What To Look For In The First Presidential Debate

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Wednesday's presidential debate is seen as a minefield for both presidential candidates, with nuance ruling the day.

But WHNT News 19 Political Analyst Dr. Jess Brown breaks it down simply enough.  Each candidate has goals and potential pitfalls.

Dr. Brown says, "Romney must work on the likeability, the personality factor."  Brown adds, "I think he must bring some specificity to the economic message."

But that's where we see the first pitfall.

Brown thinks Romney must avoid talking about the economy in overly lofty terms, "If Romney keeps discussing economics in that sense, he reinforces the image that he's an equity fund manager.  He's a guy that knows how to shuffle big dollars around and close this plant and open another plant, but he's not a guy who understands the economic problems that I face at my level."

But what does Barack Obama need to accomplish?

According to Dr. Brown, "The president must both empathize with Americans and the current state of the economy, but at the same time, he must convince them, 'I've been doing some good things.'"

But Obama must also adhere to a certain decorum, "More so than Romney, he must go through the entire 90 minutes presidential.  He must at sometimes be above the fray."

That said, he needs to avoid ploys to get him to lose his cool.

Dr. Brown points out, "The Republicans are probably going to throw a lot of bait at him, and try to get him to become frankly unglued."

What's possibly more important, Dr. Brown says this debate may prove the most watched and most influential at the end of the race.