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Do Early Presidential Debates Matter?

Early presidential debates offer unique opportunities as well as risks. Issue candidates get a platform, dark horses get a chance to introduce themselves, and the front-runners just try not to mess up. Two veterans of presidential campaigns talk about the objectives of early debates and how they differ from debates in the general election.

Anna Greenberg, worked on the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton, 1992, and Al Gore, 2000; partner with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a democratic political consulting firm

Ed Rogers, Republican strategist and chairman of Barbour Griffith & Rogers LLC; senior deputy to Lee Atwater, campaign manager for Bush-Quayle, 1988

Ken Rudin, NPR's political editor

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