Governor Christie’s claim that we’ll see a massive turnaround in the race after the first debate on Wednesday seems hyperbolic at best. Reports from the Romney camp in Boston certainly indicate that Governor Romney has been preparing feverishly for these debates – as well he should.
Nevertheless, at this stage in the game, President Obama holds the high ground strategically in this election. Obama has an incumbent’s advantage: he has concrete policies and results from which to present his argument. By contrast, the Romney strategy of running against Obama’s economic record has created a campaign characterized by the fuzzy. While such a strategy may have worked a year ago, an additional 12 months of mixed-but-positive economic news has rendered vague posturing much less politically tenable.
Both men are exceedingly polished, well-practiced public speakers, and we should expect to see more of the same on that front come Wednesday. In short, while President Obama need not hit it out of the park come Wednesday, Governor Romney will need a far stronger showing to woo voters. Without some serious gambles on Romney’s part, Christie’s “turnaround” seems to be an implausible fantasy.