I’ve known for a while that the media would stage a kabuki Romney comeback at some point, but I wasn’t sure how they would do it. Steve M. seems to have found the answer:
Mr. Romney’s team has concluded that debates are about creating moments and has equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practicing on aides since August.
His analysis of the likely media response is dead on:
I’m sure Fox and Drudge and the New York Post already have the list of zingers, and already have a plan, coordinated with the Romney campaign, to declare one of them the line of the evening, the one that embodied Romney’s decisive victory, with the backup choices rank-ordered in case Romney never manages to deliver Choice #1, or in case it falls flat.
That doesn’t worry me too much, because the right lives in its own reality; I’m a bit more worried about the mainstream press — if Romney competently delivers a zinger or two, Chuck Todd will no doubt replicate the restaurant scene from When Harry Met Sally, and he won’t be faking. People like him will declare Romney the victor as a result.
It probably won’t matter much, except to convince the Shelly Adelsons of the world to drop more money down the ol’ car elevator.