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Obama chooses stand-in for Romney in debate rehearsals

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By Doug Powers  •  June 18, 2012 07:50 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

If Obama opens his first actual debate with Romney by instinctively asking him “why the long face,” this will help explain it.

From the Washington Post:

President Obama has tapped Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, to play Republican Mitt Romney in mock debate rehearsals, Obama campaign officials and the senator’s office confirmed Monday.

Kerry will help Obama prepare for among the most consequential events of his reelection campaign — the three fall debates against Romney. As the senior senator from Massachusetts, Kerry has studied Romney’s career and campaign style for nearly two decades and has first-hand knowledge of his record as governor.

Kerry has long been considered one of the Democratic Party’s most skilled debaters, and his performances in more than 25 debates in the 2004 race earned plaudits. Some credited his strong debates against President George W. Bush with tightening the race in the closing weeks of the 2004 campaign.

It is his perspective on Romney, though, that could be especially valuable for Obama. Kerry was a key surrogate on behalf of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) when he defeated Romney in 1994. And Kerry closely observed Romney’s successful 2002 gubernatorial campaign, where his performance in debates against Democrat Shannon O’Brien were believed to have helped him win.

In the mock debates, look for “Romney” to argue forcefully that a certain Senator from Massachusetts would make a terrific secretary of state.

Hopefully Thurston’s invaluable guidance this year will lead the Democrats to an election result similar to the one Kerry’s masterful debate expertise scored for them in 2004.

The obvious question is now being asked: Who will Romney choose to play the part of Obama for his debate practice? What’s Chris Matthews doing next week?

**Written by Doug Powers

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