Why the debate will be meaningless

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The prez: Looking for love in very few places

Other than not making any stupid mistakes, the presidential candidates have one goal for the Oct. 3: "debate" -- and it's the reason not much of substance is going to come out of either one's mouth.

See, this isn't a national campaign at this point; it's all about winning over a few hundred thousand undecided voters in about nine states. Which means that Romney and Obama are going to be talking to a few hundred thousand people mostly in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio.

And who, exactly, are "undecided voters" at this point? Who, after everthing that's been said and done in a campaign that features two very different candidates with completely different visions for the country, still can make up his or her mind?

Think about that. Think about what kind of a cautious, all-things-to-all-people, America-is-great-if-we-all-work-together kind of message Obama and Romney have to craft to reach the tiny and politically bizarre group that could still change this election. That's what you're going to see on the TV screen.

Oh, you'll see Romney try to knock Obama off balance with some sort of attack or quip or zinger. Not likely to work. You'll see Obama try to be as presidential as possible, and Romney trying to look august and presidential, too. A lot of it's visuals.

But really, there won't be much "debate," since both candidates have memorized canned responses to every possible question.

It's a show for a micro-audience. Just remember that when you tune in.