Debates: National discussion and debate series

Debates: National discussion and debate series

Pundits and commentators across the spectrum declared Governor Mitt Romney the victor in his first debate against President Barack Obama on October 3. Consensus was that Mr. Romney’s strong performance breathed new life into his campaign, and national polls tightened in the days that followed. However, uncertainties about sustained impact remain: Did Mr. Romney’s performance truly alter the shape of the race, or was this simply a temporary bump in a campaign left essentially unchanged? The result on November 6 may help answer a larger question: Do Presidential Debates Change Elections?

Resolved: Do Presidential Debates Change Elections?


Richard Norton Smith is a nationally-recognized expert on the American presidency.

Martha Raddatz is Senior Foreign Affairs correspondent for ABC News. On October 11, Raddatz moderated the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan.

Newt Gingrich represented Georgia’s sixth district in the United States Congress from 1979 to 1999, including four years as Speaker of the House and four years as Minority Whip.

Christopher Dodd represented Connecticut in the Senate for five terms, serving from 1981 until his retirement in 2011, making him the longest-serving senator in the state’s history.

George F. Will is one of the most widely recognized, and widely read, writers in the world, with more than 450 newspapers, a biweekly Newsweek column, and appearances as ABC political commentator to his credit.

Donna Brazile is a veteran Democratic political strategist, adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist, and political commentator. 


Jake Tapper is senior White House Correspondent at ABC News and a regular contributor to ABC programs “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” and “World News with Diane Sawyer.”