Is it wishful thinking to say last night’s debate didn’t much move the needle?


Some of my fellow liberals are more confident than I that Mitt Romney’s domination of the Denver debate — and President’s Obama’s listless performance — won’t have much effect on the polls.

Steve M. over at No More Mister Nice Blog, for example, says this:

“Romney is still a guy with a sleazy reputation. Obama is still a guy most non-wingnuts trust. So I don’t feel as bad today as I did last night.”

Steve cites VARIOUS FACTORS to support his contention, including this:

Obama had built up a bigger cushion than we thought before the debate: Gallup shows him up by 4 over Romney today (that’s averaged over the seven pre-debate days), while his (job-)approval rating (over the three pre-debate days) has leaped to 54 percent.

Meanwhile, Sam Wang, a numbers-cruncher at the Princeton Election Consortium, says THIS:

Seems like Romney did well. Landed some good punches, didn’t look like he was circling the drain. Obama was more natural and got off a few zingers…

It’s not enough to change the basic dynamics. Stalemate. I suspect the race will stay where it is now, maybe narrow by a point. Two points if we believe the pundit reactions. This is not enough for Romney.



  1. Neftali

    Will it move the needle? Probably a tiny bit as much people are projecting. What’s more important is that it plants the seed into the minds of voters that perhaps Romney really is a viable alternative.

    For 6 months Romney had to cater to the sometimes loony right wing base. He did what was necessary to win the nomination. Now, we’re seeing the real Romney. The moderate Romney. The Romney with experience working with the left and providing solutions.

    On the other side, we have a President giving the same failed rhetoric as 4 years ago. For example he’s continuing to attack oil company profits. He also got called out about his deception between private and public sector oil drilling. Combine that with news today with gas shortages in California and with gas more than double the cost of what it was under Bush. All of it is more than enough for voters to ponder the possibility that perhaps constantly berating the oil companies isn’t so good for the economy after all.

    Obama’s plan for the economy? Union payoffs and failed incentives. All nicely summarized into this Romney quote “you put $90 billion — like 50 years worth of breaks — into solar and wind, to — to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I — I had a friend who said, you don’t just pick the winners and losers; you pick the losers.”

    Last night’s debate was the 3rd most watched program this year. Voters are now curious about Romney. The liberal spin about what an evil person he is is no longer working. If the next two debates are similar we could very well have a Mormon President.

  2. Nef said: ” Now, we’re seeing the real Romney.”
    Yep, the lying flip-flopper, that’s what we are seeing.

    Then Nef said: “he’s continuing to attack oil company profits.”
    He wasn’t attacking oil company profits. He was attacking the subsidies we give to oil companies even though they make plenty of profit.

    Then this: ” with gas more than double the cost of what it was under Bush.”
    More BS from the right, continually trying to say that gas prices have gone through the roof under Obama. When GWB took office gas was about $2.00 a gallon. Crude oil was about $30 a barrel. In 2008 gas was almost $4.00 a gallon and crude was $149 a barrel. Then it fell off the cliff to $1.75 and $30 by the time Obama took office. That was due to the recession GWB put us in. It is now at $3.70 a gallon and $91 a barrel. None of this looks like “double the cost of what it was under Bush”.

    Then Nef said: “The liberal spin about what an evil person he is is no longer working.”
    Oh, really? Stay tuned!! It’s not liberal spin. The man is evil!! In fact you can include all of the Republican party in that statement.

  3. Tex deciding that all Republicans are evil firmly solidifies his position in the wing nut hall of fame.

    Congratulations on your induction! You’ve earned it.

  4. doc, in case you’re too stupid to know, the Republican Party I referred to is the GOP. I didn’t say all Republicans. But hey, if you want to include yourself, feel free. And I can’t be a wing-nut. That is reserved for those on the right, like yourself.

  5. The commemorative plaque is in the mail.


    (noun) A person appearing to be moderately to severely crazy, disoriented, majobling, see Majoble, jumbled and more often than not, a total mess. A wingnut is a constant source of entertainment to those surrounding it and can easily be found in any type of setting or venue. Example: grocery stores, sporting events, cross-walks, public transportation, school, work…you may even have one in your house.

    The wingnut that is suppose to be teaching our biology class is talking to the fire extinguisher and telling it to read ‘Paradise Lost’ for yesterday’s class.

  6. Here is an excellent commentary and observation about the reasons for Romney’s success in the debate and the inevitable response from the Democrats.


    Because Chicago understands that the immediate critique of Barack Obama’s debate performance understates the damage the president did to his campaign. Yes, he was detached. Yes, he was unprepared. Yet those problems can be rectified in future performances. The bigger concern for the campaign is that the president allowed his opponent to dismantle the core planks of its carefully constructed strategy.

    The Obama campaign didn’t settle on that approach until about July, but once it did, things clicked. Its first objective was to paint Mr. Romney as a disconnected millionaire, with a failed record and discredited ideas, who would bury an already distressed middle class. The second objective was to present Mr. Obama as the reasonable alternative, offering modest but pleasant promises.

    The strategy allowed the president to focus anxiety-ridden voters on the Romney bad that might come, and away from the Obama bad of the past four years. With the help of compliant media and a disengaged Mr. Romney, the approach was lulling America.

    That is, until Denver, when Mr. Romney exposed for 58 million TV viewers just how fragile the Obama campaign strategy always was. Like the small child in the Hans Christian Andersen tale, the Republican stood on the debate stage and declared: “But the Obama has no clothes!” And suddenly, that seemed obvious to everyone.

    By pummeling the president on the facts and the policy, Mr. Romney looked in control. By walking through the concepts of growth, of free-market health care, of tax reform, he inspired with ideas. By explaining how his specific policies will help average Americans, and by doing it with a sunny demeanor, he became that likeable candidate.


    Yet the painful reality is that the strategy Mr. Romney torpedoed on stage was the best Team Obama had. The president can’t run on his legislation; it isn’t liked. He can’t run on the economy; it’s terrible. Pivot to something sunny and big? Too late. And so the early indications from the Obama campaign are that it instead intends to go past Romney caricatures and straight to character assassination.

    By late Thursday morning, Obama adviser David Axelrod had his new talking points, which hinged, as he revealed in a conference call, on casting Mr. Romney as a liar and a flip-flopper who will say anything to get elected. The Republican’s debate performance, said Mr. Axelrod, was “devoid of honesty,” and full of “serial evasions and deceptions.”

    Mr. Obama—that great uniter—was up with the same theme at his first post-debate event, telling a crowd: “The man on stage last night does not want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney’s decisions and what he’s been saying for the last year.” And the Obama campaign went up with a new ad called “Trust,” accusing Mr. Romney of snowing the public on his tax plan.

    Those are the reactions of a weak campaign, though the Romney folks should not underestimate what desperation will do. Mr. Obama, coasting on Wednesday, chose not to mention the “47%” video or the “war on women” or Bain Capital. He will in the future. He’ll throw up new lines of attack on Mr. Romney’s tax plan and on Medicare reform. He’ll drill into one of the few topics that Mr. Romney left unexplained in Denver—say, health insurance for pre-existing conditions. Mr. Obama will redouble efforts to tie the governor to President Bush on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and on “tax cuts for the rich.”

    Overhanging all this will be the character argument, with the press no doubt more eager than ever to “fact check” every Romney-Ryan utterance. The Obama campaign is looking to turn Mr. Romney into John Kerry—who won the first debate in 2004 and still lost the election.

    Mr. Romney’s Denver performance is the (now proven) model for how to answer these coming attacks. Bold. Specific. Energetic. A smile, and a touch of humor. The bigger the Romney campaign is, the smaller (and clothes-free) Mr. Obama’s will seem.

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