I have read lots of suggestions being given to Governor Romney for the debates. I don't know how useful it is to throw out too many. If you prepare somebody too much, cram his head with too many themes, you run the risk of mistakes and having the candidate terrified of saying anything. Whenever I had to brief the press or engage in a debate with somebody, I would decide on the three points I was going to make, and would keep making them in different ways, regardless of what was asked. Keep it simple, uncluttered, truthful, and deliver it with a smile.
That said--as "they" say just before "they" ignore what was just said--my suggestion is "no mercy." Don't let Obama get away with anything. Remind us about Solyndra; about the fact that we have enormous coal reserves yet are putting coal miners out of work; that we have perhaps the world's largest oil reserves, and yet gasoline prices have doubled; and the energy that would liberate us from the Middle East is not getting "fracked" or piped in from Canada. Remind him of the deficit he so wants us to forget about, and what deficits can do to a country as we see in Greece and Spain. Call him on his lies, fumbles, and grandiloquent promises. Don't let him forget "you didn't build that," or "bumps in the road." Don't let him forget his promise to cut the deficit in half and his assertion that if he couldn't fix the economy his presidency should be a "one term proposition." Never forget the millions of unemployed, the ballooning food stamp rolls, the small businesses groaning under mounting regulation and cost, and the new wave of home foreclosures about to break.
The number one thing to be aware of is the people running the debate. The moderators and the questioners will be mainstream media; they want Obama to win; they are working to get Obama re-elected. They will want to focus on stupid issues such as contraception and gay marriage, not on our collapsing economy and our disintegrating foreign policy. Don't answer stupid questions. Do a Newt. Zero in on the absurd assumptions that underlie many of those questions.
"Contraception? You can buy it for next to nothing at WalMart. Is that the issue that really concerns Americans at a time when gas prices have doubled, the real unemployment rate is in double digits, our credit rating is being downgraded, our embassies are flying Al Qaeda flags and our diplomats being dragged through the streets? Is that the issue for women when they can't find jobs, make their car and mortgage payments, pay their student loans, and see their kids in substandard schools?"
"Marriage? I have the same position that President Obama had until a few weeks ago when he flipped for electoral reasons."
"My tax returns? The issue is what Obama is doing with all of our tax money. Giving it to his friends at Solyndra and paying interest to the Chinese, I guess. The issue is how do we get more Americans working and earning so that they can pay taxes and feed their kids. This President has no idea how to do that."
"Foreign policy? A Romney administration would not lie to the American people as we have seen this administration do re the Benghazi attack. A Romney administration would never allow a Fast and Furious Operation which murdered hundreds of Mexicans and killed at least one US agent, Brian Terry. A Romney administration would never consider the legitimate security concerns of Israel to be 'just noise.' A Romney administration would make sure that Iran understands that there will not be another Holocaust. A Romney administration would never apologize for our adherence to freedom. A Romney administration would make sure that we are respected by friend and foe, not ridiculed and ignored."
The biggest problem for Governor Romney, and for any Republican candidate, is not the debate itself. I have no doubt that the Governor is considerably more knowledgable and qualified for elected office than the President. The problem, as we have seen with the fake polls being put out by the media, is the post debate spin. Any slight stumble, error, joke gone awry, or just "appearing too mean," will be endlessly pointed out, taken out of context, and the media hive will spread far-and-wide the image of a candidate who is out of touch, or just stupid. There is not much a Republican can do about that except keep telling the truth. As we have seen with the collapse of the Libya Lies, the truth will out despite the mainstream media.