Advice for Romney Ahead of First Debate

Pundits weigh in before next week's big show
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2012 7:29 AM CDT
Mitt Romney speaks in Springfield, Va., on Thursday.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – The first presidential debate is Wednesday night, and there's no shortage of advice out there for Mitt Romney. Examples today:

  • Talk about RomneyCare: Embrace it, finally, writes Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal. Romney got it done in Massachusetts without tearing the state apart—contrast that with the "widespread bitterness" of ObamaCare and the general state of DC dysfunction under Obama. Romney "learned much from the experience about what works locally and can work nationally. It's actually not a story to avoid, it is a story worth telling."

  • Be funny: Romney needs a "home run joke" or two, writes Roger Simon in Politico. It worked like a charm for Reagan, who, when asked about his age at one debate, promised not to "exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” Romney's comedic record is, er, spotty, but that's why he's got speech writers.
  • Go big: Charles Krauthammer's advice isn't specific to the debate, but he castigates Romney in the Washington Post for playing it safe and squandering opportunities. The president's "naive" response to the Libya consulate attack, for example, demanded substance but got boilerplate, writes Krauthammer. "Go large," he pleads. "About a foreign policy in ruins. About an archaic, 20th-century welfare state model that guarantees 21st-century insolvency. And about an alternate vision of an unapologetically assertive America abroad unafraid of fundamental structural change at home."
  • Or not? Eh, all that advice is well and good, but the debates have never mattered as much as their reputation might suggest, writes Michael Cohen in the Guardian. This year, in particular, it's doubtful that Romney will—or even can—say anything "to make much of a difference in a race where the outlines of the final results are becoming increasingly clear."
(Read more Mitt Romney 2012 stories.)

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