AFTERMATH – AT 8:07 A.M. ET: There's remarkable consistency in debate reaction among the pundits and presumed professionals.
Romney held his own, Obama maybe won on aggressiveness. A CNN poll showed a slight advantage for the president in the "who won" category, but not by much. Urgent Agenda reader (and professor) Will Stroock remarked, "Mitt Romney looked like a president. Barrack Obama looked like Barrack Obama." There I agree. Charles Krauthammer made a similar comment. Romney clearly aimed to be presidential, not to take the campaign bait. Obama at times got petty.
Michael Barone comments:
There was more consensus on foreign policy than many expected. Mitt Romney declined an invitation to attack Barack Obama on the statements he and administration spokesmen, like Press Secretary Jay Carney and Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and Obama himself made for two weeks after 9/11/12, that the assault that resulted in the murder of our Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi was a spontaneous response to an anti-Muslim video. Why did Romney whiff? I’m guessing that he calculated that Obama is already hurting on this issue and that it wouldn’t help him to get into a detailed fight.
Instead he painted a broader picture of disarray in the Middle East and the world. Disarray doesn’t work in favor of an incumbent president. Romney returned to this theme again and again. He decried “the rising tide of tumult and confusion. And attacking me is not an agenda.”
At the same time, Romney stressed again and again that he wanted peace and not war. “We can’t kill our way out of this problem.” Obama obviously wanted to depict him as a George W. Bush- and Dick Cheney-like neocon. Here I think Romney was aiming at winning over women voters—as he did on calling, in his first answer, for respect for women’s rights in the Muslim world. Polls have shown Romeny gaining since the Oct. 3 debate among women, both college- and non-college-educated, nationally and in key states.
The polling data suggests that Romney is now ahead and is likely to be elected. I think we saw two candidates who were thinking not only about the campaign but also about the transition period which will occur if Romney is elected and Obama is denied a second term.
October 23, 2012