When President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney stand on the debate stage this week, their campaign advisers and debate coaches want everything — from the stage lighting, to the audience, the room temperature and most importantly, their opponent — to feel very familiar.
With the presidential debates coming up next week, we thought we'd turn once more to a man who tries to know everything, A.J. Jacobs, contributing editor at Esquire magazine and author of a number of books too numerous to mention for him to benefit from any bounce in his Amazon rankings. A.J. joins us from New York. A.J., thanks for being with us.
An oddity of U.S. presidential politics is that candidates and their campaigns spend nearly all their time telling voters how superior they are to their rivals in virtually every area: the wisdom of their policy proposals; the soundness of their characters and judgments — everything, really.
Except for debating.
It's the old game of setting the bar high for your opponent and lower for your candidate, of course. That way, anything short of a disastrous debate performance can be claimed as a knockout victory.
The first official presidential debate isn't until Oct. 3 in Denver. But as The New York Times writes, last night on CBS News' 60 Minutes there was something of a "shadow debate that offered a likely preview of the tone and substance" of what will happen on stage next week.