Opinion: 7 Things to Watch for in the First Presidential Debate

Tuesday, October 02, 2012 - 11:49 AM

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama (Getty Images)

With polls closer than you think, Wednesday night's debate could be a game-changer. Here's what we're watching for.

  • 1. Tense atmosphere: This debate is the most important of the series to be held. Why? Because after a month of trouble at the polls, it's the acid test of how well Mitt Romney can hold up against President Obama. Also it's the one where neither candidate can make a major visual or oral blooper. 

  • 2. Game-changers: Can debates change the course of a campaign? Yes they can but it's rare that ONLY a debate will do this. There have to be underlying positives for the candidate who does well in a debate. If that person is seen as less qualified. Frightening, too rich, too risky, too unknown or even too not likable then a good debate does very little for him. (there are no "hers" running)

  • 3. Obama on the attack: Obama will hit like a sledge hammer on Romney's taxes, wealth, and the 47 percent comment.

  • 4. Romney on the attack: Romney will try to unseat Obama on jobs, sluggish economy, and the huge national debt he is leaving our grandchildren.

  • 5. Romney nerve-tracker: Because his poll numbers are going south in battleground states, Romney has more at stake on Wednesday night. Look for whether he seems more nervous and uncomfortable than Obama mostly.

  • 6. Obama confidence-tracker:
  • Obama has a tendency to get a little glib when he's in the lead - remember "You're likeable enough, Hillary"? The race has tightened slightly in the past week, so President Obama can't take any lead for granted with a month left to go.


  • 7. Watch the spin: The spin machine afterwards will be asking 'Did Mitt Romney get the bump necessary?" and "Did the Romney campaign finally get some new MOMENTUM from this debate?"
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    Comments [3]


    Education is the way out this mess.
    1-The respect for it.
    In other countries if you can not pay for Education you can not go to school. India is one of these.
    2-Children need to learn this while being treated with respect.
    3-We need to see our next generation as our own future.
    After all they are the ones that will or can take care of us.
    Which of these two will get this done?
    thank you,

    Oct. 03 2012 12:12 PM
    Kal Wagemheim from Millburn NJ

    1. Mitt Romney's Republican Party was in power when terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers, killing 3,000 innocent people.
    2. Mitt Romney's Republican Party was in power when the US invaded Iraq, which had nothing to do with the Twin Tower attack, resulting in the death and wounding of tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers, and the spending of trillions of US dollars in Iraq.
    3. Mitt Romney's Republican Party was in power when it converted President Clinton's budget surplus into a
    huge budget deficit, and the US economy plunged into a severe recession.
    4. Do we want to return to the failed Republican policies?

    Oct. 03 2012 10:16 AM
    Chris from Linden, NJ

    Among other questions that don't get asked often enough, will any moderators call the candidates out on the yawning gap between what they say to their base and what they say to the center? This column makes this point, more or less:

    Oct. 03 2012 07:22 AM

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