10/18/2011 03:04 pm ET | Updated Dec 18, 2011

First in the Nation, #FITN

The American people deserve a New Hampshire primary, not ratings-influenced media coverage.

Tonight, 4+ million people will tune in to watch the Republican presidential debate in Nevada. In all likelihood, it will probably be more frivolous discussion focused on the latest book, merits of a vaccine, or a candidate's potential to be submissive to their spouse as president. It will be a conversation focused on the 10-second sound bite or jab, and not the substantive dialogue our country so desperately needs. Surely, it will fill SNL's coffers with abundant material (which are hilarious, by the way) -- but, in choosing the leader of the free world let's have a real debate.

When we reflect on our experience in New Hampshire over the last few months, we couldn't think of a more distinct contrast to the debates thus far. While many people might conjure up visions of the beautiful changing leaves in the fall, a perfectly prepared lobster roll, or a stroll through historic Portsmouth, presidential candidates know it for a different reason. Granite Staters are a famously discerning people with an outsized influence in presidential politics. Every four years, candidates canvas the state looking for votes. Not through media, but by traditional retail politics -- meeting folks one-by-one in townhalls, house parties, and coffee shops. (Riding a Harley down Elm St. in Manchester now and again doesn't hurt your chances either.) The outcome of elections in New Hampshire aren't decided by who's up in the latest national poll or who's been running for president the longest, but rather on a candidate's ability to offer a credible vision for our country based on ideas and real solutions. (Maybe a reason "Hope" and "Change" weren't enough to win there in 2008?)

In an unsettling time of economic turmoil, a government paralyzed by partisanship, and two wars abroad, we couldn't think of a more important time to have a serious national conversation about our country's future. We won't solve America's ability to be competitive in the 21st century through a hand-raise at a debate, or petty personal attacks. Americans deserve a conversation like the one that is going on in New Hampshire, based on substance and authenticity. (Our dad's Time to Compete is pretty darn good!) The stakes are too high to make an uninformed decision, again.

So, as we watch tonight's debate, trying to parse through an expansive field of candidates fighting for tomorrow's headlines, we're sure our minds will wander to New Hampshire. A place where substance is king (or queen), the state motto is "Live Free or Die", and most importantly where candidates are truly tested -- if only the national conversation followed New Hampshire's lead.

To keep up-to-date on the conversation in New Hampshire, follow our dad's campaign here.