First this blog will be on a brief hiatus due to the Prof having shoulder surgery today for a torn rotator cuff muscle. I anticipate being back at writing long before election day.
Secondly, the first presidential debate is this evening. Romney appears to have stopped the free-fall he has over the past month ( a truly awful September it was), but President Obama remains in a far better position going into the final five weeks. Debates do matter in a close race and a few well placed one-liners or embarrassing gaffes can mean a lot. We are in a society of soundbites, like it or not. So, a little advice for each candidate:
- This is probably your last chance to shake things up. yes there are two more debates, but this one sets the stage.
- That being said, you need to go after the President, but in a "nice" way. Articulate differences and offer alternative solutions.
- Be specific - you really have nothing to lose at this point. Defend your positions and don't be wishy-washy.
- Look and act presidential. You are on a job interview of the highest level!
- Don't make bad jokes or otherwise commit a gaffe that will be a soundbite for the opposition.
- Try to get under Obama's skin and force him to make an error.
- Make Obama own the bad economy.
- The debt will be a key issue to highlight as long as you can use it in a way that ordinary people will appreciate. Personalize the debt's effect on average Americans.
- Make yourself approachable and try to convey being a "regular guy" without it being forced.
- Don't be negative or dour. Americans like optimism and a can-do attitude.
- And...no $10,000 dollar bets - please!
- Look and act presidential - its your job!
- Highlight the impact of your policies on stopping the economic slide.
- You are probably in the lead - sit on the football, don't make any statements that can give Romney any momentum.
- Tie the economy to Bush - and portray Romney as Bush II.
- Accentuate the positive!!
- Tie Romney to the Wall Street mentality that contributed to the 2008 crash.
- Portray confidence and control; don't let Mitt rattle you.
- Go after Romney on RomneyCare.
- Throw in millionaires and billionaires, but don't overuse the term either.
- Hold your own - as long as you don't lose badly, you win.
- Tie Romney to Bush, again.
- And...don't say the Mitt is "likeable enough"!