Insomuch as presidential debates have winners and losers, the challenger prevailed in Mitt vs. Barack I.
I kept waiting for Barack Obama to throw Mitt Romney's words about the 47 percent right back in Mitt's face. I kept waiting for the president to remind Romney that his own party-mates, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, ripped Mitt for being a "vulture capitalist" during his time at Bain Capital. I kept waiting for Obama to remind Romney of the many stances he changed in kowtowing to the far right, signs that Mitt isn't his own man but a puppet of the extreme GOP fringe.
A subdued Obama seemed content to defend his own record and take mostly small pokes at Romney's policies (or lack thereof). Incredibly, in a 90-minute debate about the U.S. economy, Bain never was mentioned. Romney sure was smart to not bring it up.
It was Romney who made the best points of the night, wondering why the president used so much political capital on Obamacare when jobs clearly should have been the main focus in the first two years in office. After Obama called for more teachers to be hired, it was Romney who very cleverly said that Obama could have hired 2 million more teachers with the money he used on green energy projects, many of which failed. Romney simply appeared sharper.
Immediately after the debate, I told my wife Roberta that it was as if it had been the first quarter of a football game and Obama wanted to save the best part of his game-plan for later.
After thinking about it a little more, though, Obama actually reminded me of a football coach who thought his lead was so safe that he decided to play prevent defense.
As most fans know, however, a coach who plays prevent defense often prevents his team from winning.
If I saw all of that, I'm guessing that most media mopes did. And that will be reflected in the polls, where Romney no doubt will get a bump, perhaps even a significant one.