Mark Halperin’s Three Things

Mark Halperin’s three things to watch for in presidential politics for Wednesday, October 15.

1. Watch John McCain tonight. See how he performs in the final presidential debate of the race at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, at 9 pm ET. Polls continue to show McCain down with less than three weeks to go until election day. Tonight is McCain’s final chance to stand on stage with Obama and possibly discuss former 60s radical William Ayers in a face-off. How does he perform in this debate? Does he seize the moment and figure out a way to make this debate work for him?

2. Watch to see how the press covers the debate, both in the buildup and in the aftermath. Do they cover it as a battle of ideas? A test of who would be a better president? Or does the media view the debate simply as a horse race, and ask if McCain successfully mounted a comeback.

3. Watch the Obama campaign. They’ve been very aggressive throughout the race, not ever letting an issue go by without pushing back. Watch to see how they frame the context of Obama’s debate performance and his campaign afterwards. Do they push as hard as ever? Do they take their foot a little bit off the accelerator and think about things other than the electoral map? Do they start to spend more time thinking about what might happen after the election in November and December?

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