Green Room

Romney’s trouncing of Obama in debate sets Gallup record: 52 points

posted at 5:56 pm on October 8, 2012 by

The flood of excuses for why the president performed as abysmally as he did in the first presidential debate last Wednesday has risen up to the firmament … of higher education. In The New Yorker’s now-infamous cover story—the illustration for which shows the debate stage with an empty chair at Obama’s lectern—editor David Remnick samples the opinions of “Obama’s old friends” from academe (h/t James Taranto).

Included are Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe and another teacher, Christopher Edley. Tribe explains Romney’s rout of Obama by insisting that the president’s “instincts and talents have never included going for an opponent’s jugular. That’s just not who he is or ever has been.” (Tribe’s right. Obama’s style is more taking shots at his opponents behind their back, snidely ridiculing them in front of crowds of well-wishers, knowing that they are comfortably out of retaliatory striking range.)

Edley’s take is more flattering. “The reason I hate campaigns is that being right on the substance isn’t good enough,” he says, adding, “I admire [Obama] for caring more about the substance than the tactics … We know that Obama skews cerebral.” (Maybe so, though you’d never know it from his unteleprompted syntax. The Examiner quotes the president as starting off an apology to his Hollywood supporters with the observation, “Everybody here are [sic] just incredible professionals.”)

The excuse makers aren’t limited to Obama’s old pals, or at least not those who have a personal acquaintanceship with him. The New York Times offered up its two cents on Sunday, writing:

Mr. Obama does not like debates to begin with, aides have long said, viewing them as media-driven gamesmanship … Mr. Obama made clear to advisers that he was not happy about debating Mr. Romney, whom he views with disdain. It was something to endure, rather than an opportunity, aides said.

John Podhoretz quotes that passage from the Times piece, then states:

On the face of it, this is absurd: If [Obama] views Romney with disdain, why wouldn’t he relish the opportunity to crush him in a debate? Debates aren’t dates or dinner parties or business meetings; they are contests, and Obama is a very competitive person. Why would he only ‘endure’ one, given how utterly wonderful he is? As for ‘media-driven gamesmanship,’ what does Obama call going on David Letterman’s show, or Jay Leno’s, both of which he seems to enjoy mightily?

This Herculean joint effort to explain away the events of last Wednesday would not be necessary unless Obama’s thumping was of heroic proportions. A new Gallup survey indicates just how heroic it was. The poll asked, “Regardless of which candidate you happen to support, who do you think did the better job in last/Wednesday night’s debate?” Among all debate watchers, 72% answered “Romney,” while 20% said “Obama.” Among independents, the margin was a point greater, with only 19% expressing the opinion that Obama did better. The difference—52%–is the largest in Gallup history!

Other polls show the effect of outcome on voter preferences. Today’s Real Clear Politics average has Romney trailing by half a percentage point, 47.9$ to 47.4%.

The question for the Democrats is what they do next. Podhoretz repeats the party line, which is that Obama will do better in the next debate, then asks, “But how? By calling Romney a liar? Does the Obama team think Romney will have no effective response to that accusation in the next two debates?”

It will indeed be interesting to see what happens next.

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The technical term for what has happened here is “an ass kicking”. If the other debates go like this last one did, then Romney/Ryan will win by 10 points.

JimLennon on October 8, 2012 at 6:31 PM

These people really thought they could demagogue and lie their ass off to reelection! Ha! They were counting on Romney to be so afraid to respond in kind because of the media (racist!) that they thought they could just attack without retaliation (sort of like McCain). Boy, did they miscalculate and now they left holding an empty bag (their agenda and policies)!

I don’t see how they think calling Mitt Romney a liar is going to help in a debate. The debates are for an hour and 30 minutes. You better have more than you are a liar to fill that time, otherwise this may very well be a wipe-out on November 6th.

milemarker2020 on October 8, 2012 at 6:31 PM

If you are an (quote) independent (unquote) and you are part of the 19% that thought Obama won the debate.

There are no words except, look into your independent soul and realize you are not, in fact, that.

WitchDoctor on October 9, 2012 at 12:31 AM

Obama, Axelrod and team have spent months and months setting Romney up to be pure evil, stupid, and worried only about “the rich.” When an unfiltered perspective was given, their work collapsed. Because the media had NEVER asked themselves what it might look like if The One faltered, they have had no script, not even within the O team, and this is their shock and awe. Rolling excuses, inanity and grasping at straws by the O team and the media. Only conservatives are not surprised – we saw The Emperor’s nakedness four years ago.
The reason so many O supporters are upset about their guy not calling out “Romney’s many lies” is because they haven’t played the movie forward – what would it look like if Obama actually called Romney on all these “lies?”
Obama would suddenly have to defend all the lies he has built up in the media. He would be doing so live, in front of 80-100 million viewers, with no filter and echo from the media. Romney would then get two minutes for rebuttal. Romney has demonstrated his command of facts, figures and storyline.
Obama would look even worse. That’s why Obama didn’t, and won’t in the future, call Romney a liar to his face. This will cause the media to pop a vein and feel tingles in all the wrong places, because their cheerleading has stopped their thought processes.
Tell the fat lady to warm up…

UNINSTALLING OBAMA….. █████████████▒▒▒▒▒▒ 89% complete

DublOh7 on October 9, 2012 at 12:40 AM

UNINSTALLING OBAMA….. █████████████▒▒▒▒▒▒ 89% complete

DublOh7 on October 9, 2012 at 12:40 AM

Veni, vidi, vexi! (I came, I saw, I carried it off).

:-)

Mary in LA on October 9, 2012 at 6:21 PM