Deconstructing the Debate

The first Presidential debate of the season is complete and the deconstruction, babble, spin and analysis is in full swing.

It is fairly clear, even to Obama supporters, that Mitt Romney won the debate. He was just a junkyard dog, aggressively taking on the President. The President, in response, just appeared weary and bordered on looking like the old man trying to defend himself. He very clearly was not the energetic, engaged Obama of the 2008 election. No, the energy points have to go to Romney on this one.

In fairness, Romney’s team had done a good job of lowering expectations so that if he did perform well, people would be surprised. Let’s face it though, as I pointed out yesterday, Romney has been debating all year, through an aggressive primary season. The President appeared to be a little rusty.

Will it make a difference? I don’t personally believe that it will sway many voters. However, I do think it will energize the Romney crowd and encourage them to keep the faith when polls have been showing him slipping behind. For the Obama crowd, it was disappointing. They wanted to see their leader slam dunk the opponent and his lackluster performance will leave them shaking their heads.

I would also call this the free-form debate. It was almost as if Jim Lehrer were not present. He could not keep the candidates on schedule or even on topic. These two were clearly ready to go at it and they were talking mostly to each other and ignoring his questions and cues. Personally, I enjoyed it a bit more than the tightly-moderated debates.

During the debate, I was tuned into the Twitter sphere and watching the comments closely. Most agreed that Romney was dominating the debate and many commented on Lehrer’s moderation.

The humor of the night was when Romney told Lehrer that he would cut funding to PBS. This spawned an entire movement on Twitter and Facebook. Big Bird pages and “Save Sesame Street” pages began to immediately appear. The attack on PBS may become more of an issue the deflects from Romney’s victory. My advice to him: Don’t pick on Sesame Street.

Overall, this one goes to Romney. Remember, there are two more debates to go.

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