John Dickerson points out the pitfalls of townhall debates:

In town-hall debates, the questions from the crowd can easily be turned into "moments" that journalists cling to for weeks. We're always looking for vignettes that allow us to tell a larger story. A "moment" by a swing voter is particularly valuable. The questioner, after all, is representative of a worried nation...It's not just the journalists who obsess, though. Voters see themselves in other votersparticularly those defined by television anchors as independent-mindedand tend to repeat these moments to their friends.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.