Debate Analysis: Where Was Barack Obama?


If Mitt Romney gets a bump out of Wednesday night’s debate, it’ll be because President Obama let him sail through 90 minutes with no mention of General Motors, choice, the 47%, union rights, dumping patients in the emergency room, the phony $716 million cut in Medicare, privatizing Social Security, Paul Ryan’s budget, Bain — you name it.

PBS newsman Jim Lehrer was a huge disappointment, allowing Romney to control the time, take the final answer on every question and generally manage the debate. Of course, Obama himself bears responsibility, too, looking down and away, droning on, letting Romney get away with completely altering his own proposals and plans and simply lying about the facts about his proposal and plans (for example: Romney’s health plan would leave it to the states to make sure people with pre-existing conditions are covered by health insurance.)

“I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans,” Romney said with a straight face. “I will not, under any circumstances, raise taxes on middle-income families.” This is bullshit. But Obama’s antiseptic response was like putting a Band Aid on a gunshot wound.

Obama could have put the race away, demonstrating that Romney cares not a wit about the actual middle class.  Instead, Romney will have new life and even a chance to pull away in the national polls. Maybe not in the states — which is what actually matters — but in nationwide surveys that fuel media and money. Romney came to a knife fight with a shotgun; Obama was busy holding his man parts; Lehrer left his in the green room.

With help from Obama and Lehrer, Romney did the most important thing he had to do: He looked and sounded like a president. His one big mistake: He called for death to Big Bird.

Winner: Romney. Loser: Obama. Biggest loser: Jim Lehrer.

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There are 7 comments for this post

  1. avatar hclark says:

    Without sounding like a cynic, is not the real winner the media salesmen who now can count on more money being spent on ads. And all of it aimed at the miniscule percent of ‘undecideds’. I’d like to see what the cost per vote for this group of idiots is.

  2. avatar sqrjn says:

    When did Jim Lehrer get so f’ing old?

  3. avatar tonyseton says:

    The CalBuzz analysis of the debate was by far and away the best. Right to the point, clean, and terse. Thank you, gentlemen.
    And Jim Lehrer has always been grossly over-rated.

  4. avatar M.J. Grove says:

    Obama has to stop listening to his inner Jimmy Carter and start channeling L.B.J.

  5. avatar louiejc says:

    This debate was fuel to the fire of those that believe this system has become rigged.
    Romney hijacked the President’s record, claimed it for himself, the referee looked like he was waiting for someone to bring him a menu at Denny’s, and the guy responsible for killing bin Laden seemed powerless to deliver any counters to the wide open gaps in his opponent’s narrative.

  6. avatar chuckmcfadden says:

    Let’s take a look here.

    We are in a hugely polarized political era. Almost all voters are solidly dug in.

    Of those few voters who are as yet undecided, the majority are uninterested in politics, and consequently were much less likely to watch the Romney Romp.

    Boiling it down still further, the election hinges on nine swing states. That’s where the action is. The real question now is how many voters in those nine states were moved toward Romney. Answer: probably not all that many, or at least not enough to make a difference.

    So, Democrats, keep calm and carry on.

  7. avatar chrisfinnie says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Both Lehrer and the president got rolled. Romney outdid himself for changing his oft-stated and well-documented positions, and nobody challenged him.

    But, after about 20 minutes of the back-and-forth bickering–“That’s what your proposal says. No it isn’t. Yes it is. No it isn’t…”–I turned the sound off. The body language was instructive. Romney smirked like the preppy bully he is and stared the president down every time he talked. And the president had all the markers of the class punching bag, looking away every time he briefly looked at Romney, and looking down as Romney pummeled him–though he did flash that great smile of his a couple of times. But Obama didn’t come off as the commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful country. And Romney didn’t come off as anywhere near likeable, or honest.

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