In any event, only so much can be read into their positions. The makeup of Congress after the election will determine whether a candidate's to-do list gets done, a reality often neglected when presidential candidates make bold promises.
Circumstance, too, will shape what gets done. Obama walked into a steep recession, with the financial sector, auto industry and housing market reeling. By necessity he became a manager on the fly, much as George W. Bush did when the terrorist attacks of 2001 changed everything for years to come.