Middle Cheese, my mid-level campaign source from the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign who talks regularly with the movers and shakers on the Romney campaign, sends along his pre-debate thoughts.
President Barack Obama should win tonight’s debate, hands down, no contest. Obama is one of the most gifted communicators in modern political history.
(Must everyone play the expectations game?) But he points out that the format is one familiar to Obama, but not to Romney; between Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Barack Obama has participated in seven one-on-one presidential debates. Tonight will be Mitt Romney’s first.
Middle Cheese continues:
In the 2008 debates, he won decisively against John McCain, who was an experienced debater. According to Gallup, Obama won all three debates with McCain In 2008: “Round three of the presidential debates went to Barack Obama, according to a one-night USA Today/Gallup poll of debate watchers conducted Oct. 16, completing a sweep of the three debates for Obama. . . . Still, Obama won each debate by a convincing margin.”
Since President Obama can’t talk about his economic record and doesn’t have a plan to create jobs, save Medicare, or balance the budget, expect him to launch a vicious 90-minute negative attack against Governor Romney. It will be the Greatest Hits of Obama’s negative campaign: “Outsourcing jobs.” “War on Women.” “Tax hikes on the middle-class.” “The 47 percent.” And so on.
Look for Mitt Romney to hammer home the point that America cannot afford another four years like the last four years. He’ll explain how his policies will improve the lives of everyday Americans. He’ll frame this election as a “big choice” between more dependency and more opportunity, between more government and more freedom for all Americans.
Since everyone expects the “47 percent” comment to come up, maybe we’ll see Romney talk about what he means by dependency, and how Americans lead unhappier lives when they come to depend upon government for everything they need and want.
Although tonight’s debate format is on domestic issues, look for Romney to find an opportunity to critique Obama’s foreign policy, which is unraveling before our eyes on television, and specifically to raise questions about the Obama Administration’s inability to protect our Ambassador in Benghazi. Governor Romney’s goal isn’t to win the debating points against President Obama, but rather to speak to the American people about why we cannot afford another four years of President Obama, and what he would do differently to create a real recovery at home and restore American leadership abroad.