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Shannon O'Brien: 'Make Or Break Night for Mitt Romney'

Democrat who debated Romney in 2002 says Barack Obama must be on his toes tonight.

Mitt Romney's been down in the polls before, says Shannon O'Brien, the former Massachusetts state treasurer who battled him for governor in 2002. "I've seen him turn things around."

O'Brien is referring to their 2002 debate, which was seen as a springboard for the millionaire businessman. Romney has since sparred in numerous GOP debates, in 2008 and 2012, and has smoothed out some of that stiff Romney from yesteryear, she says in an interview with Patch.

His is a familiar strategy, says O'Brien, who now owns a consulting business in Boston: 

  • Spend a ton of money on TV attack ads.
  • Target "punch lines" in a debate to crystallize said attacks.

Those punch lines she refers to are the supposed "zingers" Romney is reported to have rehearsed over the past month. How many will he fire off? And how well will the sitting president fend them off?

Obama has to be ready to parry or counter any of these attack lines, according to O'Brien. He has to be concise, stick to the issues, and present a vision for the country.

O'Brien recalls Romney, in their critical 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial debate, showed a "lack of empathy," including declining to say something nice about his opponent when asked by the moderator. In one exchange, Romney also chided his opponent for being "unbecoming." Their final debate also included an O'Brien joke that went over flat: "Would you like to see my tattoo?"

It's an opportune time for both candidates. Many Americans are only now starting to pay attention to the race. And O'Brien says people are only now starting to swing to Obama on the economy. Remember that secret taping of Romney, the one in which he remarks about 47 percent of the country? Expect to hear that tonight, too.

O'Brien calls it "the gift that Mitt Romney gave to Barack Obama."

And what about Romney, her old political foe?

"I think it is a make or break night for Mitt Romney," she says. "I think he's got to hit it out of the park."

Follow tonight's presidential debate in a Live Blog on your local Patch. Join the conversation.

Terry Munroe October 10, 2012 at 03:12 AM
@Bob Young. Thanks for sticking up for me. Appreciate it. But I think it's time to let it go. Let Rob have his love for Obama. You and I understand what he is really about. Hopefully more and more people are waking up to that fact as well. There are always going to be those who think Obama is the second coming. I am not sure why that is but they do. And as I said, hopefully more people will wake up to what he is really about.
Old Pizza October 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Lots of libs flapping their gums on here before the debate. Wonder where they all disappeared to!!! Looks like their man is in a downward spiral of no return. Very fitting, isn't it?
bob young October 11, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Rob the coward libtard threw a few shots at me again after the debate, but like his cowardly overlord obama, he makes some cheap shots and then runs away and hides to not be confronted.
Watts October 11, 2012 at 10:35 PM
You may as well pack up your hopes over Romney taking New Hampshire. Even with that fluke debate and the following bump, Real Clear Politics still has Obama up by 4.5 and there just aren't that many undecideds in New Hampshire. Not happening. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/nh/new_hampshire_romney_vs_obama-2030.html
bob young October 11, 2012 at 10:43 PM
People in NH must not be very smart then
News Flash October 11, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Wrong Rasmussen has it 48-48 in NH
News Flash October 11, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Wrong Rasmussen National Romney + .07
Old Pizza October 11, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Same post.....Same lie ...... just like your buddy, Obama.
Watts October 12, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Hey News Fish, those figures on Real Clear Politics actually include Rasmussen and weigh it very heavily (25% of average), so that 4.5 lead in New hampshire is actually inclusive of the traditionally Republican biassed Rasmusen poll figures. Without Rasmussen bringing the figures down, across all other polls, Obama would have an average lead of +6 in New Hampshire. And I know how intellectually lazy you are to actually research anything, but if I am proving a link that includes the Rasmussen figures (which is obvious from the second that you look at the page at the link), you appear rather goofy to come back and say "wrong" and then reference the Rasmussen number as if it wasn't already in my post. That may work for people who are equally, intellectually lazy, but for anybody who would take the time to see the facts at the link, they would see how foolish you are with that type of response.
Jonathan Erickson October 12, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Rasmussen nailed the 2008 election and they have their numbers in this one to support their claims
Watts October 12, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Before you get hot and heavy on how well they did in 2008, that one thing that they got right was actually their final poll just before the election and they actually had a pretty rocky 2008, from primaries on through. That is why they are frequently referred to as the broken clock, which is always right twice a day. For the sample sizes that they poll, they really should be far more accurate than they really are and because they most frequently err to the side of the Republicans, that is why they also have the tag of being a conservative poll.
Jonathan Erickson October 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Rasmussen nailed 2008 presidential election and was off by 40 in Hawaii so being that i am lazy i just figured that that screwed their averages up. New Hampshire looks good for Romney now, it was not even in play a short time ago. Obama up by 4.5 must be a liberial polling group you looked at in order to come up with that figure. Must be those few undecideds that saw the President screw the pooch in the debate.
Watts October 12, 2012 at 03:43 PM
If you took the time to look at my link, Obama up by 4.5 is the average of polls, including Rasmussen's.
MerrimackREZ October 16, 2012 at 03:11 PM
The Movie 2016 comes out today on Blu ray and DVD... Watch it- It isn't a complete Obama bashing but rather a look into the life of the real Obama!!! You wont be sorry
Terry Munroe October 16, 2012 at 03:20 PM
@MerrimackREZ....Did you get the dvd in the mail Dreams From My Real Father? It went to the swing states. I haven't watched it yet, but assume it is along the same lines as 2016. Obama is a scary person. I don't understand the blind devotion a lot of people have for him.
JIM October 16, 2012 at 04:01 PM
ya got a love lefty losers like rob ,he wont vote for a Mormon because they might have 2 wives and he cant tolerate that , I thought you lefty's tolerated everyone's lifestyles ? more hypocritical BS from the obots
JIM October 16, 2012 at 04:07 PM
so rob loser, a man marrying a man is OK with you, but a man having 2 wives makes you sick ?. I'll bet you husband agrees with you
Seamus Carty October 16, 2012 at 04:11 PM
It is on Comcast On-Demand as well...
JIM October 16, 2012 at 04:16 PM
actually Bob, NH people have always had Yankee intelligence and ingenuity but we have been over run by the liberal communist from mass, VT and Conn and they are like a disease they get into everything from your schools to your town halls and have corrupted our once great state and turned it into a little massachewtits ,dont blame the natives its the transplants that have ruined NH
Terry Munroe October 16, 2012 at 05:13 PM
@JIM...thank you for saying what I have thought for many a year. Our state used to actually believe in Live Free or Die....No longer. We are a bedroom community for Boston. Such a shame.
Ready About October 16, 2012 at 05:23 PM
@Jim, diito that.
bob young October 16, 2012 at 06:13 PM
what ever happnened to the live free or die mentality that NH was famous for? Now its submit to big government.
bob young October 16, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Maybe Ill transplant myself from NY to NH and help restore the live free or die spirit of NH. I always enjoyed vacationing and hiking in the White Mountains. Might as well be living there
JIM October 16, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Shannon O'Brien: 'Make Or Break Night for Mitt Romney' Democrat who debated Romney in 2002 says Barack Obama must be on his toes tonight. obama got the memo ....only thing is he read it wrong ! he thought it said ''must look at his toes all night'' oh well. you can try again tonight obungler , but you have to admit though ,he did give his shoes a hell of an eye shine ...........I'm sorry ,was that racist of me to say that ?
JIM October 16, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Bob .for those of us that have lived in NH our whole lives and whose parents and grandparents lived here and can remember when NH was just a place massholes came for cheap butts and booze ''LIVE FREE OR DIE'' is was and always will be more than just a motto on our licence plates, sadly we have been over run by the (communist opportunist) thats Latin for city rats, who have infested our neighborhoods and way of life to reflect the very thing the rats were running from big government, high taxes the rest of the scum that city life breeds
Terry Munroe October 16, 2012 at 09:00 PM
You asked what happened to the Live Free or Die spirit here in NH? It's been taken over by the Massholes. They want to turn us into another MA. Full of laws and welfare.
annew October 18, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Terry Munroe, regarding the ad re the man who's wife died of cancer after Bain shut that plant down. She died 6 years after that plant shut down. She had her own insurance through her employer when her husband lost his job. She likely put her husband on her insurance plan at work. That ad was debunked long ago. That man was a liar and fraudster. Wonder how the dems could run that ad. no decency there.
annew October 18, 2012 at 05:08 AM
conor, check wikipedia. the plant stayed open until April on 2009. there were 57 employees left doing assembly work. You are allowed to believe who you wish. You are not adding to the discussion calling names. It does nothing to sway anyone to your argument. Not speaking to Conor, in particular, but everyone on both sides of the political aisle. Bad mouthing and calling names does not work. just makes it worse.
annew October 18, 2012 at 05:49 AM
Maya, you seem to have the memory loss. The budget was going to be balanced, NOT. unemployment was going to be 5.something, NOT. we do have an increase though and that is food stamps! In 3+ years Obama has increased the debt almost twice as much as Bush did in 8 years. He promised those things, and I can understand not getting all the goals accomplished, but he has made everything WORSE...
Terry Munroe October 18, 2012 at 11:18 AM
@annew...Yes, I know that about the ad about Romney and the insurance. It's been a while now and I can't remember if I mentioned it in response to another comment or what. But yes, it was one of the many lies that have been told during the whole campaign. I may have been trying to point out what a lie it was.

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