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Ann Romney says presidential debate will 'contrast' candidates

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 3rd, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Ann Romney, wife of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney vows that tonight's debate will highlight the "contrast" between her husband and President Barack Obama. "We are excited about that," she said of the debate. "We're focused. And I can't wait for the contrast that we're going to hear tomorrow."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pressure has been steadily building for Romney to deliver in tonight's televised debate.

"I think the governor sees it as an opportunity to draw out the very clear choices and the very clear contrast that he wants to offer to voters yet to make up their mind," senior adviser Kevin Madden says.

Recent polls have shown Romney trailing Obama, but the race remains close. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released this week shows Obama three points ahead among likely voters, 49 to 46 percent, which is within the poll's margin of error.

The debate will be held in Denver, Colorado.

While Ann Romney said that her husband "doesn't fail" and that he "knows how to do turnarounds," most of her speech focused on his character.

Analysts say there will be five points to look for in the first debate:

1. Who is the most presidential? For the majority of Americans, this debate is really about which candidate has the composure and stature to serve in the Oval Office. "If either the president or Romney can't pass this test, the rest really don't matter. Big ideas from a small person won't make you president of the United States," Republican strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos says. 

2. Can Romney get Libya into the discussion? While the first debate is officially devoted to domestic policy, such as the economy, health care, the role of government and governing, Romney may not be content to wait that long over the conflicting news continuing to emerge from Libya, where four Americans were killed in an apparent terrorist attack last month.

"We've seen a confused, slow, inconsistent response to what is now very clearly known as a terrorist act," Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said this week.

3. Who makes the case on the economy? In a debate focusing on domestic concerns, the economy is the issue that should dominate the debate. The economy remains the top issue on the minds of American voters. Those most likely to visit the ballot box are split on whether the president or the Republican nominee would do a better job fixing the economy over the next four years.

4. Can Obama get women and Latinos into the discussion? Romney, during the Republican primaries has strongly alienated Hispanic and female voters. The Obama campaign in contrast, has exploited these positions to great effect, pushing them to women and Hispanics in swing state campaign appearances, targeted e-mails and niche media efforts. Republicans say these tactics are a cynical distraction from the sagging economy -- but they're working.

5. Finally, who will take the zing out of zingers? Romney advisers say that voters are likely to walk away from the debate talking about distinctive moments -- audible sighs, body language, repeated use of phrases such as "lock box" -- rather than factoids about Medicare Advantage or sequestration. "Zingers," pithy answers to complex questions, will also be in the forefront of viewer's minds.

"We also saw in reports that Mitt Romney and his team have been working on zingers and special lines for months,"

Obama spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told reporters over the weekend. "That's not what the president's focus is on. So if you're expecting that, that's probably not what he's going to deliver on."

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