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Romney Campaign Expecting a Loss in the Presidential Debates

theevilsharpie

Platinum Member
Nov 2, 2009
2,322
14
81
Looks like Team Romney is throwing in the towel on the debates before they even begin:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/27/first-on-cnn-romney-memo-seeks-to-lower-debate-expectations/?hpt=hp_t1

From: Beth Myers, Senior Adviser
To: Interested Parties
Date: September 27, 2012
Re: 2012 Presidential Debates

In a matter of days, Governor Romney and President Obama will meet on the presidential debate stage. President Obama is a universally-acclaimed public speaker and has substantial debate experience under his belt. However, the record he's compiled over the last four years – higher unemployment, lower incomes, rising energy costs, and a national debt spiraling out of control – means this will be a close election right up to November 6th.

Between now and then, President Obama and Governor Romney will debate three times. While Governor Romney has the issues and the facts on his side, President Obama enters these contests with a significant advantage on a number of fronts.

Voters already believe – by a 25-point margin – that President Obama is likely to do a better job in these debates. Given President Obama's natural gifts and extensive seasoning under the bright lights of the debate stage, this is unsurprising. President Obama is a uniquely gifted speaker, and is widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history. This will be the eighth one-on-one presidential debate of his political career. For Mitt Romney, it will be his first.

Four years ago, Barack Obama faced John McCain on the debate stage. According to Gallup, voters judged him the winner of each debate by double-digit margins, and their polling showed he won one debate by an astounding 33-point margin. In the 2008 primary, he faced Hillary Clinton, another formidable opponent – debating her one-on-one numerous times and coming out ahead. The takeaway? Not only has President Obama gained valuable experience in these debates, he also won them comfortably.

But what must President Obama overcome? His record. Based on the campaign he's run so far, it's clear that President Obama will use his ample rhetorical gifts and debating experience to one end: attacking Mitt Romney. Since he won't – and can't – talk about his record, he'll talk about Mitt Romney. We fully expect a 90-minute attack ad aimed at tearing down his opponent. If President Obama is as negative as we expect, he will have missed an opportunity to let the American people know his vision for the next four years and the policies he'd pursue. That's not an opportunity Mitt Romney will pass up. He will talk about the big choice in this election – the choice between President Obama's government-centric vision and Mitt Romney's vision for an opportunity society with more jobs, higher take-home pay, a better-educated workforce, and millions of Americans lifted out of poverty into the middle class.

This election will not be decided by the debates, however. It will be decided by the American people. Regardless of who comes out on top in these debates, they know we can't afford another four years like the last four years. And they will ultimately choose a better future by electing Mitt Romney to be our next president.
 

Agent11

Diamond Member
Jan 22, 2006
3,535
1
0
Smells like a fake leak to me. As in intentional. It's attempting to frame the debates, nothing more. The Republican strategists are big on setting the tone for events such as this.
 

nehalem256

Lifer
Apr 13, 2012
15,669
6
0
Its hard to win a debate when you are allergic to holding a position.

Its a lot harder to spin flip-flopping when you do it during the same tv segment :D
 

Charles Kozierok

Elite Member
May 14, 2012
6,762
0
0
Smells like a fake leak to me. As in intentional. It's attempting to frame the debates, nothing more. The Republican strategists are big on setting the tone for events such as this.
Indeed. In fact, the real title of the article is: "Romney memo seeks to lower debate expectations".
 

yllus

Elite Member & Lifer
Aug 20, 2000
20,576
431
126
Obama is a good speaker, but an average debater - he seems pretty cold when making his points.

I agree with the others, this is the Romney campaign intentionally setting low expectations: Not because they expect their candidate to do badly, but because the delta between expectations and his performance will incentivize the media to really toot his horn if he performs well.
 

yllus

Elite Member & Lifer
Aug 20, 2000
20,576
431
126
And Romney is known for his warmth and ability to connect with people? :D
The Romney campaign understands the system that journalists work under. Their real job isn't the truth, but to attract as many eyeballs as possible to their site and papers for any reason at all. The best way to do this is to take the tiniest unexpected turn of events and to make a mountain out of a molehill.

If Romney scores any points at all, it'll be: Romney jabs Obama hard in debate!

If Romney barely keeps even, it'll be: Romney goes toe-to-toe with Obama!

The press won't come out and say "Romney does poorly" or "Romney does so-so which isn't going to help him much" because that's already the expectation - and there's no money to be made in affirming what's already expected.
 

xBiffx

Diamond Member
Aug 22, 2011
8,232
2
0
"I'll believe ya when me shit turns purple and smells like rainbow sherbet."
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,515
0
0
What does it matter. These are hardly what I would call a debate anyways.
"Joint press conference" is a term I've heard that I think is appropriate. But while modern debates don't have a lot of important debate features, they do offer an opportunity for people to see the candidates present their views and ideas at the same time. It's still a good opportunity to compare the candidates to each other.
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,515
0
0
Smells like a fake leak to me. As in intentional. It's attempting to frame the debates, nothing more. The Republican strategists are big on setting the tone for events such as this.
It's not a leak at all, as far as I can tell. Someone working for the Romney campaign outright released a memo saying Romney will lose, but it will be because of Obama's trickery and we can all be assured that the facts are really on Romney's side...he just can't present them very well.

I agree with the other posters who have said this is about lowering expectations. The fact that this basic strategy was used in a West Wing episode helps sell that idea (they actually talked about making the memo look like a leak though) ;)

It's an interesting strategy, but it only works if you think your candidate will do better than the expectation you're trying to sell. This seems particularly true if you claim your candidate will lose. If people expect Obama to win, and you tell them you think so too, and then he DOES win...that's not going to look very good for Romney. Now if Romney does better than expected, even winning the debates, that will be a boost for him, but it's certainly a double edged sword.

The fact that the memo ends with a claim that the debates don't really matter makes me wonder if this really IS about expectations though. If it was just about making Romney's performance look better in comparison to what people would expect, claiming the debate doesn't matter anyway blunts that benefit. I think the memo writer, possibly the entire Romney campaign, really do believe he'll lose the debates and this is more preemptive damage control than an attempt to make his performance look good.
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,515
0
0
Good luck to Obama, he has to face not one but two Mitt Romneys.

If you take long enough to debate, there might even be three.
I'm more looking forward to the Biden/Ryan debate. Biden has a reputation as kind of a huge doofus, and Ryan has a reputation as an informed policy wonk. A lot of Republicans seem to expect Ryan to wipe the floor with Biden and wish it was Ryan instead of Romney facing Obama. But I'm not sure the characterization of either man is accurate (I think Biden's smarter than people think, and Ryan is an intellectual poseur). And if not, it could make for an interesting debate.
 

hal2kilo

Lifer
Feb 24, 2009
18,197
5,430
136
"Joint press conference" is a term I've heard that I think is appropriate. But while modern debates don't have a lot of important debate features, they do offer an opportunity for people to see the candidates present their views and ideas at the same time. It's still a good opportunity to compare the candidates to each other.
That's a really good term for what's being passed off as debates theses days. :thumbsup:
 

crashtestdummy

Platinum Member
Feb 18, 2010
2,893
0
0
"Joint press conference" is a term I've heard that I think is appropriate. But while modern debates don't have a lot of important debate features, they do offer an opportunity for people to see the candidates present their views and ideas at the same time. It's still a good opportunity to compare the candidates to each other.
"Simultaneous political rallies" is another. I'm trying to remember the last (non-fictional) political debate that had any real meaning to it.

That said, there has to be a feeling that this debate is is one of the last chances Mitt will have to turn things around. Unless all polls not named Rasmussen are really, really wrong, Romney has a lot of ground yo make up and only a month to do it.
 

dainthomas

Lifer
Dec 7, 2004
13,893
2,200
126
Smells like a fake leak to me. As in intentional. It's attempting to frame the debates, nothing more. The Republican strategists are big on setting the tone for events such as this.
This. If he doesn't completely bomb then it will be a "victory".
 

Throckmorton

Lifer
Aug 23, 2007
16,830
2
0
"Simultaneous political rallies" is another. I'm trying to remember the last (non-fictional) political debate that had any real meaning to it.

That said, there has to be a feeling that this debate is is one of the last chances Mitt will have to turn things around. Unless all polls not named Rasmussen are really, really wrong, Romney has a lot of ground yo make up and only a month to do it.
What would you prefer? High school style debates where you win by technically out-arguing your opponent in the most annoying snotty way possible?
 

crashtestdummy

Platinum Member
Feb 18, 2010
2,893
0
0
What would you prefer? High school style debates where you win by technically out-arguing your opponent in the most annoying snotty way possible?
Not at all. All I ask for is one where the candidates directly answer questions rather than repeating the same catch phrase over and over hoping it appears in the news coverage.

It won't happen, though. Politicians are too risk-averse to really go deep without a script, for fear that any off-message comment will be blown out of proportion (and they're probably right).
 

woolfe9999

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2005
7,164
0
0
Smells like a fake leak to me. As in intentional. It's attempting to frame the debates, nothing more. The Republican strategists are big on setting the tone for events such as this.
This, without a doubt. The theme of the memo is that Obama is eloquent but terrible on the issues. Smacks of framing voter expectations in advance. It doesn't even read like an internal memo.
 

hal2kilo

Lifer
Feb 24, 2009
18,197
5,430
136
This, without a doubt. The theme of the memo is that Obama is eloquent but terrible on the issues. Smacks of framing voter expectations in advance. It doesn't even read like an internal memo.
Yea, internal memo my A.
 

woolfe9999

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2005
7,164
0
0
These arent debates. They are scripted talking points. Please.
Are you saying that the candidates know the questions in advance, or in the alternative, that they're rote memorizing their answers to every possible question? I don't think so. Sarah Palin is the only debater in recent memory to have done that. To a point, I think you're correct. The candidates certainly practice in advance and they know their stances on the major issues, but I think it's a bit of an exaggeration to say they aren't debates.
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,873
462
126
Not sure how anyone can take a memo addressed to "Interested parties" and claim it's a leak, but to quote the article:
In a memo about the debates distributed to campaign surrogates and provided to CNN on Thursday, longtime Romney adviser Beth Myers outlines a series of reasons why the president is likely to emerge as the winner of the first debate.
Certainly it's about lowering expectations - a long time ploy of both parties - but it's also preemptively pointing out that if Obama spends the debate attacking Romney as expected, it's because he has to avoid his own record.
 

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