Presidential debates are important, but this debate has taken on much more significance because it is the:
- First debate
- Colorado is a toss-up state
- The race is close
Romney’s task is urgent. Early voting has already started in Iowa and Ohio. He had a difficult September facing a Democratic convention bounce and attacks from the off-the-record fundraising “47 percent” comments.
Debates are mostly about tone, look and communicating personality, not presenting 5 or 10 point plans. Romney will need to show his self-confidence, demonstrate policy competence and communicate compassion while aggressively reminding voters of the President’s failures and reasons to vote for him – not an easy blend in a debate.
But, October 3rd will be his biggest audience since the convention and a critical moment to change the dynamics of the race.
History suggests debates seldom help candidates, but they can hurt. And, Obama must avoid a misstatement or bad appearance that could change what looks like a building lead. Obama will try to keep Romney off-balance, without looking defensive or hostile.
His goal is to reassure voters who believe he’s going to win and are leaning to him that he’s the right choice.
What the presidential debate means for Colorado
How the presidential debate could turn the tide