WASHINGTON – Voters decide who wins debates and last night was only the first, but President Obama could have closed it out, but instead he phoned it in and let Mitt Romney back into the race.
Mitt Romney prepared, came in ready, handled Obama respectfully, and from the start played the empathy card showing concern for voters, while President Obama looked down, with the top of his head what people saw most in the debate.
Mitt Romney did exactly what I suggested earlier on Wednesday. Leave his right-wing allegiance that allowed him to become the Republican nominee in the dust and gear up the Etch-a-Sketch to get the reboot he needed.
However, it was President Obama that handed Mitt Romney one of the most coveted policy gifts of the night.
“On Social Security, I suspect we have a similar position.” – Barack Obama
Ed Schultz exploded afterwards.
When David Plouffe came on MSNBC, Schultz cornered him on why President Obama never used the 47% line. Plouffe said “100%” of the people know all about that.
After the debate, Chris Matthews could only shout:
“What was he doing tonight? He went in there disarmed. …I think I can get through this thing and I don’t even have to look at the guy. Whereas Romney –I loved the split screen– staring at Obama, addressing him like the prey. He did it just– You gotta beat the champ and I’m gonna beat him. What was Romney doing? He was winning.” – Chris Matthews
There will be people who will blame Jim Lehrer. Twitter exploded with criticisms of Lehrer, a “silent Jim Lehrer” Twitter handle cropping up at the end. But this was a format Lehrer proposed that was crafted around the moderator not being in the debate. This was lost on just about everyone. Lehrer would serve up topics or questions and the candidates would manage the time.
And not even Mitt Romney firing Jim Lehrer and Big Bird could dent what he’d done.
Mitt Romney wants the presidency and last night he proved it. He stood toe to toe on the stage with the President and beat the champ.
last poll tweet, i swear: Who Did Debate Make You More Likely to Vote For? Romney 35%, Obama 18%, Neither 47%
— Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) October 4, 2012
The final number on CNN was 67% thought Romney won.
“No presidential candidate has topped 60% in that question since it was first asked in 1984,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
Taylor Marsh, a veteran political analyst and former Huffington Post contributor, is the author of The Hillary Effect, available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Her new-media blog www.taylormarsh.com covers national politics, women and power.