The political debate season is off and running.
Republican presidential candidates, or at least many of them, gathered at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. on Monday night for a forum at which they were questioned one at a time.
Fox News will sponsor a debate on Thursday night that many commentators say is the first one that really matters. It features the top 10 candidates in an average of five national polls, and is supposed to mark Donald Trump’s debut as a debater. That one takes place in Cleveland.
The Democratic debate schedule is fuzzier. There are supposed to be debates in Iowa and New Hampshire in September and October, but details aren’t yet available.
As business journalists, there’s a special challenge to following debates. Presidential candidates aren’t like CEOs, who have to get information right or risk affecting their company’s stock price.
They will make some bold claims, and possibly untrue ones, about the economy, jobs and other business topics.
A good strategy for story ideas is to find candidates who are talking about the issues of interest in your area. You might compare notes on what the candidates say, and do some fact checking.
If a debate comes to your city, there will likely be an economic effect — hotel rooms booked, the media descending, restaurants getting extra business. Rather than focus on politics, follow the money related to debates.