Well, the debates are over and "Big Bird, Binders and Bayonets" is my candidate for the title of a 2012 campaign book that tells us how those words capture the reasons that one side won and the other lost.

Did Big Bird's debut on the political stage highlight the void of the Obama presidency and foreshadow his defeat, or did "bayonets" supply the final cut that put Mitt Romney in his place and ensured the president's reelection?

We will know in two weeks.

The debates cost President Obama dearly. They put the lie to months of negative ads and assertions by the Obama campaign that tried to demonize Romney.

Romney needed the debates to allow voters to see him unfiltered, away from the influence of Obama's biased supporters in the media. The question is, were they enough to withstand the attacks against Romney that are coming in the next two weeks? There are still undecided voters, and there is still time for an October surprise to ambush Romney.

Will solid and steady win the race for Romney? Or will a flash and the power of incumbency keep the president in office?  We will see remarkably soon.