Some background: Tonight's moderator wrote the book behind the enjoyable 2000 film of the same name. Let's pray that reality doesn't imitate fiction tonight.
Romney's to-do list:
- Leave The Room: Romney wins the more that the discussion focusses on the economy. So he has to keep linking the foreign policy parts to his economic messaging.
- Detail: By providing detail he looks in control, up to the task, and more compentent than his rival, whose incumbency and character bequethe an incentive to hide detail behing rhetoric.
- Deconstruct: The following planks must come out of Obama's foreign policy story:
- Putin is defanged: Romney must press Obama to explain what the concessions are that Putin wants, which require post-election flexibility. Also, why the president is doing an end run around his bosses (the voters.)
- Bin Laden is Dead: While congratulating Obama for the assasination, Romney will downplay its strategic effect. This morning's Washington Examiner editorial finally said the obvious, "one kill doth not a policy make."
- Democracy Corpse: Sequeing, the vacuity of the Cairo Speech should be contrasted with the dithering inconsistent reaction to the Arab Spring.
- The Iraqi Withdrawal: There's a generally available tactical opportunity to lampoon Obama's vaunted break with Bush. But Romney would do to call him on appropriating Bush's status-of-forces agreement, while failing to get one of his own. (Here the governer, following 2. above, will illustrate the cost of this failure.)
- Be Firm: There's some requirement for poise, which his drama coaches would have walked him through.
General considerations of tedium prevent blow-by-blow preemption of the The Barry list. This debate is within my margin of error. Romney has every chance of fluffing it. Tune in, friends!
Oops, I'm late!
Syria ends in a draw. Romney looked informed and coherent. Obama stood his ground.
"I felt the same as the President did." Sounds like a draw. The question vanishes as quickly as it arose.
00h30: America's role in the world.
Obama leaves the room. This converts a soft philosophical question into a target for Romney's talking-points.
00h41: Military Funding
Romney throws out some detal, but it misses the question.
Obama punches with a bayonet.
00h47: Israel, Iran and red lines
An Obama defensive win. Theater and content.
On this, and other questions, Obama does a better job of looking personally connected.
Tee hee. The moderator says Obama bin Laden. Lol.
Romney allows Obama to lie his way to the end of the segment.
(but with enough interruption, to prevent anyone from actually dozing off.)
I was wrong. Tonight was Bob Shiffer (pardon the spelling)and it's the guy from the first debate who wrote The Last Debate. Romney repudiates McCain by finding the right way around the table. And not sticking out his tongue.Obama won. It'll help stablise the race for him, bit it stays drawn.