Some Debate Prep Advice for Obama, in the Spirit of 'Friday Night Lights'


The president, too, could learn from this favorite show of Romney's.


The role played by "Friday Night Lights" in Mitt Romney's first debate win has been well chronicled. The incomparable television show about life and love in a high-school-football-crazed Texas town has been credited with inspiring the Republican's strong performance. Indeed, Romney has been using the tagline from his favorite show -- "clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose" -- to close out recent speeches (and not without controversy).

But what if Barack Obama's campaign brain trust insisted that the president take a secret trip to Dillon, Texas to get advice from Coach Eric Taylor, his wife Tami, car-salesman-turned-bar-owner Buddy Garrity, and the rest of the "Friday Night Lights" characters before he takes on Romney in Round II?

Some possible excerpts from just such a prep session are imagined below. Readers are invited to suggest additional "FNL"-inspired advice for Obama in the comment section.

Tim Riggins: Fours! Good to see you. Can I get you a beer? Have one now and then have one -- or maybe six -- right before the debate. Don't even worry about the questions. Just finish all your answers with: "America forever!"

Matt Saracen's grandma Lorraine: Come closer, Mr. President, so I can get a better look at you. You sure have gone gray on top. You did such a good job the last time I saw you on TV, Billy. I think they said you were in Charlotte. That's you, Billy Clinton, isn't it? It seems like you've been president as long as Matty has been QB1 for the Dillon Panthers.

Tami Taylor: Barack, for years, it's been all about you and your career. The hope and change you offered. Raising money for you. Voting for you. But what about my career? How am I going to get equal pay if you don't stop being so "polite" and start fighting to keep your job so you can get the Paycheck Fairness Act passed? How is Julie going to avoid an invasive ultrasound if she faces a crisis pregnancy and you aren't around to veto anti-choice legislation? How is lil' Gracie going to grow up to play high school football if you aren't in office and able to enforce Title IX vigorously? I need you to stop being small, start saying 'y'all', and get back in the game -- not for you, but for us.

Buddy Garrity: You and Mitt need to quit fightin' and join together. That's right, I'm talking about a "super president." It'll be better than the Panthers-Lions "super team" I put together. I'm talking RomnObama! Now Barack, hold on. Don't get mad. Just hear me out on this. You'll only have to kiss half as many babies. You'll have two vice presidents. Heck, we can combine the families. You'll get sons. Mitt will get daughters. With all the money you guys save campaigning against each other, we can get a JumboTron TV screen for the East Lawn. Whenever one of you wants to make an announcement, we can switch off the football game and let you talk for a minute or so. No? Come on, Barry. Please?!

Brian "Smash" Williams: Let me tell you what The Smash thinks you need to do. Smash thinks you need to let me take your place. Trust me, Smash can run circles around this guy. Smash has never lost a nationally televised presidential debate and I ain't planning to start now.

Coach Eric Taylor: Mr. President, you need to listen to me. You can do this. Just remember: clear contrasts, full-throated, can't lose. Are you listening? Clear contrasts. Full-throated. Can't lose. Let me hear you say it: CLEAR CONTRASTS! FULL-THROATED!! CAN'T LOSE!!!

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Hampton Dellinger is a former state deputy attorney general for North Carolina, now in private practice. In 2008 he sought the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. He recently served as NBC's legal analyst for the John Edwards trial.

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