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I'm sort of discounting the VP debate. I just don't think it really moves the needle. Believe me, I would love to settle the election based solely on a matchup between Ryan and Biden. But that just isn't happening. I do think, however, that you will see the 0bama campaign tip its hand. I believe they have to go hard on the attack. It might not be noticed, since Biden is such an attack dog anyway, but he really didn't do it that much in the 2008 debate. I think you will see Biden out for blood. Mostly as a trial balloon for what they think 0bama can get away with. But also to get the base fired up.

Because the base is p!$$ed, and they want blood. To them, 0bama should be bringing out every attack line in the books, or more specifically, in his ads and on left-wing blogs. And since 0bama has based his campaign on a turn-out-the-base strategy, he's got to go for it. Now, who knows what the election will look like next week. So far, polls, such as they are, have always bounced back in favor of 0bama every time Romney has closed. Maybe that just repeats again, and 0bama doesn't have to push the pedal to the metal quite so much. But if not, he will no doubt come out on fire. Maybe he can get under Romney's skin. Maybe an attack will sting. But remember, Romney played the frontrunner all throughout the primary campaign. My concern was never whether Romney could sit on a lead in a debate, it was whether he could perform on the spot when he needed it (question answered).

If Obama tears into Romney from the opening moments, he comes across as a man who realizes he’s losing, and who’s desperate to change the dynamic. He may look harsh, angry, and divisive. His base will probably love it, but all of the voters who have shifted to Romney in the past week will probably feel better about their choice. The tone of Obama’s performance last week was that he’s spent - he’s out of energy, out of ideas, out of hope and now just hoping to plod along for the next four years. Ninety minutes of Obama trying to recite his attack ads’ greatest hits before a town hall audience will only reinforce the perception, “this guy’s done, he’s got nothing else left to offer.”

Keep in mind that Romney proved in the first debate to be much more nimble, persuasive, and personable than almost anyone expected. Obama could very well go on the attack and lose the exchange.

But if Obama plays Mr. Nice Guy, his base is likely to be irate and depressed once again, since attacks on Romney are like catnip to them. In a way, failing to take on Romney would only reinforce the perception that Obama thinks he’s above this, that he thinks these debates are silly wastes of time, and that he doesn’t think his opponent is worth taking seriously.
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