Wednesday night was the first opportunity for Obama and Romney to really get to the core of the differences between their platforms. This was a real challenge for Romney, who has taken a groundbreaking approach to platform building by not building one. For Obama, it was a matter of highlighting the successes of the last four years while blaming the failures on the previous four years. It was a delicate balancing act and America was watching. And by America, I mean old people, partisans and people playing drinking games.
Obama came out strong by coming on strong, giving a shout out to his first of ladies and that subtle Obama smile that says, “Damn the presidency, girl, I want you.” Romney countered with one of those zingers we’ve heard so much about, suggesting that spending the night with him was as romantic as it gets. An interesting proposal, though to protect the sanctity of marriage Romney would probably vote against it.
Obama followed up with a rapid-fire listing of Democrat talking points, really getting down to the meat of his platform before suddenly remembering that there was someone else on the stage with him. This wouldn’t be the first time, as Obama seemed to spend most of the debate forgetting who he was debating. At one point he took aim at almost-presidential candidate Donald Trump which, honestly, isn’t a hard mistake to make. All billionaires tend to look alike.
Romney also mentioned Donald Trump, calling him a job creator and saying he had great hair. The number of times Donald Trump was mentioned in the debate makes him a likely candidate for the 20012 version of Joe the Plumber. Keep an eye out next year for Trump making a musical debut.
Obama really flew off the mark when he started debating the American people. He enumerated the mathematical problems with Romney’s strategy and asking America why they like it. If you’re that stupid, he suggested going to vote for Romney. At this point, Obama seemed to have forgotten which side he was on in the debate, losing sight of the all-powerful stupid swing vote, a force grown stronger in his home state of Chicago since the teachers’ strike. Despite Obama having two minutes to debate America, the American people were not given a chance for rebuttal.
Romney, on the other hand, really shined in this debate. Early on, he showed off his chops at offending large groups of people by suggesting China is certain to cheat the US. He didn’t let up on that 47% of people, either, detailing one part of his platform that would assess whether any government program was worth China. His campaign has suggestion a China-based rating scale, giving Obama’s green energy plan eight Chinas and Obamacare fifteen.
Throughout the debate, Romney mentioned a number of things he likes and dislikes. Likes: Jobs, America, Green energy, old people, long walks on a fiscally responsible beach. Dislikes: China, Spain, studies, mean people. Romney may have mistaken the debate for his Match.com profile.
The big winner of the debate? Politically convenient women. Both Romney and Obama detailed their encounters with Jane Does who seemed to be pivotal to the development of their platform. Obama mentioned a teacher in Vegas struggling to help her kids, which was in strict violation of the what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas rule.
The big loser of the debate? Jim Lehrer, the man who put the moderate in moderator, managed to lose to both candidates without even being in the debate.