56 million people in the United States were watching the three presidential TV debates in the year 2008 between the two presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. Thus, presidential TV debates are a major event in the US. The topic of my thesis is an analysis of the three final presidential TV debates in the election campaigns 2000, 2004 and 2008. The debaters were George W. Bush, Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain and Barack Obama. I provide two different hypotheses in my thesis. 1. The more simple, less complex and more understandable a candidate's language is in the debates the higher are his chances to win the debates and consequently the election. 2. Even though rhetorical devices can be highly manipulative and persuasive they hardly matter in a debate and thus the candidates do not make use of these strategies very often. The paper is divided into four major parts. In the first part I explain the theoretical basis for the analysis of political discourse and my method of investigation. I provide an introduction to the theory of Critical Discourse Analysis, in which special attention is paid to Norman Fairclough's three-step model. However, this model only serves as the guideline of my analysis. I decided to establish my own method of Critical Discourse Analysis, which is applied in the subsequent sections. Part two concerns the structural level. In this chapter an overview of the format of presidential TV debates is provided. Part three is the rhetorical part. Here the candidates' use of language is analyzed and my hypotheses are introduced. In part four, I discuss the goals, effects and benefits of presidential debates. My thesis makes clear one thing: namely that there is no other realm that provides so many people with the same unique opportunities. The audience is able to see the presidential candidates on stage, side by side, live, and both at the same time.