Who has the most to win or lose in the New Hampshire debate?

By Ken Feltman (originally published in Politico)

As the front-runner, Mitt Romney has the most to lose. If he performs poorly, the doubts about him will begin to weigh him down. If he comes through with a satisfactory but not spectacular showing, he will not change the battle lines.

With a strong performance, Tim Pawlenty could change the race and become the primary challenger to Romney. But Pawlenty will suffer if he cannot show a more aggressive side. People will start to drift away.

Newt Gingrich must try to make the debate about “big ideas” — the broad themes in which he is at home — and not about politics and legislative detail. This will be a difficult task because other candidates, especially Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann, can compete with Gingrich for ideas, although both Cain and Bachmann must prove that they can put some meat on the bones of their ideas.

With a superior performance, either Cain or Bachmann could shake up the race. If she does well tonight, Bachmann could catch a wave.

The wild card is Rick Santorum. If he goes head-to-head against Romney, for example, he could provide Pawlenty with the opening he needs. If he attacks Pawlenty, Santorum will make Romney’s night easier.

The great unknown is the questions. The order in which topics are raised will play to the strengths of certain candidates, giving them an early advantage and forcing the others to play catch-up.

About Radnor Reports

Ken Feltman is past-president of the International Association of Political Consultants and the American League of Lobbyists. He is retired chairman of Radnor Inc., an international political consulting and government relations firm in Washington, D.C. Know as a coalition builder, he has participated in election campaigns and legislative efforts in the United States and several other countries.
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3 Responses to Who has the most to win or lose in the New Hampshire debate?

  1. P.T. says:

    You pretty much called it!

    • Melyy says:

      My dad was born & raised in this area. We lived nabrey (on LI’s “gold coast,”) so of course dad took us to Coney Island (& back to the house he grew up in.) 🙂 I was somewhat horrified to learn that they were closing it down, but I guess it’s time is over. It still wasn’t so bad when we’d visited in the 70s, but social degredation being what it is, I understand. Your post makes me miss Nathan’s hot dogs, btw.As for crazy polar bear clubs, I know of people who do this in Canada (after breaking a hole through the ice.) Nuts!!!

    • news says:

      That’s a brilliant answer to an interesting question

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