In presidential debate, Romney should go on the offensive

Wednesday's debate is pivotal to Mitt Romney election chances. Photo: Associated Press

PHOENIX, October 1, 2012 — This week’s presidential debate is pivotal to Mitt Romney’s plan to surpass Obama in electoral support. 

Presidential debates do not necessarily make or break a candidate, but they can sway undecided, independent voters who are still unsure if they want four more years of Obama or a new direction with Romney. 

Going into the debate, Romney needs to stop responding to the petty attacks from Obama over the “47 percent” comments or the claim that he’s a “vulture capitalist.” A defensive Romney won’t be able to expressly present the contrasting visions for the future of the country. 

Instead, Romney needs to deliver the clear message that Obama’s policies have in fact “fundamentally transformed” the nation for the worse.

Ronald Reagan did this in 1980 when he wryly commented, “There you go again.” It was his effective, polite, and charismatic way of calling Jimmy Carter a liar. 

Jimmy Carter’s plan of attack, much like Obama’s plan has been, was to paint Reagan as an extremist Conservative who would be much worse for the country than four more years of Carter.

The Democrats today are implying that Romney would strip women of their rights, kill seniors by killing Medicare, and hurt middle-class Americans by transferring wealth to more affluent Americans. The point is to depict Romney as an extremist right-winger.

In fact, the case against Obama is not hard to make to the American electorate.  

The average American can recognize that gas prices are higher today than they were four years ago; unemployment has never gone below eight percent since Obama took office, and an American ambassador was assassinated while Obama went to sleep. 

Americans know that the economy is in shambles and that the outlook is dismal. What’s most important for Romney is the way he goes about telling the American people how he will fix that in a potential Romney administration.

Romney doesn’t need to enter the debate saying it’s Obama’s fault that America didn’t win more gold Olympic medals or that he caused Hurricane Isaac to strike the United States. Instead he needs to say that the president has been lazy and has not even tackled the issues currently facing our nation. Obama added nearly $6 trillion to the debt and unemployment has been largely stagnant. 

If Romney can keep Obama on the defensive the whole time, he will make him look weak and incompetent to serve for four more years.  

Interestingly, Rasmussen’s latest poll shows that 43 percent of voters are “certain” they will vote for Mitt Romney, while 42 percent are “certain” they will vote for Barack Obama. 15 percent say they are either uncommitted or open to changing their minds. 

These 15 percent are the ones who could be swayed by the candidates’ debate performances. It these voters who will elect the next president. 

Whether or not Mitt Romney or Barack Obama can rein them in is yet to be seen. 

Join tonight’s Communities Live Chat of the Debates  Join us and share your thoughts and reactions. 

Daniel de Gracia

Daniel de Gracia



Email Henry D’Andrea at and follow him on Twitter (@TheHenry)

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Henry D'Andrea

Henry D'Andrea is a Conservative columnist and commentator. He writes a weekly column at the Washington Times Communities called "The Conscience of a Conservative," which features his commentary on current events and political stories from a conservative perspective. He often writes on foreign policy, domestic and economic issues, the conservative movement, and elections.


D’Andrea has been a guest on many radio shows throughout the country since writing columns at the Washington Times Communities. His work has been featured in many publications, including, Commentary Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Tea Party Review Magazine, Big Government, Big Journalism, The Gateway Pundit, Instapundit, and many more.


Feel free to contact Henry D'Andrea at and follow him on Twitter: @TheHenry 


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