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The subject of Wednesday’s presidential debate came up numerous times on Sunday morning’s political talk shows. A roster of guests across the network spread included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, GOP V.P. candidate Paul Ryan and White House adviser, David Plouffe. The sum total of their predictions for Wednesday gave viewers little to go on.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Christie suggested that the debate could be a game-changer: “Wednesday night, Mitt Romney’s going to be standing on the same stage as the president of the United States. And I am telling you… come Thursday morning, the entire narrative of this race is going to change.”
White House adviser Plouffe, also appearing on “Meet the Press,” predicted a strong performance from Romney. “Challengers tend to benefit from debates. We had expected all along that Governor Romney will have a good night. He’s prepared more than any candidate in history,” he said.
Meanwhile, Paul Ryan said pretty much the exact opposite of Christie’s point, telling “Fox News Sunday”, “I don’t think one event will make or break this campaign.”
Watch Plouffe’s debate expectations, via “Meet the Press,” NBC:
The question of GOP tax cut plans also arose on a number of shows. As Salon mentioned earlier today, Paul Ryan told “Fox News Sunday” that “it would take too long to go through the math” of the Romney campaign’s promised 20 percent tax cut. Christie followed a similar line on “Meet the Press,” defending Romney’s unclear tax and deficit plans. He told host David Gregory:
[Romney]‘s not an accountant. He’s not going to go line by line, as much as you’d like him to do, through the budget. But let’s hold the president to the same standard and criticize him as well. Because how’s he going to create a million new manufacturing jobs, David? He hasn’t told anybody the specifics of that. How’s he going to reduce $4 trillion in debt?
Watch master budgeteer, Paul Ryan, avoid math (via Think Progress):
Meanwhile, the Libyan embassy attack (and the changing White House narrative on its causes) got some attention on both ABC’s “This Week” and CNN’s “State of the Union.” Sen. John McCain, appearing on CNN, decried the Obama administration for originally blaming the attacks on an anti-Islam video clip, and then later blaming a terrorist plot. He said:
It was either willful ignorance or dismal intelligence to think that people come to spontaneous demonstrations with heavy weapons, mortars, and the attack goes on for hours.
McCain suggested that the White House avoided the terrorist narrative because, “it interferes with the depiction that the administration is trying to convey that Al Qaeda is on the wane, that everything’s fine in the Middle East.” The former presidential candidate also berated Obama for not being an American exceptionalist.
Meanwhile, on ABC’s “This Week,” David Plouffe defended his administration’s treatment of the Libya embassy attack. “We were going on what our intelligence agencies were saying at the moment,” he said.
Watch McCain’s comments below, via CNN:
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email email@example.com.More Natasha Lennard.