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According to a post-presidential debate CNN poll, 67% of the viewers thought Gov. Romney won the debate, and 25% thought President Obama won the debate. In related news, 67% of those polled actually watched the debate, while the other 25% were too ashamed to admit they watched the Yankees-Red Sox game instead. Btw, the Yankees routed the Red Sox 14-2, which is similar to the way Romney routed Obama.
It was the most lopsided presidential debate victory since CNN started asking the "who won ?" question in 1984.
For some reason, CNN Polling DIrector Keating Holland felt the need to add this bizarre cautionary note - "This poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans. It only represents the views of people who watched the debate...".
The body language in the photo below captures the essence of last night's debate:
Romney was confident and on offense. Obama was meek and defensive. Romney looked at Obama. Obama looked at his podium (longing for his teleprompter ?) It seemed every time Obama made a point, Romney had three points to trump him with. Romney dominated Obama on jobs, the economy, taxes, debt, business, and regulations. I thought Obama held his own on health care, but Romney was effective on that subject as well.
After the debate, I tuned into Fox News for ten minutes, and then MSNBC for ten minutes. The mood difference was like day and night. The conservatives on Fox News were jubilant. The liberals on MSNBC were shell-shocked.
My own take on the debate was that someone finally mounted an effective challege to Obama's political worldview right to Obama's face, and Obama struggled to respond to it.
The Washington Post summed it up with this headline: Romney Goes On Offense, Forcing Obama To Defend Record. That's a hard record to defend, and Obama couldn't do it. Romney pointed to the debt, the joblessness, the slowing economic growth, the losses of middle class wealth. He pointed out why Obama's policies harm business and stifle job creation, and why his own policies will help business and stimulate job creation. Romney pointed out his own record of success in both business and government, contrasting it with Obama's record. Romney's punches came fast and furious (no pun intended). Obama's punches were few and far between. Obama's best punch was when he pointed out how Romney's plans lack specifics. That seemed like one of Obama's only punches, as he went back to it repeatedly, but it didn't come close to winning against the better prepared Romney, who was more in command of the economic issues. There was almost nothing Obama said that Romney couldn't answer, while Obama looked like he wanted to be somewhere else when enduring Romney's attacks.
It will be interesting to see what effect this has on the next round of polls, and even more interesting to see how the political pundits try to spin things. I'm sure the factcheckers will sharpen their pencils. I heard a few things from each candidate that were dubious, but I'll get into that later. For now, round one goes to Romney in a unanimous decision. Obama needs the smelling salts.