The Washington Post

In light of Romney's momentum, the president needs to be more specific

What should Barack Obama do now? The new polls show Mitt Romney’s significant shift in post-debate momentum, and Romney has found his mojo, so how does the president regain his balance? The bed-wetters and thumb-suckers are in full cry, and I have succumbed to their ranks. I am often highly critical of the president but remain strongly supportive. I want him to win, and I have become another dispenser of free, but hopefully not gratuitous, advice.

Reviewing previous criticisms of the president, I see a consistent thread. The president has not given us a compelling reason why his second term will be better than his first. He needs to get out of the policy weeds and paint with a broader brush. I am sure the president is agitated because he finds Romney's blithe reinvention outrageous and contemptible. If Romney were a gymnast, I would have lost track of the flips and flops long ago.

But Romney isn't the president's problem right now. His campaign and its advertising need to deal with Romney. The president's goal should be to think like a challenger but act like an incumbent. In other words, make his own case for why he is a change agent, get specific about what he wants to do and then add that his experience has taught him how to be a better president.

Romney will give a series of speeches over the next month outlining his plans on the economy and foreign policy.  Not a bad idea for Obama either.


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