Go ahead, hit the snooze button — we'll rouse you in a few months.
President Obama and Mitt Romney are essentially tied in the polls. For the next three months, they'll jockey back and forth. They'll be out there saying stuff, but nothing earth-shattering.
Take, for example, what Obama said in his supposedly major speech about his economic plan on Thursday, which the campaign billed as a new framing of the race:
"More than anything else, this election presents a choice between two fundamentally different visions of how to create strong, sustained growth, how to pay down our long- term debt, and most of all, how to generate good middle-class jobs."
How new is that? Well, copiers-and-pasters be damned, compare it with what he said just two days before:
"The question in this election is going to be whose vision is most likely to lead us back to a point where economic growth is strong and is steady and is broad-based so that people who are willing to take initiative and work hard can succeed; that we're not just a nation of consumers, but we're a nation of producers; that we're not just importing, but we're exporting; that we're a magnet for good, well-paying middle-class jobs in this society."
Romney is no different.
"He's going to be a person of eloquence as he describes his plans for making the economy better," Romney said of Obama in his own economic speech. "But don't forget, he's been president for three and a half years. And talk is cheap. Action speaks very loud."
Here's what Romney said about Obama the day before:
"My own view is that he will speak eloquently, but that words are cheap, and that the record of an individual is the basis upon which you determine whether they should continue to hold on to their job."
That sound you just heard was the record player screeching.
There are just a few noteworthy occasions in the next few months for the campaigns. The first is Romney's announcement of his running mate, though most political observers are betting that he picks a boring white guy, not another Sarah Palin who will generate a media frenzy and distract from his message that the economy is bad.
The next dates are the party's conventions. The Republicans have theirs in late August, and the Democrats will party in early September. Those events will bring about a lot of televised speeches and cable news coverage, but the talking points will be stale and the messages predictable. It's rare that they'll produce any sort of substantial news.
That's basically it until Oct. 3, the first presidential debate. There, Obama and Romney will share a stage and will have the chance to personally define the other candidate as well as themselves just a month before Election Day. If you dropped into a coma tonight and woke up on Oct. 3, you probably wouldn't have missed much and you'd be in good shape to vote.
"You could lose the debate by saying something incendiary, but you likely can't win," said Michael Heaney, a political analyst at the University of Michigan. "Don't try to win the debate. Try to not lose the debate."
This timeline assumes, of course, that no major gaffes are executed by either candidate -- meaning that the news media seize on it for more than two days. A summer of slow news days provides the press with ample opportunity to magnify the missteps that the candidates will make. Then again, it might take a big effort to get the public to tune in this time around.
"I think that neither one of these candidates this year makes for a particularly compelling candidate," Heaney said.