Mitt Romney and President Obama at the first presidential debate in Denver. (Zhang Jun/ MCT )
Mitt Romney’s powerful performance at the first presidential debate gave the Republican presidential candidate a considerable boost in the polls. Never mind that the chronic flip-flopper changed his previous talking points, moving more to the center while throwing President Obama off his game. The result was an Obama who lived up to Clint Eastwood’s impression of him.
“Once the two candidates met on an equal footing in Denver, many voters were amazed to meet a Romney who seemed like an earnest businessman looking for ways to fix the economy -- a Romney who insisted that, contrary to his previously stated positions, he didn't want to cut taxes for the wealthy, abandon healthcare reform or reduce education spending (issues that polls find especially important to female voters),” writes Washington columnist Doyle McManus about Romney’s big bounce.
In the days since the candidates’ first meeting, the Obama camp has tried to get voters and the media narrative back on its side by spreading the message that Romney’s numbers for rescuing the economy don’t add up. It’s not enough to look presidential while telling the American people what they want to hear; Romney, they insist, needs to back up his words with a plausible plan.
PHOTOS: 2012 presidential debate
Obama, for his part, has hit the campaign trail hard. “But I want everybody to understand something. What was being presented wasn’t leadership. That’s salesmanship,” he told supporters at a fundraising event.
If Obama really wants to turn things around, though, he’ll have to to step it up on Oct. 16, when he meets Romney for a rematch moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley. “He's going to need more than just crisper rebuttals to Romney's best zingers,” argues McManus, who lists several suggestions, including: “He'll need to make his economic plan sound fresh and promising.”
Obama may also consider pointing out that the American people still don’t know: Who is the real Mitt?
Fellow voters: What do you hope to see at the second presidential debate? Are you wishing for a more competitive Obama? Do you want a clearer economic plan from Romney? Are there issues beyond taxes, jobs and military spending that you wish the candidates would spend more time addressing, such as gay rights or abortion?
Doyle McManus will host a Google+ Hangout after next week’s debate and would love to hear what matters most to you. Care to join him live? Fill out this quick form and we’ll be in touch.
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