Debates will be key for Romney campaign in putting Obama on the defensive

ABC News posed an interesting question today, “Can the debates turn around Romney’s fortunes?”

It certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented, considering George W. Bush was 8 points behind heading into the 2000 debates and after the first weekend was running in a dead heat with Al Gore.

The difference between the debates and stump speeches are considerable and don’t favor the president whose affinity for soliloquy and hyperbole aren’t conducive to answering direct questions.

Obama, for his part, has never been a great debater (please, keep your sophomoric jokes to yourself), and Hilary Clinton regularly appeared more knowledgeable and affable during the 2008 Democratic primary debates.

Particularly in a debate where you have an incumbent, it’s paramount that Romney can point to specific policies that have failed under Obama. That shouldn’t be hard.

Furthermore, Romney needs to be pointed in his criticism of Obama’s responses to questions which will no doubt be meandering and full of obfuscations and equivocations. That’s what happens when your record isn’t what you’re running on.

Mitt can’t expect to get any help from the moderators who will not ask Obama specific questions about his failures. Don’t expect to hear anything about drone attacks, the subject of an outstanding piece from the Atlantic, today.

I doubt they’ll be any push back or fact-checking from the moderator about Obama’s economic record.

That’s Mitt Romney’s job. The reason you spend time prepping is so you can anticipate what Obama will say, and come up with the best counter-arguments for it.

Obama will talk about the 4 million jobs he’s created. Romney has to be ready to explain that isn’t enough to grow the economy and that unemployment remains above 8%.

If Romney can find a way to make President Obama look like what he’s saying is less than truthful, the president has a history of becoming cantankerous, condescending and snarky.

That’s exactly what Mitt Romney should want.

Obama hasn’t had to be on the defensive in four years of being president. Romney has to put him on the defensive in the debates because there is significant damage that can be done to Obama’s campaign which is predicated on pulling the wool over the eyes of gullible would-be voters.

The wild swings in polling give you an idea of how volatile this election is and how undecided the voting public is. Voting models appear to be off, projecting Democrat turnout above 2008 levels in some polls, which is utterly ridiculous.

We know that won’t happen in 2012 and one of the main polls actually taking that into account is Rasmussen, which has had Romney ahead nationally.

This election is much closer than the mainstream media will have you believe and the debates certainly could go a long way to getting Romney’s campaign back on track.

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