss won't reach fruition.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  75. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    I believe that they matter in that they allowed the candidates to get exposed to the American public. That many of the American voting public didn't see the debates is simply their loss. I don't judge a candidate by their first debate appearance, either. I judge them by how they maintain their momentum in the follow-up debates. In that regard, while Mitt Romney put on a strong showing at the first debate, he couldn't withstand Obama's verbal barrages in the two follow-ups.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  76. Paul in NC

    They mattered a lot. Yes, Obama had a poor showing in the first debate but all Romney did was confirm his duplicity. Last night Mitt showed the world that he is totally clueless on foreign affairs. That disqualifies him as a potential commander-in-cheif. Jack, maybe it's time for you to stop dissing Obama and start paying paying attention to what's really happening out there.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  77. Jim Charlotte NC

    I'm sure the only who most felt they were necessary was the Media because it gave them something to talk about. I believe that most people already had their minds made up and all it did was confirm their belief because they tune out what the other person is saying.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  78. John from Santa Maria, CA

    During the debate Romney tried to re-define himself as a centrist, not a candidate of the far right. I dont think he is going to get away with that, the far right feels jilted, everyone else made him as a confirmed flip-floper. Like that Beatles song, He's a real nowhere's man, doesn't have a point of view.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  79. Steve

    They mattered quite a bit.. People had a chance to see Romney at his best and showed how Obama can lie with a straight face. Example: The epology tour that Romney mentioned about Obama going to the Mid East. Obama said it was the biggest whopper by the Republicans. Well today on the radio many stations played Obama's sound bites
    veryfying that Obama did use apology terms. It looks like Obama is the one has an egg on his face. Not only did he apologised to the Musdlim countries he bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia. Another one is the Russia being a Geopolical foe which Romney was correct on, another one Obama accusing Romney that wasn't true about the Auto industyry bailout. How can you trust this President with these lies. It changed my vote, I'm voting for Romney.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  80. Gigi Oregon

    The one clear point made last night was "Romney endorsed President Obama's policies". No matter what the spin masters try to tell us..."we are better off today than four years ago". Bin Laden is dead, our troops are coming home, Baby boomers are retiring, Capitalist are saying yes, we could pay more in taxes and jobs are coming back.

    Inspite of the Republican Representatives having made it clear... their focus was "to make Obama a one term President by sitting on their hands for four years", not supporting plans to create jobs and pay down the debt accrued under President Bush..

    " We the people", leading with women, students and seniors will SHOUT and VOTE "FORWARD".

    October 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  81. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    Personally it doesn't matter one bit. To those undecided, seemingly uninformed, it may matter. Teddy Roosevelt said, “The government is us; we are the government, you and I”. I find it my responsibility as a citizen to pay attention to myself and you 24/7 year round. That is a priority in our democracy. After four years since the last election, what in the world is there not to decide?

    October 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  82. Baby in Florida

    Don't you mean, "who was the best actor"? Because that's what it comes down to. It used to be a debate was when you got two people together and let them have at it. Instead, we now have a fashion show where the candidates spend hours being coached on how to move their facial muscles and their hands, and what tie to wear.. I'd personally rather have someone just round them up when they don't expect it and toss them in a room together cold turkey and have some really tell-it-like it is moderator, like maybe Jack Cafferty, ask them questions. We're more likely to hear truth if it's unrehearsed than the polished and vulgarly manicured way the debates are being produced these days. Give them both an "A" for having learned their lines well, and an "F" for sincerity and TRUTH.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  83. mac71

    The debates are just a small part of the show . The money that spent by the super packs and how many voters the Republican party can suppress is what will decide the election .

    October 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  84. Greg Turman

    FREE LIVE TELEVISION debates trumped $100's of millions of dollars spent on fairytales.
    ObamaRama sat on a wall
    ObamaRama took a great fall
    All the King's men and all the King's horses
    Could not put ObamaRama together again.

    Yours Tuly.
    Gregory Turman

    October 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  85. D William in Lowell MA

    It doesn't matter one bit. Polarization has defined the mentality of denial and rationalization that overlooks the lies told straight to the American people via the TV cameras. At least Obama was consistent while Romney was a chameleon, changing his story based on his surroundings. That's really a problem in foreign policy, your allies and adversaries have no clue what your real position is or where the line in the sand is.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  86. beevee

    They did reveal who can be an effective leader with a vision and who will for for the middle class and the poor in the country. President obama came out on the top in the end. he was more presidential.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  87. Larry of Boston, Massachusetts

    Jack, Our allies are no doubt happy to see that after 4 years, President Obama has learned that they land planes on aircraft carriers and that submarines can go under water. Such acumen for the community organizer. Now, can we elect a President that can fix this mess we're in?

    October 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  88. George

    My sense it that it did not move anyone significantly from their preconceived positions. However, it would be good for Obama to have some "state of the union" kinds of messages (if he gets selected) that were as informative of his ideas as were those of the debate. At least then the public can see the thinking behind the introverted president. It's easier to have buy in if we know what's going on.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  89. Bob in Texas

    Jack, you saw the data swings. They matter quite a lot. Moreover, they heightened interest in the election. This is such a close election, for the first time in my life the debates may actually effect the outcome.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  90. QS

    Sadly Jack, they didn't matter nearly as much as they should have since the Presidential debates have become a laughingstock anymore.

    When people say Romney won that first debate without acknowledging the fact that he was virtually lying the entire debate, that's telling.

    When the people scoring the debates are focused more on body language and "zingers" rather than on the substance of what is being said, it speaks volumes.

    But in this last debate, the story is essentially that Romney's only strategy was to "appear presidential" – not to win the debate, just to appear a certain way.

    Seriously, how much can these debates really matter if the strategy going in isn't even to win but to simply appear a certain way?

    Debates should be judged on answers and substance, not this three-ring circus of how they get scored and judged now.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  91. Elaine Drake

    I'm an undecided voter who watches the debates every four years, and I can tell you I don't go into the booth voting for who won the first debate, or the second debate. The third debate is typically the one that stands out, but even then what sways my vote is the research I do myself on the issues that matter most to be. The past few elections, the most I have gotten out of debates was the laughs I got out of SNL mocking the debates the following Saturday.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  92. Nimer Baki

    Debates don't really matter much unless something terrible happens like Bush 41 looking at watch, or Ford no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. As to this election, decided voters are still decided and uncommitted voters remain confused. Obama will win in a close election. Idiots in Congress will continue to wreck this country. The end

    October 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  93. Lois Ontario. Canada

    I don't think they matter that much as your election campaigns are soooo long that people lose interest. Ours lasts
    8-10 weeks & that is long enough & very effective. If it is too long. people get tired of the same old B.S.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  94. Tina R

    I considered the debates just interesting "television"...just another dog and pony show....I surely hope that the American voter does not cast a vote based on debates or ads....please review the issues....I am for Obama...I think he has at least tried to do what he could for the middle class...but has been working with a lame duck Congress...and no matter who wins this time...it will probably be business as usual with nothing being done for us...but I am voting for Obama because I do not trust Romney and his rich man philosophy.....the grass is NOT always greener....I think Obama will least try to continue to protect what is left of the middle class...his biggest mistake was to promise too much too soon....if he could fix the Bush mess in 4 years...it wasn't as bad as everyone said to start with....

    October 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  95. Mark in San Jose CA

    The last two face offs didn't provide a clear winner, Jack? Oh please give us a break. Romney got pummeled in both of them. Regardless the debates mattered because they gave undecided Americans, assuming there really are any left, a chance to view the points and counter points each offered directly to the other. In the end you could see Romney sweating and looking perturbed while the President was in command with his facts, arguments, and especially his tone. Plus Romney lied over and over in each one and we had a chance to see that his campaign tactics led right into these performances. The debates clearly showed why Obama deserves relelection. He looks and acts like a President should while Romney played the fool we can all see through.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  96. Carlito

    Jack your a liar. Clearly Mitt is your dog in this race and while I applaud CNN for having homers for both parties on TV, what you are saying is simply untrue. The most memorable and lasting moments of the three debates were "Big Bird" and "horses and bayonets" . Romney won the first debate on form not substance , President Obama debunked Mitt's lies so well that by the third debate Mitt was trying to convince the american people that his policies will be the exact same. Shame on you Jack , shame on you.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  97. karen meyer

    Yo, it's over, Obama gave Mitt a clean, clear left hook (he's a lefty you know).

    October 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  98. jimmie

    The first debate mattered. It did in fact, turn the Obama campaign upside down and energized the Romney bid for the white house. All I saw in the second two debates was Obama trying to recover from the first one.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  99. RickFromDetroit

    The only thing that the debates showed is that we wasted a billion bucks in campaign contributions. Rather than spend two years in office and the next two years campaigning, maybe we should limit the campaigns to the three debates. It would produce the same results for a lot less money.

    Also, the odds are that more Americans could tell you who won the football game and the league championships last night than who won the debates, or What Debate?

    October 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  100. Pat in Michigan

    I think this last debate showed that even if you don't like the guy it's time to hold your nose and vote for Obama. I am more scared of Romney being in power than a seasoned president who might or might not be the antiChrist.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  101. Michael, Chapel Hill

    I think the first debate did matter. Romney had graffiti all over his name before the first debate. When the voters knew what Romney is, Obama's influence stated fading away... Though Obama led the second and third debate, there was nothing new... Most of his verbosity were half truths. People already knew who Obama is and now they know who Romney is. So I think since the first debate voters were closely following Romney than Obama and would appear that Romney may be their choice.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  102. DEE

    I don't how much the debates mattered Jack. I guess we will find out in November.

    Houston TX

    October 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  103. Floyd Wilkey, Akron Ohio

    I voted for President Obama a week ago, Jack. Absentee ballot. I didn't want to get caught in the mile long lines like 08. I only watched the debates for entertainment purposes. I loved seeing the President play with the human etch-a-sketch. Anyone who is "undecided" at this stage are either too rich and have no need to vote, or too stupid to vote their own interest. If they aren't too rich to vote, they probably NEED to vote for Obama, Jack.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  104. Terri from Blountville, TN

    When the campaigns are allowed to dictate the rules, then candidates ignore the rules, are they really debates? The candidates do not answer the questions they are asked. They repeat talking points, or answer the question they wanted asked. Last night, I don't believe the Governor did that well. I don't think he looked Presidential at all. Agreeing with the President after months of war drums, doesn't make him look Presidential. It reinforces the weathervane narrative.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  105. Frank Tripodi, Chicago IL

    Voted for Obama four years ago. Romney gets my vote this time. Debates DO matter.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  106. ashok, mclean, virginia

    If Obama had prepared for the 1st debate like he did for the next two, the race would have been over, in Obama's favor. The 1st debate reversed the momentum, since it gave the country a new look at Romney. He has appeared presidnetial in every debate since, and that has helped him maintain momentum.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  107. Richard

    I believe that the first debate mattered a great deal to Mitt Romney. It tightened the race up and def. energized the Republican party. I think if Mitt wins this election that will be moment that changed the race. However, if Barack wins, I think early voting will be the deciding factor, since many people voted before the debate.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  108. ivan

    Debates don't mean anything to serious voters who are not party supporters but real issues will. Part of the list of issues will be national dept, unemployment, outsourcing American jobs and importing foreigners to do America jobs, increasing threats against Americans in the world, deteriorating family values due to politically correct behavior to satisfy a small percentage of population, and Undemocratic religious fanatics using the democratic system to undermine democracy in USA. A CEO who could not show results in four years will be sacked but the President will get the votes from the party supporters who are oblivious to the real issues. Counting heads is not the best way to find the best leader because 90 % of those heads are empty. While the media is bias, politics will never be civic duty but a football match. Party supporters will say their candidate is winning no matter who did well at the debates.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  109. Brian Wickremasinghe - Woodland Hills

    Debates don't seem to matter. The final debate showed Romney having a kindergarten knowledge on International Affairs. Nevertheless he has a good shot at winning. SAD.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  110. bo38637

    Zero. My decision was made after reading the DNC and RNC platforms and candidate's web page. However will the media do their job and stop giving Romney passes? He lies with every other word spoken and the media reports he is moving to the middle. The uninformed voting for Romney need to know the real Romney not the one manufactured.Voting for Romney because he is not Obama is the same as shooting yourself in the foot. The 5% will be ok.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  111. Deryl

    I just can't believe that the election is this close. I don't understand how so many people can forget so quickly about what got us into this mess. Tax breaks to the rich, unregulated banks and two wars that weren't paid for. The debates have shown me that if Romney gets elected we will go back to the famous quote " We're going with or without you" to a war that didn't need to happen. A trillion dollars, over 5 thousand soldiers dead and for what. The president has done what he said he would do to the best of his ability. More things would have been accomplished if the republicans in the house didn't block everything the president tried to do. They are the ones that we can't afford four more years of.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  112. Rick Kuipers

    I don't think Obama want's to be President again. World dictator is on his agenda.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  113. Don

    The debates mattered a lot. Obama was able to show a clear difference between the candidates and what the stakes are in this election. It is clear now that Romney is a man intent on winning the Presidency by saying what people want to hear even if it conflicts with previous positions. Obama showed that he is consistent, methodical and logical while Romney is banking on short memories and an electorate that has heard what they want to hear and no more. What came across loud and clear is the last debate was that Romney agrees with most of Obama Administrations policies, but would have implemented them earlier and with more vigor.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  114. Sara from New Jersey

    They show how gullible the American public can be. They will believe the lies that Romney tells them. He was "severely conservative" during the Republican primaries but then became a moderate, mainstream, now likeable guy. And everyone believed him. How scary is that?

    October 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  115. Julie Smith

    If nothing else, they showed that Romney is very intelligent and not just a rich guy. He has answers for how to fix the economy unlike Obama, who just says let's do more of the same that we did in the last four years. I will pick a businessman over a community organizer any day.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  116. Terrence Vocals (Signal Hill, California)

    After watching the Republican primary debates and now the one-on-one debates, I witnessed first-hand Willard's slither from the extreme right to the center of political ideolgy/policy. The debates mattered because the performances further solidified my perception of Romney's used car salsemen approach of saying what he thinks the audience at hand wants to hear and my vote for Obama in a couple of weeks.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  117. George, Dallas, TX

    Obama's loss in the first debate was the "fatal" loss of the presidency (thank the good Lord!).

    October 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  118. marjee123

    With the conservative polling companies I don't think much. When the republicans complained when they are the pulse of he nation and President Obama was ahead. But then as they always do the republcians whined that there was a conspiracy because they wanted Romney to be out front so the companies complies and made Romney be ahead. He can be ahead in all the polls they want him to but, the people of this country know who they are going to vote for and it sure as Hades ain't Romney.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  119. Adam from Mesa, AZ

    The only debate that mattered was the first debate. The entire country witnessed a president who didn't appear to even want a second term, much less be able to sell himself. After that debate, he stepped it up, but only in repeating old rhetoric. What has become clear in the debates is that Obama is out of ideas. If after four years, a CEO of company cannot either turn things around or have an innovative plan for the future they usually get fired.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  120. Andy in Canada

    it's a crap shoot – same place we were 60 days ago. The only way we will know what Romney will do as President is if G_d forbid he gets elected

    October 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  121. Patrick

    I think CNN and others go a little over the top when describing Obama's first debate performance. Did he lose? Yes. Clearly. Romney was ready and energetic. Obama was not. Was it a "dismal, un-presidential and uninterested performance" that almost "threw it all away"? That's not quite how I remember it. If the media wants to climb all over themselves to see who can describe the first debate in the most lopsided of terms, so be it. I'm just hoping that voters vote based on their own impressions, not by what the media says should be their impressions.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  122. wayne, va beach, va

    A lot, Jack. The President showed his arrogance and "I'm am the best thing since sliced bread" attitude, only to find out people may not like an arrogant person and even sliced bread gets stale after a time.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  123. Julian

    Well, the debate matter cause we the people wanted to make sure we don't have a repeat of George W. Bush. Start war with out facts and have our county in wars all over the Middle East.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  124. Amitoj

    Debates don't matter. People will vote for who they want to, and these debates are just part of the news cycle for the "strategists" and "analysts" to analyze the debates and continue with the fact checking. After this the news cycle may change, go on to the campaign trail, or just pick up another story.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  125. Mike K Somerset, NJ


    These debates do matter, but not in the way that you are asking. These debates matter because, either way, we are about to decide a presidential race where truth took a backseat to winning at all costs... from both candidates. It's terrible that these men who want to run this country face no punishment for outright lies. What good is a moderator, and media for that matter, if liars aren't called out for what they are when they lie? From Romney's policy stances to Obama's handling of Libya.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  126. Charles

    The debates did a lot for the voters who are concerned with substance. Unfortunately, that means that it meant nothing for most American. The third debate made up my mind. The Presidents knowledge on the subject dwarfed his opponents new found positions. I don't know about most voters who were on the fence but I simply could not watch Governor Romney flip nor flop any more. It is like they say, he has changed positions more than a p...n star. I have honestly never seen anything like Mitt.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  127. carlos santos

    its important for Romney and the republicans to win this election because they know that that our President Obama and his team have done what it takes to pick up our economy. Regardless of wins the election, these for years will develope to better our country because of the work that President Obama lead. People would say that Romney changed everything and not see who fought for it.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  128. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    We found out what a liar Mittie is and how little he knows about Foreign Policy and the military. We have the best military in the world without doubt, but we don't need to spend an additional one trillion dollars on it. We have over 1000 bases in the United States and around the world, we are at the point where we need to close about 75% of the overseas bases and quite supporting those countries, we're in debt up to our butt and we continue to spend money like a drunk sailor on leave, it has got to stop, we can't borrow money and give it to these countries just to have a military base there.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  129. World Peace

    Although fewer people may have watched the 2nd and 3rd debates, Obama did enough to bounce back.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  130. Sunshine

    Debates should be moderated by Independents not liberals. The first, second and third debate clearly helped me make my choice and that was for Romney. I found Obama to be arrogant, condescending, and a severe liar. America is not in better shape. Obama did say in the Rose Garden "acts of terror" but did not say that regarding Libya and he referred to the video. It took 14 days for him to admit it and then put the blame as usual on someone else. Last night really irked me because all Obama said was I, I, I, did that. Personally I didn't think obama won the debate. You don't chose someone because they are interruptive, sarcastic and liar of which Obama showed to be.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  131. rafael

    wow Jack,
    now that Mr Obama beat Romney very bad last nite,now you guys want ti put it as if the debates dont matter at all,Mr Obama will be your next president even if you dont want to,Romney got a huge surprise last nite,Obama was on fire and was way to much for Romney,Romney was so scare and praying God for those 90 minutes to finished,gracias from Dominican Republic. Thanks.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  132. sarge from Utah

    As much as Homer Simpson's " what is mind? Doesn't matter. What is matter? Never mind".

    October 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  133. Mike from Indianapolis

    I think they mattered a lot. I don't listen or believe any of the advertisements we all have endured. I, as most Americans, believe that politicians shade the truth or flat out lie in the ads. The debates allow us to see the candidates ourselves, without the filter of the pundits and spin doctors. That is why after the first debate, Romney has done so well. Either candidate can win and election night will be long and uncertain for both. In the end I hope we will be on a road to fix the country's problems.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  134. sonny chapman, Villie Platte,La.

    The First Debate was Romney's "Pivot". This is when he changed from Mean Mitt to Nice Mitt. He might pull it off, or people may consider him too slick.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  135. Lois Ontario. Canada

    I don't think that the debates matter that much as the campaigns are soooo long that people lose interest. Ours lasts 8-10
    weeks & that is long enough. If the campaign is too long, people get bored & don't even watch it. I love American politics but
    am getting tired of it after , "how long is is it?" God Bless North America!

    October 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  136. felix_in_Mass

    At this point, I wonder if undecided voters need somebody to tell them how to eat food and go to the bathroom.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  137. pamela mox

    The debates do matter. Romney has shown his true colors. He will say anything to get elected and really nobody knows where he truly stands on anything. He is a smarmy, arrogant, disrespectful wishwash. He has nothing to offer as President. His record as Govenor of Mass. was terrible and if you think Bush was lousy, wait until you have a President Romney. His advisors are nearly all the neocons from the Bush administration and all they want is war. Mitt Romney is not a man of honestly and principles and will be nothing but a puppet for big business and the neocons.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  138. SokrMom

    What a bunch of nonsense. Any momentum now is Obama's. As for Christie's bloviating about Romney, what do you expect from a guy whose wife works on Wall Street?

    October 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  139. Pat - Newport Beach, CA

    I don't think the debates mattered much, Jack. The educated will still vote for Obama and Willard will still get the Jethro vote.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  140. HURRICANEPAUL from Hawaii

    ** Now that the debates are history, how much did they matter? **

    What mattered most to me Jack, was how these debates were spun by the talking heads on my TV. Take for instance the widely held notion that "Obama didn't show up for the first debate", insinuating that Mitt Romney's superior performance didn't matter at all.

    It's a poor loser Jack, who blames their loss on their attempt to win that fell short, in stead of crediting the other team's superior performance for their victory.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  141. Jyothi, St.Louis,MO

    1.Voters who were undecided about whom to vote for till the first debate would wait until all the debates are over.
    2.Voters who are republicans but were not sure of Romney's leadership capabilities would have been convinced to vote for him right after the first debate. Their votes would not have made a difference to Obama anyway, because if Romney had not won the first debate, these voters would have stayed home on November 6th.
    3.Voters who are democrats but not happy with Obama in the last 4 years would be undecided until the second and probably the last debates. These would either vote for either Obama or stay home.
    4. Obama supporters and Romney supporters are not impacted by their performances in the debates.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  142. clarke

    At first, I said"Oh, not another debate, what does it matter?" At the end of the day, it did matter to me.
    Mitt is not a leader for sure. I am not voting for him for many reasons, the biggest is the lack of trust I have for him.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  143. Kathleen in Maryland

    Jack, the debates did matter - way too much. In an era where nobody reads much of anything except menus and US Weekly, TV debate "performances" (and the resulting Internet reviews) will probably decide the election. Our obsession with reality programming is pathetic, and it's only a matter of time before Presidential debates morph into undignified duels designed to feed our insatiable appetite for "entertainment." Everyone wants a "smack-down" of one-liners, but nobody cares about actual enlightenment.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  144. Don

    They mattered a lot. Romney didn't have a chance against the lies being told about him without the debates.

    Gastonia, NC

    October 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  145. BrainTurnedOff

    The lackluster performance of Obama in the 1st debate, whether it was the high altitude, a stomach flu, or whatever, allowed Romney to shine, but only for that reason. Come election day, that will be forgotten, with the more recent debates #2 and #3 still fresher in minds. With those going more as expected, we will remember them for the binders full of women, and for the horses and bayonets, but otherwise it won't matter that much at the end.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  146. Phil

    A LOT but not as many would view it. This gave America a chance to see the Candidates for who they are. Rehearsed answers yes but no telemprompters and no speeches. Obama practically shot himself the first Debate and Romney took advantage of every moment. Obama still lacking a plan or vision for the next 4 years could've either A) saved face and rebounded in the upcoming debates by going on the attack, rallying up the base and making up for the embarrassment show he put on before. or B) Step up where he let off and utilize the National Stage to lay out his plan for the next 4 years and speak to America, speak to the undecided voter. He chose A. Which tells me he that he does not have a plan and because he doesn't have a plan, he has to result in constant attacks on Romney, Romney's plans & Romney's Character. Obama did not really have a plan for 2008, between the crash of the stock market and housing market and the anti bush band wagon, Obama didn't need one. Obama promised the world to the voters and rode the anti Bush bandwagon all the way to the whitehouse. Unfortunately for him his broken promises have been called out. Bush has no relevance w/ the exception of some extreme Lefties and the economy is still in horrible shape. Obama may be a great speaker but his soap box that he stood on is paper thin and can no longer stand to hold his weight or the weight of his promises he continues not to keep.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  147. descarado

    Nothing has mattered since the first debate when Team Obama saw six months of hard works and $300 million dollars worth of negative TV advertising creating a Frankenstein Romney go up in smoke when the voters saw the real Mitt Romney standing next to the diminutive Barack Obama.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  148. Olu toronto

    The reason why Romney's victory was obvious was because alot was expected from Obama. However the last debate shows that Mitt will do anything to win and that includes flip flopping.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  149. Hugh New Jersey

    ...about as much as Kennedy/Nixon.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  150. Deb in MT

    How much did the debates matter to me, you ask?

    They mattered a whole heck of a lot, Jack:

    The first debate demonstrated Mitt Romney's talent as a speed prevaricator;

    The second debate introduced Mitt Romney's angry, condescending CEO face;

    The third (VP) debate showed that Paul Ryan was hopelessly out of his depth facing a seasoned warrior like Joe Biden; and,

    The last debate illustrated the pitfalls of memorizing talking points about foreign policy without understanding the complexities in the world, and the dangers of being a shallow, hollow and incurious CEO.

    Oh, and Mitt Romney needs to look at a map.

    Although I never seriously considered a vote for R/R –the dreadful economies left by 2 previous big businessmen who held the office (Herbert Hoover and George W. Bush) and the GOP's eternal trust in failed trickle down theory saw to that–it was still interesting to watch Romney's continual transmogrifications.

    Getting Mitt Romney to stick to a position is like stapling Jello to the wall.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  151. Darryn

    The first debate matter. The rest didn't. For months the Obama campaign was trying to convince folks that Romney was "this". His slide in the instant polls confirmed that the Democrats strategy of personal attacks on Romney was working. The first debate proved to the nation that the Democrats were petty lying idiots when Romney turned out to be "not" the guy the Democrats really really want him to be.

    Lets hope for our nations future, that the next four years does not rely upon Obama and Biden.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  152. Tim in San Diego


    They mattered more than ever this time around. Due to the profound rise of journalistic partisanship in the media, the debates have become the only place to view candidates without the bias of selective reporting. I think that has played a large part in the recent change of momentum we've seen in this race.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  153. ShakingMyHead

    Jack, your preference for Mitt is blatant but that is your right. The first debate was interesting to watch as Mitt represented himself far differently than the stances he had publicly been making earlier. However, that does not excuse Pres. Obama's poor performance in dealing with Etch-a-Sketch Romney. You quickly figure out your oponents strategy and then you take him to the ropes. The second debate showcased a more prepared pair of candidates in terms of their strategies. Pres. Obama did not assume what Mitt's positions were going to be that night, rather the strategy was to remind Mitt what he stated publicly and take Mitt to task for any expressed inconsistencies during the debate. The third debate left Mitt following Pres. Obama like a duckling following it's mother. Mitt was schooled.

    As to what the debates showed, they highlighted weaknesses (inconsistent stances taken by Mitt or in the case of foreign policy a large gap). We know where Pres. Obama stands in terms of issues. From there it is a matter of whether you agree reasonably with his direction. With Mitt, we have a numerous promises expressed in an extremely vague context. When you press him for details, you discover a lot of smoke and mirrors.

    So the question is do you despise the policy direction of Pres. Obama so completely that you would vote for a slightly religious extremist who is determined to erase the idea of separation of church and state, followed by a complete set of smoke and mirrors regarding what his governmental policies would be and how they would be implemented.

    To my own disappointment as a Moderate, the Republican field produced a field of clowns and simpletons who failed miserably in presenting well thought out alternative approaches to the problems which we face.

    Mitt is fond of citing his business experience. I equate Mitt with that babbling dounce – Jack Welch.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  154. Elizabeth Chandler

    For comic relief they were great;then watch Jon Stewart to explain it all.But I have a question.If say a hurricane hit part of the US on election day, wiping out power etc. so people couldn't vote, what would happen? Just curious.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  155. Evelyn in Utah

    Well Jack, We found that Mr. Romney changes his opinion on everything more often than most of us change our underwear.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  156. Susan from Ca

    The first one a bunch, the last two not so much.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  157. gerry

    there were two highly educated people and said absolutly nothing in terms what the world is today and how to fix our country. I only see us going backwards, I see hate towards people, especially for those who can't work, at any time nobody knows how their life can change. The retirement age should be going down, not up, for a country that has so many resources, we should not be in this mess. Just like all the lottery programs and casinos across the country, and yet we have high taxes and alot of bad schools for our children, they are not learning.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  158. Cee. La.

    Mitt Romney reminds me of a "Ghekko" the little lizard that changes color as his background changes.....so the debates matter because he has changed his tune on every subject discussed.....

    October 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  159. John from Alabama

    Jack: They showed that President Obama is the real statesman, and that Mitt Romney is a flip-flop on every issue in Foreign Affairs. His remedies for our weak economy will cost the lower and middle income groups more in taxes. Gov. Romney did sweat a lot while during the debates. Gov, Romney can not hold a common sense conversation about the issues. Instead, Gov. Romney hugged President Obama on every issue on foreign affairs. Gov. Romney is a lose cannon on foreign affairs, He will have us at war within six months ,if elected.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  160. ruthgree

    Romney lost – any candidate who doesn't understand that Syria can't be Iran's route to the sea (or vice versa) because they don't even border each other (but have non-allies such as Iraq and Turkey between them) - anyone that ignorant of basic geography in such a key region has no right to even ask to be president. Wish the press wasn't so passive, esp. with Romney. Where are our investigative journalists, our hard-hitting reporters and interviewers?

    October 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  161. Kay

    27 years of voting life choosing Republican candidates for President. Not this year, and the debates proved what I have thought all along, this 6-year candidate for President will say anything to get elected. Condescending and rude~

    October 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  162. Mark From South Carolina

    I think the first debate changed everything. The other two were just events in which CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC and CBS tried as hard as they could to help Obama get over himself. I do not believe there are any real undecided voters and I dont think after the first debate, anything really changed. Election day will prove me right or wrong.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  163. Bill - dallas, TX

    They had about as much affect as these posts do on my choice for President.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  164. Stephanie in Seattle

    They didn't change my mind but after four years of listening to and watching him, I guess I really didn't realize how childish, inept and arrogant obama really is. He really is a about "nothing". It's all smoke and mirrors with him. He doesn't understand the economy and it's obvious by the deep hole we're in. I guess he's charismatic but it seems to come off more as smug self importance. So, I guess the debates really opened my eyes and I sure didn't like what I saw.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  165. dsangiovanni

    First, you are no accurate in what you are saying... We saw Obama 2 Romney 1. Clearly...Debates are very important because we saw how Mr. Romney keeps changing political positions all the way from the beginning. We don't want a president like that. We saw how Romney is not ready to deal with foreign affairs, we saw it with the Olympic games in London, and again last night. We don't want our president make a mistake with Iran, like trying to do what he said will do with Iran president. We want Obama 4 more....

    October 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  166. Rick from Ohio

    They may not matter. Because the real frightening thing about this election is that it may not matter who wins. Washington is so split that we may never address the issues and everything may go down the tubes.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  167. Joseph Bosworth

    I was undecided before the first debate. I am not happy with Obama whom I voted for last time but Romney was still an unknown entity. I was completely impressed by Romney's performance and have been strongly supporting him since. That debate moved THIS undecided off the fence.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  168. Kyle Dietterich

    No clear winner in the last two debates? Sir, are you on the same planet I am? I realize you guys have this severe pressure to appear to remain "neutral", but you really need to draw the line at ignoring the news instead of reporting the news. The Romney/Ryan team have been caught in lie after lie after lie these past three debates. Why not report on that? Instead it's just, "Oh, he's not being presidential. Biden was being MEAN." Give me a break! Your objectivity is gone, and you've become just another biased media talking head. Turn in your press pass and pick up your yellow journalism pass.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  169. Kay

    Early voting in places like Ohio and Iowa wide margins in Dem favor. Now, what is the likelihood of a Dem crossing over for the Rep candidate; "47% are victims, I am not concerned with poor, Let Detroit bankrupt", add to that–>Bain capital-offshore tax accts? Lol~

    October 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  170. James

    Not much – most Americans have the attention span of a hamster, and are a fickle as a house cat.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  171. Joe in New Orleans

    Obama/Biden won the debates three to one.

    mitt had no idea what he was talking about last night and his campaign is a joke.

    Obama/Biden will win because they deserve to win.

    The gop deserve to lose and they will.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  172. JC in PA

    The debates matter. Your Pro-Romney political ad you just spouted doesn't. CNN stick to reporting the news not trying to influence it. Seriously we need un-biased reporting.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  173. Victor

    Game over for Romney. President Obama is back!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  174. stephen hapke

    Very little, Romney easily demonstrated that he will say anything to be elected-NOT that he has good ideas or integrity that deserves a vote. Unfortunately many voters are un-informed and haven't lived with the campaigns as media reporters and political junkies have so this disparity will fall on deaf ears–With Romney elected we stand a huge risk of another collapse in the near future as his greedy clones take even more money out of the people's pockets and the economy as a whole

    October 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  175. Bob D Iowa

    After watching the Presidential debates including those of the Republican Nomination season, hearing the sound bits from Campaign Speeches and all of the numerous TV plugs by the Candidates and PACs I can finally say that my mind is made up that I do not want someone that changes as fast as the weather but will stay the course right or wrong and continue to improve..

    October 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  176. John, Kelseyville, CA.

    I think the debates were well worth while...Many comments some true some not...However, what I found is that Mitt seems to be a person that will not listen to others and that is dangerous for the nation.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  177. ColoradoJoe

    Have to agree with an earlier comment; Romney is used to all things going his way. When they don't he gets nasty and smug. As a President he could get upset to fast. He is use to firing people when they don't get things done his way, fast enough or at all.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  178. Ken Wayne

    Looking and listening to Mitt Romney on the first debate, just made Team Obama realize they have wasted millions during the summer crucifying Romney . So the MBA from Harvard did have the better business plan after all.
    and will go on to be our next President.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  179. Cal in CA

    The first debate only appealed to the CBA, Conservative Bigots of America. They were basking in the glory of Whitey talking down Blackie even though nothing that Romney said was actually true. The truth doesn't matter to some. The media sensationalized it. In the end, we hope that enough Americans see through the Romney/Ryan lying machine and vote for the truth.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  180. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Debates only matter if it's necessary to justify a win when you haven't won and voters need to be very aware of that.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  181. Ernie

    Gee Jack, you have given Romney the win already, feeling the pinch of that tax increase if Obama wins? I think the 1st debate matters LESS than what YOU think it does and that the other 2 matter MORE than YOU think they do! Ahhh, what do I know, I am just a member of that 98% that the RICH don't care about and of the 47% that Romney doesn't care about either! My vote is going to Obama too, just like it did last time!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  182. Gary Delaney from Delray Beach, FL

    They really don't matter much. It is simple really: The GOP is for the Rich and the DEMS are for the working class.
    Everything else is rhetoric. Just decide which side of the fence you are on.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  183. Michael Brawer

    Come on Jack. Don't over dramatize the impact of the first debate. It was forgotten by everyone except the media after three days. Most of us know stupid when we see it, and in Romney we see it, hear it, and sense it. Don't underestimate the power of the free thinker or over estimate the influence of your show

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  184. David A Whitaker

    Yes it matter Jack, because it showed that Romney didn't have a clue on how he will be president

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  185. Don Bertetto

    Although entertaining the debats didnot sway me. I had Romney pegged for the shift shaker that he is long before.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  186. Jim Naples Florida

    Jack, how much have these debated meant? To be honest ( and that seems to be missing throughout these stage shows), not much. They pretty much just followed the party (campaign) talking points. What really counts? SHOW ME THE MONEY! SHOW US THAT THOSE SUPPOSED BUDGETS THEY ARE BOTH FLOATING OUT THERE WORKS? GIVE US "STUPID" VOTERS THE DETAIL AND HAVE FAITH WE WILL FIND A WAY TO VERIFY THE CLAIMS. This Country is just yearning for one thing.... THE TRUTH!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  187. Brightstar!!!

    Ron from Charlotte, NC
    Jack, The debates mattered enough that Romney will be defeated on Nov. 6, I would take ten to one odds! The main thing that he should have had in his brainpan to ask of the first question last night which was on Libya, was...Mr. President, even as a matter of symantics rather than say that America will not accept acts of TERRORISM, why did the president not qualify the act of terrorism as an act carried out by Al Qaeda to the American people from the get-go! This not presenting to the president that simple question when Romney had probably been told to ask it to Obama by advisors a million times in the last month particularly in this debate, is a mystery to me....one that will surely COST ROMNEY THE ELECTION! Had he asked Obama that single question, it would have set the tone for the debate. Thus Romney would probably have had vigor enough from an obvious lack of a good answer that Obama could not possibly come up with, to have gone on and won the debate! So it GOES!!!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |

    debates don't matter, poles don't matter, the media don't matter, all that matters is Nov. 6 and who the voters vote for on election day.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  189. Colleen

    The most important thing is not who won the first debate, but who has showed steady leadership, has stuck to their views, and does not change positions more rapidly than the wind blows Romney has refused to show Americans his tax returns, was governor of a state who have decidedly gone for the President, has changed from a severely conservative to agreeing with the President on all levels. So, then choice is simple. Romney has fully endorsed the President, so let's all get on board and vote President Obama and keep moving forward the next four more years

    October 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  190. Ed Riffone

    Really don't see how you claim the 2nd and 3rd debate had no clear winner. The President did what he needed to do in the last 2 debates....especially the 3rd. What I love is how Romney was not only forceful but at sometimes rude during the first debate...interrupting the President and Crowley several times...and would ignore questions posed to him to say what he wanted to say. This was seen as a win for Romney, but when the President stood his ground and was forceful last night, Romney says "this isn't about attacking me". Sounds like political spin to me....

    October 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  191. Bob from California

    Wrong Jack, yes Romney did well because Obama did not in the first but you once taken on Romney did not do so well. I don't want a president who debates himself and thinks he knows it all. Ask yourself why Obama beat him in the last TWO. Romney has still not told us what deductions he will make and Obama is right Romneys math just does not work. Apparantly Obama is correct we need more math teachers because alot of Americans cannot add.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  192. Omar Ramirez Genao

    As an immigrant I will always vote for the Democratic Party. I am and will be part of that 47% of US citizens that the Republican party don't care

    October 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  193. steve


    They pointed out that the President did not a good agenda these last 4 years and does have a good economic plan for the future.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  194. Jocelyne

    They matter a great deal because its a chance for each candidate to go in depth on each issue, not just the rehearsed lines they tend to give on the campaign trail..it's also a great opportunity for undecided voters to have a deeper look at each candidate and see what they are about

    October 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  195. Bob from California

    Wrong Jack, yes Romney did well because Obama did not in the first but you once taken on Romney did not do so well. I don't want a president who debates himself and thinks he knows it all. Ask yourself why Obama beat him in the last 2. Romney has still not told us what deductions he will make and Obama is right Romneys math just does not work. Apparantly Obama is correct we need more math teachers because alot of Americans cannot add.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  196. JP

    Jack I don't think they matter at all to begin with. Everyone knew who they were going to vote for before the debates began. So they aren't fooling anyone!!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  197. tim, Garland,TX

    as a long time democrat i say go forward and not backward. if that happens we will have another G.W. Bush at 1600 PA avenue and we cannot aford that. my vote is for President Obama and Joe Biden

    October 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  198. William

    We talk about the first debate? That experience puts me in the mind of the Coattail fish.This fish will lye on the ocean floor, completely still and wait for his enemies to come. Maybe, Jack, this was a fish game? to lye and wait for our to attack, and that will make them weak as they expose their fault, leaving them vulnerable for a counterattack.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  199. Daniel Curzon

    IIf people think Romney won a debate because he lied through his teeth, then they deserve Romney as their President, He is George Bush Lite.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  200. Sandra in Texas

    I doubt that they will matter much. Most people who pay close attention to campaign speeches and debates already know who they are voting for or against. Debate performances just give pundits something to talk about, endlessly. I really no longer care what the candidates facial expression really meant. The interpretation of the interpretations is growing old. However, this last debate did make me sit up and notice that Mr. Romney truly is a chameleon.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  201. Bill in Colorado Springs

    Jack, the only thing that I learned was the Mitt Romney lives in a different reality than the majority of this country, and all he cares about is to maintain the status quo of those that can afford anything they want. They do no good with the additional money that they earn, except to stash it away, and hope that the estate tax never comes back. I think it is an insult to Americans to refer to these people as job makers, they are job killers, and only out for themselves, and forget about the rest of the citizenry. Oh yeah, he is just preserving his own interests, because he does not know that any other interests exist.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  202. Sue, Charlotte NC

    If one bad debate performance is enough to lose an election, it will be a testimony to how inflated the importance of debates has become. The incessant analysis, polling, and political nitpicking have diminished what is really important, the character displayed by the man seeking our vote.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  203. Daryl

    Sure Jack,
    they made a difference . but the difference was showing through all 3 debates ,the reason why Republicans did not want Romney to begin with. his inept answers, his elitist attitude and possibly the new information about his son investing in a company that makes the Ohio voting machines, will be some of the reasons why he will fade into oblivion after Nov. 6th.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  204. Jan

    Oh please Jack, get your own opinion out of it. You obviously have contracted Romnesia. Obama has his pulse on the middle class and will not take us back to the Bush strategy that plunged us in to the worse economic depression ever. If you believe in the "trickle down theory" of the Bush administration, vote Republican, but if you believe in the middle class, vote Democrat.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  205. Brenda from Ontario, Canada

    I am not sure they mattered that much. My question is – Who is the real Mitt Romney and would he please stand up? Is this guy honest about his position and beliefs in anything? He will say anything to get elected and once he is in, watch out Americans, he will lower the boom. He has done nothing over the past 2 years but criticize Obama's foreign policy ... now he agrees with everything Obama has done. I truly hope Americans are not so blind that they don't see this and I hope they don't vote for Romney based only on the results of the first debate – the only reason he won that debate is because Obama was off his game that night. God help the USA if Romney is elected President.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  206. angela University place washington

    Do the debates matter? Yes, if not to the people it matters to the news reporters most., you have only been reporting on it 24 /7 for the last few months.if not you too would be looking for a job like the rest of the nation...

    October 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  207. Carlos Republican from Miami

    I was dumbfounded by Romny's lack of understanding of foreign policy. I guess if you DON'T know you just "agree". So bottom line if Mitt agrees with Obama (most of the time) why elect him and not Obama???? I believe this last debate showed us WHO is presidentilal and WHO is NOT...I stay with the President on 2012!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  208. Duke Rightious

    You prove yourself to be naive as well as a curmudgeon by your opinion of the groundshaking election upheval provided by Romney's first debate performance. It only provided a half-hearted Monster drink for the Republican base, which is evaporating as quickly as the sweat off Mr. Romney's forehead in last night's debate.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  209. *Alexander

    The debates definitely mattered, but only to those voters who are truly undecided, and know more about the candidates than the tv ads thrust in their face. If you are a democrat or a republican, you are going to support your candidate regardless, the republican convention illustrated that. Alexander Bpt CT

    October 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  210. Walt in Suffolk, Va.

    The debates gave us some insite to who Romney's and Obama's really are . Romney came out looking Presidential and dignified. Obama came out looking like Joe Biden!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  211. michael farrell

    Romneys pivot to the left is bound to deminise the right wings enthusiasm for thier candidate , unless Obama hate alone is enough

    October 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  212. Richard in Costa Rica

    Mitt WHO??? I know several Mitts... The "three faces of Mitt" ~ a different one for each debate. Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up!!! I know, I will check my bayonet at the door and go out and examine the horse dung in the driveway. Then maybe (albeit without GPS) I can still divine the way this campaign is going!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  213. Frank Poynton from Los Angeles

    I cannot believe that someone such as yourself could pose a question like this. The debates are here to stay and to imply that they are not needed is in my opinion foolish. Yes of course there is a hell of a lot of spin on both sides of the aisle so let me suggest that all the talking heads be muffled. It will be a cold day in hell before that happens here but I sure it happens in some parts of the world where dictators rule with an iron fist. Obama clearly won 2 out of 3 debates and I suspect that you Jack are unhappy with those results. Grow up! Romney is an empty suit that will cause untold damage to the fledgling economy of this country. Apparently Clint Eastwood doesn't know the difference between an empty chair and an empty suit and neither do Romney supporters.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  214. Kate

    The debates matter much more to political junkies (like myself) than they do to folks out in the country. My family and I watched them closely without distraction on CSPAN, but nobody at work watched them, and only one or two of my friends did.
    They might matter more if they were more rigid, if we dispensed with the live audience, and if they were simultaneously fact-checked by a bipartisan panel who could buzzer in on lies.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  215. ibrahim oladosu from Chicago

    if the debate don't matter i wonder why is President Obama losing in the poll after the first debate. The fact remains 70 million gather to watch the debate much better than going to campaign. yea, much better!!!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  216. Jim North Carolina

    If someone is basing their whole decision on who to vote for on one debate we're in trouble

    October 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  217. judy from arizona

    The debates mattered for naught. It was all interruption each other. They, Romney & Obama, both just tried to out lie each other. The debates are a big waste of time OH & money is in there somewhere. Lets have a publication with each candidate stating what they WANT to accomplish when elected. Not outbash each other. Remember the American public for the most part is smart enough & vote their believes.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  218. Marie in Georgia

    From a life long Republican who will NOT vote for Mitt Romney. After listening to the debates, is he telling the truth now or was he telling the truth six months ago with when he gave totally different answers. Which Mitt do I trust? The one time I think he was telling the truth was during his speech in front of donors when he dismissed 47% of us. Yes Jack, the debates matter because it showed us someone who will say anything to get elected.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  219. L, California

    Jack, for you the only thing that matters is what helps the Republicans. You are so biased it is ridiculous. Nobody is going to forget all the blunders and years flip flopping, by that liar Romney, just because of a first debate that the media spun as a win for Romney. CNN is damaging it's brand by spinning this election the way it has. A win for Romney good, and win for Pres. Obama- let's find a way to make that a negative. I have lost all respect for you Cafferty and your brand of yellow journalism.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  220. Diane

    Considering Obama was asleep at the first debate, he finally woke up in the next two, He constantly interrupted and distracted voters from the issues. Mitt gathered much momentum and the voters got a good look at who he is. I believe, he will win this election. Obama 's comment about romnesia is very insulting to the seniors who are a large part of the electoral.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  221. Joseph, Arlington, VA

    Want to talk about defining moments? Now, when I think of Mitt Romney, I picture horses and bayonets–tremendously powerful metaphors for Romney's tired, outdated "plans" for our nation. President Obama was masterful with respect to exposing Mitt Romney for just what he is–a man who simply wants to win the election, but has no clue of how to actually build upon the success of the incumbent.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  222. CS, San Francisco

    The general public has this notion that a candidate with big corporation background is more suitable than one with a more humble background to be the president. Have we all forgotten how Dick Cheney's Halliburton profited from the Iraqi War? Yes, the candidate with big corporation experiences may have a better idea on how to run the country, but can we trust him to not take American down a course for his own profiteering?

    We need to be very realistic with ourselves on who is more trustworthy for us to put America's on his hands. A candidate with big corporation ties, or one with small business ties?

    October 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  223. TG

    Watching the debates affirmed my feellings about Romney – He will say or do anything to win. Last night he totally supported President Obama's positions, ditching all his (Romney's) previous views on foreign policy. And, this is just one example of many where he has ditched his views. Just exactly who is Mitt Romney – even Mitt Romney doesn't know who he is. No one knows. You could never trust him – our allies could not trust him – he is a dangerous man. I am happy to know though that he "loves teachers."

    October 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  224. AJ

    I think that the 3rd and last debate clearly proved that Romney is a flip flopper and would do anything to get elected. I noticed that in the first debate he was extremely aggressive towards President Obama but last night he tried to portray himself as a peace loving/ presidential ;but in reality, I feel he is a warmonger. I remember several months ago he said he does not need any other country's permission to attack Iran. My question is if previous 2 wars has damaged USA's economy severerly how is it going to pay for the 3rd one. Isn't this deja vu? These debates I believe showed how much of a flipflopper Mit Romeny is.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  225. Everett

    Your personal view really didn't seem fair to me for the president. I admit he was not really there for the first debate, but the last two he was awsome and really showed his knowlege of foreign affairs and his direction for America. With a knife in his back all the way from Republicans, it is amazing America's unemployment is now below 8%. Can anyone really don't know at all where Mitt Romney is on any position as his positions change daily or to whatever crowd he is talking to and you never seem to address this at all??? Fair and balanced Huh. Where have I heard this before??

    October 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  226. edREPUBLIC

    Debates matter but only when the choice is unclear. The Obama campaign was badly wounded by the first debate however, he was not only able to rebound but was able to prove to the pundits that elections are a marathon and not a sprint. The debate will be a distant memory in January when Obama is reelected

    October 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  227. Andrew Greene

    As an independent voter I will admit that Mitt Romney did win the 1st debate in the sense that he seemed to be more prepared. However, even with that 1st debate Romney failed to deliver truth and ideas fitting for the 2012. I felt as if i was listning to a debate from the 50's or 60's. Obama, on the other hand, has proven that his ideas are fresh and balanced though its taking some time to get to where we want to be. Where we should be. The President has been clear on consistent where as Romney has been confusing and dedicated to that moment. Obama delivers a great sense of passion and I don't get that same passionate feeling from Romney. All in all the debates are important I was going to vote for a green party candidate, but after watching all 3 debates, Obama has earned my vote for 4 more years.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  228. Angela University place washington

    It matter's to the media more than anyone, We hear about it 24/7 otherwise they would be looking for a job like the rest of the nation, with that I made my decision 4 years ago...

    October 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  229. J wright Louisville ky

    Not much Jack. Let's face it, they do not need to spend billions we and the world could use, or nine hours of debates. Most of us are capable of deciding in short order what we will do on vote day. All the money, antics and media boxing night music and hype will change our decision. Isn't it always the lessor of two evils. Most politicians are rarely based on fact and steeped in denial.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  230. Phil, San Diego, CA

    The debates themselves are more recapitulation of stump speeches. But clearly the first debate mattered quite a bit this election. 1) People could see that Romney didn't have horns on his head and could consider his proposals, 2) momentum did swing in Romney's direction. Given how polarized the electorate is, the momentum may be the critical "October Surprise". The worst of the debates was "snickers Biden". The town-hall debate was the most entertaining.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  231. John

    I think President Obama's performance in debate 1 was entirely presidential. I guess Cafferty wanted to see yelling. I bet he enjoyed debates 2 and 3 quite a bit!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  232. ByeByeBaMa

    Debates only matter to the Morons that cannot do anything without being told. I have already casted my vote for the better future of this country.. ME AND MY ENTIRE FAMILY HAVE ALREADY CASTED OUR VOTE FOR ROMNEY.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  233. Cliff Hunter

    The debate did not matter any more than my children playing nice to me and bad to each other to get some kind of favor from their parents. However, the only debate that mattered was the first one. Only for the reason that Obama did not show up and Romney had our undivided attention to do his beauty dance without opposition. Had Obama shown up, the debates would only be a media talking point to keep the conversation going. All in all, 99% of us made up our minds prior to the debates and if folks tell you they are undecided, they were lying to get the attention!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  234. James Plate, Reno NV

    The debates were extremely revealing to America and the world. They revealed a composed and intelligent challenger who wants to take a different path towards recovery while the president can't admit that his programs just aren't working as he promised. If he was the CEO of a company, he would already be reading through his severance package.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  235. tenorbear

    I doubt the debates meant too much. Certainly not to me. I'm sorry to see that people here seem to have judged the first debate as the only debate. Perhaps "undecided" voters needed to see and hear these debates, but I doubt it. The one thing that came out of the final debate was Romney's lack of knowledge of where Syria and Iran are in relation to each other and his opinion that the military needs to be grown instead of modernized. I have had no doubt about my vote for 2012 because I can honestly answer that I am better off today than I was in 2008. Thank you President Obama. I have your back!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  236. Rob-Texas

    Not much, same stuff being said with different headlines and catch phrases.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  237. Don in Boca, Florida

    The debates mattered a lot. Obama now has a tough fit on his hands for the next two weeks. The debates matter a tremendous amount because you are right Jack, that is, the impact of the first debate changed the game. Either it will be remembered as the debate that made the election a real contest or the moment Obama lost the election. We will find out on Nov 6th.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  238. Digger

    They didn't mean squat to me. Might have if they were not given questions or topics ahead of time. All we got was to hear what their speech writers had to say, and see Biden do a Crest White Strip commercial.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  239. Patricia McCoy

    I have followed the campaigns beginning with the primaries. I don't need fact check or pundits. I really think Romneys campaign manager had it right when he said Romney would clean the slate clean before he starts campaigning for the general election. I really wonder what Santorum, Paul and Gingrich really think about Romney.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  240. Victor from Utah

    Game over for Romney. President Obama is back! 4 more years for President Obama!!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  241. jen seattle

    It ,showed how obama bullied his way the first time with clinton and remains steadfast in his ignoble foreign policy efforts to win worlds hearts and minds destroying American LIves as favor to BigPharma And Eurocentric State Dept Policies Treasonous to MOral Continental when his administration forces U.S. to embrace evil vulture c ultures derailing progress in hopes of keeping those who gave him nobel prize to do its bidding backstabbing u.s. while his administration Guranntees an entitlement while we the local u.s. citizen arent entitled to a gurantee of peace due to sexploitation of the scorned

    October 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  242. Digger

    Give them the questions and topics ahead of time? I would rather have seen them think on their feet.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  243. Mary

    I am one of the undecided voters and after I heard all the 3 debates I made a decision to vote for Obama. He is tru to his words and even if he fall short of his promises but I know he has dne so much to save this country. Romney on the other hand doesn't have a backbone. He is a bully, he brought up his kids as bullies, too( I heard Tagg wanted to swing at President Obama which unlikely), he changes his stand. I am afraid if he will be a president he will be fickle minded. At this point in time, I am definite Obama 2012.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  244. California Gary

    It's not the debates that should really matter......it's the fact checking after the debates. This is where the Romney/Ryan ticket takes their beating.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  245. chris, dayton OH

    They were important...they showed the stark difference between a true commander in chief and a businessman who knows very little about how government works. I was on the fence a bit early on but after last night's TKO, Obama doesn't just come across as presidential, he IS presidential. Foreign policy is something Romney has no experience with and never was it more obvious than when he agreed with everything Obama said. He sat up there sweaty and incoherent at times and that is NOT the person you want negotiating deals or proposing wars. No thank you, Romney.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  246. Jennie

    Debate's matter to those who let the media warp their mind afterward. The commentators who claim to be "covering the story" are doing nothing more than trying to push their own polital agenda. We want the facts, not the opinions.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  247. tom jacksonville fla.

    Tom from jacksonville fl. President Obama showed why he is the president.Gov. romney showed why he should not be....

    October 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  248. H. Rose

    Debates are very important. How else are you going to find out about the 2 people running, like untruths etc?
    I read Huffington Post every day, watch the news, watched all 3 debates, and MSNBC.
    I feel like I am very informed. I went and voted early so feel pretty good. I've done my part to help our President.
    I am one of the 47% and sure don't want to live under a Prez. that will cut taxes for the wealthy and starve the poor.
    If Romney doesn't trust our banks then we shouldn't trust him.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  249. Natasha Mauk, Georgia

    In my opinion, debates do matter to most people. You have those voters that will always vote Democrat or Republican just because. But then you have those voters that consider themselves Democrat or Republican, but they still want to here what the candidates have to say, and what is said could sway their decision. I believe that the President has done a great job considering the situation that we were in when he got into office. I feel that a lot of people are not looking at the big picture which is that until he brought the economy back he could not work on building it up. Therefore it took more time then was expected. Although some would say that the President was too laid back in the first debate, I feel that he did not want to come across as too negative. But, when he sought of fought back in the last two debates they say that he was either too negative or joking too much. It think that you just cannot satisfy everyone. As for the comment that was made by the President that some feel may effect his votes in Virginia, I think that people are just taking it all wrong. Mitt Romney was basically in so many words saying that the President has made the Navy too small, and they do not have enough ships. But, the Presidents reply was not really to be too sarcastic, but if you have been in the military before you know that there is plenty of new technology which allows us to have less quantities of the more expensive equipment, especially when the heads of the Military are not asking for it or do not feel that it is needed. A lot of people will not go the extra mile or do not know enough about some of the issues, and therefore they really do not understand where the President is coming from, or how negative some of Mitt Romney's proposed policies could really be for this Country. For the most part though I feel that the debates are important for everyone, and therefore should be taken seriously.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  250. Eric Dorcey

    Debates matter for probably 5% of the electorate. The other 95% of voters fundamentally agree or disagree with a certain candidate and have made up their mind sometime in the summer. Or, in extreme cases, before the primary season even begins. Debates only really matter to the 5% of voters who are still "undecided," which is hard to imagine when you have two candidates as extremely distant from each other as we do right now. It's like choosing between night and day.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  251. Bill in VA

    While they don't make a heck of a lot of difference to me, they apparently seem to matter to someone if the movement in the polls since the first debate is any indication.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  252. Andrew (Ohio)

    As an independent voter I will admit that Mitt Romney did win the 1st debate in the sense that he seemed to be more prepared. However, even with that 1st debate Romney failed to deliver truth and ideas fitting for the 2012. I felt as if i was listning to a debate from the 50's or 60's. Obama, on the other hand, has proven that his ideas are fresh and balanced though its taking some time to get to where we want to be. Where we should be. The President has been clear and consistent where as Romney has been confusing and dedicated to that moment. Obama delivers a great sense of passion and I don't get that same passionate feeling from Romney. All in all the debates are important I was going to vote for a green party candidate, but after watching all 3 debates, Obama has earned my vote for 4 more years.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  253. Elizabeth, Alpine, TX

    I have watched all the debates but they did not change my mind. I will vote for President Obama again. John Bolton is one of Governor Romney's foreign policy advisors and he is a serious hawk. This really makes me nervous!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  254. Eve Lemon

    The debates mattered alot. Viewers got a chance to weigh the differences that gimmicks help candidates running for an office. GWB used his back pack to get answers and he got reelected. Apparently Mitt's electric underwear didn't do much, as he kept changing his rhetoric.. Of course, we'll have to wait for the results to see if magic underwer worked for him.

    Eve of Texas.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  255. Jeannette, Toronto

    As an American Independent Voter, there was never a doubt who I am voting for.
    President Obama and VP Joe Biden; when we have leaders who identify with the working class and Unite not Divide the Population: The choice is clear. A 100% American President – not 1%!

    Car Salesman, Mitt Romney is alike to Madoff and others like him. One who uses the Divide and Conquer, Flip-Flip, revolving door train of thought, bullying and disrespectful attitudes towards others. Romney is a Eliminator of the American Way of Life for the 99%!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  256. Ruby J.

    I wasn't sure until last night but I'm voting for Obama...Romney keeps changing what he says, and his actions don't fit what he says he believes in. So many people lost jobs because of him. And he paid for his son's surrogate baby-carrier with a contract saying that she MUST have an abortion if and when the Romney's want her to because the baby's not OK. He's not an honest man, and running a sports event in the hometown of your religion doesn't count as foreign policy experience.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  257. Carol

    The debates showed us who we could trust and who we could not. When a man gives his word he should try his best to follow through our president has tried to do that. We can not ask more than that. He will continue to try to follow through. Look if you have ever been in charge of anything you know when you take over someone's mess it takes awhile to straighten things out and you have to set your priorities!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  258. Mary

    By the way Jack, your article is so bias. You are definitely leaning towards Romney. After the 1st debate, you've said polls are leaning towards Romney because of Pres. Obama's lack of energy and preparation however after the 2nd and 3rd debate which the President clearly won you still said there is no change on the polls, it is still leaning towards Romney. I believe it's not true, majority of the comments here come up with a decision that Pres. Obama is way much better to lead this country and be the Commander-in-chief of the United States of America. I have high regards to all CNN news anchors with the exception of those who are bias and untruthful.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  259. Grip from NC

    The debates, while viewed by millions of viewers and supposedly "undecided voters", where nothing more than fodder for me...it provided me with points of conventions that I could redress and most importantly research to find clarity...with this in mind, I have already made up my mind for whom I will be voting...President Obama!...Mitt has portrayed himself to be a habitual liar and phony. He gears his speeches and belies based on which crowd he is among. He mistakes being obtuse, dismissive and arrogant as being qualities needed to be a commander in chief,.His beliefs and mandates are driven by a right wing extremist doctrine bent on ousting Obama from office at any cost. Research has found that he flip flops on every possible occasion, from abortion to immigration (dream act), equal pay for women, teachers, car industry (Detroit bailout) although it wasn't a bailout but rather a good faith loan, of which has been paid back in full, but I digress, Romney lies about his taxes, health care, his support of the Blount amendment, Libya, Bain capital, Chinese investments, , the list goes on and on!....he categorically denies or even attempts to downplay his comments about the 47%.....give me a break...and his supporters give him a pass on each and every instance...I will not...I can not!....I take great displeasure and angst when I see these "undecided" voters interviewed on tv saying the debates have shown them character flows!....they are debates !....scripted answers and questions!...they are rehearsed and rehearsed at great lengths ...do you really put a lot of stock in answers that have been scripted by writers!...your idiotic!.,really....these voters appeare glib and self-righteous when they declare they are undecided...they are so, because they choose to be undecided...ignorance is surely bliss!...do your home work..google some items on both sides people..it's our patriotic duties to make an informed decision!...I have...

    October 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  260. Jo

    I learned Mitt Romney is really concerned about gender equality, equal pay, and a good education for the citizens of Lybia, Eygpt, Iraq, Iran, and all the middle east countries but not the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!

    Mitt Romney is also going to create 12 million new jobs in LATIN AMERICA not the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!

    For the citizens of this country, we will go to jail if you should be so unfortunate as to have a miscarriage. He will raise the average persons taxes. Voucher everything possible, school, medicare, social security, etc. and elliminate the rest unemplyment, medicaid, food stamps, housing, childcare aide, and continue to destroy unions. By the time the Latin American people get to the middle class like the chinese, the U.S. citizens will have to classes, the ultra elite and their servants. Then the jobs will come back. NO THANK YOU!!!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  261. Cary

    The real question is why did the first one matter so much? Obama made no mistatements. He was claim and was well versed in the subjects they covered. Romney showed more energy but he offered nothing new. In this last debate Romney was off balance and defensive. Obama was confident and aggressive. Why was the first one the most important and not the last? Obama's comment about horses and bayonets didn't strike me as much as Romney trying to compare military forces now with a hundred years ago. With nuclear weapons one bomber can level every major city in a country the size of England or Japan. It's a very different world and Romney seems badly behind the times.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  262. Kmac499

    I suppose they satisfy our need for drama. Keeping that in mind I purpose something that would be more dramatic and helpful.
    A 3 part system
    1. The interpitive dance with leaders from both side like West Side Story– classy for the rich, provides for those that live in the Conspricy world and looking for signs of commies, god, whatever. 8 min long–like two terms
    2. The YO MAMA portion– candidates yell YO MAMA insults at each other for 4 min each–one term Presidents– shows the down to earth candidated who understands the common man- appeals to minorities also
    3. The Candidate Break dance–with VP and Pres candidate- last 6 mins–term of the Senate-- this would show how they can moon work on promises, side step issues, spin quotes and mistakes and the other candidates record, jump to conclusions and be a robot to their big money supports. My favorite portion.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  263. David

    The debates are the end of the road for Obama.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  264. Jim


    Presidential candidate debates could matter. They ought to. But the fact is they are so controlled and carefully staged that actual content is quickly lost as the audience's attention is directed to counting zingers and twitches. As they are currently conducted, the debates are useless for determining the better candidate.

    Reno, Nevada

    October 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  265. Adrienne

    The debates themselves ceased to matter when the media stole the show with the ability to read minds by facial expression. That just sickened me. It would have been more objective and productive to ask the President's representatives how he was feeling and why. What I saw was someone who had been invited to a party and told that it would be a black tie affair, but when he arrived, it turned out to be a masquerade party! It was obvious that he came prepared to debate Right-wing Romney that had been campaigning, and not Moderate Mitt. And it was too late to huddle with his team to determine the wisdom of saying "Liar Liar" at every turn.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  266. annie5nomus

    The one thing these debates has shown is that Mitt Romney is not presidential. He is a bully, and he is dangerous. Watching him deny his previous ideas has been frustrating and I am led to believe that he will never exercise diplomacy, but just be some pushy executive who thinks it's his way or the highway. During the second debate, his condescending answer to the woman who asked about immigration said it all. It was embarassing to watch.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  267. Bill from AZ

    Why anyone would vote for Mr. Romney after his continued change on most topics is beyond me. I cant support anyone to lead my country that is unable to state his policies and stick to them. The debates showed me that Mr. Romney is definately not the STRONG leader we need for America's future.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  268. B Shah

    Debates mattered. Romney proved that he can change his positions. Obama proved (despite his miserable first debate) that he has the courage of convictions and is willing to lose the presidency. He reminded me of Barry Goldwater, who stood fast in his beliefs. Romney is a businessman, who can oreder his subordinates and get his way. A president has to work with the allies and adversaries in the domestic politics and equally in the international arena.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  269. ShirleyAnne

    Lucky someone told Obama to wake up after the first debate – otherwise Mitt would have a larger lead.

    Obama as I have mentioned several times is too busy smoozing on the View and hanging out with his Hollywood Friends that America seems to be his second job not his first. He did not deliver on his promises – simple.

    The American People need work – Obama has not and cannot deliver. Do yourself a favour and vote for a man who has two choices a) Sit home and count his money b) Put in long hours to help rebuild the America he knows can be rebuilt.

    For heavens sake – Give the man a chance and get out and vote on November 06th – otherwise you will never know what change means.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  270. Barlow

    Same tired rhetoric and talking points from both candidates. Same biased questioning and spin from the media. Let's just get this over with already...

    October 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  271. Ann in alabama

    Well, for me the debate didn't mean much, I know who and why I will vote for Obama. For the first time people like me will have a chance to get and pay for health insurance that maybe we can afford. But if Romney gets elected I fear we will be left to just "make do" with what ever we can get. Back to begging and the ER.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  272. Ali

    They matter to the undecided voters in the swing states, which is only a small percentage of the population.

    For the die hard Democrats and the staunch Republics the debates were just an opportunity to yell at the tv and support your man.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  273. DC

    Unfortunately, the debates don't matter as much as the analysis afterwards. Please let us make up our own minds for a change

    October 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  274. kris@austintx

    I saw a debate between Barack Hussein Obama and Barack Mitt Obama. I am going for the original and not the last minute duplicate. Conservatives, I feel sorry for you. You cant get your money back. Santorum is falling on the floor with his "I told you so" laughs.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  275. Brandon S

    These three debates have defined this election by forcing both candidates to reaffirm their positions, beliefs, and morals. Governor Romney's inability to remain consistent, be specific and even reveal his taxes reinforces President Obama's position. That America cannot and will not be subject to a president that has limited misconstrued knowledge in foreign military affairs other than agreeing with the current Obama Administrations actions. To make matters worse, the 5 Trillion tax cut Romney's purposed is simply unaffordable, unreasonable and unrealistic. Not to mention detrimental to the well-being of America as a whole. This is not the time to give a break to the top 1%, its time for that percentage bracket to save the country before it's too late!

    October 23, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  276. David from Eugene

    If you mean the debate where the Giants soundly trounced the Cardinals, it was wonderful. If you mean the debate for the presidency, well ... only those who can't think critically for themselves would need to see yet once again that Romney represents those for whom short-term personal and corporate economic gratification trumps the constitutional mandate to "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."

    October 23, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  277. Jo

    In the future,
    1. Can we please hook up the candidates to lie detecters, so the public can see how is truthful and who is not.
    2. 75% of all funds raised, candidate and super pac money, should be donated to the deficeit and 25% should be used for ads.
    3. Conventions should be held before Labor Day, and from Labor Day to election day once a week a each candidate should have a debate hooked to lie detectors..
    Monday Presidential
    Tuesday Vice Presidential
    Wednesday Senate
    Thursday House
    Everyone would have equal time and the citizens would really understand what they are voting for.
    Thanks Jack,

    October 23, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  278. Tad in Virginia

    I had already made up my mind before any debate occurred, so they did not matter to me at all...but I really think they show how much as a country we have changed as far as respecting each other and how split this country really is. Also, many have commented that Romney agreed with many of Obama's positions..well, if his position is the right one, why on earth does he need to disagree...is that just for argument sake? Lastly, I really think we have the most uninformed electorate in this country...people vote for their candidates for the strangest reasons and sometimes just for 1 idea that they may have presented.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  279. Malarky

    Everyone knows the importance of a first impression. First debate, Romney brought his A game. Obama was completely unprepared. Second debate, nothing but a bullying contest between the candidates. Both were losers. Third debate, Romney confident, relaxed. Obama was in his natural narcissist form. Unlike liberals, undecided moderate voters don't particularly like bitter, angry narcissists, another score for Romney.

    But in the end, if a person walks into the booth still unsure of who they will support, they will remember the indifferent, unprepared Obama from the first debate, and cast their vote accordingly.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  280. MaryLou from Pinehurst, NC

    The debates probably didn't make a big difference except to show us the differences between President Obama and Romney. The president looked and acted like a president while Romey was flip-flopping all around. I was reminded of Aunt Bee running for city council of Mayberry. "....the will of the people, that will be my beacon." Romney gave us nothing of substance except the run-a-round. He needs to determine what he really stands for and try again later.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm |