There is a tradition in campaigns that occurs a few weeks before Election Day: convincing the world that your candidate isn't very good at public speaking.
In campaign speak it's called "managing expectations." The tradition, before the presidential debates, is where campaign surrogates tell you the other guy rocks and their guy is the underdog.
That way if their candidate does well they can say they over-performed expectations and if they do poorly they can say they were supposed to stink.
But in this campaign tradition is different.
Well, Mitt Romney has spent the last two weeks basically imploding his campaign. For reference see any and all examples of statements he has made the last two weeks. Or, for fun, click here, here or here.
Why does this matter?
Because Romney's last chance to change the trajectory of his failing campaign hinges on one night: October 3rd - the date of the first presidential debate.
And let's be honest.
He won't just have to hold his own, or even win the debate to be successful. Romney will need to absolutely, unquestionably dominate the debate.
He will have to do so well that every pundit and every viewer says to themselves, "this guy may have an imploding campaign, talk trash about half of us at $50k fundraisers, know nothing about foreign policy and contradict himself in public statements, but after he smoked the debate he's our guy."
I'm saying he has to own it THAT much.
If you think about it, Romney has created a bit of a pickle for himself. After all, it wasn't supposed to be this way. A difficult economy, tough job market - sounds ripe for the savior businessman.
But he's done so much to create a narrative that his campaign is collapsing, he's out of touch and he stands for nothing that he's run out of options.
It's down Oct. 3rd. Either Romney unequivocally wins the first debate or his campaign is unequivocally over.