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Romney's Task in the Debates

We have seen worse conditions and should be doing better.

In November of the second year of Ronald Reagan's presidency, unemployment peaked at 10.8% in the wake of double digit inflation and interest rates. By the fall of 1984, the economy was growing at better than 6% and unemployment was down to 7.3%. It reached 5.4% by the time Reagan left office and adult participation was rising.

Obama accuses Romney of returning America to the failed policies of the past, but not all Republicans are like George Bush any more than all Democrats are like Jimmy Carter.

Romney proposes to make American's taxes less complex and fairer -- lower rates and fewer deductions, credits and special favors. He has tangible plans to cut dependence on foreign oil in half and bring back millions of manufacturing jobs from China. All things the president has promised but failed to accomplish.

Romney's Web site lays it all out, but he has not been particularly effective in TV ads and public appearances explaining how all that will create jobs and growth.

The Obama campaign exploits this by filling in the blanks with half truths and distortions to the point of making this pundit ask: Does Obama believe he is running against George Bush or Mitt Romney? Has the president even bothered to read his opponent's published platform?

In the debates, Romney must make his character and plans apparent -- tell voters more about his personal journey and how he will take the country forward.

The nation already knows too much about Obama's instincts and unkept promises.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Professor Peter Morici, of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in leading public policy and business journals, including the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy. Morici has lectured and offered executive programs at more than 100 institutions, including Columbia University, the Harvard Business School and Oxford University. His views are frequently featured on CNN, CBS, BBC, FOX, ABC, CNBC, NPR, NPB and national broadcast networks around the world.
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