October 4, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Giving it only an hours worth of thought, I can’t remember a political debate that the winner was so obvious to both sides.
There is no doubt that Mitt Romney was the victor in debate No. 1. No one should confuse this as winning the election, perhaps not even with turning the tide of the election, but for today Mitt Romney edges slightly ahead and has a strong footing for entering the final month of campaigning.
Out of the gate, Romney was largely unrecognizable to those of us who have followed the 18 months of this campaign. He had high energy, provided answers that were easy to understand and never backed down from the president’s rebuttals. At the largest moment of the campaign so far, Romney somehow transformed into a man that was easy to picture as President of the United States.
President Obama looked happiest only after the debate had ended and he was speaking to the Romney family on stage. At many times, his discontent showed through low energy and a visible frustration with Romney in the waning minutes. The often cool and relaxed Obama came off as uninterested and weak.
The debate did not have a “there you go again” similar to Ronald Reagan against Jimmy Carter in 1980, but it did show the American people a sharp contrast in views on domestic issues and allowed both candidates to discuss elements of their ideas. At least for Debate 1, Romney presented those ideas in a clearer manner and with a higher energy level.
In the immediate, the news for the Obama campaign doesn’t get much better. A week from today, Vice President Joe Biden will take on Paul Ryan in a debate that Republicans have been eager for since the minute Paul Ryan was announced. The Democratic ticket will have to depend on the second and third Presidential debates to ensure themselves re-election.