I did not see the slaughter that everyone thinks happened. I saw a confident knowledgeable Romney beat Obama on points. I saw a man who had come for the job interview better prepared than the incumbent candidate. I saw the slightly bored Obama fend off the attacks of Romney, but not really answer them well.
I saw a centrist Romney, who defended regulation as the basis and backstop to a market society. I saw a Romney who defended religious liberty, convincingly. I saw a Romney who had read the briefing books, and knew his government programs. He had to win, and did so.
People wonder why Obama was not more aggressive, why he did not remind everyone of Romney’s speech alluding to the 47% of the American voters who pay no tax or who receive from the state. Perhaps Romney could have reminded people of Obama’s speech in 2007 to an African American group:
The video of Mr. Obama’s 2007 remarks shows him saying complimentary things about Mr. Wright, questioning whether race was a reason that federal aid was slow to reach New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and speaking in a more distinctly African-American cadence than he normally uses in public addresses. By Wednesday morning, it had mushroomed into a lead story on the network news programs, a dominant theme of cable news coverage and a developing story online.
My theory about Obama’s reticence, or reluctance to go for the throat, is that Obama is vulnerable on a number of points that Romney might easily raise: O’s inability to bring forth his academic records at Columbia, which would show that he entered as a foreign student Barry Soetero, and his lack of production of law articles while editor of the Harvard Law Review, come to mind.
The next debate should prove the theory wrong or right. Last night’s debate was a gentlemanly affair, so different from the donnybrooks of Canadian leadership debates. The tone was reasonably elevated, and polite. It would be a pleasure to see more of the same style.