The three most important issues I expect to come up during this debate are jobs, taxes, and the deficit. Here's a quick cheat sheet on each:
If I were a betting woman, I could wager you $10,000 that Romney will claim that he has a plan to create 12 million jobs over the next four years. If he does, it might sound like a bold promise, but it isn't -- independent economists project that we're going to create that many jobs anyway on the path that we're on. Those same economists have also studied Romney's proposed policies, and they agree that those policies would actually slow our recovery, and cost more than a million American jobs.
Romney has a $5 trillion tax plan that would give millionaires and billionaires huge tax cuts. But independent experts say the only way to pay for that sort of plan is to raise taxes on the middle class, increasing taxes for families with children by an average of $2,000. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan deny this, but when Ryan was asked this weekend to explain how it would work, he said he didn't have time to explain the math. We'll see if Mitt Romney finds some time in tonight's 90-minute debate to tell us specifically how he can avoid raising taxes on middle-class families and still pay for another $250,000 tax cut for multimillionaires.
Tonight, Mitt Romney will tell you that he's going to cut the deficit. But he won't tell you how he'll manage to do that while keeping his promises not to raise a penny in new revenue. Without raising revenue, Romney wants to pass a $5 trillion tax cut favoring millionaires and billionaires and add $2 trillion in new defense spending that military leaders didn't ask for. How does all that add up to cutting the deficit? It doesn't -- like President Clinton said, it's just simple arithmetic.