Looking at the build up for tonight’s debate, well… Hee! I can smell the desperation from here...
However, I beg everyone, remember 2000 & 2004. Gore & Kerry were supposed to destroy W. as bad as Obama is expected to destroy Romney tonight... And those first debates were spun into "wins" for Bush, pretty much because he held his own and didn't start crying like a two year old.
Expectations are so low for Romney tonight that it will be called a win for him if he doesn't embarrass himself, and since most Americans will only check out the talking head soundbites, not the debates themselves, they will believe it.
Yes, it is looking good for Obama right now, but this is not over yet. And, chances are, unless Romney completely blows it, most Americans will hear that Romney wins tonight. That is my prediction. Will it be enough to even him up in the polls? Who know…
Just remember, listening to the media (not just Fox), and it sounded like there was a real battle for the GOP nomination this year. When you look at the real numbers and how they were accumulated, it was an pretty clean and decisive cake walk to the nomination for Romney. Less of a battle than Clinton / Obama in 2008, and even less than McCain / Huckabee in 2008 and Bush / McCain in 2000.
As was just being discussed on NPR, in 2000, Gore went into the first debate with Bush holding a five point lead. After the debate, he was behind five points, and everyone expected Gore to destroy Bush in the debates before they actually happened. Sounds like a familiar scenario, right?
Of course, I do not think Obama will be sighing and checking his watch…
More so than what happens on stage tonight, what happens next really depends on media spin. Not the partisan talking heads, but the producers, writers, editors, reporters and directors out there.
The media wants a story to tell. If the election is pretty much settled a month out, that leaves four weeks of dead air time… Which they will fill by trying to create the feeling that the race is much closer than it really is. The problem? People will start believing it, and everyone loves a come from behind underdog, right?
This is a process that will probably start tonight.
This thing is not over and Romney still has a real chance of taking office in January.
It would appear, then, that Obama can simply go for caution, choosing a clinch in the center of the ring over hard punches, and walking away with a tie. But on closer examination, Obama ought to be pressing for a victory, too.
In some polls over recent weeks, especially from key states, the president has now opened up a second possible path to re-election. For a long time, his campaign advisers have assumed that he would win but that his margin of victory would be narrow -- less than three points. Even now, his advisers -- even as they are quietly confident about the ultimate outcome -- are running scared, assuming the race will likely close significantly in the final weeks.
If you've been hearing the spin, the only reason to watch the inevitable train wreck of the upcoming debates would be to see just how inept both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are at debating. And that spin is self-criticism. Their own campaigns would have us believe that these two candidates can't piece together a complete sentence between the two of them.
But I'm here to tell you: It ain't so.
These are two of the better presidential debaters we've witnessed, and I'm anticipating excellent debates. If you haven't watched Obama, I can assure you that he more than held his own four years ago in the debates against John McCain.
And if you haven't seen Romney, then take my word for it. He debated poorly in only two of his (almost 20) debates this past year. His game is consistently solid.
But unlike election results or prize fights, there are seldom knock-out punches or clear-cut winners in debates. Sometimes it takes days for a consensus to emerge — if ever.
Richard Nixon's haggard appearance vs. John F. Kennedy's vigor is widely cited as contributing to a Kennedy victory in the first 1960 debate. But polls showed that was true mostly for those who watched it on TV, while those listening to the radio generally picked Nixon as victor. And Nixon did better in three later debates.
Few gaffes are as striking as President Gerald Ford's 1976 erroneous claim that Eastern Europe was not under Soviet domination. But Ford had held his own in an earlier debate, and many other factors contributed to his defeat by Jimmy Carter.
Michael Dukakis in 1988 and John Kerry in 2004 were generally deemed superior technical debaters — but both lost to a George Bush.
Goodwin describes 10 key presidential and vice presidential debates that made a difference: