After I finished watching a recording of the first Obama-Romney debate last night, I said to my wife (who saw it live at a friend's house), "I think Obama did fine."
Then I watched the MSNBC commentary.
Almost universally the liberal commentators, along with the conservative ones, said Obama's debate performance was a disaster. After listening to them for a while, I started to change my mind about how well he did.
But with the light of a new day, and further pondering of what went on during the debate, I'm back to feeling good about Obama.
Yes, he wasn't as aggressive, domineering, forceful, and energetic as Romney.
This seems to be the main reason people are saying that Obama lost the debate. Come on, though, are those qualities what matter most in choosing who to vote for as president? I'll agree that Romney won on style points, yet not on substance points.
It'll be interesting to see how the post-debate polls look.
I suspect, along with quite a few others, that Romney will get a two-point or so national bounce. However, it could be less, especially in the all-important swing states where seemingly more voters will have already made up their minds after an onslaught of campaign ads/appearances.
On satellite talk radio today I heard some chatter about how women may not have been as impressed with Romney's in-your-face attitude as men were. Personally, I thought Romney acted like a jerk quite a few times. Not at all presidential.
And then there's Romney's lying ways. Already the Obama campaign is using his two-facedness against him, just as Romney's Republican primary opponents did. I love this hard-hitting Obama TV ad, the first to be aired after the debate.
Great point at the end. If we can't trust Romney to be straightforward and honest as a presidential candidate, why would we trust him in the Oval Office?
Along the same line, a New York Times story analyzes Mitt Romney's sudden shift to moderation, after trying to look like a conservative through the primaries and up until now in the general election campaign.
He used the first presidential debate to speak out forcefully to its wide television audience against the idea of cutting taxes for the wealthy, noting that “high-income people are doing just fine in this economy.” Asked if there was too much government regulation, he answered, “regulation is essential.” And he praised the Massachusetts health care bill, calling it a “model for the nation.”
These are all things that President Obama says occasionally on the campaign trail. But in this case, the lines were uttered at the debate Wednesday night in Denver by his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.
Mr. Romney ran to the right in the Republican primaries in 2008 and this year, describing himself this winter as having been a “severely conservative” governor. This week, he pivoted to the center, as many political analysts had long expected him to do, seeking to appeal to more centrist general election voters. In doing so, Mr. Romney used striking new language to describe his policy proposals on taxes, education and health care in ways that may assuage independent voters — but which may be sowing confusion about how Mr. Romney would govern.
Obama and his highly experienced campaign staff are used to ups and downs. This first debate likely is going to turn out to be a minor bump in the road on the path to his re-election. Currently Five Thirty Eight has Obama with an 87.1% chance of winning on November 6. I bet a week from now Obama still will be over 80%.
Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight addressed the question that came to my mind after learning about the post-debate "who won?" polls. What relationship is there between winning a debate, and getting a bounce in subsequent head-to-head polls?
Answer: not much. There isn't a statistically significant relationship, just somewhat of a correlation.
Over all, the relationship between the winner of the instant-reaction poll and the change in head-to-head polls is positive, although not statistically significant.
But for what it’s worth, the historical data would project a gain of 2.2 percentage points for Mr. Romney in the head-to-head polls by this time next week.
That assumes there really is a genuine "Mitt Romney" running for president. Here's a comment on the above-linked post that I liked:
My question was "who is this guy"? He looked like Mitt Romney, but he sounded like a moderate Democrat. He came out forcefully......for what? He promised no new taxes, or tax cuts, for anybody, but he wants to cut 20 percent off marginal rates. He'll reduce the deficit somehow. Regulation is good. He will protect those he thinks are lazy bums. He'll increase defense and won't cut anything but Big Bird.
This guy won? By promising pie in the sky for all? No sacrifices necessary? Who wouldn't want that? Unfortunately, we've tried this before in 2001. Didn't quite work out. Beware, America! Just don't worry your pretty little head is not a plan.
Karma karma karma chameleon!
Barack Obama feels there are at least two Romney's running around, because the one who showed up at the debate last night sure didn't resemble the one that's been acting very differently for months and months. Watching Obama's Thursday speech made me feel a lot better about his Wednesday debate performance.
Romney's lies gave the Obama campaign a lot to work with. Overall, Romney's attempt to do his etch-a-sketch thing could hurt his election chances more than it helped in the debate.