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The format is supposed to be entirely based on audience questions, but tonight’s moderator Candy Crowley has already stated that she intends to interject when she feels necessary – directly against the terms agreed to by the campaigns and Commission on Presidential Debates.
The Obama campaign has been saying that The President will come out much more aggressively in this debate and focus on Romney’s Bain Capital days. As the audience is leading the questioning and Bain Capital is far from their #1 concern, it is a questionable strategy. How will the audience react to a more aggressive President? Do they care about Bain Capital in today’s economy?
Obama is a naturally-engaging figure that has done well in the Town Hall format. Able to adjust his speech patterns and use colloquialisms when necessary, the political chameleon will likely adapt to the crowd as necessary and should do well on style – substance, he is not.
Romney has the opposite challenge to overcome. The campaign has said that they intend to “come out swinging” on debt and deficit. The former Governor has also been called robotic and unable to relate to real people. Romney will be in a forum where he cannot simply debate Obama, but has to relate to the audience members while doing it. Will Romney be able to help the audience become more comfortable with him as the Chief Executive of the United States? Will the audience respond well to attacks on the debt and deficit?
The audience tends to ask questions on much more personal issues than journalistic moderators. It is hard to know if anyone will ask about Hillary throwing herself under the bus on the Benghazi tragedy, Holder’s constitutional challenge to Congress on the Fast and Furious debacle or Iran’s nuclear ambitions. More-than-likely, the questions will focus on gas prices, jobs, the economy, America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace and Afghanistan.
CNN’S Candy Crowley is the other randomizer. While the crowd may be more focused on issues central to them, the journalist will likely take some license and push the questions that politicos are more interested in.
Ultimately, he who stays cool, stands confident and has the answers will hold the night. After his last appearance, Obama has to come out confident and knowledgeable or risk the continued loss of support his campaign has seen in the last two weeks.
Live Stream of 2nd Presidential Debate Between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama
CDN will have the live stream available at 9pm Eastern