Ready for Round One

By Samantha Hayes in Washington

For the last few months the back and forth between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain has gone something like this: One candidate, or a campaign spokesperson attacks the other candidate from afar, either verbally, in a written statement, or in a television ad. Then the other side responds. Or both attack each other at the same time.  Then, every couple of days there’s a new national poll that may or may not reflect a change in the eyes of votes based on the selection of a running mate, more drama on Wall Street or a statement made about the economy. Let’s have a debate already.

I’m ready to see Obama and McCain, without their campaign spokespeople, without their teleprompters and without their spin doctors. It’s time for them to lay it out for the American people on stage, face to face, with cameras rolling.  And here’s how it looks to be shaping up.  The candidates will be campaigning while preparing for the the first of three Presidential debates this week in Oxford, Mississippi.  These match ups are designed to be much less structured than those during the primaries. The focus of the first debate this Friday will be foreign policy.  The second, on October 7, will be a town hall style format in Nashville, Tennessee.  The last debate, October 15 in New York,  will focus on domestic issues including the economy.  The vice presidential candidates will engage in a more structured debate on October 2 in St. Louis, Missouri.

The debates will usher us into the last stage of this long and close race for the White House.  The tempo will quicken, and the intensity will rise as the candidates go head to head.  After the last debate on October 15, we’ll will be just a few weeks away from electing the next president of the United States.  It’s game on from here on out.

Samantha Hayes is a national correspondent for CNN Newsource based in Washington, D.C. She contributes political stories to KSAT-12. You can learn more about her here.

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