The war of words … a debate that promises to be more full of hot air than an industrial blower

Debate I is tonight as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney try to quiver the jellies of public opinion.

Actually, both will be draining the reservoir of all their verbal virtuosity and sparring skills to connect with a small slice of undecided voters in 10 states.

Of course, it’s also a convenient (and cheap) forum to inspire their bases to turn out in November, lest they forget that the future of the Republic is squarely targeted in the crosshairs of destiny.

In general terms, both gentlemen will be trying to convince voters that he’s drop-your-popcorn good while the other guy is just a useless waste of pre-chewed pork gristle.

As for specifics, Romney likely will try to convince voters that Obama is to blame for present economic conditions and that things are getting worse.

Meanwhile, Obama likely will make the case that we’re headed in the right direction and that to change course now would endanger a fragile recovery.

While presidential campaigns are marathons and not sprints, it’s essential to get out of the blocks fast in a debate and start strong. If you’re not the hare, you just may wind up in turtle soup.

If one of the candidates is put on the defensive, he will find it difficult to counter punch while back on his heels. If that occurs, hopefully the guy has Vote for Me painted on his soles.