How important are the presidential debates to your understanding of the candidates?

Gov. Rick Perry’s staff says there are too many presidential debates, and Perry himself has said he may sit some of them out. He also says it may have been a mistake for him to participate in the debates so far. Today’s Question: How important are the presidential debates to your understanding of the candidates?

  • Clark

    Since Obama was elected and began his war on success and wealth, I pay close attention as I believe defeating the current cluless community activist will have a huge impact on whether we end up like Europe. Even the head of the European Union has stated Europe can no longer finance their social welfare model. “You don’t make poor people rich by making rich people poor.” (AL)

  • Sal

    I really liked all the debates in the last governor’s race.

    I also like a few debates in the presidential race. However, I do think you can have too many debates and then you risk all of them just becoming “noise.”

    I do think the number of Republican primary debates is pushing the limit of what people are willing to actually watch. If they only read/watch highlights about the debates and don’t actually watch them all the way through then it can give too much weight to the “gotcha moments.”

  • Hiram

    Of no importance at all. What we need are nationally televised lie detector tests.

  • Zeke

    What Hiram said. Although with the current list of GOP gas bags on stage, Obama has been winning the debates thus far….

  • Emery

    They’ll warn us before the swimsuit competition, won’t they?

  • Lou

    The debates themselves have little value except to expose debating skill flaws in certain candidates such as Rick Perry. The most important aspect of the debates is to check or other fact-checking web sites a day or two after the debates to see the credibility of the statements that were made. I couldn’t image why anyone would support a candidate that has a history of making false statements.

  • GaryF

    But this whole race is starting way, way to early. The Republican candidates should have not accepted the first bunch of them and waited until January 2012.

    By the time the election actually happens, people are so sick and tired of campaign commercials and the news outlets covering the elections no wonder the general public has a bitter outlook on politics.

  • Steve the Cynic
  • david

    I just don’t have the will or the stomach to watch. Especially this current group of ne’er do wells. Five minutes of listening to michelle bachmann talk and I have an uncontrollable urge to jab a pencil in my ear.

  • Chuck

    This is better than the survival shows! LOL.

    I find them quite entertaining. Each tries to expose the weaknesses in the other. Many enligthening faux paus. Not a shred of real problem solving as yet revealed.

    Tough to take any of these yahoos seriously.

  • Jason

    About as important as watching a Punch and Judy show to determine the character of the puppeteers. Hint: there’s one guy operating both puppets.

  • Mark G

    I’m thoroughly enjoying the Republican debates, much as I enjoy watching a bull-riding competition: it’s basically outlandish, it has no intrinsic value, there’s always the chance of a rider being gored or otherwise seriously injured, and the participant who outlasts the bull longest is deemed the winner by an unseen group of judges. Seriously, however, I think the debates are very helpful; it shows us how each candidate thinks on his/her feet, how each reacts to the stress of the situation, whether he/she can explain their positions coherently in a limited time, and most importantly, whether each truly wants the American people to see them in action. If Rick Perry follows through on his threat to limit his debate appearances, I think we can fairly surmise that he is thin-skinned and not really ready to engage in political discourse. This is just a short step away from a President deciding that he doesn’t have to present himself to his constituents. Do we really need this form of imperial Presidency?

  • Larry M.

    Each of the right wing candidates show how they plan to hurt the poor, working and middle classes to benefit the wealthy. I hope the debates are a wake up call for average citizens.

  • P. Nielsen

    None whatsoever. I have taken my dad’s advice (finally), and vote for the party, not candidates. It’s a vast waste of time and money………

  • James

    Not important at all.

    Apparently the Republicans need to have a candidate for 2012. They like to pretend that their candidate will have a chance to win. So they run them through a bizarre gauntlet of tests during this “silly season.”

    There will be 1 survivor, who will subsequently spend months moving to the middle and trying to distance himself from most of what he said during the silly season.

    And then he will lose, probably badly, anyways.

    There is some entertainment value to the debates, but that’s where their importance ends.

  • suzie

    Not important at all. Since the questions are pretty much the same, the handlers (campaign staffers) have rehearsed their candidates – it’s just a bunch of trained seals.

  • kimMN

    Large scale debates with 6 or more candidates are one minute commercials. Newt’s idea to have a serious debate in a one on one setting will be telling.

    We should have had more debates with POSTUS present in 2008 to answer to his background.

    The media was so in love with the idea of having elect our first bi-racial President that they ignored all serious analysis in to history. We only had Hillary Clinton to probe when she asked him to show his birth certificate and his college records.

    I got a copy of my birth certificate in less than a day yet Obama needed three years to get his?…..oh please.

    The debates , once they are not moderated by biased media, will be useful to fully understand their positions. I don’t see how Obama can debate anyone this coming year with his long list of broken campaign promises, higher unemployment, billions lost and wasted on green industry loans, circumventing the Constitution with acts to bypass Congressional approval or when the campaign finance records showing Obama taking more money from Wall Street than any other candidate in history has to be answered.

    Can you imagine Obama in a debate, trying to skirt the issues of his failed administration as we saw in their four huge Chicago politics style Pay to Play energy dept. loans gone bankrupt

    ( Solyndra, Sunpower, etc.) or his appointing an attorney general that now faces Congress seeking his resignation ( e.g., deaths from their corrupt Fast and Furious ATF program)

    Th current debates seem to be designed to test who can be most successful in debating Obama’s past four years and defeating him…

    In Bill Clinton’s own words (2008) ” who, him for president? (Obama)…ha,that’s a fairy tale.”

  • Sue de Nim

    I continue to be amazed at the hypocrisy of Republican candidates giving lip service to their “Christian” faith while pushing economic policies that enable the rich to get richer at the expense of the poor and middle class. They claim to be sticking up for the weak in their opposition to abortion, while supporting social policies that make it an attractive option for women with crisis pregnancies. They support “intelligent design” in biology classes, but not our health care system, rejecting scientific Darwinism and embracing social Darwinism. They are morally bankrupt.

  • John O.

    I would rather watch that Kardashian show about her wedding to Kris Humph…..oh wait!

  • kimMN


  • Ben

    Debates yes,

    3 year + 364 Day election season, NO.

    Canada’s LONGEST was just 74 days and it can be as short as 36 days.

    We should adopt this practice.


  • GregX

    the debates are shallow and vapid. I’d rather that each candidate be required to personally prepare and tape a 10 minute policy speech (10mps) on a given topic – with the following requirements (1) no mention of oponents names (2) no music or graphics – just face time and ideas (3) same podium- backdrop and lighting. None of the 10mps would be available until all were available. Then – all of them would be aired during the same 1-2 hour time slot. Following the airing – there would be an immediate polling via internet for one hour. That poll would be thrown away and no results reported.

  • Gary Engen

    I think the real value is giving the current set of candidates the opportunity to listen to the drivel, venom, and hyperbole spewing from their opponents. I have to believe that in private moments they wonder just what their party has become.

  • David Poretti

    Potentially, very important.

    I would like to see a series of debates, each with only one topic open for discussion (environment, economy, energy, defense, etc.), allowing each candidate enough time to present thier respective position and rebut their opponents attacks. I would also like to see one final debate before the delegate count is wrapped up where the remaining candidates ask each other questions.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Would the derper please cease. It’s not helping anything.

  • kimMN

    Debates can be useful if done right and not moderated by media hypes to give one minute sound bites.

    If we look back at the 2008 debates, did we really learn anything about the real Obama and his ideology? Well yes, actually we did but few paid attention to him. For example, when he talked of his energy plan, e.g. saying, ” Under my plan, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” ( That isn’t a Liberal value to cause a basic need such as electricity to become un affordble to the poor, is it? )

    When he spoke of “spread the wealth is a good thing.” Implying when the government does it by executive order it is OK, but not when done by charity. In the old days when the Russia was under communist rule, that is exactly what they dictated..take from the successful and give to the unsuccessful, spread the wealth sort of_ although the elite in government held most of the riches. The result was massive failed business and failed commune farms with starvation.

    Today, our debates should discuss how to undo the damages of all past admins., starting with Obama’s stimulus money loaned ;

    e.g.,$ half billion waste for Solyndra, $ half billion for Sunpower and even more for Beacon. How about the $230 million the Obama admin. allocated and used for anti-obesity commercials???.

    Your taxes were used to pay back Obama campaign contributors…pure and simple and that was something he said would never happen_ no more lobbyists in his regime.

  • kimMN

    Debates should address real issues and past stance on their issues. Just as this Q and A once discussed the Occupy Wall Street with most supporting the protest and sit in/ take over of public property instead of getting a permit and doing day hours as the Tea Party has done.

    Once the protesters had financial backing and contributions from the far Left and unions we heard nothing more. Few know that it was the far Left radical group called Adbusters that started this protest movement before the Soros groups joined in and finally the unions as well as they revealed their involvement yet, no media now wants to discuss those facts of this so called movement of protesters living on their Daddy’s credit cards and school loans.

    Here are their current stats on such a wonderful hyped up socialist supportive movement. These are things to be discussed in DEBATES with the President; e.g. ” Describe your awareness of OWS protesters origins, the millions in cost to tax payers for clean up and police duty and if you approve.” Obama and Biden and Pelosi approved..!

    Back on October 18, pollster Doug Schoen (a Democrat) discovered that a full 31% of Occupiers were willing to commit violence in pursuit of their agenda, whatever that is. In response to this startling admission, the Main street media outright ignored or dismissed it.

    The list below proves that at least when it comes to their willingness to break the law, the Occupiers are keeping their word.

    The list is in no particular order. The movement is spreading across America and bringing with it their outrageous and appalling behavior. Francis Fox Piven has called for violence in the street if needed..if needed.. she supports OWS because she was involved in its beginning, according to her own admission.

    The list is here_ but you won’t see it on CBS, CNN, MNBC , ABC or NPR. The list includes rape, theft, assault, anti-semitic jeers, filth, obscene behaviors, threats against police and ACORN calling for action to disrupt banks, mob the bank lobby on business day hours to stop customers from walking inside.

    Seriously folks, who in their right mind would support that type of protest that advocates violence and removing other’s Rights?????

    NY: 10/1/2011 — Police Arrest More Than 700 Protesters on Brooklyn Bridge.

    Madison, WI: 10-27-2011 — Madison Occupiers Lose Permit Due to Public Masturbation.

    Phoenix: 10/28/2011 — Printed Flier at Occupy Phoenix Asks, “When Should You Shoot a Cop?”

    NY: 10/18/2011 — Thieves Preying on Fellow Protesters

    NY: 10/9/2011 — Stinking up Wall Street: Protesters Accused of Living in Filth as Shocking Pictures Show One Demonstrator Defecating on a POLICE CAR

    NY: 10/7/2011 — Occupiers Rush Police … More

    Cleveland: 10/18/2011 — ‘Occupy Cleveland’ Protester Alleges She Was Raped

    NY: 10/10/2011 — ‘Increasingly Debauched’: Are Sex, Drugs & Poor Sanitation Eclipsing Occupy Wall Street?

    Seattle: 10/18/2011 — Man Accused of Exposing Self to Children Arrested

    10/12/2011 — Iran Supports ‘Occupy Wall Street’

    Portland: 10/16/2011 – #OccupyPortland Protester Desecrates Memorial To U.S. War Dead

    Portland: 10/15/2011 — #OccupyPortland Protesters Sing “F*** The USA”

    Chicago: 10/17/2011 — COMMUNIST LEADER Cheered at Occupy Chicago

    10/15/2011 — American Nazi Party Endorses Occupy Wall Street‘s ’Courage,‘ Tells Members to Support Protests and Fight ’Judeo-Capitalist Banksters’

    Boston: 10/14/2011 — Coast Guard member spit on near Occupy Boston tents

    Boston: 10/11/2011 — Boston Police Arrest Over 100 from Occupy Boston

    New York: 10/11/2011 — “You Can Have Sex with Animals.”

    New York: 10/15/2011 — Harassing Police with Accusations of Phony Injuries

    New York: 10/9/2011 – ‘Occupy Wallstreet’ Protesters Steal from Local Businesses

    New York: 10/25/2011 — Three Men Threatened to Kill 24-Year-Old Occupy Wall Street Protester for Reporting Rape

    Baltimore: 10/18/2011 — #OccupyBaltimore Discourages Sexual Assault Victims from Contacting Police

    Portland: 10/27/2011 — Occupy Portland’s Attempt At Wealth Redistribution Ends In Theft

    Los Angeles: 10/14/2011 – Anti-Semitic Protester at Occupy Wall Street

    10/27/2011 — A Death Threat From an Occupy Wall Street Protester

    10/27/2011 – Anti-Semitic Tweet From Occupier or Sympathizer

    Boston: 10/20/2011 — Occupy Boston Doesn’t Want Police Involved in Rape

    New York: 10/5/2011: Anti-Semitic Occupier Screams About Jews, Israel

    New York: 10/4/2011 — Occupier Taunts Jewish Man

    Boston: 10/2011 — Occupiers Block Street

    New York: 10/2011 — Occupier Tries to Steal Police Officer’s Gun

    New York: 10/27/2011 — Occupiers Block Traffic, Get Arrested

    Oakland: 10/27/2011 — Occupiers Throw Garbage at Police

    Oakland: 10/19/2011 — Abusive #OccupyOakland Protesters Ban Media from Tent City

    Eugene, OR: 10/19/2011 — Occupiers Displace Farmers’ Market Threatening Hundreds of Jobs

    Portland, OR: 10/18/2011 — Capitalist Offering Jobs at Occupy Portland Finds Few Takers

    NY: 10/20/2011 — #OccupyWallStreet Threatens Businesses, Patrons

    NY: 10/14/2011 — Violence Breaks Out During #OccupyWallStreet March Toward Stock Exchange

    NY: 10/14/2011 — Protesters March On Wall Street, Scuffle With Cops

    Oakland: 10/19/2011 — #OccupyOakland Protesters Threaten Reporter

    Oakland: 10/26/2011 — Occupiers Scuffle with Police

    Oakland: 10/24/2011 — Protesters Storm, Vandalize, Shut Down Chase Bank

    Dayton, OH: 10/22/2011 — Protester: ‘F*ck The Military, F*ck Your Flag, And F*ck The Police’

    Chicago: 10/14/2011 – Protesters’ Message At #OccupyChicago Rally: ‘Destroy Israel’

    NY: 10/23/2011 — #OccupyWallStreet Supporter Rants Against Israel, Jews

    NY: 10/22/2011 — #Occupy Kid: ‘Burn Wall Street, Burn!’

    NY: 10/21/2011 — New Yorkers Fed Up With Noisy, Defecating Protesters

    Oakland: 10/21/2011 — Occupy Oakland Evicted After Reports Of Crime And Intimidation

    Oakland: 10/19/2011 — #OccupyOakland Out of Control: Rats, Graffiti, Vandalism, Sexual Harassment, Public Sex and Urination

    Chicago: 10/26/2011 – Occupiers Under Investigation by FBI for Links to Terrorism

    Cleveland: 10/29/2011 — Rape Reported at Occupy Cleveland

    Dallas: 10/24/2011 — Police Investigating Possible Sexual Assault Of Teen At Occupy Dallas

    Bloomington, IN: 10/26/2011 — Man Claims Occupy Bloomington Protesters Drugged, Handcuffed Him

    NY: 10/10/2011 — Sex, Drugs and Hiding from the Law at Wall Street Protests

    Glasgow: 10/26/2011 — Woman Gang-Raped

    Boston: 10/23/2011 — Occupy Boston Protesters Arrested For Dealing Heroin – With 6 Year-Old in Tent

    Portland: 10/16/2011 – Sex Offender Registers Occupy Portland Camp as Address

    Denver: 10/15/2011 — Occupy Denver Demonstrator Accused of Groping TV Photographer

    Lawrence, KS: 10/25/2011 — Sexual Assault Reported at Occupy Camp

    Minneapolis, MN: Bricks, Rocks, ‘Riot Supplies’ Discovered by Police

    Phoenix, AZ: 10/27/2011 — Neo-Nazis Patrol “Occupy Phoenix” With AR-15′s

    Chicago: 10/26/2011 — Occupy Chicago Invades City Hall

    10/26/2011 — ACORN, Occupy Email Talks About Assault on Banks

    10/26/2011 – OccupyWallStreet Strategy for Reports of Violence Against Cops

    Chicago: 10/26/2011 — Unrepentant Domestic Terrorist Bill Ayers Wows Occupiers

    Chicago: 10/25/2011 — Ayers Coaches #OccupyChicago, Callsg for School ‘Occupations’

    10/26/2011/ — Occupy Protests Have Jewish Leaders Concerned

    Wash DC: 10/27/2011 – OccupyDC Leftists Provoke Police – Hang Flag on Top of DC Statue

    Albuquerque, NM: 10/26/2011 — Occupy Squatters Riot With Police

    San Diego: 10/25/2011 — Flag Used as Chew Toy by Occupier’s Dog

    Oakland: 10/25/2011 — Occupiers Throw Bottles at Police

    NY: 10/27/2011 — Occupy Wall Street Protesters: Rush Limbaugh Is Bigger Threat Than Al-Qaeda

    10/27/2011 — Occupy Wall Street Launching First Nationwide General Strike in America Since 1946

    NY: 10/28/2011 — Fox 5 News Reporter Assaulted at OWS

    10/28/2001 — Total Occupy Arrests Made Thus Far: 2750

    Nashville: 10/28/2011 — 30 Arrests Made at Wall St. Protest

    NY: 10/20/2011 — Former Marine Tries to Taunt Police into Violence

    NY: 1023/2011 — Islamist Group Joins with Occupy Wall Street

    Los Angeles: 10/13/2011 — Roundup of Overt Occupy anti-Semitism

    NY: 10/12/2011 — There are No Anti-Semites at Occupy Wall Street. Except for This Guy

    Missoula, MT: 10/20/2011 — Drunk 11-Year-Old At Occupy Missoula, Adult Arrested

    Oakland: 10/28/2011 — Bounty Out On Police Officer?

    Manchester, NH: 10/28/2011 – Woman charged with pimping teen recruited at Occupy NH rally

    San Diego: 10/28/2011 – 40 Occupiers arrested

    Boston: 10/24/2011 — Occupy Boston Vandalism of Banks

    Boston: 10/25/2011 – Store Owner Suffers 4 Break Ins Since Occupy Boston Began

    Portland: 10/28/2011 — Portland Police: Buckets of Excrement Scattered Around #OccupyPortland Camp

    Seattle: 10/20/2011 — Two Possible Occupiers Charged With Assault

    Seattle: 10/18/2011 — Armed Felon Arrested at Occupy Seattle

    Seattle: 10/18/2011 — A Tent Fight and (At Least) One Arrest at Occupy Seattle

    Seattle: 10/17/2011 — Over 50 Cops Clear Westlake Occupation, Make Eight Arrests

    Seattle: 10/13/2011 — Cops Arrest Several Occupy Protesters

    Seattle: 10/13/2011 — Chanting Protesters Surround Police After Officers Arrest Two

    Denver: 10/29/2011 — Protesters Clash with Police at OWS Denver

    Austin: 10/13/2011 – Occupy Austin protesters arrested for blocking cleaning Crews

    Calgary, CN: 10/28/2011 — Occupiers do $40,000 in Property Damage

    Cincinnati, OH: 10/21/2011 — 23 Arrested, Remains of protests fill two dumpsters

    Sacramento: 10/19/2011 – 9 arrested in ‘Occupy Sacramento’ protest

    Sacramento: 10/13/2011 – Four More Occupy Sacramento Demonstrators Arrested

    Austin, TX: 10/22/2011 – Man Arrested After Knife Incident at Occupy Austin Camp

    Nashville: 10/29/2011 — Tenn. Protesters Arrested For 2nd Straight Night

    Austin, TX: 10/30/2011 – Austin Police arrest 38 Occupy Austin Protesters

    NY: 10/30/2011 — Woman Assaulted in Her tent

    Orlando, FL: 10/28/2011 – Occupy Orlando, police clash over use of downtown park

    Orlando, FL: 10/26/2011 – 2 Occupy Orlando protesters arrested for trespass

    Orlando, FL: 10/22/2011 – Police arrest 19 Orlando protesters on trespass charges

    Asheville, NC: 10/30/2011 – Occupiers Clash with Homeless in Asheville

    Nationwide: 10/27/2011 — Pro-Occupy Site claims 2511 Arrests Thus Far

    Fort Worth, TX: 10/16/2011 — Arrests at Occupy Fort Worth Protest

    NY: 10/29/2011 — Three Incidents of Anti-Semitism

    San Francisco: 10-29-2011 — Anti-Semitic, Folsom Street Fair Types & Che Guevara Lovin

    Recently, President Obama said that the Occupiers are just like the Tea Party.

    That’s a lie.

    So, will we see these shocking stories of OWS and Dept of Energy loan corruption with and other stories ever debated with Obama and the GOP favorite??

  • Steve the Cynic

    KimMN, your rants aren’t changing any minds. When you vigorously present weak evidence like that, it seems convincing only to those who are already dedicated to the cause, who are eager to find reasons not to change their minds in the face of conflicting evidence, while it annoys those who are actually seeking to understand the issues.

    On the subject of redistribution of wealth, see this:

  • kimMN

    @steve the cynic

    You said that I, “vigorously present weak evidence .”

    Really? Really??

    Please refute any of those points with solid facts and I will gladly change my mind and become a died in the wool democrat. The problem is that there are too many who can’t let it go when faced with new wasn’t easy giving up my past support for Obama but when he allowed border patrol operations leading to deaths, added 4 trillion to the debt, allowed lobbyists 4 days of access before the Energy Dept gave away our tax dollars to failing industry, decided to all too often circumvent Congress ( such as Libya and student loans , cash for clunkers and useless HARP mortgage loan deals…and then his wife uses tax dollars for safarii to Africa and holds extravagent balls for campaign fools alllll while America is in economic, yeah, that is some weak evidence on the merits of Obama huh? whew.

  • Steve the Cynic

    First of all, KimMN, I have a hard time believing you ever supported Obama. Given your obvious ideological stance, it strains credulity to think you came by it recently enough to have been a supporter at one time. Now, to your question.

    Critical thinking is not just about what “facts” one believes, but also how one reasons from them. For instance, you gave a long list of headlines from articles covering misbehavior by Occupy protesters. Assuming those reports are all legitimate, and that you’re not including events that were subsequently shown not to be as bad as first reported (which happens a lot), and that you haven’t included multiple reports of single events, what should we make of that “evidence”? You seem to imply that these incidents characterize the movement and are typical of all or most of the participants. That is a logical fallacy. It’s just as fallacious as saying that since lots of murders happen with guns, the NRA must be a murderous organizaiton.

    That’s why I say your evidence is weak– not that it’s thruthfulness is in doubt (though I wouldn’t trust you to be honest with your facts, given your history here), but that it doesn’t logically lead to the conclusions you draw from it.