Thoughts on Last Night’s Presidential Debate

Mitt Romney performed better than I thought he was capable of performing. I completely underestimated his debate abilities.

Some quotes about Governor Romney’s performance:

Alexis Levinson on The Daily Caller:

But style, more than substance, led to Romney’s clear advantage. The former Massachusetts governor was aggressive, and he made his arguments without any sign of hesitation. He repeatedly asserted himself and even interrupted moderator Jim Lehrer occasionally to ensure that he could respond to the president’s remarks.

Erick Erickson on Red State:

The debate was so bad for Barack Obama I expect Eric Holder to send Jim Lehrer to GTMO. Barack Obama suddenly agrees with Republicans on defunding PBS. Without his precious TelePrompTer to feed his Gollumesque addiction to its illuminated, precious words, the President fell flat. Instead of John Kerry for a debate partner, the President should have just gone through airport security a few times or embraced BOHICA as a debate preparation strategy.

Put it to you this way, within ten minutes of the debate ending, Jessica Yellin of CNN spoke with Stephanie Cutter of the Obama campaign. Ms. Cutter conceded up front that Mitt Romney won on both debate preparation and debate style. It went downhill from there. She began parroting talking points about the debate she herself released to Obama surrogate at sun up yesterday morning. She had nothing new to add.

Michael Walsh on NRO:

No, what really mattered was that Mitt — until last night practically the epitome of the GOP establishment — rudely stripped Obama of his intellectual pretensions and made fools of the Praetorian Guard media that has both coddled and worshiped Obama since his (in retrospect) one and only great speech back in 2004. Last night was like the scene near the end of The Man Who Would Be King, when the villagers realize their soldier-of-fortune “god” is only human after his bride scratches him and he bleeds.

Victor Davis Hanson on NRO:

The problem for Obama is not that his performance was disastrous, but rather than it was his normal workmanlike coasting. But this time, and for the first time, he was pitted against a skilled debater who had both the better argument and the better intellectual artillery to deliver it. Disengaged cool could not cut it. “My/I/me/mine” first-person overload was of no value. “Make no mistake about it/Let me be perfectly clear” was of no use. “Bush did it” is passé. And the faux-patois of a Reverend Wright-like sermon had no place here. Obama was just Obama without the props.

The final irony? The real culprit for Obama’s disastrous night is not entirely Barack Obama, but rather the media training-wheels who assured Obama for years that he was riding on his own; when they went off last night, he immediately fell, and for some reason we are supposed to be surprised?

Rich Lowry on Poltico:

Romney had an answer for everything the president said, partly because the president relied on tired riffs from the campaign trail that don’t sound nearly as good without an adoring audience looking for any excuse to laugh or applaud. It’s hard to imagine a better point-by-point argument than Romney made last night, when he seemed less a former management consultant than a former litigator.

It’s not often a president of the United States has someone stand several yards away, look directly at him and contradict everything he says. It can’t be a pleasant experience. But all President Barack Obama could do last night was grimace and take it.

and a sampling from John Fund on how President Obama’s friends in the mainstream media turned on him:

Bill Maher, HBO: “Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter.”