Can Romney “Win” The Debate?


Josh Marshall expects it will be difficult for Romney to effectively attack Obama:

I think it’s quite possible Romney will have a good debate, given the nature of the expectations and the natural tendency for reporters to want a new story. But if the standard is his ability to fundamentally change the dynamic of the race that’s much more challenging. Because to do that he needs to be aggressive and in Obama’s face — the sort of stuff that’s just as likely to confirm the negative sense of him as arrogant, lacking empathy and contrived.

Josh follows up here. Larison is on the same page:

[Romney's] 47% comments have put him on the defensive, which makes it more difficult for him to go on the attack without appearing desperate. At the same time, because of his exceptionally high unfavorability Romney will also need to be repairing his public image. He will be attempting to do this while he is trying to sow doubts in the audience’s mind about Obama, and that would be a complicated feat even for a very capable politician. Based on the last few months, we can conclude that Romney is not that.

Relatedly, Blake Zeff compares two target audiences, the media and the viewers:

[W]while the media may thrive on combat (somewhere the late Lloyd Bentsenis looking down on Twitter and thinking what could’ve been!), a candidate aiming to win the “viewers” debate wants to be seen as likeable. So, while Mitt Romney is being advised by a malange of media voices to swing for the seats and tear the president apart, he might take notice of the 2000 debate, in which Al Gore’s unrelenting critique of George W. Bush preceded a precipitous decline in voter opinion of him.

A reader sends the above photo:

This Dish-head's life is smack in the middle of the Denver-metro front in the battle for Colorado.  Here you can see the media's staging zone within the secure area surrounding the University of Denver's Magness Arena where Wednesday's debate will take place.  Debate prep has been in full swing for the past two weeks with an increasing number of detours and road closures that reach a crescendo Wednesday afternoon when a 5-mile stretch of I-25 will be closed for 5 hours. 

Today, I was dropping my daughters off at their school, which is in the middle of the DU campus and will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday as a result of debate logistics.  Tonight, Gov. Romney will hold a rally at the Wings of the Rockies Air & Space Museum, which is 10 miles from my house and Thursday morning, President Obama will hold a rally at a park only 5 blocks from my house (which I plan to attend with both daughters.) 

I've gotta say, all this attention is rather nice and I feel a little sorry for all the "Safe R/Safe D" states.