On Monday, during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, NBC Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd told host Joe Scarborough that with another strong debate performance, Mitt Romney could put the election away:
What’s the thing that’s keeping him [Mitt Romney] from closing the sale? Likability, personal comfort, is he–does he–he may not be one of us but does he understand us? Well, of all the three debates, what’s the one where you interact with real people; this town hall debate. So, for Romney, this is the debate where he could win this election.
He could blow up the stereotype that he, you know, can’t interact with people–doesn’t, you know, have that sort of Bill Clinton gene in him where he knows exactly the right time to put an arm around somebody, exactly the right time to connect with somebody. And that’s why it is more than just the President having to win this debate to stop the bleeding, to change things. But this is the moment–the first debate was Romney getting into the playoffs. This is the debate where he could almost close it out if it’s such a good performance, because of the format.
Just a few weeks ago, before the first debate between Obama and Romney, the media had all but written off Romney’s chances of beating the President, and were gleefully preparing for a second Obama term.
After Obama’s poor debate performance, the momentum shifted to Romney, as Todd noted:
In the private data that I’ve heard about over the last couple of days–the last 72 hours–plus what you are seeing, I feel like there has been a structural shift. We’re no longer in this, it’s even, but the President has these advantages. The ‘but the President has these advantages’ in the battleground states I think is gone.
Todd added that if the President “doesn’t show up he could end up in a deficit that I don’t know if one more debate could make it up.”
That’s a pretty stunning assessment of how much trouble the Obama campaign is in. Not only does it indicate how important tonight’s second debate is for Obama, but also how, despite the liberal media’s best efforts, Romney is in excellent shape in this race, and a real threat to win the election.