Television stations across the country will be tuned into the first presidential debate tonight in Denver, CO, and with national news media reporting Republican candidate Mitt Romney behind in the polls, the pressure is on for Romney to out-debate the president.
Patch reached out to Republican Committee of Northern Macomb County Chairman Rob Montilla to get his take on the tactics and topics Romney will need to use in tonight's debate to unseat President Barack Obama in November.
While Obama won Macomb County in 2008, the majority of northern Macomb cities and townships voted for his 2008 challenger, Sen. John McCain, according to the county clerk's election records.
Patch: What are key issues Romney will need to address in this first debate?
Montilla: The key issues Governor Romney will address in the debate is Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. The economy is the No. 1 issue in this race and he should talk to his plan for getting the American economy churning again by building a better environment for business to thrive. With more business opportunities come more jobs and there is nothing more important at this time than putting America back to work.
Patch: There seems to be some confusion among potential voters as to what Romney's tax plan is. Should he address this in the debate?
Montilla: Governor Romney has made his tax plan clear. For all Americans, he plans to hold many taxes at their current level and to reduce others. For businesses, he is looking to cut taxes, not only to spur innovation and job creation, but also to make doing business with American companies more competitive in the global marketplace. Details of his plan can be found at http://www.mittromney.com/issues/tax.
Patch: How do you respond to the this-debate-will-make-or-break-the-election school of thought?
Montilla: No debate has ever made or broken a candidate. There have been some memorable moments such as Ronald Reagan's quip about not making age a campaign issue in a debate with Walter Mondale in 1984. Certainly this may be the first time that some voters will get to see one of the candidates in order to understand their position and values. But there are still five weeks, three debates, numerous candidate appearances and many factors that together will affect the outcome of the election.
Patch: Win or lose, what does Romney need to do between now and the next debate to pick up extra votes?
Montilla: Governor Romney will continue to meet voters and describe his plan and vision for America. With his proven background as a successful job creator, undecided voters will clearly be able to see that the Governor's plan for economic growth is superior and can lead the nation to a true recovery.
Supporters are working hard to meet voters to spread Governor Romney's message. Michigan Republicans have mounted one of the largest grassroots campaigns in the country and will continue to work hard through Election Day.
Patch: There seem to have been some rough spots in the Romney campaign in recent weeks, particularly surrounding his 47 percent comment. In your view, what is the current state of the campaign?
Montilla: The state of the campaign is going well. Supporters are motivated and people we meet at doors and on the phone have a lot of enthusiasm. Voters are ready to make a change and elect Governor Romney as the next President.
The political banter kicks off at 9 p.m. live on national television on all major networks, including C-SPAN, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. It will also be streamed online.
Here at Patch, we'll be live, too—hosting a real-time discussion about the debate, major political issues that affect Michigan and the country, and what viewers think of each candidate's campaign promises. Join us!