The Corner

Two Debate Moments

Over at Bloomberg View, Margaret Carlson and I discuss last night’s debate. She takes the view a lot of Romney critics will: He won because the president did not call him on his lies. I haven’t had a chance to look at what they’re saying today, but I imagine the factcheckers are trying to ride to the president’s rescue.

Two moments I thought encapsulated the contrast between the two debaters. At one point when they were talking about jobs and taxes, President Obama said, “Jim, I — you may want to move onto another topic, but I — I would just say this to the American people. . . .” Now Lehrer had said, before Romney’s remarks, that he wanted to “move on” to the deficit, but Obama sure seemed to me to share the desire to drop the subject. Later in the debate they were talking about Medicare, and Romney said, “Can we — can we stay on Medicare?” That’s an issue that’s supposed to be deadly for Republicans, and Romney wanted to go on talking about it. Romney played defense on some issues last night, but he was never defensive.

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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