Okay, now that I've had a chance to metabolize a bit of the rum that it took to get through the last third of the debate, I have some reactions to the first Presidential Debate.
First and foremost, I have to hand it to Governor Romney. No sarcasm. He's been inept in front of crowds on the campaign trail, smug when he didn't think he was being recorded, but tonight, he was on point. Up till now I wondered "how the hell did this guy get elected to anything, much less become a Governor?" And during this debate, I saw why.
He had his game face on. He was composed and concise. He looked relaxed. This was the guy who cut up companies at Bain Capital. This was the guy who showed up to work in Massachusetts. This was a reasonably competent politician.
The other two things about the Governor that caught my attention were these: No, he did not give a lot of specifics. Which was smart.
But also, he sounded a lot like a centrist. Which is an interesting choice at this point in the debate. Especially since it seemed to mean abandoning every talking point he's had up to this point.
By contrast, the President looked much less composed. I don't know what business went on the White House today, but he looked very much like something else was on his mind. Tired even.
I have to wonder if he was not expecting to face Romney and find a good orator. I know the President has been practicing for this, but he seemed to have trouble getting to his points. This is not the slick public speaker I have come to expect (and no, it wasn't the lack of a teleprompter. He kicked butt in the debates vs. McCain).
Still, I think the President did a good job of communicating his criticisms of Governor Romney. He was not phased by Romney's objections to his points or when Romney declared that he had not said something that was kinda blatantly in the news of late.
Still, the President was at less than his full power. If he's going to come out the victor, he's going to have to dominate the next two debates, I think.
Governor Romney did trot out some old talking points: ending PBS, Solyndra, railing against Obamacare. He did manage to tout his own successes with healthcare reform without pointing out it's similarities to President Obama's plan.
President Obama stayed on the points he's been using for the past 4 years, but he didn't resort to the 47% cheap shot.
And they each got one zinger in, Mitt's coming off more naturally than I expected and President Obama's rather humble and self-deprecating.
My one gripe was how much the agreed. Not because they did, but because I'd have loved to have seen this agreement in Congress for the past 4 years.
I'll wait for towmorrow's fact check to discuss the particular points.
I'm looking forward to the next two debates and I have great hope for the Vice Presidential debate. Only next time, I might stay off twitter while I'm watching it.
Because according to the whole of Twitter, their candidate won. Whichever one was theirs.