Conventional wisdom holds that Mitt Romney is a practiced and highly polished debate performer. The reality? He’s sometimes good but almost never great. He’s no Newt Gingrich.
His supporters are generally happy that’s the case, but it’s a problem this week because Romney has two big chances this week to flip the script in a GOP race in which the momentum has slipped away from him — a pair of Florida debates, just the sort of setting where a game-changing ‘moment’ can be made.
But key debate moments have not been Romney’s calling card.
He’s been brittle at the first sign of real fire. He’s been tongue-tied on even the most predictable questions, like his tax returns and his job-creation record at Bain Capital. And he’s been far less effective at this than might be expected for someone running for president full-time since about 2006.
Picture him on a stage with Barack Obama — as many Republicans do — and it becomes clear why some GOPers are wondering privately whether he’ll measure up to the president.