Presidential Debate

Mitt Romney Hit Ground Running in First Debate With Obama

Romney acted as if he knew what was at stake, while Obama stumbled and fumbled around, says Rich Galen.

Eric Gay / AP Photo

If you just dropped by the Earth en route Venus from Mars (or the other way around) and watched this debate you would be hard-pressed to know who was the incumbent president and who was the challenger.

From the very start of the debate, it was clear that Mitt Romney knew what was at stake and had taken this seriously. As for President Obama—I know this: it is very unlikely they will do debate prep in Las Vegas again.

We know that Obama doesn’t think much of Romney. Romney is the rich white guy of privilege against whom Obama fought day in and day out in his role as a community organizer.

He didn’t exactly do the Al Gore eye-roll-and-sigh routine, but Obama didn’t miss by much.

At every turn, Romney seemed to hit the ground running with his answers while Obama stumbled and fumbled around until he hit on what in his head sounded like a good approach and he would go with that for two or three minutes.

Obama’s best line of the night came in his opening answer when he used the phrase “economic patriotism.” But, he never came back to it, never referred to it, and seemed so off-balance by Romney’s demeanor and approach that he seemed to have no theory of the debate at all. It will be interesting to find out whether Obama just forgot what they were going to try to do, or just couldn’t get a solid punch in through the barrage he was taking from Romney.

In baseball there is a saying that you just try to win series. Two-out-of-three over the course of the season is plenty good enough to get you to the playoffs.

Romney clearly won this first of three. Obama will need to come back with his A game for the second one.