• By Bill O'Reilly

    There is no question that this verbal shootout at Hofstra University on Long Island is vital for President Obama. If he has another shaky performance the odds are he will lose the election. Let me back that up with some polling.

    According to the Rasmussen daily tracking poll, among likely voters, Mitt Romney now leads the President by two points. Also Gallup daily tracking has Romney up by four points, the largest lead the Governor has had in that poll. And the swing states are also trending toward Governor Romney.

    In New Hampshire, now a tie in the Suffolk poll; in Iowa according to the ARG poll it's also a tie. And in Pennsylvania, Quinnipiac says President Obama leads by four but he was up by 12 about three weeks ago. So you can see that all over the U.S.A., Mitt Romney is surging while the President is having problems.

    Thus, thus, tonight's debate takes on a huge importance as does its town hall format. There will be about 13 questions asked by the regular folks who were selected by the Gallup agency. The moderator CNN correspondent Candy Crowley will then ask follow-up questions. The candidates will have about six minutes to address each situation.

    Questions can be anything but they have been vetted. Miss Crowley knows what the questions are. Apparently nobody else does, we hope that's the case anyway. President Obama will most likely try to convince voters that Mitt Romney is simply blowing smoke. That he has no problem-solving capability. That's what I expect Barack Obama to do tonight, simply turn every question into this quote, "So what's Governor Romney going to do? He hasn't told us."

    Like Joe Biden the President will try to diminish the Governor. Romney should be prepared for that. And he should begin unfolding some specific plans to deal with the economy, and the chaos overseas. If Romney does not get more precise this evening, he will likely lose the debate.

    But even if the Governor stalemates the President, he wins. Barack Obama has to dominate the town hall or we may be looking at a new president.

    And that's "The Memo."

    - You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com.