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State, national columnists

Obama faces debate challenge

By From page A8 | October 15, 2012

President Barack Obama is in trouble.

Poll after poll shows Mitt Romney gaining ground almost everywhere, and Gallup even has the governor ahead by two points nationally. Also, reports say there is a low-level panic going on inside the Obama re-election headquarters in Chicago. So it’s crunch time for the president. He must perform well in the debate Tuesday night or begin auditioning for a cable pundit job.

Anyone who knows Obama understands that he likes being the underdog and will most likely deliver a rousing performance at Hofstra University. Obama is certainly aware that another emotional no-show will doom him. In Denver, he looked like he spent the pre-debate hours at a medical marijuana shop.

But the “town hall” debate format Tuesday gives a slight advantage to Romney. The candidates will field questions from undecided voters selected by the Gallup organization. After the question is posed, Obama and Romney will have two minutes to answer it. The moderator, Candy Crowley, a CNN correspondent, will then jump in to “facilitate a discussion.”

What this means is simple: The regular person asking the question will most likely frame it in a general way allowing the candidates to pretty much say whatever they want.

For example:

Question: “My cousin Otis has been unemployed for eight years. How can you get him a job?”

Answer (President Obama): “If Otis had worked at an American car company, he’d be employed today because I saved that industry.”

Answer (Mitt Romney): “I had a cousin named Otis, too, and when I turned the Olympics around, I gave him a job.

You get the idea.

What will most likely happen during the town hall is that Obama will hearken back to the first debate and list all the “lies” he and his handlers believe Romney told. Only he won’t call them “lies.” He’ll imply that and try to paint the governor as a charlatan who changes positions the way Lady GaGa changes costumes.

But the governor should easily be able to counter because he has to know what’s coming. All he has to do is watch MSNBC, which chronicles his “lies” daily. So Romney will most likely retort with the old Reaganism: “There you go again.” He can’t actually say that, but he’ll use words to that effect and continue portraying the president as a clueless socialist.

In the end, the town hall debate will be less punchy than the Denver back and forth. The smart money is predicting a draw, with both candidates bloviating at will. It will be almost impossible to pin them down.

Next up: foreign policy in Boca Raton, Fla. With the Libyan fiasco hot in the news, that debate could be quite a challenge for the president.

Veteran TV news anchor Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News Show, “The O’Reilly Factor” and author of the book “Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama.”

Bill O'Reilly


Discussion | 2 comments

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  • G-ManOctober 15, 2012 - 8:31 am

    Obama faces nothing less than a debacle...I'll bet he sweats thru his suit..

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  • Come Out And Fight Me GoliathOctober 15, 2012 - 7:26 pm

    Now we will get to see CNN's snotty liberal correspondent --the one thats not very attractive. She will guffaw and fawn over Obama and make herself to look the fool like she is. Romney will be embarassed and annoyed and will come up with a knockout line ...so where are the jobs and end of war as you promised mr. ppreisdent?, we cant afford to wait anymore... ''. I really think the fat lady is really going to pull a fast one tomorrow.

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