Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vice Presidential Debate – Helps or Hurts New Frontrunner?

Fresh from surging to the lead, Mitt Romney’s new momentum gets a test on Thursday in the vice presidential debate.

As posted a few days ago, a group of Belgium journalists stopped in for a briefing on the election and the debate.  The following is one journalist’s questions on the VP debate and my responses.

Q:  What are the main challenges of this vice-presidential debate?

  • Along with the personal challenge to be seen as competent and hopefully a winner, each side carries the campaign banner.
  • There will be more interest in this debate because of the attention generated from the first debate and its apparent impact on the race.
Q:  Is it also less about “substance” than “appearance”?

  • There is always a blend of substance and appearance.  But, as the first debate showed, tone, style and forcefulness count at least as much as having facts.
  • But, Romney’s having a plan, his five points was a benefit.  He looked prepared and ready to work for jobs.
Q:  Is it possible for Biden to overcome the results of the first debate, which was favorable to Romney?

  • There will be pressure on Biden to at least make a good, gaff-free show of it.  Vice president debates seldom become important enough to change a race.  Biden would like to stop the current news cycle narrative of Democrats in trouble.
  • Ryan will also be under pressure to hold onto the momentum and not let his views or plan become a liability.  Democrats have been attacking the plan for months.
  • Ryan, as the new person, has an opportunity to become a national figure, but also the possibility of becoming a distraction just when Romney is making progress.
Q:  Next presidential debate will be a “town hall” meeting.  What difference does it make?

  • The next presidential debate will make it more difficult for the candidates to argue with each other, such as during the long rebuttals in the first debate.
  • Romney can expect many social issue questions that tend to benefit the Democrats (i.e., abortion, immigration).
  • Candidates will need to be more conversational and focus on the citizen questioners.
See The Buzz:  Questions from Belgium journalist watching our presidential debate for first time

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