While the Romney campaign is trying to tamp down expectations for Wednesday night’s debate, campaign surrogate Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey, raised the bar for Romney.
On Sunday, during an appearance on Meet the Press, Christie told NBC’s David Gregory,
They’re going to start tuning in on Wednesday night and when they do, Governor Romney is going to lay out his vision for a better and greater America, for greater opportunity for all of our citizens, and I think that’s when you’re going to see this race really start to tighten and then move in Governor Romney’s direction.
Polling for the last two weeks has shifted towards President Obama in the wake of the leaked video showing Romney making disparaging comments about a large majority of Americans. Early voting in key states further places pressure on the Romney campaign.
The Romney campaign has attempted to lower expectations about the debates. The campaign has also acknowledged they need a big moment to capture some momentum and right the ship before Election Day. With people voting already, the campaign is running out of time to reach key voters.
With all the pressure on Romney, it’s key to remember that he’s prone to making mistakes. His debate strategy has been described as “goad and zing”. This could open the door for Romney to make an error.
Mitt Romney has made several unforced errors since he announced his candidacy in 2011. These errors include:
- In June 2011, Romney told voters in Florida that he was also unemployed, despite making $20 million during that year from investment income.
- At the 2011 Iowa State Fair, Romney told the crowd, to their objection, that ‘corporations are people my friend’.
- During a Republican candidate debate in December 2011, Romney attempted to engage in a $10,000 wager with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Perry declined.
- In early January 2012, Romney told voters in New Hampshire that he “liked to be able to fire people”.
- Later in January, during another candidate debate, Romney stated his position on immigration reform was “self-deportation”. Self-deportation was a satirical position in the 1990s during California’s attempt to reduce illegal immigration in the state.
- In April, Romney staged a picnic event with local families and small business owners in Pennsylvania. During the picnic, Romney told the local baker her cookies were “store bought”.
- During Romney’s international trip in July, he praised Israel’s health care system. The health care system in Israel is similar to Obamacare, only with more state control and regulations.
- Following the conventions in September, Romney told David Gregory he wanted to “keep the good parts of Obamacare”.
- Less than two weeks later, on September 19th, the video was released by Mother Jones showing Romney calling 47 percent of Americans “victims” and “entitled”.
These are just some of the many errors Romney has made during this long campaign season. There are so many mistakes, a website was created to catalogue them all.
Mitt Romney understands the pressure he’s facing for these debates. He knows how important it is to score points and move the poll numbers. Romney is one of the best speakers when he’s on script.
Debates, however, have a way of getting even the best speakers off message. It’s when Romney goes off script that his biggest mistakes are made.
If Romney has another “Romney moment”, it could mark the end of the campaign for Mitt Romney and his team of staffers.