Well, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are holed up in their respective debate camps – Romney practicing zingers and Barack Obama, if you believe reports, practicing brevity.
Meanwhile, the expectations lowering game continues in earnest.
My guess is that I will perceive that Barack Obama wins tomorrow, mostly because I agree with his perspective and don’t, for the most part, with Mitt Romney’s.
There’s a lot of talk about how much the debates help challengers merely by putting them on the same stage with incumbents. And while there’s truth to that, I think it applies more to candidates for whom presidential preparedness is a simmering issue.
Now, while I think Mitt Romney has demonstrated in many ways that he’s not temperamentally equipped to be President, I haven’t sensed that meme in the press. So I’m not sure how much stature he gains by getting on the stage in Denver tomorrow. His gains, if they come, will be performance-based.
But for all the froo-froo about how Romney is more practiced and Obama is too professorial, I am reminded of something Obama said in 2008 – I think to 60 Minutes, although I can’t find it – about being a good counter-puncher. And it’s not just that: he lands blows on opponents while simultaneously appearing above the fray.
I think, If Mitt Romney wants to just spout platitudes for 90 minutes tomorrow, it will be a boring debate. But since Mitt Romney can’t do that – he has to turn the race upside down, after all – he will leave an opening for Obama, and at least once, Obama will take it.
That said, I will seriously cast my California ballot for whichever man utters, as Bartlett does above, “Because bite me, that’s why.”
I’m not holding my breath.