Remember when the presidential debates promised a refreshing, unscripted look at the two very stark choices presented to us in three weeks? Yes, those were an amusing few hours, but now we want to just sit down, get numb, and let this elaborately choreographed puppet show pan out. Everyone on the internet is tugging your sleeve, offering their "take" on how Obama needs to dump Romney in verbal acid like H.L Mencken—but with the kind, folksy touch of Shari Lewis. And here's 13 Places Where Romney Shouldn't Put His Hands, or GOP Advisors: Romney Has The Advantage (No He Doesn't). So in the spirit of hopelessness, here are some quotes we yanked out of the ether that make us want to watch a debate between a shiv and our skull.

The first thing to know about a "town-hall-style" presidential debate is that it bears as much resemblance to an actual campaign town-hall event as a marble statue does to its animated subject.


Can you think of anything that is LESS like a marble statute than something that moves? Oh, man, we can't.

In the two remaining debates, Mr. Obama will surely be more assertive, more competitive, and more engaged than he was in round one. But this time the curtain has been pulled back and the aura is gone. That means Mr. Obama's Republican opponent—for the first time in two presidential contests—will finally be contesting a mere mortal, not a wizard of his own Oz.


Yes, for the first time, a Republican will not have to debate the mayor of Emerald City and all its hide-dye subsidy receiving horses.

Obama needs to look like a fighter. The normally cool president needs to heat it up, but he can't come off looking overly aggressive or negative. That might smack of desperation.

"Don't over-correct. Don't go from being too passive in the first debate to too aggressive in the second," Begala cautioned. "You need the Goldilocks Strategy: Not as cool as the first debate, not as hot as Vice President Joe Biden." (Source)

So, the president needs to act like a bowl of Cream of Wheat stirred with brass knuckles. Give this man a raise!

To avoid a moment like in 2010 when Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley sounded unfamiliar with Red Sox legend Curt Schilling during a radio interview, Romney should also know that the four baseball teams still standing in the playoffs are the New York Yankees, the Detroit Tigers, the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.


MITT: Eric, I really don't think they'll ask about last year's jai alai championships.

ADVISOR: Dammit Governor, we can't leave it to chance!

There is precious little time left before Election Day to correct a devastating interaction should one occur.

Both men live in protective bubbles, shuttled around in bulletproof cars and protected by aides. The pointed questions they usually get are from reporters, pundits or the occasional greeting from a supporter on a rope line. (Source)

Tonight's painstakingly rehearsed debate may produce some volatile moments from the candidates who agreed to a specific memo of understanding. Anything could happen (if it's been pre-agreed on)!

For Obama’s voice to resonate Tuesday, he must not simply repeat the now tired slogan that he wants to go “forward” in between attacks on Romney. Instead, when he engages with the audience, he must articulate — in clear and human terms, in a way that connects with voters — what “forward” really looks like.


*Hits "Fast Forward" button on DVR immediately after the word "abortion" slips out of undecided voter's maw*

“If any side [in the debate] is going to be helped by Candy Crowley’s presence, it’s supposed to be the audience and the voting public. She’s a pro. She understands that. She’s not the kind of person who’s going to be throwing bombs. But she might have a very sharp little stiletto.”


Shove that stiletto into our skull. Now.