A few posts to check out while we await the debate:
I think there’s virtually nothing O could do onstage tonight short of barfing on someone that’ll get the left to admit afterward that he did poorly. They desperately need him to have a good performance to remain viable, and thus the narrative will make it so tomorrow even if Obama doesn’t make it so tonight. His problem is that, even with that media cushion, it’s unlikely that Romney will falter, which is really what O needs to reverse the momentum here.
Like two roughnecks squared off on a playground, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney invaded each other’s personal space, raised their voices and fought. “It is just not true,” the president said. “It is true,” his rival replied. You could almost hear both men thinking: “Same to you and more of it.”
If you like to see presidential candidates fight for the job, if you want a passionate dialogue over big issues that matter, you got what you wanted Tuesday night. If it’s civility you seek, you’re sunk.
Who won? The cheap answer is Obama because his goal following a catastrophically sluggish first debate was so clear: Show some life. And, indeed, the president aggressively criticized Romney, labeling him a hypocrite and a liar who favors the rich at the expense of the middle class and poor.
But Romney got his licks in, too, wrapping a miserable economy around the incumbent’s neck. “The middle class is getting crushed by the policies of a president who does not understand what it takes to get the economy working again,” Romney said.
Bottom line: Call it a tie. Obama and Romney scored points while turning off independent voters with their point-scoring. Democratic and Republican partisans will find reason to celebrate the debate but it likely did nothing to reshape the closely fought race.