Call it counter-intuitive, but Mitt Romney shouldn’t focus heavily on what many conservatives are calling President Barack Obama’s biggest foreign policy blunder during Monday night’s upcoming presidential debate, according to New York Times columnist David Brooks.
In his weekly appearance on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Brooks said the debate, which will be dedicated to the topic of foreign affairs, is an opportunity for Romney to talk about other issues than the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya.
“Don’t nitpick about Benghazi,” Brooks said. “Don’t have a little argument. Show some of your personality with some vision of America. Use foreign policy to expose your character, rather than getting lost in the weeds of some small foreign issue of the past. That would be my advice to both sides.”
Brooks said debates are more about personality than substance.
“People are not voting on your foreign policy,” he continued. “They’re voting on your personality, so you better expose that through a foreign policy vision.”
Brooks’ liberal counterpart, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, seemed to agree with Brooks. However, Dionne doubted Romney would resist going after the president on Libya.
“Obama already gave away in an Al Smith Dinner joke that he will mention the words ‘Osama bin Laden,’” Dionne said. “I think Romney will still not resist the chance to finally get his attack on Benghazi right. He’s had two goes at it, and it didn’t work. But I agree with David. I think, for most voters, it’s where are you going to go generally and who are you, because voters don’t expect lots of specificity on events they don’t know about in the future.”