GO LARGE, MITTCHARLES KRAUTHAMMERWASHINGTON POSTFor six months, [Romney's] been matching Obama small ball for small ball. A hit-and-run critique here, a slogan-of-the-week there. His only momentum came when he chose Paul Ryan and seemed ready to engage on the big stuff: Medicare, entitlements, tax reform, national solvency, a restructured welfare state. Yet he has since retreated to the small and safe. When you’re behind, however, safe is fatal. Even his counterpunching has gone miniature. Make the case. Go large. About a foreign policy in ruins. About an archaic, 20th-century welfare state model that guarantees 21st-century insolvency. And about an alternate vision of an unapologetically assertive America abroad unafraid of fundamental structural change at home. It might just work. And it’s not too late.
2012 DEBATES: THIS IS IT, MITTPEGGY NOONANWALL STREET JOURNALThere are some institutional and personal elements surrounding the Wednesday debate that may well work in Mr. Romney's favor. From a canny journalist with a counterintuitive head: "The media will be rooting for Romney." Two reasons. First, they don't want the story to end. They're in show biz: A boring end means lower ratings. ...Second, the mainstream media is suddenly realizing that more than half the country (and some of their colleagues) think they are at least operationally in the tank for the president, or the Democrats in general. It is hurting the media's standing. ... Mr. Romney walks in as the underdog, behind in the polls. He's not the president, the other guy is. He's not world-famous, the other guy is. The president is known for smooth presentation and verbal fluidity, Mr. Romney more recently for awkwardisms and gaffes. It's good to be the underdog. "Politics is exceeding expectations."
A BOON FOR OBAMAROBERT J. SAMUELSONWASHINGTON POSTWith less than six weeks to the election, President Obama is benefiting from a curious paradox. Although the economy remains weak by most indicators, consumer optimism has registered a distinct, though modest, gain. ... Either way, it’s good news for the president. The rise in consumer optimism has coincided with gains in his approval rating and a widening of his lead over Mitt Romney in most opinion polls. Of course, there’s no assurance that either will last. If September’s unemployment figures, scheduled for release Oct. 5, are poor, economic sentiment — and the president’s prospects — could reverse. But for now, a better mood is clearly helping Obama.TALKING AT CROSS PURPOSESEDITORIAL NEW YORK TIMESIn dueling speeches, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel focused on drawing a red line for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities while the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, cataloged his community’s many grievances against Israel and tried to revive the fading dream of a two-state solution. ... Neither man acknowledged the other side’s priority nor articulated a common path forward. Mostly, the speeches showed how far peace efforts have gone off track. After failing to get a process for talks going early in his term, Mr. Obama seems to have given up. Mitt Romney has suggested that he would do even less if he’s elected. ...He seems poised to encourage Mr. Netanyahu’s intemperate posture toward Iran, no matter the consequences.