QUOTE OF THE DAY – AT 9:15 A.M. ET: I think Peggy Noonan gets it right when she describes exactly how Obama has hurt himself in this campaign. That doesn't guarantee that he'll lose, but he has become our incredible shrinking president. From The Wall Street Journal:
Why was the first debate so toxic for the president? Because the one thing he couldn't do if he was going to win the election is let all the pent-up resentment toward him erupt. Americans had gotten used to him as The President. Whatever his policy choices, whatever general direction he seemed to put in place he was The President, a man who had gotten there through natural gifts and what all politicians need, good fortune.
What he couldn't do was present himself, when everyone was looking, as smaller than you thought. Petulant, put upon, above it all, full of himself. He couldn't afford to make himself look less impressive than the challenger in terms of command, grasp of facts, size.
But that's what he did.
And in some utterly new way the president was revealed, exposed. All the people whose job it is to surround and explain him, to act as his buffers and protectors—they weren't there. It was him on the stage, alone with a competitor. He didn't have a teleprompter, and so his failure seemed to underscore the cliché that the prompter is a kind of umbilical cord for him, something that provides nourishment, the thing he needs to sound good. He is not by any means a stupid man but he has become a boring one; he drones, he is predictable, it's never new. The teleprompter adds substance, or at least safety.
People saw for the first time an Obama they may have heard about on radio or in a newspaper but had never seen.
They didn't see some odd version of the president. They saw the president.
And they didn't like what they saw, and that would linger.
COMMENT: Well said. I believe that one reason for Obama's current struggling is that more and more people have decided they don't actually like him. He's like the jovial backslapper who suddenly loses his temper at a Christmas party, revealing his true self for all to see.
The question is, did Obama lose it in time for Romney to win it? Romney has been inching up in the national polls, going up millimeter by millimeter in many state polls. We'll know in 11 days.
October 26, 2012