“Make a habit of two things — to help, or at least to do no harm,” Hippocrates once wrote. Mitt Romney’s goal tonight will be to achieve the latter in a debate that many of his top advisers say he can’t win.
If I had to highlight one area in which the president and I are most on the same page, it’d be foreign policy. That seems to be true for most of the American public, too. President Obama gets a 50%-44% approval-disapproval rating on international affairs, according to the Huffington Post.
Those numbers make Romney’s role as a challenger an uphill climb. By contrast, only 33% of Americans approve of the President’s handling of the economy – perhaps another reason why Romney’s first debate performance was judged such a smashing victory.
In fact, I bet that’s why many of Romney’s staffers can be so pessimistic about this debate and maintain their sanity. Vin Weber, Romney’s special adviser on foreign policy, had this to say to Politico:
“The candidates are close, and the economy is the Number One issue. Foreign policy is really important, but it is not driving this election.”
Or, as another adviser put it:
“I don’t think there are a lot of soft voters who are waiting to hear a position on the Eurozone.”
That’s the main message of the Romney campaign, and the one they’ve based their calculus on – it’s the economy, stupid. But with the electoral college map coming up short, Mitt might have to shore up his standing in other fields to get the win.
The last presidential debate kicks off tonight at 9 pm. Follow @DYNAMO_politics for live updates, fact-checks, and commentary!