For the first time, during the presidential debate on October 3 tens of millions of Americans went beyond the sound bites and attack ads and saw Gov. Romney as a candidate and as a person. Until then, others defined Romney. At the debate, he defined himself. Passionate. Compassionate. Smart. Knowledgeable. A leader. Presidential.
So what would a Romney presidency look like?
As a Romney supporter, I already have a good idea of what to expect from a President Romney. But like many voters who either already support Romney or are considering Romney, I want to hear more specifics over the course of the presidential debates scheduled for this month.
Watch the second presidential debate LIVE on Fox News Channel and FoxNews.com beginning at 8:55 pm ET.
Specifically, here is what I want to hear from Romney:
1. How will Romney lead by example?
The former Massachusetts governor is known for being frugal in his everyday life. He does his own laundry and irons his own shirts. He should carry those habits into the White House. Specifically, during the debates he should tell Americans that as we prepare to sacrifice for the next generation, he will lead by example. This isn't a way to cut the deficit. Rather, it's to show that by cutting back on the perks of the presidency -- taxpayer funded vacations, unlimited travel options, big inaugural parties -- that a President Romney appreciates that we're all in this together
2. How will Romney end trillion-dollar deficits?
President Obama promised to cut the deficit in half in four years. But far from halving the deficit, Obama has more than doubled it.
Romney is a budget hawk and a voracious consumer of data. He has the training and expertise to explain to Americans how he will do what his predecessor could not.
During the next two debates, he should give concrete examples of what he would do to pull the country back from the fiscal cliff. He can pore over the inspector general reports from the numerous federal agencies that are always documenting waste and abuse. For example, in 2011 an inspector general's report suggested that one minor policy change would save Medicare over a billion dollars annually on the costs for just one drug. This is the type of concrete examples voters need to hear.
3. How will Romney keep his promises?
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney had his staff document every campaign promise so that voters could hold him to account. A President Romney should offer the same thing, only he should offer to put his campaign promises on the White House web site where they would be open, transparent, and there would be nowhere to hide. Romney should offer this during the debates, while also pointing out how the media has failed to hold Obama to account for his broken promises. Which could lead to the line: "I'll do the job the media hasn't done in four years."
4. Other than the deficit and the economy, what are Romney's top priorities and how will he tackle them?
Voters know that whoever is president next year, he will have to do something about the economy and spending. Those issues will be covered during the debates. But what else would top a Romney administration to-do list? For Obama, it was health care reform. This is an opportunity for Romney to really step outside the box and present a bold agenda to voters: is it immigration reform; Social Security/Medicare reform; or a foreign policy initiative?
5. Explain why an administration lasts four years, not eight.
Obama now argues that he needs another four years to complete his agenda and see results. This opens an opportunity for Romney to remind voters that if a president can't get results in four years, then he shouldn't be given another four years. Romney should make a deal with Americans during the debate: He should present a metric (GDP, employment, etc.) and promise that if he does not meet that metric, then he will not run for reelection. Romney wants to be president to fix things. And a president can fix things in four years.
Our nation faces serious challenges that our political leaders have ignored. Romney's biggest challenge as president will be convincing Americans that we all must share in sacrifice for the next generation. He needs to start persuading us on Tuesday night.
Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,000 consumer electronics companies. His latest book is "Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World's Most Successful Businesses," (William Morrow, January 2013). He is also author of the New York Times bestselling book, "The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream" Contact him on Twitter at @GaryShapiro.