They do this format every cycle. Going way back to Clinton, as far as I can recall, they've been doing this series of four debates: traditional moderated, VP-moderated, town hall, moderated again.
I think it would serve him very well. This kind of stuff isn't supposed
to be clear to everyone. That's the way it works. Have you heard of the "nobody likes Mondays" thing? It's code. It's been that way for centuries.
Does that make people sometimes see racial slurs that aren't there? Of course. But I think ss40's list of things Romney has said that are worse is pretty telling. Mittens is not above making cracks exploiting the inherent racism in our culture.