Tonight is the first Presidential debate between President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney. For a politics nerd like myself this is like the first round of the playoffs leading up to the superbowl, election day. Here are a few things I think both sides should do in the debate tonight in order to win over more voters.
Former Governor Romney
Be easy on the zingers
Reports are that Mitt Romney is practicing several zingers for the debate tomorrow. I am concerned. Let’s be honest. You need a certain level of coolness to really make a zing work and Romney just does not have it. It is going to be corny mark my word. He does need the zingers because those are the lines that people remember and discuss the next day at the water cooler. That is what Romney needs, he needs a positive comment replayed by the “liberal” media as he calls it. He needs to win here so treed lightly governor.
We need details sir!
The biggest substantive critique of Romney right now is he has failed to give us details on his plans specifically his tax plan. Specific details rather than what he claims the overall impact will be of his tax plan! When these issues come up Romney needs to balance attacking what Obama has done with a sprinkling of blanket statements but a large amount of details! That is what we are all waiting for even the Republicans are waiting on details.
Romney needs to appear that he genuinely cares and lets be honest that is nearly impossible for him. The democrats have played up this out of touch rich white man from the beginning and the recent leak of the “47% video” fell right into that only difference was that the elitism came from his mouth not the democrats! So how does he do that? Well what he should not do is be too empathetic it will come of as fake. I have heard that there are some great anecdotes that highlight a softer Romney that he refuses to use because he did not do these things to win an election they were just out of the kindness of his heart. Well Romney you are losing, it is time to bust those stories out and the debate is a great time for it.
Women, minorities and the poor
Romney is polling extremely low among women, Hispanics and African Americans and it does not seem like he cares. I do not think Romney can win the general election with only older white men voting for him. He is going to need to pull from another demographic. I will be surprised if Romney makes it through all of the debates without a question regarding women’s health issues ranging from abortion to birth control. Romney needs to find some balance between the male conservative, who has an odd need to control the reproductive organs of women, with the rights and desires of women to have their own autonomy when dealing with their bodies! He also needs to find a more attractive stance on immigration, which is another question that will be brought up in one of these debates. Advocating for self-deportation is not going to garner him any Hispanic votes. Although he needs to find a better solution here, I don’t see him doing it because the opposing side to this debate falls squarely among his supporters. He’s probably not going to win a majority of these groups over but a few percentage points would not hurt.
Be cool you are winning!
Now is not the time for a Romney level debate gaffe, like the “wanna bet $10,000” comment made during the Republican primary debate. Obama needs to be cool as a cucumber and well thought out in his answers. Republicans are praying for a slip up because it could be a huge momentum changer in this race and that is exactly what Romney needs. Cool is what Obama does best so I am not too concerned. I will be surprised if there is an Obama gaffe in the debate, now Biden on the other hand that is a different story.
Add some zingers!
Leaders of Obama’s campaign have made it seem like zingers are beneath him. They’ve indicated that he will be highlighting the issues and speaking directly to the American people without the applause lines. Honestly I hope this was just bluffing because zingers are what make Presidential debates fun and there is so much material with Romney! An attack on “Obamacare” a zinger about “Romneycare” would fit right in. A line about his flip flopping would also be good! I hope Obama goes for it.
Don’t be to professorial
President Obama is a smart man. He actually was a professor at one of the top law schools in America. I think this is a strength and a negative all in one. He knows the issues well and can break them down but maybe not plain enough for all the American people. So I hope Obama takes a page from Bill Clinton’s book and just makes it plain to the American people. Speak directly about issues that they understand impact them. I think he can do this.
This should be a fun debate to watch!