When have presidential primary contestants ever had to do 20-plus debates to secure the nomination? I think this grueling process has harmed more candidates than it has helped. They have to continually beat one another up (encouraged by mostly hostile moderators) while Mr. Obama gets to sit back and laugh, unscathed. Imagine where the campaigns of Perry, Pawlenty, and Bachmann might be without their poor debate performances.
Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum no doubt like (and need) all the free air time, but Mitt probably doesn’t. If I were Mitt Romney, I would say we have had enough time to debate, and now it’s time to talk to the voters. Remember, the president probably won’t agree to more than two face-offs. Most candidates risk more harm than good by debating. And doesn’t familiarity usually breed contempt?