Presidential Debate Dos and Don’ts

It's actually pretty simple: all President Obama has to do is just what he's been doing…while all Mitt Romney has to do is not do what he's been doing.

Tonight Romney has to do it right: lay out his plans–with specific numbers–and make a clear case why he'd be a better president than Barack Obama and if he has a political bomb, drop it!

Romney needs to get real tonight: that means be himself.

Once and for all, voters need to know who he is and what he stands for. It’s time.

Four years ago, candidate Barack Obama told us, "yes, we can." Tonight, President Obama must explain why we still can, despite our serious economic problems.

We're divided on almost every issue involving spending and taxes. Tonight, Mr. President tell us all how you'll bring us together.

Now the don'ts: the traps each candidate wants to avoid in this debate:

For President Obama, don't sugarcoat it. We know things are bad. So don't pretend all's well, because we won't believe you.

And please don't blame President Bush. Most of us probably agree he left you a mess, but we all don't agree you've made it better. And you've been president for nearly four years.

For Romney: don't make any bets during this debate, like the $10,000 wager you offered during a GOP primary debate. No matter what the president says, no matter what you're thinking. Do not make any bets.

And don't miss this chance to turn the campaign around. You're not going to get another one like it.

Mitt Romney didn't fall behind in a day, so I don't think he can catch up in a single debate.

But I do think the president is vulnerable on many points, and that Romney could make up some real ground. Repeat "could."