Obama, Romney ready for showdown as first TV debate about to start

Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will
intensify their election campaign with
their first TV debate on Wednesday
Washington: Tens of millions of Americans will tune in Wednesday night to watch the much hyped first television debate of the session when Democrat candidate Barack Obama will challenge his  Republican rival Mitt Romney in Denver, Colorado. 

The debate of is the country’s most anticipated and arguable political event so far this year.

The first political debates in the U.S. history took place in Illinois, in 1858. Senatorial candidates Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas stood on this rock and argued over slavery. Lincoln lost the race but went on to win the presidency two years later. Ten thousand people watched the debate in this park.

Fast forward 100 years and many more would watch a presidential debate on a fairly young technology called television.

A tanned Senator John F. Kennedy visually overpowered an uncomfortable and sweaty Vice President Richard Nixon. Journalist Howard K. Smith moderated the debate.

US presidential debates over the decades have produced a series of memorable gaffes, flubs, and zingers. 

At the height of the Cold War, for example, President Gerald Ford said in a 1976 debate with challenger Jimmy Carter that “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe,” prompting much subsequent cackling from the chattering classes. 

Obama enters Wednesday’s debate in Denver, Colorado, leading Romney by more than 3 percent, according to RealClearPolitics, which averages national polls. The debate, for which both candidates have been engaged in intense preparations, will focus on domestic policy. They are set to spar over foreign policy in subsequent debates on October 16 and 22. 

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