Before the political debates come the negotiations regarding the debates.
How many? What are the ground rules? Who is moderating? What are the audience specifications? How does the stage look? Where do the candidates stand or sit?
That's what's going on before the public events in a year when Pennsylvania elects a governor.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce is touting a debate between Gov. Tom Corbett and his Democrat challenger, Tom Wolf, Sept. 22, with retired NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw as the moderator.
There are hints of up to three debates between the gubernatorial contestants.
We have two observations. Pay attention to the details of these debates. Both sides are jockeying for ground rules that will make their candidate look best.
Our second observation is that three is not enough debates.
We wish there are about a dozen of them sprinkled at locations throughout the state, including our own region.
That may sound like a lot.
But considering that the advertising element of the governor's race already has gotten salty, public debates have never been more important for getting a true gauge of who these two people who want to lead the state are.
The more head-to-head confrontation between the candidates, the more direct dialogue between them, the better, as far as we are concerned.