Romney missed a number of opportunities tonight to put the Obama administration’s failures in context. He mentioned that the economy is terrible, that this is not what a recovery looks like, and that’s fine. But he didn’t close the sale by explaining that growing government, strangling business, and creating a climate of uncertainty is what crushes the private sector. It was implied, but not stated explicitly.
Obama scored some points, particularly in his closing statement about the 47 percent. Surprised that Romney didn’t have a better answer on that prepared. It was the most glaringly obvious thing Obama was going to do.
Still, on balance, I doubt this debate will change anything. Obama’s supporters will be cheered for a day or two. But the voters who decided 2 weeks ago that Romney was not the unacceptable alternative they’d been warned about saw nothing tonight to change that impression.