What Romney, Obama did right and wrong at debate
Political debate coach Brett O'Donnell assesses strategies
- Duration 10:04
- Date Oct 7, 2012
Political debate coach Brett O'Donnell assesses strategies
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He's been called the nation's best political debate coach he -- George W.
Bush in 2004.
John McCain in 2008.
And Michelle Bachmann and then Mitt Romney in this primary campaign.
So we've asked Brad -- Donald to join us today to talk about this week's debate and how both candidates need to re calibrate for the next one.
-- the big question I think it's fair to -- coming out of this debate is what happened.
To President Obama why did he do so -- -- now obviously you weren't in the room but that's gas what do you think his debate teams failed to do.
To preparing for Wednesday night.
Well I think you know there are three areas Chris where you have to prepare candidate the first is they have to know the issues they have to know policy.
On both sides I think got President Obama is fine in that area but that the last two areas I think.
His team may have -- the second is you have to have a strategy going into the debate to execute.
And the second in the final thing is you have to be mentally prepared I don't think the president was really mentally prepared.
To take on governor Romney and I certainly think.
That he was in shock when governor Romney went on offense and stayed on offense throughout the debate.
Have put the president on his heels and you know the president's worst moments are when he is on defense and that's where he spent most of the night of the night.
All right -- we asked Jude to -- some moments.
Where you thought the candidates did something particularly good or particularly bad and we're gonna start.
-- your good moment for Romney irritants.
My plan has five basic parts one get us energy independent North American energy independent that create about four million jobs.
And that he went on to list the other of this five point -- it what's your point get out your basic program right at the start.
You know from the very beginning governor Romney cast of vision for the debate.
You know folks had accused him of not being specific the president been on him about specifics.
And from the very beginning governor Romney operative vision of two different -- the path the president has -- on the path and he would put us on.
And he talked about it specifically gave us five things that his plan would do in in a debate.
That's a good amount of detail for the audience to catch on to so.
He really set in motion a frame for the debate which allowed him to to really cast vision in the debate which the president did not do.
All right but for all your criticism you say the president did have some good moments to here's your -- for that.
Raging monsters -- been running on this tax plan and now five weeks before the election.
Is saying that as big bold idea is never mind.
But -- strong about that.
Well you know it it takes.
The big issue of taxes that they had gone back and forth about for several minutes -- first opening block.
And it capitalized.
The president's entire argument in one sentence and that creates a moment that the press can catch on to it sound -- that.
The press can replay and that the audience can grab -- to and so it it was really the president's best line of the night.
-- on that he was he was very much on defense the entire night.
Now -- -- you say that that both candidates both candidates also stumbled during the debate and this one.
I have to say I didn't need your help on this is a mistake that Obama made repeatedly during the debate let's watch.
You put ninety million dollars.
Into the in the green jobs.
And I look I'm all shaver green energy ninety billion.
That would have that would have hired two million teachers.
And we saw that throughout the debate -- -- Obama keep.
-- kept looking down while the old Romney was making points are criticizing him or attacked him.
Brad I've got to think that's debate one -- one that he would tell your candidate always assume you're on camera and that the another look at a Jew even if the other guy -- -- You know it's it's funny though Chris that the debate history presidential debate history is replete with examples.
Of where candidates don't pay attention to how they looked and how they say things and are only worried about what they say.
But audiences tell us that they take as much as 65% of their meaning from how candidates -- how people say things.
You know so you have the famous George Bush looking out -- watch or.
Al Gore sighing in the debate and this time around we have the president who seems to be disinterested.
Who seems to be irritated and not focused on the debate.
What do you tell a candidate to do when the other guy is speaking or even -- -- Well you don't eat eat first certainly you can take notes you can look out at the audience but every now and then you need to look at your opponent it's.
It's kind of odd if you.
If a person's talking directly to you like governor Romney was during most of the debate.
And you don't look at them -- it's it's almost it's that you can -- could be considered rude or disinterested irritated.
It certainly sent the wrong message and at times you notice the president's even looking to his left when his podium is -- to the right and so.
It it sends the message I'd like to get out of here is -- Possible well but he's certainly sent that message but you say that Romney throw all of those good point stumbled -- during the debate and you say one case was when he was talking about.
Social security and Medicare entitlements let's take a look.
You're sixty -- around sixty or older you don't you -- any further but for younger people we need to talk about what changes are going to be occurring.
Not gonna say I was surprised by the so what did he do wrong there.
Well I I don't necessarily think you know it's degrees of weakness and I think governor Romney had a very strong night.
But in in this section on entitlements he didn't necessarily look the best and it seemed to be the moment where he wasn't as sure of himself on the arguments.
As he was throughout the rest of the debate I mean he was very strong on tax policy was very strong.
On his economic policy and use that ninety billion dollar figure.
To great advantage twice he used it against the president on energy policy.
And use it against him on education policy but during the section on entitlements he he he didn't necessarily seem.
To be at his strongest but still certainly much stronger the president.
Now I want to ask you about a moment you didn't bring -- that has gotten a lot of attention let's take a look at this.
I'm sorry Jim I'm gonna stop the subsidy to PBS I'm gonna -- -- the things I like PBS a lot of big bird actually like you to.
But I'm not gonna I'm not gonna keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.
Now was not Smart as a way to show that he's serious about cutting spending or isn't always a mistake.
To take on big bird.
Well you know big -- pretty popular but you know I've maybe the president would save big bird didn't build his own nest I don't know but.
You know I think that it's you know it's it probably you know maybe not going after big -- certainly -- yes.
And public broadcasting is is popular in terms of not taking them on in the spending you know on the spending side so.
I don't think he was going down the wrong path may be you know maybe not so much -- big bird.
-- we got a couple of minutes left a lot of looks forward what do you expect from this week's vice presidential debate between Joseph Biden and -- -- Well I am shirt that Vice President Biden got a phone call from the White House and said.
You know look we you know we didn't go after.
Governor Romney is much and so you have got to turn up the heat.
Because you know debates are about controlling the ground whoever is viewed as the one who controls the debate who is.
Who is on the offense and I don't necessarily just me attacking your opponent governor Romney didn't attack the president the entire night.
Governor Romney stayed on his message and whoever stays on message is going to be viewed as the Victor -- so I'm sure that.
Vice President Biden spend.
You know coached to get back on message -- to to go after.
Paul Ryan now how much he can do that we'll see.
And you know I'm sure that congressman Ryan's been preparing.
On the policy side preparing mentally for this this is the first time.
He will look down on this stage and so you know I I think both men will be very prepared.
And briefly and looking ahead to the next presidential debate on October 16 nine days from now -- got to know that Obama is going to be much more aggressive to show that that was you know just about night.
If you're his coach what are yet and briefly what do you tell Obama to do and if you are Romney -- coach how do you -- to prepare.
For a much more aggressive president.
You're the president you've you've got to get on offense you you you have to use the things that have been successful to this point for them in the campaign book.
It was shocking that he didn't go into the 47% remark -- being capital are some of the other things that he's been using.
Which seem to have given him a perceptive advantage coming into the debate.
He's got to get on offense more poorly he's got opera vision I mean the president had no vision for the future.
In terms of what he would do where he would take the country.
And governor Romney's vision was -- really clear if you're governor Romney you have to stay on message and keep pressing.
On offense mean.
That worked for him in the debate but he's got to be ready for a different President Obama the risk is like Al Gore back in 2000.
If the president changes his persona too much folks -- report well a different president showed up.
And that hurt Al Gore in the 2000 debate so the president really has.
A problem on his hands in terms of how he approaches us next debate.
-- we're -- happily that there thank you so much for coming in and sharing some of the -- of your trade and we'll see you Thursday.
If Biden and Ryan were listening.
But thanks good to be with you.