Schieffer: Let's have MORE debates

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama shake hands as moderator Bob Schieffer looks on during the third presidential debate at Lynn University, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla.
AP Photo/Pool-Win McNamee

(CBS News) It's an honor to moderate a presidential debate, and while I never say never, at this stage of my life I can't imagine I'd ever do another.

So here are some observations after doing three of them.

They seem to work best when the candidates are seated at a table rather than behind more formal podiums or wandering around the stage in a town hall format.

The debates do matter and people like them - around sixty million people will gather around their televisions on three separate nights, that means it's obvious voters find them relevant.

Even more important, they are one of the rare events left in modern politics that people from both sides of the political spectrum will watch at the same time.

Even when you have to hold your nose, listening to the other guy from time to time can be a learning experience.

That's why I believe we should have MORE, not fewer debates.

Instead of three, I'd propose six, with the first one immediately after the political conventions.

Starting early and sitting the candidates down face-to-face could change the entire tone of the campaign.

An argument with someone you know - even just a little - is generally conducted on a higher plane than an argument with a stranger.

Anything that gives us a different version of events than what we get in these awful negative ads cannot be all bad.

The debates are one of the few things that can do that. I hope we'll see more of them.

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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.