There are few single moments that I remember in presidential politics that have carried more weight than the debate that will occur tonight between Barak Obama and Mitt Romney. Thanks to his lackluster appearance in the last meeting the president has allowed this race to become closer than it ever should have been. In fact, if he screws the pooch tonight like he did last time, odds are he will become a one term chief executive.
Joe Biden did his job last week, despite what the hysterics on FOX would have you believe. He put the stated ideas and record of vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on trial and he cooked the guy. However, Biden isn't going to win this election. No, this comes down to the man the electorate wants in the oval office, not some VP who will spend most of his time sitting around in the senate, or off on some good will tour to New Zealand.
The polls have tightened to the point that many now fall within the margin of error. Romney still trails in some key demographics, but he is whittling them down to manageable levels. He'll never carry the Latinos, or the African Americans, or in fact women voters of all colors. Be that as it may, if he can at least get closer, while increasing his edge with male Caucasians his wife can start picking out the new white house silverware fairly soon.
The feeling here is that Obama will lose Florida, North Carolina, and possibly Virginia. He will win Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Wisconsin. California is practically a given for him just as Texas, Oklahoma, and everything in the deep south is a given for Romney. As of today Obama leads in New Jersey 51% to 43%, despite the rather large presence of republican Governor Chris Christie. Michigan is too close to call and that leaves us with Ohio. No republican has ever won the white house without carrying Ohio. Look for everyone and their brother and sister to be pounding the pavement, making phone calls, and twisting arms in the Buckeye state for the next 21 days.
Tonight, in a town hall format, which favors Romney, Obama must go after what Romney has said and what he refuses to say. He needs to hammer on that 47%, the record of Bain Capital, the Massachusetts health plan that Romney sometimes brags about and many times runs away from. He needs to point out that Romney has been carefully vague about how he is going to initiate the miracle recovery while implementing the same bull shit policies that got us into this economic quagmire in the first place. He needs to do the math for those watching. He needs to prove to the middle class that Governor Romney is not only out of touch with them, but has the same regard for them that a butcher does for a herd of cattle.
You hate to say one thing is all or nothing in any political race, but tonight it approaches that for the president of the United States of America. The one debate remaining after tonight focuses on foreign policy. And quite honestly, if you're slapping burgers onto a grill in Ohio because your auto plant job is gone, you could give a rat's ass about foreign policy.
With only three weeks to go there is no time to recover from a second bad showing for this president. He painted himself into a corner and now he has to some out swinging, but under control. He has to charge what Mitt Romney cannot deny. Obama has to hound the governor mercilessly with his own words and deeds. If he does that the pendulum will swing back toward him. If he doesn't this election season could well end around midnight tonight.