No. of Recommendations: 6
The next few days will see Romney making hay out of the debate and 0bama moving on. Romney will raise some extra money and run some debate-centered ads. 0bama will get back to the stump and move on. Next week, the VP debate will take place, but isn't likely to make any difference. Republicans gleefully expect to pummel Joe Biden, but a) expectations for Biden literally could not be lower and b) nobody is going to vote for Romney based on a poor debate performance from Biden (or vote for 0bama based on a poor debate performance from Ryan). So it is mostly a non-event, though of course political junkies will tune in and make a big deal of it. I will be guilty of this next week...

The interesting and important question is what does 0bama do in response for the next debate. I heard and read an awful lot of criticism and analysis of the 0bama performance, from both the left and the right. But the key driver to 0bama recovering at the next debate is recognizing what went wrong for him in this one. Then properly correcting that. Because he doesn't want to fall into the Gore 2000 model, where the cure is more deadly than the disease.

A lot of the liberal criticism I have seen is that 0bama didn't go on the attack enough. He didn't attack Romney with the 47% issue. He didn't attack him on Bain Capital. Another is to blame it on the moderator. Lehrer should have stepped in and helped 0bama. He should have called Romney on all his "lies" (yes, liberals actually expect the debate moderator to be an active player on their team, and see nothing wrong with this). But this is all small ball. These are symptoms, but not the disease.

The best observations/criticism of 0bama that I saw was that he brought his campaign speech to the debate. I don't remember who said it or if it was a liberal or conservative, but I think this succinctly pierces all the way to the core of the problem. 0bama appeared stuck in the mud because all he had to go on, it seemed, was his campaign speech. I noted last night how odd it was that after Romney effectively refuted 0bama's charge about the $5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich, 0bama just went back to the same exact claim, as if none of that had even happened. It made no sense, but his preparation told him that was the next thing to read from, so that's where he went. Romney was completely prepared to address every single thing from 0bama's campaign speeches and ads. So while 0bama can get away with strawmen when he is outspending Romney on TV ads, he can't get away with it when Romney is there to obliterate the claim. This is why the liberal exasperation over 0bama not using the "47%" attack is so misplaced. Really, you think Romney was thoroughly prepared for everything else, but that 47% comment would have thrown him off his game? Really? Why on earth would that be the case? No, the problem is that 0bama came with a paper thin case to present on his behalf, and that didn't cut it against Romney last night. If there is one lesson 0bama should learn from the experience, it should be that he can't just bring his campaign speech to the debate stage.

That's a tough lesson to learn and act on. It requires real work. It requires having ideas and attacks that have substance. So sure, it is a lot easier to just throw out the 47% line, but that isn't getting you anywhere, and left-wingers will be left wondering again how 0bama blew it when Romney obliterates that attack. But 0bama needs to make a more fundamental change in his approach. It isn't just that he didn't act interested or that he didn't attack enough. He didn't prepare seriously for a debate because he thought in his awesomeness that he could just bring his campaign speech and wing it. If he learned this lesson, he might be able to correct it for next time. If he just thinks he needs to come out more aggressive and stand differently at the podium, a Gore 2000 redux could be on the table.
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