We've seen a lot of analysis over the past few days around how the President lost the last debate and how difficult it is to debate someone like Mitt Romney, who will just continually spout the same lies over and over. Dante's diary from yesterday is a great example. The great challenge is that responding to each and every lie makes the President look defensive and doesn't allow Obama to make any sort of positive case.
My solution to this is to focus on the narrative that Mitt Romney can't be trusted from the outset, and focus on simply reinforcing that narrative as Romney speaks rather than trying to refute each individual lie.
Here's my idea of the President's opening statement. It's probably too aggressive and would lead to everyone talking about how MEAN the President was and how that sort of behavior is beneath his office, but leaving aside the pearl-clutching, here's what I wish the President would say in his opening statement.
Over the course of any campaign, there are a number of disagreements around policies as well as interpretations of facts. There are charges, counter-charges, comments taken out of context, attack ads, etc. These are part of the culture in Washington that I set out to change, because they do a disservice to this nation. Our problems and our responsibilities are serious and require a serious discussion around the direction of our nation. That's what our nation deserves.
Governor Romney, what our nation heard from you two weeks ago in Denver was a succession of mistruths, half truths and outright lies, by some counts 25 or more in 35 minutes. That, sir is a disservice to our nation and to your party. I look forward to debating ideas, but if you're unwilling to state what you actually believe, then frankly you're not fit to be my President.
To the People of America I say this. As your President, I have always told you what I believe, and I've tried to do what I say I'll do. As you listen to the Governor and me discuss our positions, I ask that all of you check the facts against what both of us say.
Over the course of tonight's debate, each time I hear Governor Romney state something that is false or contradicts what he's said previously, I'll keep a running total and give updates on the current total when it's my turn to speak, and we'll provide a link to the facts after the debate.
The Governor's campaign staff may say that fact checkers will not dictate their campaign strategy, but you can act as fact checkers yourselves and determine which one of us deserves your trust to act as your President over the next four years."