[Editor’s note: the following is a cross post that originally appeared on CNBC.com]:
Sure there's a solid month until Election Day, but for all intents and purposes, the race for the White House may be over tomorrow.
On Wednesday October 3rd, GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and incumbent President Barack Obama face one another in their first debate and it's widely believed that Mitt Romney must achieve some critical objectives if he hopes to pull ahead of President Obama in the polls.
"It’s a big day for Romney," remarked CNBC's Larry Kudlow, "absolutely no question there."
And though Romney is an accomplished politician and business leader, what he must achieve in a matter of hours may be the hardest things he’s ever had to do in his life.
"In the end voters have to like the candidate they vote for," explained Republican Strategist Roger Stone on The Kudlow Report. "Mitt Romney (appears as if he) has no empathy. He comes across as a man who doesn’t share voter’s hopes and desires."
That’s what Romney needs to change -- and he needs to do it fast.
As Jonathan Martin of Politico pointed out, the election isn’t a referendum against Barack Obama, so it needs to be "for" Mitt -- and currently too few people are "for" Mitt.
Polls show that, when "people are asked 'is Mitt somebody who cares for people like you,' many more people respond 'no' than answer 'yes,'" explained Politico’s Martin on The Kudlow Report.
"That is the challenge in these debates -– Romney needs to show that he can relate to people and show he can improve their lot."
"Mitt’s message is getting muddy," added Larry Kudlow.
According to Reuters, "the likability factor" will be measured closely after the debate. As it stands now, President Obama is considered more "likable" winning 52 percent with men and 51 percent among women.
Mitt Romney has to change that and he has to get the ball rolling in that direction on Wednesday.
- Romney Pulls Even With Obama in Florida: Poll
- Showdown in Colorado: Will Romney Turn Race Around?
- Romney Should Focus on Gridlock
- There’s Too Much Debt, Here’s What to Do: Kyle Bass
© 2012 CNBC, Inc., Lee Brodie. Front page photo courtesy the AP.