Commentary: It Will Take Three Debates To Pick The Winner

As the first Presidential debate--aka the Boston Brawl--recedes into memory and the candidates gird for round two on Oct. 11 in Winston-Salem, N.C., the punditocracy is having a tough time declaring a victor among all the jabs, sighs, and verbal head-butts. Professional debate coaches and political veterans seem to think that Vice-President Al Gore narrowly won the first encounter on points. How? By appearing in command of the facts and by cheerfully playing the role of aggressor. So is Republican George W. Bush, armed only with his tinny arsenal of one-liners and seemingly afraid to pronounce the names of world leaders, destined to fall short again in North Carolina and in the climactic Oct. 17 debate in St. Louis? Maybe not.

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