MSNBC debate is make or break for Fred Thompson

From the New York Post:

Actively campaigning for almost a month now, the “Law & Order” and “Die Hard 2” actor still looks good on paper, but has yet to ignite the passions of conservative Republicans still searching for a savior to slay Hillary the Inevitable.

In national polls, Thompson is in a solid second place. But the 5-point bounce he got after officially entering the race shows signs of evaporating.

And front-runner Rudy Giuliani hasn’t given up any yardage to Thompson.

As a fund-raiser, Thompson hasn’t been terrible – at least for a Republican – but he’s fallen far short of expectations.

The $8 million he raised in the third quarter is about the average for GOPers – behind Giuliani’s $11 million but just $3 million ahead of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, the Dennis Kucinich of the Republican Party.

Thompson also has failed to capture the choir vote – Christians crucial to the Republican primary and disenchanted with the other GOP candidates.

Indeed Thompson has had his challenges in entering this campaign. Thus the crux of the story that he needs to look very presidential at Tuesday’s debate:

And that’s just what he has to present next week on the national stage. After dodging previous Republican debates, Thompson will appear Tuesday for the first time with fellow GOPers in a debate in Dearborn, Mich.

Either he delivers an Oscar-worthy performance and puts to rest the jitters of so many who want to see him succeed or he flops and falls off the stage for good.

I think both Democrats and his fellow Republicans are gambling that he might slip-up and leave a sour taste in voter’s mouths.

Note that You Decide 2008 will be hosting a live debate chat during the debate replay on MSNBC at 9pm eastern time Tuesday 10/9. Look for an announcement after midnight tonight sometime concerning the chat and where you can access it.