Judging by what pundits focus on after a debate — who came off aloof or sincere, which candidate delivered the best one-liner — you'd think the match-ups were acting competitions. Yet history demonstrates that a debate performance can make or break a candidacy. It's not what they answer, but how they answer.
So which characters will take center stage come Friday? McCain will be playing the role of scrappy fighter while Obama will star as the youthful man of reason. The New York Times looked back on the candidates' debate records. Over 30 debates, McCain has proven that he is "an aggressive competitor who scolds his opponents, grins when he scores, and is handy with the rhetorical shiv." Obama debates with an inconsistent style, and "he tends to the earnest and humorless when audiences seem to crave passion and personality."
Obama may be the "celebrity" — but who do you think has the acting advantage? Will you tune in Friday for entertainment or education?