Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Debates

The Debates—my thoughts

All three debates are over now and it couldn’t have gone better for Mitt Romney.  The first debate was the killer for Obama.  Obama looked detached and bored, while Romney looked engaged and competent.  It was this debate that destroyed Obama’s campaign strategy to portray Romney as an unacceptable alternative to Obama.  Romney didn’t scare anyone and in that debate Obama didn’t impress anyone.

In the second debate Obama came out hard trying to regain his stature.  He did better than the first debate, but this one was basically a tie.  It didn’t stop Romney’s momentum, because the first debate had taken the election from a choice to a referendum and Obama’s record is terrible.

Obama needed a knockout in this debate, he knew it and it showed.  He came out swinging and while he landed some blows he lost stature.  The death stare he used when Romney was talking was reminiscent of the first debate but rather than detached made him look nasty.  Romney on the other had looked like a happy warrior.  The President interrupted or tried to interrupt Romney every chance he got, but Romney didn’t let him.  In this debate Romney gained stature and many pundits said Obama looked like the challenger and Romney looked like the president.  In fact, Romney not only won the third debate he won the presidency that night.  Expect to see the poll numbers go more and more toward Romney.  It’s over and now even Obama knows it. 

Rasmussen Poll has Romney at 50%

The latest Rasmussen poll has Romney up 50-46.  The momentum is definitely in Romney’s favor and you can see from my posting above I think it will continue to go in Romney’s favor. 

Is Ohio slipping away from Obama?

The vice president is midway through a three-day tour of uber-battleground Ohio, and Obama’s team contends its best way of ensuring victory is a win there. The campaign says internal polling gives Obama a lead in the Midwestern battleground state, in large part because of the popularity of the president’s bailout of the auto industry.

But even if Obama loses Ohio, his campaign sees another pathway to the presidency by nailing New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado.

It was only three weeks ago the Democrats were saying Romney should pull out of Ohio.  How the worm has turned. 

What do the internal polls actually say?

If you watched the debate last night, the internal polling must say something vastly different from the national polls (Gallup may be right and Rasmussen is trending that way as well)

As unsavory as all of this is to swallow, it is nonetheless strong evidence that Romney's campaign realizes Mitt is fast pulling away from Obama. Obama's slash and burn techniques show me that his campaign understands the same thing. No one in either campaign really believes a 2008 turnout model is valid, and that is the primary methodology that is keeping Obama "ahead" or "tied" in certain polls. Gallup, which has showed a 6-7 point Romney lead for several days in a row now, is about what the other polls would show if they would simply use a reasonable party affiliation turnout model.

Mitt is 6-7 points ahead nationally and 2-5 in the swing states. He knows it. Obama knows it. They all showed the nation last night they know it. That is the big takeaway from the final debate.

Romney’s won – body language tells us so

This is an interesting take on what happened in the debates and well worth your reading.  

Words don't matter as much as body language when voters decide on the man they trust to lead the nation.  Despite all the policy debates, all the fact checking, all the pundits, we don't weigh and balance and research, not most of us.  We don't even use our forebrains.  We use the most primitive part of our brains, the part that can smell danger, that smells who is the alpha male, who is the omega, who is the rogue.  The nose knows who is the real leader.  We can smell a winner.
Mitt Romney passed the smell test for the third time last night, and Barack Obama failed. 

The Debate and how it will affect the race

But the stat of the night comes from the PPP poll: While independents by a 55–40 percent margin felt Obama won the debate, they became more likely to vote for Romney (47 more likely — 35 less likely) than Obama (32 more likely — 48 less likely).

It’s obviously too early to tell what impact tonight’s debate will have on the polls in the coming days, but the initial reaction feels very similar to the second debate: While Obama may have walked away a slight overall winner, Romney appears to be quietly scoring wins on the issues among independents. And come November 6, that’s the only thing that will matter.

Barone on the Debate

There was more consensus on foreign policy than many expected. Mitt Romney declined an invitation to attack Barack Obama on the statements he and administration spokesmen, like Press Secretary Jay Carney and Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and Obama himself made for two weeks after 9/11/12, that the assault that resulted in the murder of our Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi was a spontaneous response to an anti-Muslim video. Why did Romney whiff? I’m guessing that he calculated that Obama is already hurting on this issue and that it wouldn’t help him to get into a detailed fight on this issue.

Instead he painted a broader picture of disarray in the Middle East and the world. Disarray doesn’t work in favor of an incumbent president. Romney returned to this theme again and again. He decried “the rising tide of tumult and confusion. And attacking me is not an agenda.”


Podhoretz:  The Debate

If Mitt Romney wins the presidency two weeks from today, history will record that he sealed the deal last night. However the debate is scored by polls, and early indications are that they are giving the win to President Obama, the effect of the night wasn’t to knock Romney out of the box, or off his stride, or even to cause a stutter in his step.

Quite the opposite. The 90 minutes confirmed Romney’s ability to speak coherently, energetically and strongly on a range of foreign-policy issues. And because the debate veered so frequently from foreign policy, it allowed Romney to drive home his evidently effective criticism of the president’s handling of the economy and his failure to offer plans for the future.

The Debate:  A Romney Victory

Romney avoided being cornered, by Obama or Schieffer. Projects calmness and desire for peace. Obama comes off angry and offensive. The CNN tracking of "undecideds" in Florida relatively neutral toward both. That means Obama failed to paint Romney as dangerous, Romney succeeded in coming across as moderate. That makes this debate a victory for Romney, and a failure for Obama to change the game or impressions of Romney.

Krauthammer:  Romney won

Charles Krauthammer declared Mitt Romney the winner of tonight’s debate: Romney looked presidential, while Obama looked like he was “running for city council.” 

Debate tactics

For the first ten minutes, it appeared Mr. Romney had decided not to show up. The night began with Libya, where the administration has behaved indefensibly. But Mr. Romney hovered at 30,000 feet in a cloud of obscure rhetoric.

Mr. Obama counterpunched rat-a-tat from the opening bell. Mr. Obama was much firmer and scored better on any debater’s card. However, he was also too personal and unrelenting in his attacks at times when it was uncalled for.

Only gradually did it become clear that the Romney strategy was not to fight, but to woo. The difference between the genders in the choice of candidates has been striking, and Romney’s performance would lead no reasonable undecided voter, female or male, to worry he was too bellicose.

Neither side offered a serious foreign-policy agenda. Mr. Romney, who had much more to lose if he appeared too tough, did not lose ground in the overall presidential race. Mr. Obama did not gain ground. The debate did not make a difference; so on balance, Mr. Romney came out ahead.

More proof Obama’s in trouble

Well, it looks like Romney took my advice (no not literally). In boxing terms, Romney went for a clinch. While Obama constantly tried to push Romney off to start a real fight and heighten the contrast. In other words, Obama behaved like a challenger in trouble and Romney acted like a candidate with something to lose. That tells you something about the poll numbers both of these guys are looking at.

And while I obviously think Romney followed the right strategy, I have to say I wish he’d broken out of the clinch a couple times to land a some easy blows. It was often painful to watch Romney blur the difference between them. Still, I think he was smart not to take the bait.

Meanwhile, Obama looked a bit desperate at times, particularly when he was staring at Romney as if to force the former governor into spontaneous human combustion. 

Ultimately, I think this debate served Romney well, even if the flash polls say Obama won narrowly on points (the polls said the same after the second debate and Romney’s numbers continued to improve). If you went into this debate worried that Romney isn’t a safe presidential pick, you came out reassured

Politico’s take on the debate

Politico's John Harris: Obama diminished himself as a Commander-In-Chief.

Obama’s "L'tat, c'est moi" moment

During the debate, Obama threw in a lot of me’s, I’s etc. which is nothing unusual.  However, it jumped back to Louis XIV when he was talking and said, the nation….me in one response. 


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