President Obama surged to victory in 2008 riding the twin horses of "hope" and "change", in the process beating off Hillary Clinton and then The Maverick and his moose-hunting Veep candidate.
But right now the mantle of "change" candidate seems to have settled on the shoulders of the Gekko-like shape shifting Republican candidate.
Who would have figured?
Romney's business background is proving to be a valuable asset in year where the economy is in first gear:
A similar story developed during a focus group conducted by MSNBC after the debate Tuesday night. After every single one of MSNBC's far-left anchors declared Obama the winner by a mile, most of their own hand-picked focus group of undecided voters said they were now leaning toward Romney, mostly on economic grounds.
"I'm more for Mitt Romney just because I feel like he's gonna have more of a plan. He is a businessman. Businessmen can take care of it. He took care of Massachusetts, I think he can take care of us," said one female voter.
Another female voter who voted for Obama four years ago said: "I really like what Mitt Romney had to say about the economy, about what he is planning on doing in order to change things for us and how President Obama has not really gotten it done in the last four years." And a male voter said, "I think I'm going to have to vote for Romney, and that's primarily because of the economy. I think that Romney has a better plan and a better track record in what he's done for the economy."
That had to be a devastating exchange for the Obama campaign to watch. Not only did the panelists reject Obama's attacks on Romney's record as a businessman, they also seemed to accept it as one of his main qualifications. More importantly, Obama has completely lost his brand as the candidate of "change." If you are unhappy with the current state of the economy, and gridlock in Washington, Romney is "change" vote in this election.
What happened? Why did Obama lose the "change" battle?
Methinks it is because he has failed so far to present a tightly scripted, easily understood, forward looking election message offering action to change the state of the country.
If he loses – and it is still an ïf" at this stage – a big part of the reason will lie in the negative ad trap. Hundreds of millions spent to define Romney seemed lost in one incompetent debate.