I live tweeted my reactions to the Political Chaos feed and right away, here's my play by play and analysis. I had to admit I was concerned about how "reserved" and "measured" the President seemed.
I couldn't figure it out. Obama seemed to be biting back every word before saying it. Was he worried about a gaffe? Was he over thinking his responses? Romney served up so many easy hits, I sat on the edge of my seat (as many did) waiting for him to connect on some of the easy pitches like
@Political_ChaosRomney: my plan is not what we've been saying it will be for the last year! That's not my plan....
@Political_ChaosMr jobs jobs jobs just said cut government jobs. That's jobs jobs jobs alright.
Romney was animated, almost to the point of agitation, I thought the poor man might burst a blood vessel he got himself so worked up as he pontificated. Obama again held back.
Political-Chaos I found myself re-tweeting some poignant comments as well. Good observations like
@Political_Chaos30 minutes in Romney has run up his blood pressure repeating campaign tag lines. Pres is on calm defense
Will Black It wasn't until the Medicare debate that I finally saw the President land a solid hit. As Romney repeated the line that his Medicare plan would only affect younger Americans, Obama landed a solid response that had some impact.
@WillBlackWriterRT if you think Romney sounds like a used car salesman. Favorite if you think he looks like a kid caught stealing. #debate2012
@Political_ChaosOH "that's for future retirees" "Well if you're 54 or 55 you better listen"
They moved to Dodd Frank. Here again I think Obama was finally "Waking up" and scored quite well in laying out Romney's flawed approach to regulation, based on Romney's own double talk. Another re-tweet as this stood out to me as Romney flailed about giving half answers and avoiding clarity
@youngdemsRomney is making a lot of promises, including Wall Street reform, but we still haven't seen a plans for preventing another financial crisis.
Not mentioned as of yet is Mitt's behavior on the podium, bossing Moderator Jim Lehrer around and talking over him and interrupting the President who finally took exception.
Political-Chaos Finally we see Mitt's first stumble of the night as he gets caught in a loop referencing "Death Panels" in Obamacare (though not by that name directly.) And he came back to it again and again as if Sarah Palin were whispering in his ear.
@Political_ChaosObama calls him out for interrupting. Zing!
@Political_ChaosBad idea bringing up death panels mitt, don't hang your hat on a fantasy
@Political_ChaosHe was just asked what he'd do different on healthcare and he goes back to death panels and hyperbole
Comedian Bill Maher picked up on it too, I re-tweeted
Bill Maher Obama appears to finally had enough of Romney's frantic hyperbole and it seems he's finally in the game, but we're already more than an hour into it and time is running down.
@billmaherBarry: less looking down making notes (u look like you're hanging your head in shame) and more eye contact. Look at Mitt like he's a nut!
@Political_ChaosDeath panels tangent has been shut down. Let's see if he brings it up again.
@Political_ChaosObama finally going after the non-answers
Political-Chaos As thing wound to a close I began to take note of the massive "Big Bird" tangent and realized THIS would be the self inflicted wound Romney would carry with him after the debate was over.
@Political_ChaosThe President of 2008 just finally arrived.
Political-Chaos Romney bounces from point to point in rapid succession and then manages lands a very big hit with spending on Green Jobs, and Obama does manage a response, but in Romney's continued rowdiness, again talking over and interrupting, the President doesn't manage to plant a solid defense and does get some final glancing blows to Romney's double talk
@Political_ChaosBreak out star of this debate is Big Bird lol #debates
@Political_ChaosAgain here we go with "let the states deal with it." Now here we go bringing god into the role of govt #debates
@Political_ChaosPresident hits Romney on double standard of domestic spending
Political-Chaos Despite getting barraged with attack after attack, Obama manages to land his position with a simple statement on and wraps on a fairly strong note resting his case on the grave of Bin Laden.
@Political_ChaosObama was not able to respond to the hit on green energy spending. That'll hang in the air
@Political_ChaosPres gets the al queda and bin laden hit and manages to hit on bi-partisanship. Well done
Political-Chaos In the end, the question still hang in the air. Why did he hold back? Why was he so reserved? Many theories abound. Some believe the President's strategy was to let Romney run himself ragged and wait from him to stumble. Some believe Obama wanted to avoid giving his critics any ammunition by being combative and risk further race-baiting as the Right Wing Media has done all this week.
@Political_ChaosGood closing Pres highlighted the positives and asked for another 4
Personally, I suspect that perhaps the President took the idea of "down-playing expectations" a little too literally. Perhaps he wanted to allow Romney to roughshod around the debate and hoping he'd burn himself. Certainly "Big Bird" will burn Romney for some time, but it's not a knock out blow.
Perhaps, just perhaps, Obama "let" Mitt have this one by design. The Town Hall is no doubt an arena where Obama will be stronger simply based on Romney's difficulty and often times inability to connect with ordinary people. Perhaps, just perhaps, Obama was "feeling him out" and allowed Romney to walk out of Denver on a high with the intent to bring his strengths to bear and dismantle all of Romney's untruthful statements from this debate in the next one, in front of ordinary Americans where Romney will be less comfortable.
Oh, and if you are a twitter fan, I plan to live tweet all of the debates and I invite you to follow us and join the conversation! https://twitter.com/Political_Chaos
And just because I enjoy being snarky...Mitt was a bit tired out after an hour and a half of flailing his arms around and working so hard to "double talk" with every word he said.