With the first Presidential debate happening on October 3, the days are beginning to dwindle for each candidate to brush up on their debate skills and the weaknesses in their opponent’s record. The Huffington Post offers a checklist with points for each candidate to be aware of heading into October.


Some points from Alan Schroeder via The Huffington Post:

Things for Obama to work on:
• Shortening his response times and sharpening his rhetoric.
• Connecting policies to people-storytelling, for want of a better word.
• Avoiding the urge to agree with his opponent, as he too frequently did with John McCain in the 2008 debates.
• Diminishing Romney without appearing rude.
• Capitalizing on Romney’s thin skin.

Things for Romney to work on:
• Avoiding awkward chuckles when asked an uncomfortable question.
• Not getting baited into testiness.
• Moderating his rhetoric for general audiences.
• Treating Obama respectfully without seeming intimidated by him.
• Keeping the debate focused on Obama’s economic record.

The common thread? Tear apart your opponent but come off friendly while you do it. I understand where this thought comes from but sometimes I think voters aren’t afraid of someone who can make a point and tie it personally to the other candidate, even if it comes off a bit direct.

Schroeder also offered some notes for Vice President Biden and Paul Ryan:

Things for Biden to work on:
• Curbing his prolixity.
• Avoiding Washington jargon and Senate-speak.
• Not overdoing the pathos.
• Resisting the urge to condescend to his younger opponent.
• Mastering the intricacies of the Romney-Ryan record in order to make a case for Obamanomics.

Things for Ryan to work on:
• Projecting maturity.
• Showing empathy with the voters.
• Brightening up an inherently non-sunny personality.
• Debating Obama, not Biden.
• Performing at a level that protects his viability as a future candidate.

Biden’s short list to work on is quite simple: don’t make any unforced errors as he has the last several months on the campaign trail. Paul Ryan is sharp in his delivery and is not typically gaffe-prone. However, Ryan’s biggest asset of coming off very personable can also come across as dull on occasion.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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