ABC Warns Debate Winner May Need to Excel in a ‘Cares About You Moment’

On Friday's World News on ABC, substitute anchor David Muir filed a report which warned that the winner of the first presidential candidate debate may have to take advantage of a "'cares about you' moment," as the report seemed more preoccupied with Mitt Romney as the candidate more likely to fail in such a moment.

Muir set up the report by harkening back to an audience question in 1992 that left then-candidate Bill Clinton giving an answer which suggested he could "connect with average problems" better than then-President George H.W. Bush.

After playing clips of Bush trying to give an answer that would satisfy the audience member, with Clinton then seeming to give an answer she seemed more impressed with, the report continued, with ABC News consultant Matthew Dowd singling out Romney as having to "show that he understands people's problems":

DAVID MUIR: Just like that debate in '92, this could again be all about which one of them can connect with average problems, right?

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS CONSULTANT: It becomes another "cares about you" moment, and Mitt Romney has to show that he understands people's problems in this economy.

Muir did manage to include President Obama as well as he followed up, and then raised one of the moments from the Romney campaign the media have obsessed over, concluding the report by showing a clip of Romney trying to make a $10,000 bet with Texas Governor Rick Perry during one of the GOP debates.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the report from the Friday, September 28, World News on ABC:

DAVID MUIR: Now to the race for President, and it's "Your Voice, Your Vote," and to the other countdown we're following tonight, just five days to go until that all important first debate. The President today spending several hours at the Democratic National Committee in Washington some of this time. A safe bet some of this time was debate prep. He'll practice more this weekend. Mitt Romney already holding mock debates. And look at this tonight. Do you remember this face, the question from this voter? It was a turning point in a debate from years ago. And when you hear her, you'll likely remember it. Tonight, how both campaigns are trying to avoid debate pitfalls.

After chasing each other through the same states, now they're preparing for the same stage. The President heads to Nevada for debate prep. Senator John Kerry playing Mitt Romney. Romney holding mock debates, Senator Rob Portman playing the President. And tonight, in an effort to lower expectations, each campaign lavishing praise on the other guy.

(...)

And as we've seen before, debates can hinge on one moment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 1992 DEBATE AUDIENCE MEMBER: How has the national debt personally affected each of your lives? And if it hasn't, how can you honestly find a cure for the economic problems of the common people if you have no experience in what's ailing them?

THEN-PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Well, I think the national debt affects everybody. Obviously, it has a lot to do with interest rates. It has-

CAROL SIMPSON, 1992 DEBATE MODERATOR: She's saying you personally.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: On a personal basis, how has it affected you?

SIMPSON: How has it affected you personally?

BUSH: Well, I'm sure it has. I love my grandchildren. I want to think that-

AUDIENCE MEMBER: How?

BUSH CLIP #1: I want to think they're going to be able to afford an education.

BUSH CLIP #2: If the question, if you're saying, maybe I won't get it wrong-

MUIR: Then-candidate Bill Clinton walking toward her.

THEN-CANDIDATE BILL CLINTON: You know people who've lost their jobs and lost their homes?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Well, yeah, uh-huh.

CLINTON CLIP #1: Well, I've been governor of a small state for 12 years. I'll tell you how it's affected me.

CLINTON CLIP #2: In my state, when people lose their jobs, there's a good chance I'll know them by their names. When a factory closes, I know the people who ran it.

MUIR: Just like that debate in '92, this could again be all about which one of them can connect with average problems, right?

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS CONSULTANT: It becomes another "cares about you" moment, and Mitt Romney has to show that he understands people's problems in this economy.

MUIR: And both the President and Mitt Romney trying to avoid their own chance pitfalls. The President against Hillary Clinton.

THEN-CANDIDATE HILLARY CLINTON FROM 2008 DEBATE: He's very likeable. I agree with that. I don't think I'm that bad.

THEN-CANDIDATE BARACK OBAMA: You're likeable enough, Hillary, no doubt about it.

MUIR: And there was Romney's bet.

THEN-CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY: Rick, I'll tell you what, 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?

THEN-CANDIDATE RICK PERRY: I'm not in the betting business.

ROMNEY: Oh, okay, okay.