Forget the buzz: The expectations are high in Presidential debate.

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who has also been his debate practice partner, on his campaign charter plane en route Denver, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

If you can believe either of the Democratic or Republican candidates — and that’s asking a lot — neither thinks they can debate worth a damn and neither expects to do well at Wednesday night’s first Presidential debate.

President Barack Obama says opponent Mitt Romney is “a good debator…I’m just OK.”

Over in the Romney camp, the message is that Obama is a “universally acclaimed public speaker with natural gifts and extensive seasoning under the bright lights of the debate stage.”

Welcome to the expectations game, where candidates try to lower the bar in hopes it will be low enough to easily rise above it.

On Monday, Romney claimed the debate “isn’t about winning or losing.”  He’s lying, of course. For his struggling campaign, the debate is all about winning.

Romney has to score big Wednesday night.  Many political professionals have already written off his lackluster, inept campaign for the top job in America.  The man who portrays himself as a savvy businessman  is anything but on the stump.

For Obama, the stakes are also high.  He’s an incumbent in trouble, one who failed to deliver on his promises of a better economy, a more unified America and better days.  His only salvation has been the innate ability of Republicans to find and nominate bad candidates for President.

But Obama’s real opponent Wednesday night isn’t Romney.  It’s his own arrogance, his own belief in his superiority.  Whether true or not, Obama goes into the debate convinced he’s the smartest man on the stage and the only one qualified to live in the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.

Both sides can try as hard as they can to lower expectations but the stakes are high and the debate can reshape the race.

“It is almost comical how candidate downplay expectations while they work their butts off in debate preparation,” spokesperson trainer Charles Campbell tells Capitol Hill Blue. “A good debate performance can revive a bad campaign and a bad performance can cripple a good one. That’s a political fact of life.”

That’s the only things in this tumultuous Presidential campaign that isn’t open to debate.

3 Responses to "Forget the buzz: The expectations are high in Presidential debate."

  1. Sandy Price  October 2, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I fear the old adage of “None of the above” should be on the ballot. How did the GOP end up with a man who will follow the leader within a party that has deliberately dissed women and minorities. The Tea Party may feel they won the gold ring but they will lose the election due to the unpopularity of their agenda.

    Why is President Obama afraid to stand up for women and minorities. He must make the voters realize he is the leader for all of us. .

  2. Willie Buck Merle  October 2, 2012 at 10:43 am

    What’s the line from Vegas? or is Romney off the board already?

  3. Jim B.  October 2, 2012 at 10:48 am

    The Rom especially has to be careful…oh so careful…in what he says, because he’s voiced so many gaffes up to this point…He’ll have to constrain himself a lot to make sure he does not say something that on Thursday CHB reports, “Well, he did it again.”…But, by constraining himself, his talk may appear insipid and uninspiring.

    His handicap seems to be he’s not much of an oral wordsmith. He’s pretty unsophisticated in this area. (I am too….even much worse…but thank God, I’m not running for any office…not even for dog catcher.) He does not seem to have the skill to state things in a way to not appear arrogant and to show he understands that many situations are complex and do not have simple solutions.

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