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How Obama Can Rebound During Tuesday's Debate

Ryan Shaw |
October 16, 2012 | 8:43 a.m. PDT


Obama speaking in Terre Haute. (Becky F, Creative Commons)
Obama speaking in Terre Haute. (Becky F, Creative Commons)
Mitt Romney came out swinging in the first debate, and he firmly established his presidential brand and personality. Rarely is there a consensus of opinion after debates, but it was pretty clear that Obama struggled - even Democrats said it wasn’t the President's best performance. But Obama is looking to rebound during round two of the debates this Tuesday night. 

Here are some strategies Obama needs to deploy Tuesday night:

Bring the energy.  The spirit just wasn’t there during the last debate, and there are two reasons for that. The first is that Obama is always careful about what he says, especially without the aid of a teleprompter. This carefulness makes him look hesitant and dull. He would be better served to let it fly more often. Some people doubted Aaron Rodgers, and he responded by throwing six touchdown passes this week. The President should make like Aaron Rodgers and air it out early and often.

Hammer Romney on Medicare, remind people of the voucher system he proposes.  Romney wants to fundamentally change a program that millions of seniors rely on; a program that is wildly popular with a huge majority of the country. Obama can’t let up on this issue. He needs to remind people of Romney’s plan to completely overhaul the system. People aged 40-60 should walk away from the debate Tuesday knowing that if they want to collect on the system that they’ve been paying into their whole life, they need to vote for Obama. This includes those nearing retirement age in the swing state of Florida.

Obama is in his element on foreign policy— remind us how he's gotten stuff done abroad.  Obama has been rock solid on foreign policy since taking office in 2008. He got Bin Laden, ended the Iraq War, avoided conflicts with other countries, and he’s kept us safe. Most of us know that. Something that not all of us are aware of, though, is that Obama has also renegotiated trade agreements with Korea and several other countries throughout the world, which has put America on a more level footing in terms of trade. Obama has been responsible for positive economic advancements, and he needs to make sure we know that. 

Notes on the moderator:  The moderator for Tuesday's debate is long-time CNN political reporter Candy Crowley. Crowley has already expressed her desire to ask follow-up questions as she attempts to preserve the structure of the debate. This is good news for Obama, as he tends to thrive in a more controlled environment. The open-ended nature of Jim Lehrer’s questions made for a disorganized debate, which played into Romney’s hands. This time around, Obama will be the benefactor of the moderation. 


Follow Columnist Ryan Shaw on Twitter here.



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