President Barack Obama, right, and Republican presidential candidate… (Win McNamee / Getty Images )
President Obama will debate Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Wednesday night in the first of three presidential debates ahead of the Nov. 6 election. Tonight’s focus: domestic policy.
Though Romney’s certainly suffered from a steady stream of gaffes, tonight’s debate could turn things around for the candidate who’s been suffering in the polls as of late. Fortunately for Romney, he is a particularly gifted debater, as the Atlantic’s national correspondent, James Fallows, documented in the September issue of the magazine. “He loves the dialectic of arguing the different sides, and he’s most uncomfortable when no one is disagreeing with him,” campaign strategist Stuart Stevens told Fallows.
"Challengers tend to benefit from debates," senior White House advisor David Plouffe said on Sunday’s "Meet the Press." "We have expected all along that Gov. Romney will have a good night. He's prepared more than any candidate in history, and he's shown himself to be a very, very good debater through the years. So, we understand that this is an important moment."
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And yet voters are still expecting Obama to win this one, even if just by a slim margin, according to a national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press conducted Sept. 27-30.
Romney will have to take a few risks if he wants to "change the direction of the race," writes The Times’ Washington columnist, Doyle McManus, in Wednesday’s Opinion pages. "He'll need to make this debate interesting."
Pundits can only hope.
For tonight’s debate, we’ve assembled a group of opinionators of different political stripes to share their live commentary with our readers in 140 characters or less. Along with McManus, Jonah Goldberg, Mickey Kaus, Charlotte Allen, Harold Meyerson, Tom Hayden, Meghan Daum and Patt Morrison will opine in real time right here in this spot starting at 6 p.m. PDT.
What Romney needs to do to win the debate
McManus: Real presidential debate is possible
8 direct debate questions for Obama and Romney
Follow Alexandra Le Tellier on Twitter @alexletellier