Town-Hall Challenge: Can Romney, Obama Look Human?

Channeling Bubba could be the answer

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 16, 2012 5:01 AM CDT | Updated Oct 16, 2012 7:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's Round 2 for President Obama and Mitt Romney tonight. Romney is riding high from his trouncing of Obama in the Denver debate, but pundits say neither candidate is a natural at the town hall format, making tonight's debate at Long Island's Hofstra University a potential challenge. Here's what people are saying:

  • Political consultants from both sides expect the rivals to attempt to channel Bill Clinton's masterful '92 town hall performance, the Hill reports. "Bill Clinton understood the choreography," physically approaching each questioner, one Democratic strategist said. "He came across better because of the human connection."

  • Obama supporters think he could connect like that, even if he didn't last time out. "He was so interested in our lives," a woman who met him at an Ohio rally tells the Washington Post. "He’s really good with people."
  • Romney, meanwhile, has experience in the format thanks to his Ask Mitt Anything forums, Politico observes. But his campaign is trying to downplay expectations, predicting an Obama-as-comeback-kid media narrative.
  • The debate will be decided largely based on body language and nonverbal communication, the Los Angeles Times predicts. Undecided voters have heard both candidates' policies "and none of that has persuaded them to commit," a political communications expert says. "These individuals focus more on intangibles."
  • Another hot topic: How active will Candy Crowley be? The campaigns want the moderator to keep quiet, but Crowley won't be cowed. "I’m not a fly on the wall," she tells Politico. "We don’t want the candidates to spout talking points. … I’m going to react organically to what’s happening."

Hofstra Public Safety officer Ronald Nardo watches as stand-ins run through a rehearsal ahead of tonight's debate.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Stand-ins for Mitt Romney and President Obama run through a rehearsal with moderator Candy Crowley, ahead of Tuesday's debate at Hofstra University.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Workers sets up chairs for Tuesday's presidential debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama, Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, at Hofstra University.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A worker prepares a set in the media filing center at Hofstra University.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
73%
10%
13%
0%
5%
0%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   MSN Living   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   Biography   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!