The first debate is over!
It was remarkable…
I was going to begin this article by saying Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama went eyeball to eyeball last night in Denver, but that wasn’t the case. It was a night of Romney focusing on Obama, looking directly into his eyes, while Obama’s eyes were oft-times focused… downward… as if he was willing the lectern to morph into his teleprompter. And, in my opinion, as if he knew Romney was on to him. The Boston Herald headline above encapsulates the evening.
Romney seemed to relish the opportunity to speak to Americans without the filter of the nefarious news media. He was the man we know and admire - very well-prepared, precise, focused, in control, filled with conviction and compassion, showed humor, aggressive while affable, and was completely at ease.
Obama was flat, subdued, distracted, passive, at times churlish and bewildered that his royal-highness-stature-and-personality wasn’t cutting the mustard. At one point Obama asked moderator Jim Lehrer to move off a topic (a first!).
From the get-go, Obama attempted to set the campaign narrative as not what has happened in the last four years, but what will happen if he’s given four MORE years. He couldn’t be standing on shakier, flakier ground.
Some Obama proponents today are claiming moderator Jim Lehrer was weak or favored Romney. Not so. Obama was given four more minutes of speaking time - over Romney. The Governor delivered far more substance in his allotted time than Obama with his extra OVERtime. And, Lehrer appeared at times to attempt to coach Obama via his questions, trying to prompt him to give a more cogent response.
Clash of the titans? The only titan present in this race is Mitt Romney.
I’m delighted at what is being said about the Duel in Denver (from Mitt Romney Press):
Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter: “And I Think That Mitt Romney, Yes, He Absolutely Wins The Preparation. And He Wins The Style Points.” (CNN’s “CNN Live,” 10/3/12)
ABC News’ Jake Tapper: “It Was Not A Strong Performance By [President Obama].” ABC’s JAKE TAPPER: “Well, I’ve covered President Obama for about six or seven years now and I’ve seen him inspire crowds of tens of thousands and then I also recall the summer of 2007 when he was listless and flat and uninspired and his campaign manager had to knock some sense in him and get him back in the game. Unfortunately for the Obama campaign that’s the Obama I saw on the stage tonight. It was not a strong performance by him.” (ABC, 10/3/12)
Bloomberg’s Joshua Green: “Dominating…” “On Wednesday night, Mitt Romney attempted a hostile takeover of the presidential campaign … dominating President Obama.” (Bloomberg, 10/3/12)
Politico’s Glenn Thrush: “How Tough A Night Was It For The Incumbent? He Even Muffed Some Of The Basics Of Debate 101…” “How tough a night was it for the incumbent? He even muffed some of the basics of Debate 101, struggling to find the right camera to address once or twice during the mostly civil 90-minute exchange.” (Politico, 10/3/12)Time’s Mark Halperin: “A Performance That Will Both Delight The Republican Base And Make Undecided Voters Take Note. Was The Dominant Figure On The Stage On Almost Every Exchange.” (Time , 10/3/12)
ABC News’ Russell Goldman: “Romney Came Out Swinging In The First Presidential Debate…” “Mitt Romney came out swinging in the first presidential debate, challenging President Obama over his health care reforms, treatment of the economy, taxes and funding for Sesame Street’s Big Bird.” (ABC News, 10/3/12)
BuzzFeed’s Michael Hastings: “For Weeks, President Obama’s Advisers Have Been Lowering Expectations … Maybe The Expectations Weren’t Low Enough.” “For weeks, President Obama’s advisers have been lowering expectations for the debate tonight, both privately and publicly forecasting that the Commander in Chief could deliver a dud. Maybe the expectations weren’t low enough.” (BuzzFeed, 10/3/12)
Time’s Joe Klein: “Mitt Romney Won This Debate. Barack Obama Lost It. I Mean, He Got His Butt Kicked.” “Well, I’m with all the other talking heads: Mitt Romney won this debate. Barack Obama lost it. I mean, he got his butt kicked. It was, in fact, one of the most inept performances I’ve ever seen by a sitting President.” (Time , 10/3/12)
Bloomberg’s Ramesh Ponnuru: “Romney Made The Most Focused Appeal To Middle-Class Voters On The Basis Of How His Agenda Would Help Them…” “Romney made the most focused appeal to middle-class voters on the basis of how his agenda would help them — on energy, on health care, on jobs — that he ever has.” (Bloomberg, 10/4/12)
McClatchy’s Richard Dunham: “The Republican Nominee Appeared Relaxed, In Command Of Facts And Persistently On The Offensive…” “Appearing on stage alongside the incumbent Democrat for the first time, the Republican nominee appeared relaxed, in command of facts and persistently on the offensive during the 90-minute encounter at the University of Denver. Obama, who has not debated in four years, looked rusty and found himself responding to the policy agenda set by Romney.” (McClatchy Newspapers, 10/3/12)
Philadelphia Inquirer’s Kevin Riordan: “Mitt Romney Outran The Incumbent … And Ran Away With The First Debate Of The Presidential Campaign Wednesday.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/3/12)
The Hill’s Erik Wasson: “GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Was Able To Put President Obama On The Defensive On The Deficit In The First Presidential Debate.” (The Hill, 10/3/12)
NBC’s Betsy Fischer Martin: “Bottom Line: Obama Is Simply Not Accustomed To Being Challenged & Answering Questions For A Prolonged Period. In 2008, He Was.” (Twitter Feed, 10/3/12)
Newsweek’s David Frum: “Romney Consistently Looks At Obama When Obama Speaks. Obama Looks Down When Romney Speaks. Not Alpha Dog Behavior.” (Twitter Feed, 10/3/12)
CNN’s Erin Burnett: “Undecided Dial Test Raw #s Show: #Romney Won The ‘Big Moments’ 7 Comments Scored Over 70. #Obama Had 4.” (Twitter Feed, 10/3/12)
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “I Don’t Know What [President Obama] Was Doing Out There…” MATTHEWS: “I don’t know what [President Obama] was doing out there, he had his head down, he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it.” (MSNBC, 10/3/12)
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz: “I Think The President Created A Big Problem … I Don’t Think He Explained Himself Very Well On The Economy.” “I think the president created a big problem for him tonight, for himself. I don’t think he explained himself very well on the economy. I thought he was off his game. I was absolutely stunned tonight. Rachel, you just mentioned about time, the president needs to get in and fight for that time. There’s people that expect him to fight for that time.” (MSNBC’s “Presidential Debate 2012,” 10/3/12)
Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson: Mitt Romney “Came To Fight.” “Overall, Romney looked like a man who’d gone to every class, pulled all-nighters, done work for extra credit and came prepared to ace the exam. He did it without sweating and by ignoring the proctor. He came to fight.” (Bloomberg, 10/4/12)
The Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen: “The Drubbing Romney Just Delivered To President Obama … This Whole Race Has Indeed Been Turned Upside Down.” “In the wake of the drubbing Romney just delivered to President Obama, I can’t think a better way to describe tonight’s contest. Christie was right. This whole race has indeed been turned upside down.” (The Washington Post, 10/3/12)
CNN: “CNN Poll: Romney Wins Debate By Big Margin” (CNN, 10/3/12)
Even though panicked Team Obama and Obama himself today are hissing their usual nasty stuff - that Romney lied throughout the debate last night - Romney spoke the truth. And, they couldn’t stop him. Underneath their bravado, they’re panicked and livid. They can’t stand having their carefully constructed Obama facade ripped off.
As far as the debate went, I agree with Pat Buchanan. He said our man, Mitt, could not have delivered a better debate.
No time to rest, though. We must double-down on our outreach efforts for Romney/Ryan! It’s also important to donate here.
UPDATE - Laugh of the day: A sign of how embarrassingly desperate liberals are, Al Gore tried to blame Obama’s debate loss on Denver’s high altitude. Read here.