The Corner

Hope for a Change

Romney gave Republicans a lot of it tonight. He was crisp, clear, and commanding, while President Obama flailed, forgetting to drive home any message in particular. On twitter, liberals were offering Obama a lot of suggestions for what he should be saying–just as conservatives have done for Romney in recent weeks. They know he lost this debate, and lost it soundly. I cannot think of a single exchange Obama won, and even his best lines were curiously flat when delivered. Obama’s strategy, to the extent he had one, seemed to be to make the race a referendum on the challenger. The cost of that strategy, at least as implemented tonight, was that it made Romney look more presidential than the president.

P.S. I said the other day that the press would not allow Romney to be seen as the winner of any debate. I think the only way it will be able to make that case after tonight is to say that the debate won’t change the dynamic of the race. The debate itself just doesn’t give much material to anyone inclined to spin for Obama.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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