[Former Ambassador Richard Williamson, a top foreign policy adviser to the Romney campaign] added that Romney would try “to ask the president to man up, accept his responsibility and explain to the people the failure that resulted in four American deaths.” – Adviser says Romney will ask Obama to ‘man up’ on Libya attack at debate [The Hill]

IT’S CANDY CROWLEY’S town hall, with the both camps ready to blame the moderator just like they did with Jim Lehrer, as well as Martha Raddatz. Voters should be on their side, hoping Crowley pushes both candidates.

Candy Crowley became the story when the week started and the one thing that wouldn’t be good for anyone is if she’s the story after the town hall is over. In an interview with CNN, Crowley’s not fazed and not going to back down either, nor should she.

“They will call on ‘Alice,’ and ‘Alice’ will stand up and ask a question. Both candidates will answer. Then there’s time for a follow-up question, facilitating a discussion, whatever you want to call it,” Crowley said. “So if Alice asks oranges, and someone answers apples, there’s the time to go, ‘But Alice asked oranges? What’s the answer to that?” Or, ‘Well, you say this, but what about that?'” […] “We are so close to an election, and there are people around these two men that push every button they can to try to get an advantage. I understand the stakes are enormous. This is what campaigns do, they push and shove and pull, and moderators become a part of that evermore in society over the past election cycles. It’s just a part of it. But in the end, you’ll look at these debates as a continuum, and people can judge all the debates the way they want in the end.” [Dylan Byers]

Obama’s getting advice from James Carville’s Democracy Corp, “go big” or else.

The campaign has reached a tipping point where we believe the president has to offer a bold narrative, policies and choice if he is to win re-election and get to a substantial enough victory that enables him to govern and face the great challenges ahead. The first debate really did disrupt the race and presents a painful real-time test of what happens when the president tries to convince people of progress and offer a very modest vision of future change Voters are not looking for continuity but changes that help the average Joe.

…In debate dial-meters conducted by Democracy Corps for Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund during the debate, Obama lost the attention of independents and unmarried women when he spoke about economic progress or talked about the progress of the last four years. With most of the President’s surrogates saying, “give him more time to finish the job” and with the President closing the debate almost making the same small offer, Romney got the opportunity to be heard as the voice of change.

Obama won most support when he said what he would do to make the economy better in the years ahead, but both Romney and Ryan spent much more time on that future and sounded like they had a real plan to make the economy better.

[…] But it is clear from this new national poll about presidential narratives that voters do not want a continuation; they want change. Indeed, they want bold change …

So, will it be Obama hitting Romney on his 47% insult versus the “man up” moment?

The buck with the State Department stops with Secretary Clinton, so I’m not sure it will work. Unless of course Romney decides to go all the way and fault Obama’s Libya policy from the start. Gaddafi’s gone, so that will lead nowhere for anyone not a progressive.

But won’t it be interesting if Mitt Romney does what Williamson is teasing he’ll do? Confronting Obama on Benghazi is the play, no doubt about it, but it has to come up or it could backfire.

Romney needs to show the audience he can listen and answer questions while engaging voters. He comes in with the momentum.

Obama would be wise to infuse his answers with enough meaning so voters understand things will be different in a second term, even if there isn’t much he can do if corporations won’t hire, and Republicans won’t work with him. So far all you’re hearing about is how Obama will be more “aggressive.” Not impressed with that direction and also don’t believe it, because it depends on the content whether that would work.

I’m always rooting for stark confrontation and contrasts.

No matter what happens tonight, Romney still has real problems in Ohio, the state no Republican has lost and won the presidency. At the end of the debate he has to keep moving Ohioans or move everyone else in other swing states or he just doesn’t have enough to win.

The prebuttal has begun…

I wonder, who “wins” if it’s a draw?