Adam White emails in response to this post:
Your post this morning (and the Politico article) calls to mind Bill Buckley's account of his debates with Lindsay and Beame in the 1965 New York mayoral campaign:
“My associates urged, particularly in my opening and closing statements, that, instead of tangling with Beame and Lindsay, I should speak over their heads (as they were continually doing over mine and each other's) directly to the voters, giving them reasons why they should vote the Conservative ticket. I tried to do that, as often as it occurred to me; but often it didn't occur to me, my ungovernable instinct being to fasten on a weakness in the opponent's reasoning and dive in, or on a weakness in my own, and apply sutures, on the (Platonic?) assumption that voters will be influenced by the residual condition of the argument. A good debater is not necessarily a good vote-getter: you can find a hole in your opponent's argument through which you could drive a coach and four ringing jingle bells all the way, and thrill at the crystallization of a truth wrung out from a bloody dialogue -- which, however, may warm only you and your muse, while the smiling paralogist has in the meantime made votes by the tens of thousands.”
Obviously, I know nothing about the ins and outs of debate strategy. But I know enough to follow William F. Buckley's advice whenever possible. Let's hope that Gov. Romney and his advisors do, too.