I told you two days ago my expectations were modest. So clearly, Romney pounding Obama so completely that no contrary spin is possible is much more than I hoped for. The president stood like a shamed child, looking at the floor as Romney lectured him on the bad job he’d done and what it was going to take to fix it.
When Obama did look up and say something, it tended to be indistinguishable from 2008 campaign rhetoric. After a while, you got a sense of him realizing how hollow that sounds when he’s been sitting in the Oval Office for four years. Mr. President, the anecdotes about how terrible things are don’t play nearly as well when it’s been you at the big desk since January 20, 2009.
The remaining debates are, in order: the vice-presidential debate, a presidential town hall-style debate, and a presidential debate on foreign policy. It’s difficult to see how this could be more fortuitous.
One week from tonight, Paul Ryan and Joe Biden square off. I think Ryan’s main challenge is going to be polite restraint, as in avoiding the appearance of cruelty. Then, the presidential candidates are back in a more free-flowing format, where Romney might be most likely to make a mistake. However, a final debate on how Obama has conducted the business of the United States in the world will be the one folks remember, and as hapless as that has been, that’s another great Romney opportunity.
Near-certain rout, followed by a bit of a wild card, and closed out with “Mr. President, what did you mean when you told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev you’d ‘have more flexibility’ after your reelection?” Sounds good to me.
Governor Romney, you drew blood last night. Don’t overplay it, but don’t let up either.