Don’t go into the ring with the intention of beating up the president. You don’t have to pummel him. His performance will do that for you. The economy stinks, unemployment is much higher than official estimates, foreign policy is in a shambles, and the Apologizer-in-Chief has been too busy golfing and campaigning to take his daily security briefs. He’s his own worst enemy. If Obama wants to apologize to someone, he needs to apologize to the American people, especially the poorest among us.
Be yourself, Mitt. You have a thousand times more grace and poise than he does, and you have actual business experience to bring to the podium tonight. For all your faults, Mitt, at least you’re not haughty. You’re actually a likable fellow.
While you don’t have to appear offensive to demonstrate your abilities, there is one major part of this assignment you must not fail: you must, at every opportunity, turn the problems of the nation back on Mr. Obama. This is his economy. This is his record unemployment. The violence in the Middle East and the recent death of our ambassador are his to own. Make him claim it. Don’t let him dodge. And don’t let him blame George W. Bush. That’s old news. You don’t have to defend Bush. You have to demonstrate to America that you’re honest, likable, and ready to call a spade a spade.
President Obama will be his cool, haughty self. But under his collar he’s sweating. Keep up the heat, but do it with a smile, with good humor, and with charm. Obama will paint you as an out-of-touch rich guy who doesn’t understand the average American. All you have to do is deflect his blows with the same light touch as Ronald Reagan did with Jimmy Carter: “There you go again ….”
Oh, don’t expect a good grade from the Central Barack System (CBS), the American Barack Company (ABC), the National Barack Corporation (NBC), CNN (Current News Network for Barack), or MSNBC (My Special National Barack Corporation). They’re in the tank for Obama even if he says nothing tonight. They’ll proclaim him the winner every time. George Stephanopolous (ABC) has a track record that is indicative of what to expect tonight. His “objective reporting” gave the upper hand to Gore against Bush in 2000, Kerry against Bush in 2004, and Obama against McCain in 2008. He’ll give the victory to Obama tonight, for sure.
Rasmussen puts you within 1 point of the president, Mitt. You’re not talking to the Obama supporters. They’re a lost cause. And your supporters are already wishing you well tonight. The audience you’re really addressing is that small group of undecided “moderates” and independents. Be presidential. Be of good cheer. And return the ball every time it lands in your court.
Mitt, you don’t have to paint Barack Obama as anything at all except what he is: a failed president, a disastrous leader, a partisan who has divided us by race and by economic status. To win tonight, all you have to do is point out the truth. Do it with vigor and a smile. Then do it again. Do it over and over and over.
Good luck, Mitt. I’ll see you in class tomorrow and assign a grade to your performance.