Had to go in on the debate reaction, just a little bit.
Debates are subjective things. Reactions to them are highly personal, and there is no way to truly quantify the results, since even the instant polling afterward is skewed by the partisans who participate in them. Republicans watching a debate will more than likely say the Republican won, as will Democrats with their guy.
Still, supporters of President Obama would not be insane to believe that when it comes to the debates, and the media’s reaction to them, the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, is being graded on a curve.
How else to explain how the former Massachusetts governor could reverse his every policy position — essentially remaking himself for 90 minutes on the debate stage in Denver, bully an old man (moderator Jim Lehrer) and essentially be declared the new Aristotle by an adoring press corps. President Obama in the first debate, turned in a muted performance that didn’t move the crowd, but was by no means a disaster, yet in newspaper headlines across the country the following day, his political future was almost gleefully buried in an unmarked grave.
In the second debate at Hofstra University on Tuesday, the president turned in a much different performance. He woke up, and assertively challenged Romney’s truthfulness right out of the gate.
The president pummeled Gov. Romney’s “five-point plan” for the economy, saying it consisted of just one point: making sure the rich play by different rules than the rest of us. He exposed Romney’s crassly political and self-serving reaction to the tragic death of the U.S. ambassador in Libya, with the help of a fact-checking moderator, CNN’s Candy Crowley, and Romney’s own arrogance — he leaned into his insistence that the president failed to call the attack in Benghazi an act of terrorism, only to be shut down and proven wrong on live television.
That exchange will play on local television stations across the country, as will images of Romney’s almost brazen physicality with the president of the United States. And it may seem an odd juxtaposition with the pronouncements from media types that the debate results were a wash.
The former Massachusetts governor repeatedly stalked Obama across the stage, getting into his space and even admonishing Obama to wait his turn to speak. It was a breathtaking display of both personal animus (which was clearly mutual), and disrespect for the office of president.
At one point, Romney bizarrely demanded that the president explain what’s in his retirement account in order to deflect from his own money’s Cayman Islands hideaway. …
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