There’s a recurring theme in the debate advice for Romney: Try being funny

Both Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove have written columns this week on what they think Mitt Romney should do in the first debate with President Obama. Both of them threw in passing references to Romney using humor as a tool.

“Romney must … set the record straight in a presidential tone—firm, respectful, but not deferential. And a dash of humor is worth its weight in gold,” Rove wrote.

Gingrich said, “No president in my lifetime has been as vulnerable to humor as President Obama.”

Politico‘s Roger Simon has the same advice in a column today. It’s actually the basis for his entire column:

Jokes have power. When a politician makes a joke, he can make a point and also leave people with the impression that he is a regular guy and not some cardboard cutout.

Romney needs some jokes. And he needs them for his first presidential debate on Wednesday. …

All Romney needs is his own home run joke — one that clears the fences, warms the hearts of voters and narrows the polls.

Lines can be written for him. Nobody expects a presidential candidate to come up with his own bons mots.

…But, as I wrote yesterday, the news media in general hasn’t had much of a sense of humor this election. Good luck to Romney if he wants to play “make me laugh” next Wednesday.