OFA has shown itself to be a very nimble organization that can seize the moment. The next week will be telling because Romney, despite his comfort level at the podium--and he was arguably too comfortable--handed the Obama campaign some important opportunities.
Romney's Achilles heel is his known propensity for saying whatever he thinks he needs to say. So watch for the Obama ads that question the reliability of a candidate who says he's going to cut all rates by 20% all through the primaries, and then on Oct 3 says he's not going to cut the taxes of people at the top. The president made that point last night when he said that Romney's been running on his tax plan for 18 months, and now with five weeks till the election, his big idea is "never mind." That was a concise rebuttal. But an ad will dig up the footage of Romney talking up his tax cuts for all Americans, including the 1%, and juxtapose those earlier speeches with what he said last night. The disparity will shine unfavorably on Romney.
Romney's insistence on calling the $716bn savings to Medicare a cut that he'll restore is also a great opportunity with several windows to it. They can go after his business acumen for not being able to differentiate a savings from a cut. This raises questions about his claimed prime qualification. They can also hammer home that paying that much money for nothing (and that's why it's a savings because Medicare Advantage--a Republican add-on--was a giveaway to private insurers) does precisely what Romney said he wouldn't do: it weakens Medicare for those currently on it by shortening its solvency to the year 2016.
His claim that he didn't know what Obama was talking about with regard to tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas is another weak spot. It's been fairly well documented that some of Bain's companies shipped jobs overseas. Would it be that hard to find out if any of those companies took that deduction? This has doubly devastating effect of bringing Romney's own tax strategies back into the debate.
And last, the inanity of Romney's claiming credit for the Massachusetts heath care program in the same breath as his vow to repeal Obamacare on day one has got to be hammered home. The state-by-state logic he's offering now is absolutely hollow. Health care isn't a problem in some states and not others, it's a national emergency both in terms of health and the economy. Not to mention that there is footage of Romney saying that the Massachusetts program should be the model for the nation--of course he said that when he thought that Obama would back a single payer plan. Pointing this out links Romney to the standard GOP response of opposing anything that Obama opposes even if its a plan that they have endorsed themselves. This is not problem solving, it's knee-jerk politics.
Yes Romney was more animated last night, perhaps he even looked and sounded more authoritative. But when it's pointed out that his authority was based on tone of voice and body language instead of the substance of what he said, it'll cost him .