BOCA RATON, FLA. — Hours before President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney square off in the third and final presidential debate, former George W. Bush press secretary and CNN contributor Ari Fleischer said he sees the race breaking Romney’s way.
“I think the potential for one candidate to have a larger win is Romney’s, it’s not President Obama’s,” Fleischer told The Daily Caller in the media area at Lynn University, the site of Monday night’s final presidential debate.
“I could see Romney winning by three or four points. If the president wins, he is going to win very narrowly, because I still think the polls are overestimating Democrats, and the intensity is on the Republican side. And — poll after poll after poll — when you dig into the internal numbers, the Republicans are enthusiastic, and the Democrat base is flat.”
Asked whether the current Gallup poll showing Romney with a six percentage point lead over Obama strikes him as realistic, Fleischer said he thinks the race is a bit closer at the moment, but that Romney clearly has the momentum.
“It doesn’t feel like it could be that big to me, but historically Gallup is quite good,” he said. “You know, I look back in time and when you do take the RealClearPolitics average, the average has been pretty accurate. And that makes it close right now, but I still think after the debates are over and you give it a little more to settle, this race is breaking Romney’s direction.”
The RealClearPolitics polling average currently shows the race as a virtual tie, with Romney registering 47.8 percent to President Obama’s 47.1 percent.
Fleischer said that Romney’s task at Monday night’s debate is to come across as a leader the American people could imagine as commander in chief.
“It would be overall to come across as thoughtful,” Fleischer said when asked what Romney should focus on tonight. “What Mitt Romney’s got to do is show the American people he has good judgment, that he is thoughtful, that he is judicious. People don’t want to entrust the nuclear bomb to somebody who they think is too hot. So he’s got to avoid the box the president is going to try to paint that he’s a war-monger. And that means: come across thoughtful.”
Asked whether Romney should embrace the foreign policy legacy of George W. Bush or distance himself from it, Fleischer said that every presidential candidate must show “that they are their own person.”
“Every candidate always has to prove that they are their own person,” he said. “That’s true on domestic issues, foreign policy issues, that’s what he’s got to do.”