Presidential political debates CAN be devastating...
Gerald Ford lost the '76 election when he stuck his foot in his mouth about Poland in his debate with Jimmy Carter.
Jimmy Carter lost the election four years later when Ronald Reagan made him look like an idiot saying "There you go again!" during their debates.
George H.W. Bush lost to Slick Willy when he reneged on his "Read my lips, NO NEW TAXES!" pledge.
Al Gore looked like a doofus when he tried to physically dominate G.W. Bush by occupying Bush's personal space during their debate.
John Kerry was, and is, just a stiff.
Barack Obama performed well in the debates in '08 because he had no record to defend.
That won't be the case in '12.
If he ends up being the Democrat nominee for POTUS, (and I still think that's in question), he'll have to defend policies that have run the country aground emotionally and economically.
I doubt this country can survive as a Representative Republic if Obama is re-elected.
From here on, it's gonna be fascinating to watch.
Bring on the debates!