Well, I’m with all the other talking heads: Mitt Romney won this debate. Barack Obama lost it. I mean, he got his butt kicked. It was, in fact, one of the most inept performances I’ve ever seen by a sitting President. Romney — giving credit where it’s due — was calm, clear, convincing (even when he was totally full of it) and nearly human. The real mystery was Obama. Where on earth was he? Why was his debate strategy unilateral disarmament? Why did he never speak in plain English? “Mitt, you’re selling a fantasy. Bill Clinton proved it. He raised taxes on the wealthy and the economy boomed. George Bush lowered taxes drastically and the economy tanked. How’s your plan any different than Bush’s?” Actually, the President did say something like that, but it was well past most of America’s bedtime, about an hour into the debate — and he didn’t do it clearly, concisely or directly.
It gets worse.
You may have noticed that the President never mentioned his most important achievement in the most crucial states: the auto bailout. He never said, “That $716 billion in Medicare savings you keep harping on? That was in Paul Ryan’s Republican budget — you know, Mitt, the one that passed the House because all the Republicans voted for it.” Romney was even able to imply that he may not have such a good accountant when it comes to taking advantage of sending companies overseas without the President saying, “I think you have a terrific accountant, Mitt! Great tax rate!”
You may also have noticed that when Romney deftly compared the $2.8 billion in oil subsidies to the President’s $90 billion in green energy, Obama didn’t have a response. This was truly remarkable. He didn’t talk about the world’s largest sun and wind farms. He didn’t talk about the failed energy investments that Romney had made. My colleague Michael Grunwald spent nearly 500 convincing pages in his book The New New Deal describing the accomplishments of the stimulus package, and the President couldn’t even defend it.