Still, the Obama campaign's audacious strategy would not have worked as it has were it not for the unexpected blessing of the Romney 47% video. For the President, it must have been sort of a miracle, the kind of thing that very rarely happens during a presidential election, with its tightly scripted messaging. In its almost fictional forcefulness, the Romney video sometimes seems like something out of a Hollywood version of a presidential election, a sort of dues-ex machina that just doesn't happen in real life: one of the contenders being caught in a perfectly delivered speech that not only justifies but strengthens his opponent's narrative. Barack Obama is indeed a lucky man.
This is how we arrive at the presidential debates. Mitt Romney will have one last chance to overturn the devastating portrayal that the Obama campaign has so successfully instilled in people's minds—with Romney's own help. My friend the Democratic strategist was right in fearing the potency of the "weak leader" narrative. The question now is whether the Republican candidate still has time – and the voters' attention – to sell it.