The second Presidential debate between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will be held tonight, starting at 9pm. The location for the debate is Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. CNN's Chief Political Correspondent, Candy Crowley, will moderate the proceedings. The debate will take the form of a town hall meeting and questions will be asked by audience members comprised of undecided voters.
President Obama is at a disadvantage because of Governor Romney's decisive victory in the first Presidential debate. Many analysts speculate that Republican enthusiasm, as well as the campaign's momentum shift towards Mitt Romney, was a result of his exceptional performance in the first debate. Democrats and others on the left have been proffering public advice for the President to be more aggressive in subsequent debates. I doubt that Barrack Obama will be as aggressive as Joe Biden was in the one and only Vice-Presidential debate, but Mitt Romney should expect the President to be on the attack more than he was in the first debate. Governor Romney, on the other hand, just needs to turn in a steady and competent performance to keep the momentum of the campaign headed in his favor.
Many on the left want President Obama to use Mitt Romney's 47% comment from last May, secretly recorded at a donor event. They would also like the President to try and tarnish Mitt Romney with his association with Baine Capital, the private equity firm the Republican challenger founded and ran until 1999. I feel that this strategy would be a mistake for the President, since these attacks only have a chance to work in ads and when Obama campaign surrogates engage in them in various media outlets. If they are used in a debate setting, where Mitt Romney can easily respond to them, I think they may backfire on the President and make him look desperate and small. But it may be all the President has to offer as a strategy, since he can't defend his record in the presence of an opponent who has a command of the facts as Governor Romney does.
I don't look for either candidate to commit any campaign-ending gaffs, but I do believe that if Mitt Romney has another decisive victory, he may very well put the election out of reach for the President. The pressure is going to be on President Obama to turn in an exceptional performance to shift the momentum of the campaign back in his direction. As I stated previously, Mitt Romney just needs to build on the foundation he laid in the first debate. This debate could be a pivotal event in the campaign, shifting the momentum back towards the President or increasing Governor Romney's momentum. One thing is for sure, it will be fun to watch.