Rich Galen

But, let's don't get into an argument about the metrics. Let's look, instead, as the strategic advantage the GOP has gained over the past week.

We have said since the summer that the Obama campaign does not want this to be a referendum on the Administration's accomplishments. The Obama campaign wants this to be a comparison between two individuals: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

That's why the Obamas have spent over a half billion dollars - HALF BILLION DOLLARS - pounding Romney's character.

According to a NY Times chart (through July) Obama had spent about $503 million to Romney's $395 million.

Obama and his allies has outspent Romney (and his allies) by about $108 million dollars.

And yet, they are tied.

And Romney had to battle Gingrich, Perry, and Santorum into May of this year. Obama didn't have very many primary opponents.

If the Democrats are answering (or dodging) the "are you better off …?" question, then Romney is winning the messaging war.

Just as Republicans poked fun at Obama last week in Tampa ("We DID build that") Democrats will get their turn at bat stating today.

They will continue to try and prove to American voters that Obama might not have finished paying off the promises he made four years ago, but Mitt Romney is not qualified to be his replacement.

Thirty-two years ago the voting public was pretty sure Jimmy Carter was not up to the job, but they were not at all certain about an actor from California (oh-for-two for most Republicans) until that fateful debate.

In just one week the election turned on its head. That's what the Democrats need to avoid this week.

Because Americans are not better off …

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at