In 2006 John Kerry trailed George Bush badly in the polls but he made the race quite close after demolishing Bush in the debates. A few more voting machines in urban areas of Ohio could have changed the outcome. In 2012 John Kerry gets to debate in a presidential contest again–this time playing Mitt Romney in Barrack Obama’s debate preparation. Kerry might have some valuable insight into how Romney might debate:
Kerry has long been considered one of the Democratic Party’s most skilled debaters, and his performances in more than 25 debates in the 2004 race earned plaudits. Some credited his strong debates against President George W. Bush with tightening the race in the closing weeks of the 2004 campaign.
It is his perspective on Romney, though, that could be especially valuable for Obama. Kerry was a key surrogate on behalf of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) when he defeated Romney in 1994. And Kerry closely observe Romney’s successful 2002 gubernatorial campaign, where his performance in debates against Democrat Shannon O’Brien were believed to have helped him win.
“There is no one that has more experience or understanding of the presidential debate process than John Kerry,” said David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist. “He’s an expert debater who has a fundamental mastery of a wide range of issues, including Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts. He’s the obvious choice.”
There’s an added irony here. In 2008 Republicans falsely called Kerry a flip-flopper when Kerry’s actual views did not match the views the Republicans attributed to him. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is a true flip-flopper, who will say anything at any time to attract votes.
Mitt Romney has spent much of his campaign outright lying about Barack Obama’s views and record. It will be interesting to see what happens during a debate when Obama is present to counter with his actual views and record.