7 More Simple Things Mitt Should Say (but only if he wants to win)
In a word, Mitt has momentum. The beauty of momentum is - unless disturbed by an outside force - it builds. So Mitt needs to first and foremost not be the force that disturbs his existing momentum. Better yet, he needs to add to his momentum. Continuing with the earlier theme of "keep It Simple Stupid" - KISS - here are 10 more things Mitt should do or say in his next debate performance.
1. 4 Numbers: Mitt needs to pound just four numbers to win, all of which are up on President Obama's watch: unemployment, the deficit, gas prices, and poverty. That's it. If there is any "genius," it is in the simplicity. As some put it, just stay on message. If he wants to add a fifth number for contrast, he can pound the only number that has gone down on President Obama's watch: his golf score.
To make this come alive in animated fashion, Mitt says (repeatedly): "This election is - or should be - about just four numbers. Four numbers that Americans understand all too well. The first number is unemployment. It is up on President Obama's watch. And we all know it's much worse than even the official numbers reported because millions of Americans are so distraught they have given up even looking for a job, so they aren't even counted anymore as unemployed. In President Obama's words, they've given up hope. The real number is closer to 15% unemployed Americans. That's tens of millions of Americans!
The second number is the deficit. It also is up on the President's watch. Big time. It is now more than $16 trillion dollars. He has done in four short years what the previous 43 presidents couldn't do in 232 years. What is $16 trillion dollars? It is $200,000 for every family of four. The President has essentially given every family in America a huge mortgage to carry around. And if given four more years, his deficit will grow to more than $20 trillion!
The third number is a simple number: the price of a gallon of gas. It has more than doubled on his watch. Just this past week gas hit more than $5 per gallon in some places.
And finally, the fourth number is poverty of all things. Poverty is near a 50 year high on his watch. Poverty! The number of people on food stamps has doubled in his four years. Doubled! Although the President would like to distract from those four numbers, they are his to own. And they won't get better in the next four years. I should add that one number is down on President Obama's watch: his golf score! While unemployment, the deficit, gas prices and poverty have skyrocketed on his watch, the President has found time to play more golf than any president in history! I am telling the American people now and I am speaking to them straight, vote for me and I assure you that those four numbers - unemployment, the deficit, gas, and poverty - will all go down if you elect me, and that my golf score will be the only thing that goes up."
2. Limping to Finish Line versus Sprinting to Start Line: Mitt says: "Listen, it's clear the President is trying to limp over the finish line here in hopes of eking out a win on November 6. Well the difference is I don't view November 6 as a finish line and I am not limping across it. Instead, I view it as a starting line that I am sprinting to. The President thinks he can 'ham and egg things' to the finish line. Don't let him."
3. "Where's the Beef" Line: When President Obama criticizes something Mitt says, Mitt's show stopper line needs to be: "Come on Mr. President, you're better than that. Don't be disingenuous to the American people. They know and deserve better than that. You know the real answer to that is . . . "
4. Libya: Mitt says: "Who were you protecting Mr. President by peddling a false story for two weeks?! Your administration made up a story. Instead of just telling the truth that it was a terrorist attack, you instead invented some story that it was a spontaneous mob uprising related to a movie - a B movie for goodness sake - made in Hollywood that insults Muslims. The whole story was baloney. And it was utterly unnecessary. You know what insults the American people: making up nonsensical stories when our people are attacked by terrorists. I ask again, who were you protecting with this ridiculous story?"
5. Tough Love: Mitt needs to say that when it comes to the deficit he will provide the "tough love" that is necessary. Mitt says: "Listen, though I don't like it, I know how to make tough cuts. Though you criticize it, I've done it before. I take no joy in it, but we can't keep doing it your way. We can't earn 50 cents and then spend a dollar. That doesn't work. It wouldn't work for an American family and it doesn't work for America. When a doctor amputates a patient's limb, she doesn't do it because she wants to, she does it to save the patient. And in looking at how we spend - and "yes" at some of our runaway entitlement programs - we need to cut, not grow. But you just can't say 'no.' The American people deserve that and want that, and I will be the good steward that provides it when necessary."
6. The 47% Issue: Mitt best be ready for this. It is a tough one, so best to walk straight through the door and not dodge it. Perhaps something like this: "Listen, what I inartfully meant - and stand behind - is that when almost 50% of America pays no federal income taxes every April 15, then 100% of America - all of us - have a real problem. The problem actually reflects that real income has gone down by more than $4000 on average for American families on President Obama's watch."
7. Talk Directly to Ohio (but not at the debate): Let's face it. Forget all the scenarios: Mitt must win Ohio. Mitt should be very open in commercials and otherwise about that. He should say directly: "Ohio, I need you. As Ohio goes so goes the country usually. Ohio is a leader for a good reason. It's people have good judgment. There's a reason no Republican has every become president without winning Ohio: because Ohio matters and its people are wise and practical. So Ohio, I ask you, please help lead our country again to greatness by voting for me, Mitt Romney. I won't let you down."