I love the Presidential debates. I always have. I wrote my college thesis on the Clinton-Dole showdowns of 1996, which may have been the most lop-sided affairs ever. Bob Dole, despite all his years in politics, never stood a chance in those battles… just like John McCain four years ago. Perhaps President Obama was expecting McCain to show up in Denver last night. How else do you explain that thud of a performance by the man many pundits had all but conceded the election to in the wake of the jettisoned 47%?
This should not come completely out of Mile-High left field, though. I remember being impressed with Romney’s eloquence during the primary debates. Most of what he said was overshadowed because of Newt Gingrich’s superior verbal jousting skills and Rick Perry’s utter lack thereof (and if it wasn’t Perry, it was another GOP Flavor of the Month). But while the circus marched on, Romney endured… and quietly prepared.
Nearly eight months later, he hit Colorado like that Coors Light freight train. The President never knew what hit him. It was evident that Obama just wanted the debate to end. As Dr. Charles Dunn explained on Charlotte’s Morning News today, Obama’s “muscle tone for debate” has been lost due to lack of exercise.
Does this mean Romney has closed the gap? Can his campaign seize the moment? Most importantly, how many FEWER undecided voters exist in America now? One thing’s for sure: Team R&R will get no R&R anytime soon. For a while there, I was starting to think the off-season had already begun for the Grand Old Party.
One debate does not a political home stretch make. Obama has no doubt gotten a wakeup call as his campaign regroups for Round 2 on October 16 in New York, which will be a town meeting format. He’ll be ready. Throw in what’s sure to be a wacky Biden-Ryan contest and anything can happen.
November looms… but on an autumn night in Denver, the “October Surprise” came well ahead of Halloween.