Expectations for The Big Debate
With Mitt Romney continuing to lose ground among voters who view him as out of touch, Republicans are trying hard to gin up expectations for the Obama-Romney debate. John McCain says it will be "one for the history books." Chris Christie says the debate will "turn the presidential race upside down." The hyperbole is echoed by some journalists, like Chris Cillizza, who today writes the debate will be a moment when "everything and everyone stops" and likens it to the Superbowl of politics.
I think many people will tune in to see how many times Mitt sticks his foot in his mouth and shows his disconnect from ordinary Americans. [More...]
I also think the debate's importance is highly exaggerated. Since it will run on all major networks, many will watch because there's little else to watch. This year, 111 million people watched the Superbowl, which ran on only one network. In 2008, 52.4 million watched the first Obama-McCain debate. In 1980, more than 80 million people watched the Jimmy Carter-Ronald Reagan debate.
Still, tens of millions of viewers is nothing to sneeze at, so the question may be whether Mitt can do anything at this point to overcome his earlier mis-steps about the 47% ("My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives”) or these gems?
TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2012) -- In an interview with CNN, Romney noted that he is "not concerned about the very poor," citing the social safety net for that segment of the populace.
DETROIT, Mich. (Feb. 24, 2012) -- While speaking before the Detroit Economic Club at Ford Field, Romney listed not two, not three, but four American-made cars that he and his wife, Ann, owned. Among the vehicles: "a couple of Cadillacs."
Here's a fun version from 1985:
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