I think Obama scored some on Romney’s vagueness and Romney occasionally relied too much on assertion, especially when it came to how he’ll cover people with preexisting conditions. Otherwise it was overwhelmingly Romney’s night. He was more confident, more energetic, and better informed than President Obama. He exposed the president’s shallowness and got under his skin. If the proverbial Martian had landed to watch the debate he would have guessed that Romney was the incumbent president. Obama often relied on his riffs from the campaign trail, and Romney was prepared to deconstruct them. It’s hard to imagine a better point-by-point performance. He also cheered and energized conservatives, while tacking to the center at times. He gave an answer near the end on the role of government that sounded like Paul Ryan or Newt Gingrich on the Declaration, at the same time he talked about helping people who can’t help themselves. (The CNN focus group of undecideds in Colorado particularly like that answer.) I’ve said occasionally the last few weeks that Romney is a very articulate man who is not a great communicator. Tonight he was both.
by Rich Lowry