The debate, though expected to be widely viewed, has an even smaller impact on how voters will ultimately decide to cast their ballot than the actual presidential contests. But as last week's first face off between Obama and Romney showed, a commanding debate performance can help build enthusiasm with your base and create momentum as early voting gets underway.
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Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at email@example.com.