As anyone can see in the polls, Wednesday night's debate is a make or break for John McCain. He does not need a tie. He does not need to be a gentleman in a losing cause, ala Bob Dole. He needs to be an attack dog and deliver a knockout punch.
Here, in my opinion, are the three essential things he must do at Hofstra to right the ship than has recently been rudderless:
1) He must compound significantly the doubts that America has about Barack Obama becoming President
Dick Morris this weekend on Fox News summed up exactly the position that the average American voter is in regarding this election. He said the average voter is very disenfranchised with the direction the country is going in and they want to boot the Republicans and their administration (the buck stops at the presidency). At the same time, these voters have great reservations about Obama. They are stuck between rage and fear.
The Obama camp criticized the McCain campaign for not bringing up personal criticisms while he had the chance at previous debates. Implying McCain was two-faced, or a coward.
If I was McCain, I would start early in the debate with the comment, "With your campaign stating I do not bring up the concerns of your character when we are face to face... , let me ask you to confirm or deny, Senator, that one of your first political gatherings to launch your poltical career was in the living room of Bill Ayers in 1995, a terrorist who has blown up government buildings.” If Obama deflects this question, you go back to it two more times. By the third deflection, American will have figured out the truth. Then close, “Senator, I don’t blame you for not answering this question, a truthful answer to America on this would cause you this election.” This would be the sound byte played on every news cast. The debate would be won on this sound byte alone.
Morris also said something spot on (Palin term) this weekend. He said that if Obama had applied for any lower-level government job he would not pass the security check with his relationship to Bill Ayers. So we have a candidate who is not trusted enough to check your luggage at the airport, but might be entrusted with overseeing the free world. Incredible.
A caller on Bill Bennett’s morning in America radio show this AM, posed an insightful question, “Why is the Obama camp asking McCain to stop all the “negative campaigning” if it is hurting his poll numbers, as the Obama camp claims? Wouldn’t the Obama camp silently allow him just to self-destruct if this was true?" These “attacks” are helping McCain’s poll numbers because they are feeding into the uncertainty that America has already with Obama. Today, 3 likely-voters polls have the spread at around 5 points between Obama and McCain, it was an 8 point spread last week.
2) McCain must definitively hang the Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac scandals around Obama’s neck like an anchor.
My next purpose would be to nail Obama to the mortgage mess and the stock market collapse. Again with the “Since your campaign thinks I will not call you on this, please confirm or deny that only one Washington politician has received more ear-mark money than you from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac . How did these ear-marks affect your judgment and behavior as this mortgage crisis destroyed millions of people’s 401K’s?”
I would then follow it up by saying:
“Senator Obama, please tell where the CEO’s of these corrupt companies, like Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae, are employed today. Are not they senior advisers to your campaign? Please confirm of deny this.”
This would accomplish very efficiently nailing Obama to this mess.
3) Finally, I would make a clear-cut case that Obama is inexperienced, and a tax and spend liberal who will destroy the economy.
A final question, " Senator Obama, you were completely wrong in regard to the surge in Iraq. How do you believe the voters can support you knowing there are no "do-overs" in the Oval Office?" (This "do-over" term feeds into the inexperience fear, it is a child's game term). With this Obama will bring up McCain's misjudgments. One of them is always, "Senator McCain, you said we would be seen as liberators in Iraq, and we were not..."
McCain waits for this comment and pounces, "Senator Obama, tell the woman who were constantly raped by Sadam and his sons, and the families who had loved ones dragged out in broad daylight and shot in the back of the head, we are not liberators... shame on you Senator for discrediting the achievements of our service men and women!"
Then finish with the economy and how Obama voted 94 times for tax increases. I would say, "If you saw the sun rise 94 mornings in a row, would you be willing to bet the hard earned money in your wallet that it would not rise on the 95th day? That is what you are doing with a extreme liberal like Barack Obama..."
Obama would not know what hit him. Or even better during this beating he would lose composure on stage.
Debate over, election polls tied within 2 days.