President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will have plenty of ammunition to attack each other with when they hold their first debate tonight, this one on domestic policy. But when the two men who want to lead the world's most powerful nation take the stage for their 90-minute exchange at the University of Denver at 9, we urge that they also find time to lay out their visions of where they will take the country in the next four years.
For President Obama he needs to make the case for how he can get Washington moving again and why voters should not expect more of the same political gridlock they have witnessed the past four years. An admission that he shares some of the blame for the political stalemate could go a long way in reassuring voters that things might change.
Mr. Romney, on the other hand, could benefit by resurrecting a bit of the old, moderate Romney, the guy once elected in Massachusetts and who managed to reach compromises with a Democratic legislature. Those undecided voters he hopes to win will be more accepting of a Mr. Romney who hints on a willingness to budge on tax policy (i.e. increases for the wealthy), rather than the unreasonable Mr. Romney who, at a Republican primary debate, said he would not agree to a ratio of $1 in tax increases to get $10 in spending cuts.
Surprise us, someone.