Handicapping the presidential debate

2 Oct

The first presidential debate will take happen tomorrow.

Here’s some of the prevailing wisdom:

New York Times is reporting that Romney’s team has concluded that debates are about creating moments.

So it has given him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practicing on aides since for several months.

They say the idea is to getting the president to appear smug or evasive about his responsibility for the economy.

This is amazingly crazy.

In your wildest imagine, can you see Mitt Romney delivering a zinger?

Aides on both sides having been trying to raise the bar for their opponent’s performance so they won’t look so good.

Top Romney adviser Beth Myers sent out a memo arguing that Obama is “widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history,” with eight presidential debates under his belt to Romney’s zero.

Obama’s campaign set its marker down earlier, calling Romney “quick, polished, and ready with a punchy attack” thanks to extensive preparation and his victories in the endless GOP primary debates.

The reality is Obama is winning right now, so a decisive victory in the first debate has gone from merely important to critical for Romney.

Romney needs a bounce, and will get one.
Small and very needed.

Rumor is Romney’s party and donors are on the verge of jumping ship, and the first debate is the only scheduled potential game-changer left.

He may have history in his side.

In the last almost 30 years in a first debate, against an incumbent president, a challenger tends to win.

Let’s be realistic:
One debate can’t save Romney.

It would take a insanely impressive performance to shake up this race.

Seriously, unless Obama uses the debate to unleash a profanity-laced diatribe against the people of Ohio and Florida, Romney’s best hope is a small bump in the polls.

In general, Debates rarely change anything.

In a tight race like this, a small bounce could be enough to nudge the election in competitive states like Colorado and Ohio, according to NBC.

But political scientists say there’s a tendency to overstate the impact of debates because they rarely if ever change the outcome of an election.

We tend to fixate on telling’ moments, like Ronald Reagan’s “there you go again” zinger in 1980.
But Reagan was already beating Jimmy Carter.

A great one-liner will win Romney some applause and a few headlines, but it won’t win him the White House.

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