There are three presidential debates scheduled for October. October 3rd, 16th, and 22nd. These debates will be critical for the Romney campaign.
Really it won't even be the three debates. Historically viewership drops off after each debate, That means that Romney's fate will rest on the first debate. Let's amend that, Romney's fate will hinge on the first twenty minutes of the first debate - that's it, that's all Romney has to make his case.
Within the first twenty minutes viewers will decide if they like Romney, they will decide if they trust him, voters will look to see if he can stand toe to toe with the President on the issues and voters will look for something that tells them that things can get better under Romney's leadership.
It's an awful tall order for Romney. Given the state of the economy he should be in a much stronger position. But, unseating a sitting President is not easy. You're asking the public to fire him, and at the same time you must make the case for a better tomorrow. It's a difficult duel message and it has to be finally tuned. When Ronald Reagan ran against President Carter, in the 1980 debate Reagan repeated over and over again "Are you better off then you were four years ago?" it was simple and ingenious turn of words. The phrase evoked the ideal of a better day and at the same time called attention to the failings of the Carter administration.
The Romney campaign has not clearly defined it's message.
The first twenty minutes could make or break the campaign..