The first presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney produced a surprisingly lopsided victory for Romney that made President Obama look like the empty suit that most Americans have come to see him to be. (See the complete video of the debate below this post)
From beginning to end, Romney was confident, commanding, and concise. For his part, President Obama was a rambling mess who reiterated shallow DNC talking points that even he did not seem to believe anymore. And while Mitt Romney came across as eager to address the President, President Obama often seemed uncomfortable and even annoyed. Pained looks to cross the his face as he continuously looked down at the podium with a strained smile or uncomfortable and exaggerated smile on his face as Mitt Romney often schooled him on such things as the economy and the constitutional role of government in America.
To make matters worse, even though President Obama addressed the audience 4 minutes longer longer than Romney did, his long winded responses actually did little more than provide listeners with a meandering mess that never seemed to arrive at a valid point. It drove home the fact that in politics, when you’re explaining, you’re losing. In last night’s debate, President Obama was explaining a lot.
Viewers of the debate couldn’t help but feel that the President was running scared and even the most casual of political observers concluded that President Obama was caught off guard by Romney’s command of the issues and seemingly natural confident persona. With nearly universal unanimity, viewers of last night debate saw a President that should have studied harder. Of course the President will probably blame his poor debate performance on Bush, but when all was said and done, the first thought to strike me was that once again, Massachusetts Senator and 2004 Democrat presidential nominee John Kerry failed to accomplish another mission. As President Obama’s debate prep partner, Kerry who stood in to play Mitt Romney during debate practice with the President, obviously did not do a good enough job because President Obama was far from ready for this first encounter with Romney.
Probably the most dramatic result of last nights debate was the universal agreement on how each candidate fared. Republicans and Democrats alike agreed that Mitt Romney was the clear winner and by wide margin. Romney’s superior performance was even well lauded by the some of the left’s lowest of players.
Bill Maher spent the night in tears as he took to his iPhone to tweet the following gems;
Perhaps the gloomiest of gusses last though were the cast of clowns over at MNSBC. There the liberal minions were apoplectic and unable to contain their frustrations. The always lying and perpetually perplexed Chris Matthews was so distraught at the President’s inability to defend his failed liberal policies that it sparked within him a sense of anger that left him frothing at the mouth and offering a diatribe of the President that was at times violent. The most notable example of that sentiment came when Matthews claimed that the President needs to watch his show and the rest of the programs on MSNBC because they have “the knives coming out. ” Matthews added “We go after the people”.
Over at the liberal lala land called Current TV, Al Gore’s leftwing propaganda mill, Gore himself sat in the center of his hand picked puppets and socialist supporters and confirmed that this first matchup with Romney for President Obama was not his finest moment. But Gore defended the President by turning to a scapegoat that Gore has built his career on… the environment. According to Gore, the high altitude of Denver where the debate took place was responsible for throwing the president off.
As for the right, Romney exceeded expectations and provided his base with some much needed enthusiasm. Across the board, conservatives offered what was uncharacteristically high praise for Romney. Conservative Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol credited Romney with what he called the “Best Debate Performance By a GOP Presidential Candidate in More than Two Decades”. Over at the American Conservative, Scott Galupo offered the following eloquent assessment;
President Obama was listless, exhausted, halting. When he should have been vigorously twisting the knife, he would pause, search for words, and take 15 seconds to make a point that should have taken five seconds. Romney, by contrast, was gamely and ultraprepared; he never once seemed caught off guard. Romney came into this debate knowing he needed to alter the dynamic of the race. If he didn’t do it tonight, then it couldn’t be done.
What it All Means
While last night’s debate has provided Mitt Romney with at least an undeniable but possibly only temporary boost , with 30 days left in the election, it cannot be said that this first of three presidential debates changed the game for him or Obama. Most people who watched the debate walked away supporting the same candidate that they were supporting before they sat do to see the debate. Romney did however at least help himself among the small but significant undecided voters who will be critical to his winning or losing the election. Thanks to the way in which Romney handled himself, these voters did walk away without any reason to vote against Romney. If anything, they left the debate still willing to give Romney a chance to earn their vote. At the same time, another portion of that voting bloc saw a President who was unable to effectively defend his failed economic policies and who struggled to define what role government should play in our lives. Combine that with the confident, poised, energetic, and convincing way in which Romney defended his own policies and these voters left the debate leaning closer to finalizing their support for Romney than at any other point in this election.
Still, despite the overwhelming consensus describing the first debate as a big win for Mitt Romney, at the moment the victory simply keeps him in the game. It has provided the Romney campaign with a new narrative, one which gives his candidacy some much needed momentum. But politics is dynamic, not static and as such Romney will have to work quite hard to keep the momentum flowing in his direction. In addition to the need for a strong performance by his running mate Paul Ryan on October 11th in his debate against Vice President Blunder…I mean Biden, Romney will also have to repeat his strong performance not just one more time but twice more in the the two debates yet to come on October 16th and October 22nd. That will be a tall order, especially now that President Obama has learned that Mitt Romney is no pushover.
So Romney fans need to avoid the temptation to believe that last night was a game changer. When all is said and done and the benefit of hindsight allows us to analyze the entire election in retrospect, it could prove to be a so-called game changer but only if Romney can continue to outperform the President and not just in the debates.
As the remaining weeks of this campaign unfold, Romney must convince voters that he has a plan to turn our economy around and he must offer some details that demonstrates his vision includes much more than just the smoke and mirrors that President Obama’s 2008 “hope and change” campaign was based on. After last night’s night debate Romney certainly has the opportunity to do that.
By Sunday, the first real in-depth polls based upon this debate will make their way into the public domain. If those polls do not show at least some minimal change in Romney’s numbers in the right direction in critical states like Virginia, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Iowa and New Hampshire than we will know that Romney has a bigger mountain to climb than some already think. If the numbers do show a swing towards Romney, than the pressure will still be on him as an Obama inspired target on his back gets bigger than ever.
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