Showdown in Colorado: Will Romney Turn Race Around?

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
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Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

At a recent event in Colorado just hours before the first Presidential debate, Ann Romney told supporters that her husband Mitt succeeds at everything he takes on.

Larry Kudlow sure hopes she's right.

On Wednesday, Governor Romney faces one of the toughest challenges of his life. He and President Obama will debate face to face on television. The broadcast will be seen by about 60 million people and will give voters a chance to compare Obama and Romney side-by-side for the first time.

If he hopes to win the election, in that short period of time Romney, who trails in the polls, must begin to win over undecided voters – igniting momentum that lasts until November 6th.

Larry Kudlow, syndicated columnist Ann Coulter and other conservatives say the 90 minute exchange could be a make it or break it moment in the campaign. "It's an important event for Romney," said Coulter on The Kudlow Report.

But they all have confidence. "He absolutely can win," insisted Coulter.

Nate Silver, who tracks political polls at the New York Times' fivethirtyeight.com said this first debate may be Romney's best chance to turn the race around.

“The focus is the economy, which is Obama's weak spot, and historically first debates tend to benefit the challenger, adding 1 to 2 points to his poll numbers. If Romney gets that bounce, the race could conceivably tighten to an almost tie since on average Obama has just a 3.5 percentage point lead over Romney.”

Over the past several broadcasts CNBC’s Larry Kudlow has examined what Mitt Romney must do during this debate to turn the tide in his favor:

Increase Likability

Almost every pundit including Larry Kudlow believes likability is job one.

“In the end voters have to like the candidate they vote for,” explained Republican Strategist Roger Stone on The Kudlow Report. “Mitt Romney (appears as if he) has no empathy. He comes across as a man who doesn’t share voter’s hopes and desires.”

Romney must change that perception during the debate. “That is the challenge in these debates," added Jonathan Martin of Politico. "Romney needs to show that he can relate to people and show he can improve their lot."


Larry Kudlow is convinced that if Mitt Romney clearly outlines his plan to cut taxes, he’ll win voters who are currently on the fence.

“Mitt’s message is getting muddy – especially on the issue of taxes. He’s got to start talking to the middle class and say he will increase take-home pay. That's language people understand.”

For example, explained Kudlow, a married couple earning $143,000 whose tax rate under Romney drops from 25 to 20 percent will keep roughly $7,100 more in take-home pay. That’s good money.

Economic Growth

According to a new survey released by the Business Roundtable, Corporate America’s view of the economy is as bleak now as it was in 2009, when the economy was struggling to emerge from recession.

Campaigning as a savvy Wall Street businessman, Larry Kudlow believes this is an area where Mitt Romney can excel.

"The government is failing us as a whole,” charged Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris on The Kudlow Report. “This is self-inflicted uncertainty.”

“He’s got to get the message home – the US can’t go through another four years of this,” added Kudlow.


“Governor Romney has a substantial plan to help the middle class,” said Romney senior strategist Ed Gillespie on The Kudlow Report. “He has a plan to get people into jobs and that’s what America needs.”

Jobs creation is largely considered crucial for the recovery to maintain its foothold.

“Now is the time for details,” said Larry Kudlow. If Mitt Romney can drive home the points outlined above, Larry Kudlow thinks Romney may take a big step toward to the White House.

According to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, ahead of the debate, 49 percent of likely voters said they'd pull the lever for President Obama as compared to 46 percent who would vote for Romney.

Tune in:

"The Kudlow Report" airs weeknights at 7 p.m. ET.