First on CNN: Romney memo seeks to lower debate expectations
September 27th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
2 years ago

First on CNN: Romney memo seeks to lower debate expectations

Washington (CNN) – If it wasn't already clear that Mitt Romney and his allies are trying to lower expectations heading into next Wednesday's debate against President Obama in Denver, the campaign is now making it official.

In a memo about the debates distributed to campaign surrogates and provided to CNN on Thursday, longtime Romney adviser Beth Myers outlines a series of reasons why the president is likely to emerge as the winner of the first debate.

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Among them:

– President Obama is "widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history."

– "This will be the eighth one-on-one presidential debate of his political career. For Mitt Romney, it will be his first."

– "Four years ago, Barack Obama faced John McCain on the debate stage. According to Gallup, voters judged him the winner of each debate by double-digit margins, and their polling showed he won one debate by an astounding 33-point margin."

Myers argues that Obama will "use his ample rhetorical gifts and debating experience to one end: attacking Mitt Romney."

"We fully expect a 90-minute attack ad aimed at tearing down his opponent," she writes in the memo.

Pushing back against emerging conventional wisdom, Myers concludes that the debates will not, in fact, decide the election: "It will be decided by the American people," she says.

Read the full memo below:

From: Beth Myers, Senior Adviser
To: Interested Parties
Date: September 27, 2012
Re: 2012 Presidential Debates

In a matter of days, Governor Romney and President Obama will meet on the presidential debate stage. President Obama is a universally-acclaimed public speaker and has substantial debate experience under his belt. However, the record he's compiled over the last four years – higher unemployment, lower incomes, rising energy costs, and a national debt spiraling out of control – means this will be a close election right up to November 6th.

Between now and then, President Obama and Governor Romney will debate three times. While Governor Romney has the issues and the facts on his side, President Obama enters these contests with a significant advantage on a number of fronts.

Voters already believe – by a 25-point margin – that President Obama is likely to do a better job in these debates. Given President Obama's natural gifts and extensive seasoning under the bright lights of the debate stage, this is unsurprising. President Obama is a uniquely gifted speaker, and is widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history. This will be the eighth one-on-one presidential debate of his political career. For Mitt Romney, it will be his first.

Four years ago, Barack Obama faced John McCain on the debate stage. According to Gallup, voters judged him the winner of each debate by double-digit margins, and their polling showed he won one debate by an astounding 33-point margin. In the 2008 primary, he faced Hillary Clinton, another formidable opponent – debating her one-on-one numerous times and coming out ahead. The takeaway? Not only has President Obama gained valuable experience in these debates, he also won them comfortably.

But what must President Obama overcome? His record. Based on the campaign he's run so far, it's clear that President Obama will use his ample rhetorical gifts and debating experience to one end: attacking Mitt Romney. Since he won't – and can't – talk about his record, he'll talk about Mitt Romney. We fully expect a 90-minute attack ad aimed at tearing down his opponent. If President Obama is as negative as we expect, he will have missed an opportunity to let the American people know his vision for the next four years and the policies he'd pursue. That's not an opportunity Mitt Romney will pass up. He will talk about the big choice in this election – the choice between President Obama's government-centric vision and Mitt Romney's vision for an opportunity society with more jobs, higher take-home pay, a better-educated workforce, and millions of Americans lifted out of poverty into the middle class.

This election will not be decided by the debates, however. It will be decided by the American people. Regardless of who comes out on top in these debates, they know we can't afford another four years like the last four years. And they will ultimately choose a better future by electing Mitt Romney to be our next president.


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Tex

    Has Romney's staff already written his concession speech as well? They're doing damage control BEFORE the debates because they know he's gonna lose. Just like in November.

    September 27, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Cynical View

    That "memo" was just a PR note to the Me-Too Media, knowing full well they would ALL publish it again and again and again and get groundless Republican talking points back into the news once more.

    It worked!

    September 27, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Not a brainwashed Liberal

    President Oboma is the worst President ever...anyone care to debate me on that?

    September 27, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. Romney cares less

    Mitt, you are such a sorry human being.

    September 27, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  5. Pete/Ark

    None of these theatrical productions are "debates" in a reasonably pure sense...how about a REAL debate with classical rules? nah...not good media...

    September 27, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. Wondering Wanda

    What an ego–pretending that he has not been practicing for two months. Trying to go in as the underdog–he has had twenty- primary debates with three or four other people. He is trying to set-up a major upset–howvwer, we know he is ready. He is practicing his points everyday on the stomp. I believe he already has the actual questions and have worked on them. He has moral problems–like continuing to tell a lie after it has been proven untrue.

    Unrelated sidebat
    Ron Paul made sense to me–however, age probably got him or he didn't hate on the president enough to become the candidate.

    September 27, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  7. Pradd20

    This mittens can not even run his campaign, how is he going to run this country of ours?

    September 27, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. Willard

    "CryBabies":
    with what: how big Obama wins? We can take that, don't wory!

    September 27, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. Roth Shields

    Romney's job throughout has been to ensure Obama's second term.

    September 27, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. Steph

    I think they want to shes lying

    September 27, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  11. Glenn

    Is it just me, or does Mitt look like he was separated at birth from Dagwood Bumstead?

    September 27, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. Lynn

    Can someone explain to me why CNN publishes a memo clearly written as a sideways ad for Romney under the "Politics" column? Reporting that the memo had been dispersed with an obvious intended political subtext would have been news.
    Then they could have published it for people to decide for themselves. Presenting it as an internal memo would have been the only way it should have been published as a straight memo . . . . Life just gets weirder. . . .

    September 27, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  13. hahahaha

    great confidence in flip flop Romney

    September 27, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. foly

    is it how Mr. Romney want to become the president of United State of America. Giving reasons in almost every tough situation. Mr Mitt, office of the presidency is not bain capital incase you forget.

    September 27, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  15. KlintzCNN

    Let me get this straight:

    Mitt Romney ran for President in 2008 and had all those political debates leading up the the RNC.

    Mitt Romney is running for President in 2012 and had all those political debates leading up the RNC.

    Yet, he is not prepared to debate President Obama??

    September 27, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. Truth Teller

    What, Romney doesn't want to bet Obama $10,000 he'll win the debate? There are just some things you can't buy Mittens.

    September 27, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. babooph

    Did Romney hire a black guy to practice the handshake?

    September 27, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  18. PrtyofStupid

    My expectations for Mitt during the debate was already low...this just hit a new mark of stupidity. Yet, I do not blame them for the disclaimer. LOL!!!!!

    September 27, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  19. sayer

    And the repubs call Obama weak...This man is absolutely toast.

    September 27, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. G-Simms

    There you have it. The people of the USA have spoken. Its time to clean out the repubs in congress and keep the senate dem, and most importanty, re-elect prez Obama. O/B 2O12

    September 27, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. Daniel

    I still don'tunderstand why the Tea Party is not upset about Mitt Romneys involvement with Stericycle, a fetus disposal firm that Mitt made millions on. Could someone who belongs to this cult please tell me exactly why this is of no interest to you? I had the idea that morals were important part of your value system. The only thing I can assume is that your lust for no taxes outweighs your moral convections.

    September 27, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  22. BD70

    Whats this? Lowering expectations for the Mitt? My my...how low can the repubs go. Whaa!

    September 27, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  23. ga.democrat

    Beth Myers really did not need to send out a memo to lower Romeny's debate expectations. He has done a great job of that all by himself. I wonder if he'll make any bets with the President in the debates or will he come out and tell the American people he doesn't worry about the debates because his party thinks he'll win with the voter suppression they have put into place. Mitt Romney is a train wreck and so is his campaign. Get to the polls and vote for President Obama!

    September 27, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  24. gwats

    So, he expects to lose? Then he already has.

    September 27, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  25. Samn

    How pathetic is this ? A candidate for US presidency accepting defeat before it begins :) Funny that happens from a business head of a vulture capitalists.

    September 27, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
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