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The Game Changes


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obamas_game_changesTown Hall:


Usually after a presidential debate, both sides spin the results. But after the first face-off between President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, Obama’s exasperated handlers made no such effort. How could they when most opinion polls revealed that two-thirds of viewers thought Obama lost?

Within minutes of the parting handshake, the liberal base went ballistic. Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, and Michael Moore all but accused Obama of embarrassing the progressive cause. The post-debate spin focused not on whether the president had been creamed by challenger Mitt Romney, but rather on how that had been possible.


For a while, there were excuses galore. Was the meltdown due to Denver’s high altitude? Perhaps the president was distracted over national-security issues. Had Obama taken a pre-debate sedative for tension? Surely the rapid-recall Romney must have sneaked in written talking points on his Kleenex.

A few days later, there were accusations from the Obama camp that Romney had been “untruthful” in the back-and-forth — a post-facto charge not leveled by the president in the middle of the debate, but only afterwards in his prepared campaign speeches.


Yet Obama was not that out of character in the debate — at least not in comparison with his past performances. Obama’s professorial detachment; his condescension; his long, meandering answers; his avoidance of direct questions; his occasional petulance; and his frequent verbal tics, stalls, and stutters were all pretty normal for him. Roll the tape of any prior debate, press conference, or question-and-answer session, and what you see is about the same as we saw the other night.

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