The most important part of the 2012 presidential campaign will begin Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the first debate between the candidates.
Going back to 1960 when John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon were the candidates, the advent of televised debates has provided the best way for the electorate to measure potential leaders.
Without the filter of the many takes afforded when cutting commercials, the candidates are exposed for their ability to think on their feet. Their intelligence and likability (or unlikability, as the case may be) generally shine through.
The first debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will air live at 3 p.m. local time on Oct. 3. The debate will be staged at the University of Denver and will focus on domestic policy.
The second debate will be in town meeting format from Hofstra University on Long Island on Oct. 16. Members of the audience will ask questions of the candidates on both foreign and domestic policy. Once again it will start at 3 p.m. Hawaii time.
The final debate on Oct. 22 will air live at 3 p.m. locally from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. That debate will center on foreign policy.
Spliced in the middle will be a vice presidential candidate debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. That debate, which will cover both foreign and domestic policy, will take place on Oct. 11 at 3 p.m. here. It will be staged at Centre College in Danville, Ky.
Our advice for voters is to closely watch all the encounters and ignore the spin doctors from both parties who will try to interpret how the debates went for you. Follow your own instinct - if you don't like an answer (or the candidate himself), don't let a professional politician convince you otherwise.
Lastly, we should enjoy the debates. This is what freedom and choice are all about. Have fun watching the candidates compete for your vote.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.