It all comes down to this: With President Obama holding a stable lead in the presidential race, tonight's debate provides Mitt Romney with one of his last chances to change the trajectory of the campaign. The debate - moderated by Jim Lehrer - begins at 9pm ET and msnbc will have full coverage starting with live editions of Hardball at 5 and 7 ET and then full coverage with Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews and the rest of the msnbc team from 8 to 1am. We are the place for politics.
Tonight's format will give both candidates ample time to talk specifics about what they would do as president. Mitt Romney has avoided such specifics thus far -- will Obama force him to get into the details tonight?
Check out this nifty New York Times interactive feature on the body language of the candidates.
And a pre-debate truth squad from the Times: Here are some of the claims both sides have been making and the truth behind them.
Politico has a list of five things to watch for in tonight's debate.
Our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls show President Obama holding his lead in Ohio, and in a statistical tie in Virginia and Florida.
President Obama is outspending Mitt Romney on campaign ads, but that doesn't include those outside groups.