Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Last Debate Strategeries

Tomorrow's the last debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. Here's what I think each needs to do to win.

Barack Obama
Three words: CLOSE. THE. DEAL. During the Democratic primaries, he needed to do exactly that: close the deal. Instead, the primaries dragged on and on practically right up to the convention date. He doesn't need a repeat of that for the general election. Right now he's gotten a bump in the polls and tomorrow's debate can help insure that those polls' margins keep increasing. Obama needs to do something that is unlike what he's done before: Be more direct in responding to questions instead of "explaining away" as he usually does. Somehow he needs to channel his oratory skills that he uses so effectively in speeches to supporters and translate them into a format that he can use in debates. It's one thing to "preach to the choir", but another thing to use those persuasive skills in a debate. If Obama can master that, then he has a lock on this debate, and perhaps the election. Anything short of that will leave a crack for John McCain to possibly exploit. Merely eking out a win against J-Mac isn't going to do it unless J-Mac stumbles spectacularly; now is the time for Obama to show his leadership potential and bring his "A" game.

John McCain
Three words for McCain: Do or Die. Due to her lack of experience in campaigning on the national stage, Sarah Palin is not skilled enough yet to help save the campaign on her own. In order for her to work the magic that she had at the convention, she needs J-Mac to demonstrate why he's the top of the ticket. Whatever magic J-Mac has left, whatever mojo he's got in his tank, whatever skills and tactics that he has remaining in his campaign playbook, he needs to bring them all out, and do it now. In the debate, J-Mac's experience over Obama needs to show itself now more than ever. Just repeating the results from the previous debate is not going to do it this time; anything less than his "A" game will help further the slide he's already got in the polls. As it is, if both bring their "A" games, then such a tie will go to Obama. No, J-Mac has to be at his stellar best for the debate, and exploit any opportunities that present themselves. If he accomplishes that, then it will give his campaign a much needed boost, and from that point Palin may be able to feed off of that and restore her own luster.

Bob Schieffer
Needs to be a better moderator than Tom Brokaw!

Get the popcorn folks. Hopefully it will be a debate for the ages.

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