Debate tonight could be crucial

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Hofstra University junior Corinne Mestemacher poses with life-size cut out cardboards of President Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney ahead of the second presidential debate Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y.   AccuNet/AP

Hofstra University junior Corinne Mestemacher poses with life-size cut out cardboards of President Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney ahead of the second presidential debate Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y. AccuNet/AP

A debate booklet is held up after the second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at Hofstra University.  AccuNet/AP

A debate booklet is held up after the second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at Hofstra University. AccuNet/AP

By INGRID WILGEN

icobham@student.alamo.edu 

President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are battling it out on the debate floor to explain to America the merits of their positions on issues.

Two presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate have given the public an unfiltered view of the differences in the Democratic Obama-Biden and Republican Romney-Ryan tickets. The last of three debates will air at 8 p.m. today.

Government Professor Wanda Lee Smith said the presidential debates will not change the minds of voters aligned closely to their party or to those who have made their choice.

Smith said the debates are important to undecided voters.

Undecided voters who are citizens of swing states are critical players. Battleground states may just determine the outcome of the election, Smith said. According to Politico, the swing states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Wisconsin. Politico promises “insider-like access to Washington and the latest from the world of politics” at www.politico.com. As of Wednesday, Politico shows a small Democratic lead in swing state votes.

Dr. Paul Wilson, social sciences and humanities chair, said the debates become more important the closer the election gets. Wilson said many viewers rely on coverage from news organizations to interpret what candidates say during the debates.

He said it is important for voters to take time to watch the debates to get a first-hand experience.

“You can’t delegate that responsibility to others,” Wilson said.

Smith said to look at multiple issues when considering voting for a candidate. “Don’t get swayed on only one issue,” she said.

The debates can be viewed at www.2012presidentialelectionnews.com/2012-debate-schedule.

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