Schieffer: Debates, economy likely to decide election


(CBS News) The presidential debates and the state of the economy this fall are likely to decide the election between Mitt Romney and President Obama, CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer said Friday on "CBS This Morning."

Noting that Romney raised more money for his campaign and his party than Mr. Obama raised for his side in May, Schieffer said this was clearly "not a good week for the president by any stretch of the imagination but I would just caution all those who think this is now over, there is a lot of months, there's a lot of days to go before we get to Election Day, but this has not been a good week for the president."

Romney raised more than $76 million for the GOP and his campaign last month, while Mr. Obama raised about $60 million, the first time this cycle the challenger has outraised the incumbent.

"This is going to be quite a campaign, Charlie. I think it's the (economic) numbers in October and the debates in October that I think are going to be the tipping point here," Schieffer told host Charlie Rose.

"You know we've never really seen Mitt Romney go one-on-one" against Mr. Obama, Schieffer said, "I think what is going to be crucial here is when those debates happen in October and you see Mitt Romney on one side of the table and Barack Obama on the other, I think in the end that may be what decides all of this."

Asked if criticism that the president is spending too much time campaigning for re-election and raising money might hurt his chances, Schieffer said it was all part of the process now.

"If he raises enough money, it won't hurt him at all. Because I think he's gotta do it," he said, noting that both candidates are going to raise in the neighborhood of a billion dollars.

"Money does not ensure victory. But how obscene that we have reached the stage that both of these candidates have to raise this much money in order to be competitive," Schieffer said, noting that former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman lost to Jerry Brown in the raise for California governor despite spending more than $100 million on the race.