Gingrich: Obama only has to be ‘believable’ in debates to be re-elected

By David Edwards
Friday, September 28, 2012 9:31 EDT
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Newt Gingrich speaks to MSNBC
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Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is setting a low bar for President Barack Obama’s debate performance, saying that he only needs to be “believable” to be re-elected.

The former House Speaker on Friday told MSNBC that GOP hopeful Mitt Romney would need a “very strong debate” to even have a chance at the White House.

“They’re whistling past the graveyard,” Gingrich said of the Romney campaign. “I think that everybody I’ve talked to agrees that he’s had two and a half very tough weeks. I do agree, I think they started with the Clinton speech [at the Democratic Convention] and then they got compounded by all the other stuff that happened.”

“I do think in all fairness to Romney, when it got to be a crisis in Florida [during the Republican primaries], he was very good in the debates,” he explained. “That better be the Romney that goes to the debate with Barack Obama.”

“It has to be a campaign of contrast, not a campaign of attack,” Gingrich added. “Part of the contrast has to be disarming the president because if the president’s believable — this is where Clinton was so good — if the president is believable at the end of the first debate, there’s a very high likelihood that he going to get re-elected.”

In a memo to surrogates on Thursday, Romney senior adviser Beth Myers tried to set very low expectations for Romney’s performance at the debates.

“President Obama is a uniquely gifted speaker, and is widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history,” Myers wrote, insisting that Obama had a “significant advantage” because of his “ample rhetorical gifts.”

Watch this video from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast Sept. 28, 2012.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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