Imagine If Mitt Romney Wins The White House On The Strength Of TV Debates. It’s Going To Be John Kennedy All Over
John Alexander writes from Washington: The Obama camp are frantically looking for a solution to the Romney problem. One to one without a teleprompter and the President flounders. So the suggestion is to try to make Obama learn some fancy lines by heart and use them during the next two debates, even if they don’t really fit the format, so to speak. As in Romney says: what is your solution to the national debt? And Obama replies: have you heard the one about a Rabbi, a Catholic priest and a Mormon? Yes, sure, some people would find it odd but the majority love a good laugh and it will go down well with them.
Inside the White House itself officials are trying to find an answer to why the boss failed so miserably in Denver. One suggestion is that Romney lives at a higher altitude and adjusts more easily to the elevation. Denver is a mile above sea level and that, according to some people, might have played a part in the debate going Romney’s way.Other explanations are weird as well: Obama was too busy to practice for the debate, having all that golf to play, while Romney had all the time in the world and rehearsed his lines hundreds of times.
The second debate will take place at Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y. The audience will ask questions on domestic and foreign policy. Presumably, both camps will have planted questioners in the audience.
The President goofed in Colorado. He was asked hard questions on the economy and he looked like a fish out of water. He spun a story about outsourcing overseas. Romney countered by saying that he had never encountered it in 25 years of doing business. However, as everyone knows, Wall Street runs the economy. The Secretary of the Treasury is a Wall Street banker. The Federal Reserve’s decision to splash $40 billion on buying toxic bank and other debt every month will not help the average American. But it will help the banks. If you did not know, you would guess it was a Republican initiative.
The average punter is not clued up on statistics, trade deficits and sovereign debt. He or she wants to know if his or her living standards will improve or decline over the next four years. Romney, trained as a salesman, has a great advantage. Obama has run nothing more impressive than a lemonade stall.
Will Obama do better on foreign policy? There is a land mine waiting for him: the murder of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, in the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The White House handled the whole affair very badly. They kept on saying it was an impromptu attack provoked by an anti-Islamic video. It was also not anti-American. Instead it was a well-planned attack by an Islamist group, possibly linked to Al Qaeda. Even more damaging, the consulate had requested more security before the attack and had been turned down. Obama’s advisers need to come up with a damage limitation narrative on this disastrous event. Romney will home in on it and claim that the President does not look after American assets and personnel abroad.
The third debate will be in Florida and will concentrate on foreign policy. How many voters will watch the three debates and vote for the winner? Some analysts claim that 80 per cent of Americans have already decided whom to vote for. If this is true, Romney is talking to the undecided. Presumably a lot of those who have decided already will not bother to watch the debates. It was striking that 25 per cent of those polled thought that Obama won the first round. Solid Democrats.
Romney was way behind before the debate. If it is concluded that winning the debates wins him the White House, this will change politics. The debates are the only time the media cannot distort the policies of the candidates. So a future President must be a brilliant debater and have well honed economic knowledge. Bill Clinton’s quip ‘It’s the economy stupid’ will have been proved correct.