Doís and Doníts for Debate Two
The Hiller Instinct: Doís and Doníts for Debate Two
With the race between Mitt Romney and Shannon O'Brien too close to call, and undecided voters waiting for one of the candidates to win them over, tonight's debate presents opportunity and risk. So what should the candidates do and not do? First, remember their first debate - one week ago.
Shannon O'Brien, (D) Gubernatorial candidate
"For twelve years, our state has suffered from gridlock on Beacon Hill."
O'Brien got off to a weak start last week - reading her opening statement, rather than speaking directly to voters. Tonight, she should debate with no notes and talk from her heart. And she should talk to men, too. O'Brien must avoid becoming just a woman's candidate, despite what she believes:
"I think that who ever wins the women's vote will be the next governor of Massachusetts."
Mitt Romney, (R) Gubernatorial candidate
"I'm convinced that I won..."
Romney did win the first debate, but he needs to do more to win again.
Tristar Pictures, Jerry Maguire
"Show you the money. Not show you, show me the money. Show me the money! Louder! Show me the money!"
Tonight, Romney should show us the money - being specific about his budget plans, not superficial:
"I believe we can save hundreds of millions of dollars, and perhaps as much as a billion dollars, in waste, inefficiency and mismanagement on Beacon Hill."
Tonight, Romney must also attack the gap.
He may dress like a Gap model, but that's not the gap that matters. It's the gender gap, and Romney has to make gains among women voters.
Topping O'Brien's don't list is don't yell, and risk sounding strident, as she did in debate one:
"Is he going to work in my administration?"
"Of you're smart he will. If you smart, you'd pay money to hire him."
O'Brien should also remember not to repeat...and repeat.
"I have a planÖa concrete planÖI have a concrete plan."
As for Romney, we know he's a super salesman, but that doesn't mean he'd be a good governor. So tonight, he must not make Beacon Hill sound like just another business he wants to take over.
More important, he shouldn't expect a rerun of last week's debate, when O'Brien misspoke, and had to eat her words the next day:
"I withdraw the statement and I do apologize to Mr. Romney."
And here are two more "doníts."
First, don't expect any apologies tonight. Both candidates will avoid giving one any way they can. And, second, if you want to know what's going on in this race, and you don't watch the debate, then don't blame anyone but yourself.