Chris Wallace said it best Monday night quipping if he’d been on a desert island for four years and just popped in on the debate he would have thought Romney was the President protecting a lead and Obama was the challenger clearly behind in the race therefore aggressively trying to break through. And so it was at the final debate in Boca Raton, Florida throughout the final presidential debate.
Obama acted as if he knew he was behind in the race. Indeed, listening to the two men throughout the 90 minutes, it often sounded as if he was the challenger trying to chivvy the incumbent into a brawl rather than the man asking the country for four more years in office. His goal was to try and brand Romney as a reckless extremist. But try as he might, he failed to do so. Despite interruptions and attempts to turn even the points they agreed upon into disagreements, Obama wasn’t able to throw Romney off his game or embarrass him. By contrast, it was Romney that looked and sounded presidential, avoiding issues that work to the Democrats’ advantage like Afghanistan and refusing to be ruffled. In boxing terms, Romney went for a clinch while Obama constantly tried to push Romney off to start a real fight and heighten the contrast.
MSNBC Quibbling Sellout Joe Scarborough Says Obama Not Presidential
While many like myself believe Romney followed the right strategy, which later was revealed to be his own of staying above the petty fray, I have to say I wish he’d broken out of the clinch a couple times to land a some easy blows specifically going after Benghazi and the shifting story even NBC’s The Today Show teed up Monday morning. Still, I think Mitt was smart not to take the bait as it was obvious, by Obama advancing Romney on Libya twice he clearly had something well prepared to further distort and likely make Romney to be a “politicizer” of the attack and death of four Americans.
Obama simply overreached in his efforts to attack Romney. His attempt to score points with cheap shots about Romney’s investments in China fell flat as well as Barack’s patently false account of Mitt’s 2008 New York Times op/ed where Romney explicitly advised the auto industry to go into managed bankruptcy just as it did AFTER receiving MILLIONS in bailout will be another embarrassment for Obama. Even worse was Obama’s rejoinder to Romney’s criticisms about the decline in U.S. Naval strength when the commander in chief compared U.S. naval ships to the horses and bayonets the military “used to employ” clearly oblivious that our armed forces continue to use some 120,000 horses as well as our marines use some 90,000 bayonets. MSNBC loved this line but it made Obama look extremely petty and grossly uninformed of the military he commands.
Again that was certain to get a guffaw from liberals ignorant about the military but, as even some of the talking heads on CNN conceded after the debate, that foolish jape may have cost the president any chance of winning Virginia (home to the largest naval port in the world) in two weeks.
Even Chuck Todd Tuesday Morning Recognized How Flat Bayonets Fell
It is true that for the most part Romney seemed to avoid strong disagreements with the president or to merely give slightly different takes on the issues while remind the audience of his strength on the prime issue of the economy. But I doubt that many Republicans were disappointed with his behavior. His approach seemed rooted in a belief that what he needed to do in this debate was not so much score points at Obama’s expense but to seal the deal with the voters specifically in battleground states and demonstrate that he was ready to lead the country. The first debate turned the race around because Romney showed he wasn’t the evil, calloused and buffooned caricature that Chicago had painted him as being. Mitt Romney’s thoughtful, low-key approach in the third debate only reinforced that key point. Based on the Obama’s tone and reaction during the debate it appears Afghanistan isn’t the only point on which he and Romney agree, both seem to think, likely from inside campaign polling not privy to the media or the general public, that Romney is clearly ahead in the race to win the presidency November 6.