The fate of the presidential election could hinge on the second debate Tuesday between Barack "I Was Too Polite" Obama and “Moderate Mitt” Romney, judging from the impact their performances in the first debate had on the media, voters and the polls. So without much fanfare I hereby offer my advice to Obama on how to win this one:
1. Do not, I repeat, do not look down. Period. Not even to write notes. At this point in your political career if you can't wing it you're in the wrong business
2. When he's talking, stare at Romney like you're on a deserted island and he's the last piece of food you’ll ever eat. Half smile, intent gaze. Practice this face in front of the mirror between now and then
3. Alternate between looking at Romney and looking into the camera to address voters directly
4. Be aggressive. Forcefully challenge Romney's lies and distortions. If he flips and flops on his positions call him out on it. Call him "Moderate Mitt" and contradict him with his own prior statements and positions
5. Defend government spending, and your policies in particular, as having saved the economy when neither consumers, banks or businesses were spending a nickel. New data out last week showed that consumer confidence is way up, unemployment and foreclosures are down, housing is recovering and Americans are feeling the country's headed in the right direction. Pounce on that!
6. Remind them of how well their retirement accounts have done as the Dow and NASDAQ have risen 100% and %155% respectively
7. Proudly discuss the auto bailout and how you saved that critical industry...while reminding voters how Romney wanted to "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt"
8. Remind voters that while corporate America is enjoying record profits they're still not hiring, the private sector has added almost 5-million over the last 30 consecutive months
9. Hit Romney hard with his 47% comments. This is the proverbial gift that needs to keep on giving
10. Pressure Romney to give specifics on which tax loopholes and deductions he will cut/end. Press him hard
11. Do a Joe Biden and look into the camera and remind seniors that Romney/Ryan will end Medicare as we know it and privatize Social Security. Assure them that there’s only one party that ever does anything to protect and preserve Medicare and Social Security, and that’s the Democratic Party
12. On foreign policy, don't let Romney hang you up on Benghazi. Acknowledge the ongoing investigation to get to the bottom of what happened, assure voters that the terrorists will be brought to justice, and then remind them of how the world, because of you, is free of bin-Laden, al-Zawahiri and Qaddafi, and that al-Qaeda has been nearly decimated and that there’s been more Drone attacks into Pakistan than ever….all of which continues to keep Americans safe here at home.
13. Repeat the following catchall’s as much as you can: “Will end Medicare as we know it.” “Will privatize Social Security.” "The job creators aren't creating jobs." “Will return us to the same failed policies of George W. Bush.” “Detroit lives and bin Laden’s dead.” Huge tax cuts for the rich, increases for the middle class.” “The math simply doesn’t add up.” “Let women decide what happens to their bodies.” "Our enemies have been brought to justice." "The war in Iraq is over." "Our troops in Afghanistan will soon be home."
14. Act like being president for another four years is a job you actually want. Show some damn passion. Don't let Romney be the only bubbly one in the room
15. I know it's hard, but try to explain things as Bill Clinton would...with the same sincerity, clarity and brevity. You're a charming dude. Show it. Leave the wonky professor act home
16. And lastly...get some sleep tonight, for Pete's sake, so you don't look like you'd rather be on a hammock napping