Forget John Kerry. President Obama needs to hire Samuel L. Jackson as his debate coach.
I mean, what has he got to lose?
Sure, Obama turned in an aggressive performance in last night’s debate. He called Republican Mitt Romney out on many of his lies, and showed up and showed out. Hopefully, that debate will turn the tide in his favor – especially since his meek showing on Oct. 3, most national polls of likely voters now have the race too close to call.
It’s mind-boggling as to how one debate put Obama in the position of possibly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, or how voters can be so short-sighted as to want to elect Romney – a man who was caught on video expressing his disdain for half the country, and who flipped positions more than a mortgage fraudster flips overvalued houses. But the one thing we don’t have to guess at is that Americans like to see their leaders looking strong and not weak.
That’s why I say Obama still should summon Sam.
First, they both need to sit down for a showing of “Pulp Fiction,” and “Jackie Brown.” Obama should especially take note of the hard stare that Jackson’s character, Jules Winnfield, affixes on the doomed boys who failed to deliver that package to his boss, Marcellus Wallace.
That’s the stare he needs to lay on Romney during the final debate.
And when Romney tries to shift his positions to pander to voters in the middle, Obama needs to summon up Jules again.
When Brett, one of the boys who died with an Uzi bullet in his gut and Jules’ Bible verse recitation in his ear, denied that he tried to mess over Marcellus, Jules said, “Yes, yes you did! You tried to (expletive) him…”
So if Romney, for example, tries to say he never promised to work to overturn Roe vs. Wade – Obama needs to say, “Yes, yes you did, Mitt! If elected, you’ll try to (expletive) all these women who, by a large margin, believe in the right to choose.”
In fact, anytime Romney tries to shift positions, Obama needs to come out with the “Yes, yes you did, Mitt! You did say, on ’60 Minutes,’ that emergency rooms were the places that provide poor people with health care.”
Of course, he shouldn’t use the expletive. Just the facts and the stare.
And if Romney tries to skirt the details of his tax plan again, Obama should go back into his Jules mode.
“What! What exactly will you eliminate in the tax code to reduce the deficit? Mortgage interest deductions? The health insurance premium deduction? The charitable deduction? And do you think that giving the Pentagon money it didn’t ask for won’t affect the deficit?”
“Details, MF (or in this case, Mitt)…do you speak them?!”
If he starts to talk about the security lapses and shootings at the embassy in Libya, and tries to use that to say that the entire United States is less secure under Obama – Obama should look into the camera, channel Jackson’s “Jackie Brown” character Ordell Robbie, and say: “He’s just trying to put a fright in yall’s asses (or in this case, you).
“I killed Osama bin Laden. If anybody’s less safe, it’s al Qaeda.”
Chances are it’s not in Obama’s nature to be as blunt as a mob hit man or gun runner, or, for that matter, any of the characters that Jackson tends to play. But as Tyrone Powers, a former FBI counterintelligence agent told me and members of the William Monroe Trotter Group of black columnists after the Sept. 11 attacks, Americans are very image-driven people.
They respond to what they see more than what the facts are – which is why it was so easy for the Bush administration to dupe the public into supporting the Iraq War when Saddam Hussein never attacked us.
And what more than 60 million people saw during that first debate was a black man who allowed himself to be talked down to by an older white man, and who seemed tired, timid and unprepared to defend his own accomplishments. Obama did a great job, though, of turning that around last night.
Regardless of what the verdict is on the second debate, I still say the president should give Sam a call – or find a way to summon his inner Sam – for the final one.
There’s too much at stake for him to not do that.
Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist who is based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her at tonyaajw@twitter. Or visit her webpage and blog, “Tonyaa’s Take,” at www.tonyaajweathersbee.com.