There was plenty of criticism about Barack Obama’s debate performance eight days ago: Disengaged. Disconnected. Acted like he didn’t want to be there. And that was just the criticism coming from his fellow Democrats. Obama has another take entirely on why he flopped in the critical first debate, and that is that the President was just too … polite?

“Well, two things. I mean, you know, the debate, I think it’s fair to say I was just too polite …”

Actually, Obama comes a little closer to the truth at the end of that sentence:

“…because it’s hard to sometimes just keep on saying and what you’re saying isn’t true. It gets repetitive.”

That was the actual problem.  Obama came armed with his usual slogans and straw-men arguments, the same ones he’s been using for nearly four years to explain away his failures as someone else’s fault, and they landed with a thud on the stage.  Obama discovered the difficulty of using straw-man arguments when someone else gets to respond, and ended up looking weak, petulant, and bored.  That’s hardly being polite to either Mitt Romney or the voters who cared enough to tune in, hoping to hear something new … like a second-term agenda, for instance.

And, as Erika pointed out yesterday, if the Obama standard of truth is the four-Pinocchio attack line on Big Bird, Obama’s not going to do any better in the next debate, either.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!