Mitt started out strong, with his big opening about how — and how much — he wants to help the middle class. The middle class is the important battleground in this race, and for the next four years. The middle class is in trouble, and is worse off today than they were four years ago.
He sounds way more plausible and committed to the middle class than he sometimes has. And he is exuding confidence as he explains policies and programs to meet the stated goal. Mitt is doing the important thing: he is making substantive arguments, and destroying his opponents arguments, without going down into the weeds. Furthermore, his inflections are perfect, and it is easy to listen to both the content and the feeling.
Obama isn’t himself tonight. He looks less confident than we’ve seen. His eyes show something like anxiety. He is looking down when he should be looking out. He feeds off of adulation, and he is not confident of getting it. Also, and this is the one advantage the challenger has, we have heard too much of our President’s voice these past few years. He is a big talker. We know the stories.
Mitt just took Social Security and Medicare changes for older people off the table, by including Obama in the group of candidates who won’t change it . . . Then attack. This is just a stellar performance.