I said in the open thread that the media would strain to spin this as an Obama victory, but I assumed that he’d give them something, however small, to work with. He gave them nothing. The Hill’s post-debate headline is “Romney lands punches against subdued Obama in first debate,” but that doesn’t remotely capture it. How bad was it for Team O? Dude:
More reaction from Twitter below. A rare moment of bipartisan consensus for America:
And the coup de grace of an unspinnably terrible night for the left:
Lisa Schiffren of NRO calls Romney’s performance “stellar” and Bill Kristol thinks it might be an inflection point. Next week’s polls should be awfully interesting. Back with more reaction links and some vid when I find a good clip.
Update: A forlorn Bill Maher concedes Romney’s debate win while Kristol follows up by calling it the best performance by a Republican in more than 20 years. Mark Halperin calls it for Romney too, albeit not without a ridiculous bit of grade inflation for O.
Update: Via BuzzFeed, what’s the opposite of a leg tingle?
Update: You don’t need a poll to tell you who won this one, but this is gratifying:
Rachel Maddow claims there was no winner in this debate, which, when you adjust for the curve that MSNBC’s grading Obama on, confirms that this was an utter landslide for the GOP. Back to the drawing board for Team Hopenchange, says Chuck Todd.
Update: Andrew Sullivan, one of The One’s biggest fans, despairs:
Look: you know how much I love the guy, and you know how much of a high information viewer I am, and I can see the logic of some of Obama’s meandering, weak, professorial arguments. But this was a disaster for the president for the key people he needs to reach, and his effete, wonkish lectures may have jolted a lot of independents into giving Romney a second look…
The person with authority on that stage was Romney – offered it by one of the lamest moderators ever, and seized with relish. This was Romney the salesman. And my gut tells me he sold a few voters on a change tonight. It’s beyond depressing. But it’s true.
Update: I knew O did badly, but I didn’t realize he did this badly. No wonder the CNN numbers look like this:
I hear that Frank Luntz’s focus group on Fox was also overwhelmingly pro-Romney but I haven’t seen vid yet. Please e-mail the link if you spot it online.
Update: More hints of a potential gamechanger:
Update: According to Dave Weigel, Romney’s 67 percent in the CNN insta-poll is the highest number they’ve ever recorded after a debate.
Update: Politico’s postgame piece captures the mood: “Massacre! Massacre!”
Romney’s aides and surrogates sprinted into the spin room to offer effusive assessments of their candidate’s performance, and Fox News contributor Juan Williams was caroling “Massacre! Massacre!” to himself as he bounded out of the men’s restroom. Obama’s team didn’t meet the press for a full 10 minutes — and one top Democrat, asked to say the best thing about the president’s performance, said Obama has been “just working to maintain cool and be reassuring” in an email to POLITICO.