Holt said Bush simply didn’t prepare well enough for his debate with Kerry.
While Obama needs to exude confidence in his policies, he also has to avoid the trap of smugness. He barely knows Romney and could find that it’s easy, with unfamiliarity, to display disdain for his challenger.
He must hit his marks. Eager to lower expectations, Obama aides have cast him as long-winded in his responses. The fact they've drawn attention to that potential weakness means he will be precise in his points and concise in his answers.
Don’t look for Obama to lead an attack against Romney, but be prepared for a fierce counter. He will challenge the math of Romney’s tax plans and will probably allude to Romney’s claim that the 47 percent of Americans who support Obama believe they are victims, entitled to government support.
Romney’s experience as founder of the private equity firm Bain Capital or his personal investments in offshore accounts will probably be fodder for Obama’s counteroffensive, though the incumbent will be wary not to sully his positive ratings for likability.
Count on Obama to make a case for economic improvement under his watch, a task supported by some economic indicators but still a difficult sell given the nation’s high joblessness. Obama will also argue the economy would be worse without his policies, another tricky argument that seeks to prove an unknown.
‘‘The president’s challenge is to provide context for the economy,’’ Devine said. ‘‘To explain why what he has done has benefited the nation.’’
EDITOR'S NOTE — Jim Kuhnhenn covers the White House for The Associated Press. Follow Kuhnhenn at http://twitter.com/jkuhnhenn
An AP News Analysis