Here’s what President Obama needs to do tonight:
- Show leadership, resolve, and toughness
- Directly call Romney on his evasions and deceptions
- Demolish several of Romney’s outright lies
- Not pass up several opportunities to make points, as he did in the first debate
- Not make any major mistakes
- Take advantage of any Romney blunders
- Refute Romney's claims that the Benghazi attack was Obama’s failure, and shame Romney for trying to make political hay of it
- Destroy Romney’s credibility on the budget, tax cuts for the wealthy, and Social Security
- Press Romney directly on which tax loopholes he’d close
- Remind voters that Romney is an out-of-touch rich guy, whose new-found identification with regular working people is a sham
- Associate Romney with Republican blockage of Obama’s efforts to promote a stronger economic recovery
- Push Romney hard on issues where he has changed his position or denies his real current position, such as abortion rights
- Demolish Republican talking points not based in fact, such as the claim that the green energy initiatives supported by the Recovery Act mostly failed (in fact most succeeded)
- Corner Romney on his deceptions, to the point where Romney makes mistakes and goes off-script.
- Surprise Romney with a line of criticism that Romney’s handlers have not anticipated.
There are also some things that Obama should NOT do:
- NOT emphasize areas where he and Romney agree.
- NOT stick to scripted talking points, but be effective off-the-cuff.
- NOT appear disengaged and disdainful.