Transcript for Panel II: Do Debates Change Elections?
Welcome back to our panel and the audience. Our topic, today, of course, do presidential debates change election campaigns? We put this question to you at home. Let's take a look. Like a lot of republicans who are real conservatives, not the neoconservatives we see today, I'm concerned about where the gop is going. Debates did nothing to change my opinion of mitt romney or the strategy of the republican party. And so for the first time in my life, I'm going to vote for a democrat. Reporter: That was michael may of california. He was not the only one who said a debate did not change his vote. Nicole does her own research. She believes the candidates only say in debates what they think we want to hear. I was astonished at the creativity and innovation that exists in the american people. Because of the resilience and determination of the american people, we've begun to fight our way back. Reporter: And many of you agreed with this comment, that the ability to debate well does not convert to the ability to governor a country, a state or otherwise. We did hear from viewers influenced by a debate. More than one told us the first romney obama debate swung their vote from obama to romney. You're entitled to your own airplane and house, but not your own facts. Reporter: Two of you said you changed your vote after a debate only to regret it. For margaret, it was ross perot's 1992 debate performance. I'm all ears. Reporter: Some of you said it made you more or less comfortable with your choice. Finally, a thought we know richard norton smith will appreciate. A television debate might be sir received as a sort of historical document. The role can go beyond the current votingach future voters. As it has for milestone debates of the past. Some great thoughts there. Thanks for weighing in. You can continue the conversation online today at twitter and on facebook. We're back with our all-star panel of experts. I would like to get a final thought from each of you. The big question, do presidential debates change elections? And what are you looking for in the last two debates? Senator dodd, I'll start with you. Maybe. I think what george will said earlier. We don't know about this one yet. We have three more hours left. The good news. But that's the bad news, too. Only halfway there, because they are so scripted. My hope is, I believe this will be the case. In preparing if for debates, I strongly advise the staffs, let the candidates be themselves. So often, they wire you up. Anticipate a question. It never happens the way they plan it to happen. My advice to president obama is to let him be the senator and candidate he was in 2008. He'll do beautifully. Don't overprepare. Right. If president obama has one more debate as bad as the first one, he'll be in enormous trouble. I assume he'll fight his way back. He couldn't take a secdebate as bad as the first without seeing the race blow wide open. There are two patterns here. One is the very short quip that changes everything. Ronald reagan saying I'm not going to take advantage of my opponent's youth and inexperience. I think that ended the race for mondale. I think biden, sometimes it's the whole 90 minutes. You can't interrupt 82 times in 41 minutes and not -- it would have been great gimmick three times. 82 times, you look like a caricature of yourself.
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