The Debates: Barack Obama’s Rocky Mountain Low

Shouldn’t they touch gloves instead of shake hands?

Well, that was 90 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.  Neither will Barack Obama.

The only explanation I have for President Obama’s debate performance tonight is either he wants to build up Mitt Romney’s confidence or he wants to inject some suspense into the race.

Either way, it was the worst speaking performance I’ve ever heard Obama give.  He was lethargic, lifeless and he looked tired.   Maybe he wanted to hurry up and get out of there so he could celebrate his 20th wedding anniversary with Michelle.   That’s all I can figure out as a reason he looked so disengaged.

Obama being bad doesn’t mean Romney looked good.   All he had to do was to look like he belonged on the same stage as the president and not come off as overly robotic.   Romney won the debate thanks to Obama’s listlessness  and a moderator that went from respected journalist to tired old man right before a national audience’s eyes.   If you wanted to compare Jim Lehrer‘s god-awful moderating skills with Clint Eastwood’s meltdown call it Trouble With the Debates. 
Big Bird won.  Lehrer lost.  He looked like a NFL replacement ref.  Romney bullied him and then Obama joined in for the fun.  What a total botch as a moderator!   Lehrer said he picked the questions.  He needs his ass kicked.  Nothing about women’s reproductive rights.  Nothing about domestic spying.  Nothing about the DREAM act or illegal immigration.  Nothing about poverty or unemployment. Nothing about the environment.   Romney punked Lehrer constantly.  That’s something he learned from Newt Gingrich.   Grab ’em by the throat and let ’em know who’s running the show.

Any Obama supporter that tells you he “won” the debate is delusional or lying through their teeth.  The president looked tired.  He seemed listless, lifeless and totally disengaged.   He was boring, his answers rambled and he spent far too much time looking down at his notes.

Mitt puts a hit out on Big Bird

Obama looked like he couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there as if he rather be spending his time celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary with Michelle.  Can’t say I blame him for that, but holy guacamole! did he lay an egg tonight.

Easily the worst performance Obama has ever had in a debate.  He looked like a man who hadn’t been onstage in four years.  He was bad, bad, bad.  Obama enjoys the competition of basketball and doesn’t want the other players to take it easy on him.  He knows he stunk up the gym by clanking jumpers, laying up bricks, dribbling the ball off his foot and his shoelaces were untied.

It was not your finest hour, Mr. President.  Not by a damn sight.

Romney “won” not because he said or did anything remarkable.  He didn’t.  All he had to do was not eat his foot or set his tie afire after the lousy last few weeks he’s had.   Did he “reset” the race in the way Chris Christie said he would?  Ehhhhhh....

Romney had a good night because Obama had a bad one.   How in the hell does Obama not include a “47 percent” reference in a domestic policy debate?   That was a missed opportunity that Obama probably won’t get a second chance at.   Take the shot, Mr. President!

To go back to the NFL reference, Obama played cautious and safe. He had a lead and Romney needed a touchdown to win and a field goal to tie.  Obama wasn’t going to give up a long bomb score, but was content to let Romney throw underneath the coverage as time ticked away.

I don’t know where those “zingers” were Romney was supposed to be zapping Obama with.  He was a little flat and very professorial, but the president was even more so.   Romney pivoted back to the middle and acted as if that’s where he has been the entire time. If Obama was for more teachers, so was Romney. At least he was in October. In June, Romney said “he (Obama) wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

Now if I know Mitt was talking out the side of his neck and I didn’t go to Hah-vard, why doesn’t Barack Obama know that–and throw that bald-faced lie right back into Romney’s face?

I’ll tell you why. Because Obama practiced for this debate with John Kerry standing in for Romney. Is there a more wooden speaker than JOHN KERRY???  🙄

I don’t want to hear what Obama agrees with Romney about. If I want to know what he believes I’d vote for him, Obama needs to debate with Bill Clinton. Clinton loved a good fight. Obama hates to get in a fight.

If Obama had come out with the idea of knocking the snot out of Romney he could have ended the election tonight. But he didn’t do it and now he’s probably going to wake up tomorrow to a race that will be a statistical dead heat. And he will have no one but himself to blame.

I heard one pundit say he determined who won the debate by who showed they wanted it more. Romney wanted it more than Obama.

Romney kicked a field goal.  Not to win, but a tie was good enough for him to declare victory.  One lousy performance does not lose a presidential race.  Obama is still in the electoral vote driver’s seat, but the popular vote is not yet quite buckled in yet.   By trying to appear oh-so-presidential, Obama projected how seriously he takes the job.   Romney was more geared up for the fight to take his job.

I cautioned against overconfidence for a reason. The debates won’t change all that many minds, but they can fire up or turn off a candidate’s base.  Obama gave his nothing to fist bump about while Romney stopped the wheels from falling off his bandwagon.  Obama hasn’t won this thing yet and Romney hasn’t lost it.  The polls and the pundits are having their say, but what matters most is the voters’ final say.

Don’t book that January trip to Washington for Obama’s second inauguration.  Not just yet anyway.

4 thoughts on “The Debates: Barack Obama’s Rocky Mountain Low

  1. I’d have to agree. The president looked peeved most of the time while Romney came across as confident, and I’m the last person to have something positive to say about Rmoney. He made no major mistakes, except when he talked about de-funding PBS, every intelligent person in the country felt a sharp pain right in the temple. (Let’s make America dumber! And how much money does the government contribute to public television anyway? I’m guessing not much. Certainly not enough to make a difference in the deficit.)

    It felt like a nonevent, and Jim Lehrer let them run the show. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of bump Mittens gets out of this.


  2. Jeff. I had a feeling things would be this way. I don’t know why but I did. I did not feel the President would win this debate. I thought Romney would come out swinging and lying. He was desparate and I thought he would say and do what he needed to do to change and decieve. Here is what I feel. First of all I think so far the Obama Campaign has been masterful. I think David Pluoffe (spell check) is Obama’s secret weapon. He knows the delegate and electoral path better than anybody. It is not important who makes the first impression it is the person who makes the last. Obama is well positioned to make a strong last impression. He needed to see how the Repubs were going to come after him. He now knows what he has to defend. Romney has made some very dubious claims, flip floped and told some lies. Obama has left Bain, tax returns, the 47% and a lot of other things to throw at Romney. The one thing that I observe is that the conservative way is like shock and awe, flex your muscles, overwhelm fight by your rules. Then a funny thing happens. The enemy like Hannibal draws you into an open arch closes it and all of a sudden you are surrounded. In Iraq it was shock and awe Mission accomplished Then guess what? The enemy fought back under their rules. And for all intense and purposes they won in Iraq. When Isreal fought Hesballah (Spell Check) Israel the bully got their clock cleaned. The one thing that conservatives don’t have is patience. Lets see how this plays out. Obama may have been off his game or he may have been playing possum We will see… Thanks Jeff I admire your work!


  3. Oh how I hope Obama was playing possum, though I’ve never seen him as much of an actor. The Romney last night was the one I thought well of before he started running for president. Last night’s performance by the president had me squirming in my seat, next to my Romney-raved (former, first-term Obama voting) spouse. It was refreshing to see what may be the real Mitt again, but depressing to see what looked like a flat learning curve on Obama’s part. I think I’m still voting to give the president four more years, but I have to admit I’m shaken by last night’s performance. Jeff, great blog take.


  4. Jeff, I agree wholeheartedly with you. There is no way to tweak the president’s performance, sadly, not even a little bit. You have a stronger stomach than I. I turned off the TV after watching for one very long, painful hour. I don’t know what the game plan was or even if there was one but this debate, if you can call it that (Lehrer seems asleep at the post), was not the president’s finest hour.

    I’m not very optimistic about undecided voters. For some of these voters, this will be the one and only debate they will watch. I hope not but considering who we’ve had in the White House over the past years, I’m doubtful of some voters doing their own homework. I pray the president does better in the second and third debates and that he doesn’t use Kerry as his coach.

    Maybe the president should consult with Shannon O’Brien as his next coach. O’Brien ran against Romney for governor in 2002. Below is O’Brien’s take on her experience and what President Obama needs to do to win a debate with Romney. After tonight’s disaster, I’d say she’s right on the mark.


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