What expectations do nominees need to meet?
Former Romney debate coach Brett O'Donnell explains
- Duration 6:42
- Date Oct 16, 2012
Former Romney debate coach Brett O'Donnell explains
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We're looking behind the scenes at New York's Hofstra University behind me here it's the spin room -- there is where.
Tonight's debate will take place a little more than seven hours before town hall debate.
That could be the president's big chance to turn things around after a disappointing showing at the first debate in Denver.
Governor Ronnie had a similar opportunity back in the primaries when he was seeking the GOP nomination after getting hammered by his Republican opponent specifically.
Governor Ronnie managed to shake it off with a stunning performance in a single debate.
Take -- -- I think it's about leadership and and the speaker was given an opportunity to be the leader of our party in 1994.
And at the end of four years he had to resign in disgrace it was Republicans who replaced him in the house voted to reprimand him.
And it it was the head lobbyist of Freddie Mac.
With with whom he had a contract.
At a time when Floridians were suffering as a result in part of Freddie Mac well mister speaker.
You you were on this stage at a prior debate -- -- paid 300000 dollars by Freddie Mac has -- historian as a historian.
They don't pay people 25000 dollars month for six years as historians that adds up to about one point six million dollars.
If they weren't how are you as an historian and this contract.
Proves that you -- -- story newer consultants.
Now the man who coached governor Romney ahead of that performance Brett O'Donnell of the Harvard Kennedy school he's been described as one of the best political debate coaches in the country.
Advising politicians including George W.
Bush John McCain and governor Romney -- it's a pleasure to have you on thanks for being here.
Good to be with you -- All right so let's just start with governor Romney and what you think his challenges are tonight because you were largely credited with helping -- his debate performance before that critical debate in the primaries down in Florida.
You know the man you've seen him debate prep.
What do you think of the challenges he faces tonight.
Well I think for governor Romney it'll be withstanding the barrage of attacks that are now gonna come his way from.
President Obama are clearly the president will go on the offense more he'll be more aggressive.
And so now governor Romney's got to avoid taking the bait and getting on defense he's got to stay on offense as well.
The second challenge for him will be.
With realizing that the audience in the room is also participant he needs to make sure that he is spending time connecting with the people in the audience.
That is all rehearsed they they will practice in debate prep.
-- seeming empathetic and relating to the people in the audience will they not.
Well they will but there's always those moments -- person ask a question that isn't necessarily what you have been practicing.
And in that moment you have to be able to respond in a way that seems genuine authentic.
And not stay on message mean.
-- the town halls have been replete with moments like that the very first one in 92.
Where George Bush was asked how has the recession affected him personally he was unable to give a good answer that question Bill Clinton was able to come back.
With his famous answer that really got him the label that he knew how to feel voters' pain and he was able to use that answer to win that debate.
And that was the -- that the debate I believe one of them in which George H.
Bush has caught checking his watch and look like he didn't want to be there some of these non verbal things can be a real problem you.
You -- vice president George W.
Bush when he was running for office and and are running for reelection.
And you topping your article on the Daily Beast about the non verbal.
Things these candidates need to worry about tell us about George W Bush's issues in that department.
Well you know in the very first debate and I had actually put together a series of videos that I -- to the president.
Demonstrated some of the bad non verbal qualities he had when he was debating and even -- that evidence themselves in -- debates against Al Gore.
It's just that.
Gore was not that good in those debates and the president one.
In the debates with John Kerry the very first one -- Miami he -- he laid on the podium some.
Slouch to didn't have good posture and generally.
Appeared a lot like President Obama did in this past debate where he seemed disengaged from the debate itself.
But President Bush was able to look at that material.
Focus on it and then make a great comeback.
In the next town hall debate and he change the narrative of the debates with his performance in the town hall.
And in there's also the infamous moment you are not advising Al Gore at the time but when he got up and President Bush is grilled.
In and reorganizing bush in 2000 it was it was 2004 but an even know what happened gradually just grew here back.
Absolutely that's one of the most famous.
Non verbal moments in a presidential debate but governor -- then governor Bush's look set a thousand words he didn't have to say anything.
And his look off of Al Gore.
Protected his face and can protected the principal -- I call presence which is filling up the stage.
And making sure that you occupy a bigger space on that stage.
Now President Obama has done a town hall debate as recently as four years ago in a presidential contest.
When he went up against John McCain.
And by with that debate happened in Nashville Tennessee -- there was on America's -- earlier today and said that it happened here -- and was very upset that he.
Made a mistake anyone anybody now it didn't happen that -- didn't happen -- it's not clear that up for -- But but President Obama has done this in the real sad it.
You know with actual town hall questioners in a presidential.
Forum how much of an advantage is that for him going against governor Romney tonight.
Well don't forget the governor Romney campaigned hard in New Hampshire and he has done many many many town halls and and I can tell you.
That there's nothing like a presidential town hall in New Hampshire where you're talking to real voters asking very very tough questions and so.
I think governor Romney will be well prepared coming into -- he's he's done a number of town halls.
On the campaign trail I think that he -- got practice.
Answering questions from voters but most importantly he's got a great prep team especially with Rob Portman who has been.
By all accounts giving him the right preparation skills and.
Need -- quick answer this but is there anything you are concerned about with respect to governor -- tonight.
Well I think the big test will be how we connects what voters mean that's.
Then the big question mark that people had did for preconceived notion is that he doesn't do that well I think he's got a chance to break that can misconception the night.
Brett O'Donnell one of these days he'll let us see it you see you behind the scenes it would be a fascinating experience for us thanks so much for being here.
Good to be with -- thing.