Mitt Romney's Denver Debate Challenge

Nate Silver, the New York Times's political stat guru, says Mitt Romney trails President Barack Obama by a touchdown in the fourth quarter. I would say he is down 10 with no timeouts, but it's hard to know given the confusion over polling methods andsuspicions among many that the current polls are substantially less accurate than in recent elections.

But that's not the football analogy Romney should focus on in his debate with the president on Wednesday night in Denver. He should paint President Obama as a coach who took over a team four years ago. The team was in some disarray and needed a strong leader to turn things around. Four years later, it's time to decide whether to extend that coach's contract.

But if Romney doesn't take advantage of this huge opportunity—50 million people watching; Jim Lehrer, a true pro, officiating; and a nation wanting change—the president will emerge with a two touchdown lead and, in all likelihood, that long-sought contract extension.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report

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Analysis & Political Strategy