WASHINGTON--New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie--in an unusual move--on Sunday raised expectations for Mitt Romney in the Wednesday debate, claiming that Romney will do so well against President Barack Obama that he will be able to "restart" his lagging campaign.
Debate challenges: Obama, verbosity; Romney, making human connections. Read all about it in my pre-debate column HERE.
Christie, a top surrogate for Romney, was asked by David Gregory, host of NBC's "Meet the Press." "is the race over?"
Christie came back with a strong rejoinder, parked between two difficult places: say the unthinkable and agree that Romney may not catch up with Obama--ahead in battleground state polls--or come up with a reason why the contest is not over.
The first of three presidential debates is Wednesday night in Denver--and until Christie spoke on Meet the Press, the Romney and Obama teams were working the same storyline, that is, each one faces an uphill climb in Denver.
Christie said a good debate showing will swiftly turn things around for Romney. So is the race over?
Said Christie," Absolutely not. And that happened pretty quickly, right, David? I mean, you saw the change in those polls happen very quickly. And I'm here to tell you this morning, it can happen very quickly back the other way. And I think the beginning of that is Wednesday night when Governor Romney for the first time gets on the same stage with the president of the United States and people can make a direct comparison about them and their visions for the future. And Wednesday night's the restart of this campaign. And I think you're going to see those numbers start to move right back in the other direction. ... You're going to have tens of millions of people for the very first time, David, really tuning in and paying attention to this race. And also, for the first time, you're going to have them be able to make a direct, side-by-side comparison."