Confident Romney Looks to 'Complete the Sale' in Second Debate

Tuesday, 16 Oct 2012 12:00 PM

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Republican Mitt Romney “needs to complete the sale” at Tuesday night’s presidential debate and follow up his impressive performance in the first debate with another strong showing.

That’s the view of Jill Hazelbaker, communications director for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, who told The New York Times that Romney should “focus on what a Romney presidency would look like, and offer some specifics. If he does that then Tuesday night will be a success for him.”

The GOP challenger will “try to build on growing strength among centrist voters that arose from his performance in the first debate,” according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal. Obama, meanwhile, will attempt to portray Romney as “more conservative than his opponent has recently suggested.”

Urgent Poll: Romney Vs. Obama – VOTE NOW!

The debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., which begins at 9 p.m. Eastern time, will be a question-and-answer session between the candidates and a studio audience of uncommitted voters who live near the school on Long Island. CNN’s Candy Crowley moderates.

The candidate fielding a question will have two minutes to respond, and his opponent will them have two minutes to speak. Crowley may pose a follow-up question, with each candidate allowed one minute to respond.
President Obama spent Monday preparing for the debate at a resort in
Williamsburg, Va., with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., standing in for Romney in practice sessions.

Romney spent Monday at a hotel in Burlington, Mass., with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, standing in for Obama in mock debates.

Most political analysts believe Obama needs to recover from a weak performance in the first debate by more aggressively attacking Romney. The Republican challenger surged in the polls following the first debate, even taking a lead over the incumbent in a Rasmussen poll in 11 key swing states.

Romney will focus on contrasting his policies with those of Obama on taxes, healthcare, Libya, and other matters, according to the Journal.

Obama is set to focus on Romney’s opposition to abortion rights and to the federal bailout of American auto companies, aides said.

Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina stated in a public memo on Monday that Romney is trying to “hide” his true views “because they’ll hurt the middle class and his chances of winning.”

Urgent Poll: Romney Vs. Obama – VOTE NOW!

Democratic strategist Steve Elmendorf told the Times: “President Obama’s first goal has to be to get the focus back on the choice. This election is about two very different value systems and two very different approaches to the future. Every time Romney tries to move to the center Obama needs to catch him and push him back with specifics on the real Romney and his record.”

Republican strategist Terry Nelson countered: “Mitt Romney enters this debate in a much stronger position. A failure two weeks ago would have been very problematic for Team Romney. It is, instead, President Obama who finds himself needing a win. Another sub-par performance will put Romney firmly in the driver’s seat. A draw is still a win for Romney.”

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