Obama’s terrible debate

Andrew Sullivan did an unscientific poll of his readers. The overwhelming majority went into the debate planning to vote for Obama, believe Obama lost decisively, and still plan to vote for him. Meanwhile, fact checking stories in the media are putting Romney’s campaign in an awkward position (is he really going to balance the budget by killing Big Bird?). There is much fodder that commercials and surrogates can put to good use.

What only Obama can fix, however, is the impression he left of weakness, the emerging sense of him as a “spent force.” That is devastating. Of course Reagan looked senile in his first debate with Mondale and W lost all three of his debates with Kerry in 2004 as decisively as Obama lost his last night, and they were both re-elected.

But I’m not one to take comfort from comparisons with Bush and Reagan.

4 thoughts on “Obama’s terrible debate

  1. I wonder what the reactrion of people would be if they talked about the debate without the babble of the pundits? If they actually gave honest opinions.So much of this is colored by punditry. MSNBC pundits kept repeating that Obama is not used to being contradicated or questioned as president and that is his problem. How do they know that for a fact? This is all speculative nonsense. I hope he is more assertive in later debates but much of this is colored by useless punditry. And why did Lehrer let Romney jerk him around?

  2. I just don’t understand Democrats. I was listening to Romney during the debate pretend like the last year of his campaign didn’t happen, as if he didn’t choose an ideological Rand-bot as his VP, and as if he’s a moderate who wants to rescue the middle class and what not – and I’m thinking this is the guy that they just released a video of saying he doesn’t care about 47% of Americans, essentially, because they don’t have a lot of money. A fact that was not mentioned by the President.

  3. It has been suggested that Obama was suffering from altitude sickness, having arrived at the locale of the debate merely 4 hours before speaking. Anyone who has ever flown on an airplane and experienced drowsiness might be able to identify with the effect of rarified air on human physiology as a “spent force”.

  4. I empathize with Obama and whether it was altitude sickness or not, I too suspected that something was seriously wrong. I wondered during the debate if he wasn’t having a migraine or stomach cramps, or if he hadn’t just received a piece of awful news,

    Jim Lehrer, who I generally like, was a disaster too–as was Romney, who was as disingenuous as he was overbearing. Nobody looked good.

    But I can’t make excuses for the president. Not to put too fine a point on it, what freaks me out isn’t Romney’s supposed win (I watched him obliterate Rick Perry last fall–I knew how aggressive he could be) as the seemingly feckless way that Obama defaulted.

    As Obama himself said about Romney, if you can’t talk to an ally without insulting them, how are you going to handle yourself in a genuinely hostile situation? A president is supposed to be tough and a fighter. Seeing him cede so much ground without even being asked to(“Governor Romney and I basically agree about Social Security”) made me feel betrayed.

    If he rises to the occasion during the next two debates, I will of course forgive him. If he doesn’t, I’ll still vote against Romney, but with a sinking heart and very low expectations. If Obama can’t rouse himself to debate his opponent in front of 60,000,000 people, then why should we expect poor people to stand on line and brave harrassment in Ohio and Pennsylvania to cast their votes for him? And if by some miracle he does squeak by, how much can we really expect?

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