September 30th, 2012
07:57 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Panel: What does Romney need to do to the change the race?

(CNN) – With 37 days to go before the presidential election, Republican nominee Mitt Romney needs a strong debate performance to change the course of his campaign, according to Sunday’s roundtable discussion with CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley on “State of the Union.

As polls continue to show Romney behind President Barack Obama, Republican strategist Alex Castellanos emphasized the importance of the first presidential debate on Wednesday, saying it is the first chance for voters to see Romney and the president one-on-one and figure out which of them is the “alpha dog.”

On the other hand, Democratic pollster Celinda Lake thought one of Romney’s biggest problems through the campaign has been constantly attacking the president without presenting any type of clear vision of where he wants to take the country.

“He won’t even tell you which tax deductions he’s going to take away,” Lake said, though adding she believed that Obama would struggle against Romney, saying that challengers generally do better in debates against incumbents.

CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, meanwhile, said that what the debates really deal with, besides issues and candidates firing off one-liners against each other, is establishing a “comfort level” among voters. Citing recent polling, Bash said Romney has not created that comfort with voters, and the debates have to create that foundation for Romney to win the election.

Lake agreed, saying that Romney “just seems weird to people” and out of touch.

Castellanos, a CNN contributor, thought differently, saying liability isn't as important for Romney as convincing voters that he can fix the economy and contrasting his message with the president’s. Obama’s message, said Castellanos, has been “I’ve done the best that I can. Hang on, it’s going to get better. Just don’t go back.” Castellanos said he believed that message gives Romney an opening during the debates to show leadership.

Bash said that Romney’s past debate performances have been mixed. He sometimes “blows it,” pointing to his infamous $10,000 bet against Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the primaries, but has then been able to bounce back.

As for the president, Castellanos attributed Obama’s fortunes to the belief that “if you’re not going to get change, you’ll take security.” He said if Romney could not show that he could steer the country back, then voters will stick with the incumbent.

Lake disagreed, instead saying voters approve of Obama’s performance and are increasingly confident about the economy.

For her part, Bash thought Obama has benefited from his likability since “day one.”

“(Obama’s likability) is a reservoir that the Obama campaign has been really using to sustain the campaign and the president even when the economy is bad,” she said.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Apologize for the comment of 47% of middle class Americans as Entitlement loaders. Idiot comment to half of USA....

    September 30, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  2. Harriet

    Amazing that political commentators ND Romney want us to forget that we heard a presidential candidate dismiss 47% of the population. His "speech was inelegant" has nothing to do with his statement that "those people will not take responsibility for themselves" to care for their own lives. Such an insult reveals exactly what Romney believes and that CANNOT be changed, reframed, or ignored. Romney OWES America an apology. How does he expect to be heard when he is disrespecting half of Americans. He needs to get this straight at the beginning of the debate!

    September 30, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  3. trex

    ............What does Mittens have to do.......................................................turn into a DEMOCRAT.....................

    September 30, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  4. Kind of Blue

    Having lived through Romney's gubernatorial term in Massachusetts, I can tell you Romney is as stiff and humorless as he seems. He is a manager with no personal pov as the 47% video shows. He'll say anything to get elected. I don't think he'll be any more likable on Wednesday. Even during the Republican debates, he came across as a robot, albeit one with poor programming.

    September 30, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    If Romney wins the presidency and he take us to another war them you will eat your own words

    Good bye Obama
    Hello WORLD WAR III

    September 30, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  6. Rita

    DID I miss something I don't feel comfortable about the economy , my security from gang warfare, the cartels & violance in Mexico. China and their nuclear pursuit etc.
    Etc....

    September 30, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  7. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Stick a fork in him, he's done!

    September 30, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  8. carlos

    what does he need?????get out of the race, PERIOD hehehehe

    September 30, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  9. Pete

    Castellanos thought Palin was an asset for McCain too,that's your typical republican moron.If Romney loses which he will he'll look like many a republican stratigist,like a deer looking in a trucks headlights,completely dumbfounded,but that's republicans,losers voting for losers,its historic,its also pathedic politically!!!

    September 30, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  10. Fact

    Romney just needs tell the truth; it's up to the voters to realize Obama has been and would continue to be disastrous for the country....unless we're ready to accept communism.

    September 30, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  11. Thomas

    What does Romney need to do to the change the race?

    1. Not use the word , " Kinda".

    2. Not say he doesn't know what he said , but he means what he said.

    3. Have at least one of his five sons volunteer for military service.

    4. Tell the American people why he really wants to be president.

    5. Stop playing the wealthy victom and act like a courageous volunteer .

    6. Tell the American people why his different from GW Bush .

    7. Be himself and stop acting phony .

    8. Admit to being a flip flop , explane to the people , thats how most businesses are run.

    9. Pic a new running mate , say Michael Bloomberg or his wife Ann .

    10. Have Israel strik Iran , have gas prices go sky high and blame it on Obama.

    September 30, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  12. Anthony... proud tax payer

    Change the Race? November is NEXT month... the game is the game at this point. WHO shakes the etch-sketch a month from election day? So America still doesn't know what Romney stands for or his solutions?!? Theres you're answer right there. Not much he can do anymore at this point. He's been campaigning for 8 years... i think we all know what product we are getting when it comes to Mitt.

    September 30, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  13. SafeJourney

    Mitt the twit and Lyin Ryan are done. Nothing Mitt can do to change that. Bye Bye GOP

    September 30, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  14. b

    What Romney needs to do is to have a good memory during the presidential debates, because he is going to need one to keep up with and defend all those lies that he has told against President Obama.

    September 30, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  15. John Oboho

    The only thing he needs to do,is to come clean on which tax loopholes he's going to close,come clean on the specifics of his policies,and of course,own up to his lies,or is it flip-flops.By the way,was Roosevelt who guided America out of depression a Havard trained businessman?Everyone knows OBAMA HAS A FAR HIGHER IQ THAN ROMNEY.didn't one,or is it two,of his fellow Republican presidential contestants,say he is the worst candidate that the Republican Party can put up against Obama?

    September 30, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  16. Name

    Lets ask Rmoney to show us his taxes! What is he hidding?

    October 1, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  17. Ron

    What Romney needs to do is catch Obama on one of his lies or "promises" and point it out during the debate so it can't be covered up or ignored by the complicit media.

    October 1, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  18. Marie MD

    That's easy. He needs to be born again as a different "man". He is everything you don't want in a life partner or a human being.

    October 1, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |