This week, and Tuesday’s presidential debate in particular, marks a vitally important stage in the campaign, veteran political correspondent Dan Balz reported over the weekend.
"Every week after Labor Day is touted as a critical week in presidential politics. The coming week may actually live up to that characterization," Balz wrote in an article titled "Obama, Romney face a truly crucial week."
However, Balz has argued as much about nearly every week since the party conventions more than a month ago.
"With the two political conventions now over, Election 2012 turns to a month that could be both fallow and consequential," he wrote on Sept. 8, noting, "Whoever can capitalize most on this post-convention period could gain an advantage before those debates begin."
Then, on Sept. 22, Balz argued that the run up to the first presidential debate would a critical "test" for Republican Mitt Romney.
"The coming week will test whether Romney’s campaign can do something they’ve struggled with for many weeks, which is to deliver a coherent and sustained message across every possible platform," he wrote. "Advisers to both candidates see the Oct. 3 debate in Denver as the best opportunity for Romney to force a shift in the campaign’s dynamic, which has been running against the GOP nominee for the past three weeks."
Following Romney’s solid performance in the debate, though, Balz urged those weighing its significance to "be patient and don’t rush to judgment."
The subsequent vice presidential debate, however, was of vast importance.
"Rarely has a vice presidential debate been as crucial as the one between Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday night will be," Balz wrote on Oct. 10. "After Mitt Romney’s lopsided victory over President Obama in Denver last week, the exchange will arrive at a fluid and potentially pivotal moment in the campaign."
Just 22 days remain until Election Day on Nov. 6—a date certain to be one of the most crucial moments in the campaign thus far.