Matthews: The good news and bad news for Romney in the debates…

Updated

Let me finish tonight with this.

Three times in modern TV debate history, a candidate has come from behind and won the presidential election due to a debate performance. Before the debates, he was behind; after, he was ahead and stayed on to win.

Those big, decisive debate years were Kennedy beating Nixon, Reagan beating Carter, Dubya coming from behind to pass Gore. Except for those years, the trailing candidate didn’t do well enough to pass the front runner, or the one leading beforehand managed to confirm his lead in the debates.  

So the only years that the debates proved decisive were 1960, 1980, and the year 2000. All three times, the winner came from behind. 

Something else: all three times, the candidate who came on and won, passing the front runner, was from the party not holding the White House. That’s the good news for Mitt Romney. If he exploits the debates to his favor and increases his standing beyond that of Obama’s, he will fit right in with the other three who have done it. 

The bad news:  Romney has to beat Obama to do it. 

What a big night for politics, history, and our beloved country.

Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and Hardball Let Me Finish

Matthews: The good news and bad news for Romney in the debates...

Updated