Posted by Curt on 16 October, 2012 at 9:46 am. 3 comments already!


Ed Morrissey @ Hot Air:

Once again, the two presidential candidates will square off tonight in a debate, their second of three and the third in the overall series.  Mitt Romney thumped Barack Obama in the first, by universal acclamation, while the irrelevant VP debate had a more mixed (and partisan) result.  However, Pew reported last night thatindependents liked Paul Ryan better than Joe Biden, by double digits:

Six-in-ten voters say they watched at least a little of last Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan at Centre College in Danville, KY. Among debate watchers, as many say Biden did the better job (47%) as say Ryan (46%)….

Republican voters overwhelmingly say Ryan did the better job in the debate (88%); a comparable percentage of Democrats (89%) say Biden did the better job. Among independents, 50% say Ryan did better, 39% say Biden.

That puts pressure on Obama to deliver a big win tonight to change the momentum of this race.  Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast says that Obama has to accomplish eight tasks in order to win tonight.  Most of these relate to mere semantics (“That’s where the mot juste comes in handy”) or personal attacks (“Find a way to reintroduce the plutocrat meme”), but one in particular is revealing:

Have a second-term agenda, and make sure it has some surprises of its own. Some of this agenda can be aimed at constituencies (immigration reform, say). But he should throw in something no one expects to hear, something that will throw Romney off guard. Maybe something about more aggressive natural-gas permitting in a second term. Probably needs to be a little bigger than that. But three things on that order would do the trick.

We are three weeks away from Election Day, and even Obama’s supporters (as Tomasky is) don’t have a clear idea of why Obama wants a second term, or what he wants to accomplish.  So far, the Obama campaign seems to be taking its messaging from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who famously told Paul Ryan that “we don’t have a plan – all we know is that we don’t like yours.”  Keep that in mind while reading Tomasky, and see how that fits with every point in his strategy except the one above.

The Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn wonders whether a game-changer is even possible.  Obama’s terrible performance two weeks ago was an emperor-has-no-clothes moment from which there is no real return, McGurn believes:

In Denver he didn’t just lose a debate—he lost the carefully cultivated illusion of a larger-than-life figure who was Lincoln and FDR and Moses all wrapped in one. …

Mr. Obama was the man who declared that he would change the thinking of the Muslim world by the mere fact of his election, restore science to its rightful place, and win what he called the “necessary war” in Afghanistan.

And then came this month’s debate in Denver.

That night, the American people watched “the smartest guy in the room” struggle to put together a simple declarative sentence, and then ask the moderator to move onto another topic after Mitt Romney had given a strong statement about jobs and growth and tax revenues.

Some 67 million Americans were watching on TV. What they saw was the scene from the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy’s dog pulls back the curtain to reveal there is no wizard at all, just a man from the Midwest who pumped himself up into something far beyond his mortal self—and got the whole of Oz to believe it.

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