E-mail from reader Scott:
The reaction to last nights debate (and Perry’s poor performance in earlier debates) is that Perry is now disqualified from being president.
If so, does that mean that Romney and Gingrich, the best debaters, are the only candidates we should consider? Does the best debater win, or is it just a threshold issue where you need to show a minimum level of debating competence in order to be considered, and then only after that we are permitted to look at your record, platform, etc.
There is no threshold issue, you have to have it all. You have to have a good record, platform, etc. and you need to be able to deliver it in a way that is effective in our mass media age.
It may not be fair or right, but debates take on an oversized importance because it is the only time we see candidates face off, so being able to handle oneself on stage is very important.
Does that mean we do not necessarily get the best person in the presidency? Sure.
But my concern is that we not get Obama in the presidency again, and someone who cannot deliver the message is problematic to me.
Update: Luntz focus group, courtesy Sheya: