Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times struggles mightily to salvage something for President Boyfriend after last night’s curb stomp, producing an instant-classic comedy masterpiece in which the debate somehow became a draw because Romney blinked a lot:
Wary of split screens on CNN and other networks, Mr. Romney managed, despite a dry throat and some rapid blinking, to keep a choirboy smile pasted on his face while Mr. Obama spoke; Mr. Obama was quicker to drop his bonhomie and adopt the look of a long-suffering headmaster enduring the excuses of a bright student he is going to expel.
The rest of the planet saw a petulant Barack Obama taken to school by Mitt Romney. Even Obama’s truth-challenged campaign flack, Stephanie Cutter, conceded that Romney won the debate “on preparation and style points.”
Stanely thinks Obama and Romney “fought to see who could keep a look of amused, there-you-go-again contempt for the longest number of minutes.” But that’s not what happened, not by a long shot. Obama spent a lot of time trying to look disdainful, but Romney did not. Romney listened to what Obama was saying and actively responded to it.
But readers can rest easily in their editorial cocooons, where worlds like “Fast and Furious” are never spoken, because there was no “scale-tipping moment.”
There were moments when both men inadvertently slipped into the quirks they were supposed to suppress. Mr. Obama, known for acting a little superior and blasé about his opponents, soon began scribbling notes while his rival spoke, looking down and avoiding eye contact, even with the camera. At times he winced as if his opponent were causing him indigestion, but he didn’t return fire, and never mentioned “47 percent,” let alone Mr. Romney’s houses and planes.
That’s because Romney would have torn those stupid talking points to pieces. Team Obama wants to keep them nice and safe in the echo chamber. Obama really doesn’t want to invite a comparison between his billion-dollar taxpayer-funded amenities, and the houses and planes Mitt Romney paid for himself.
Mr. Romney had an easier time acting like he was pleased to bring a Bain boardroom intensity to the discussion; Mr. Obama couldn’t stop himself from looking annoyed not to have the podium to himself, like lecturers do.
In other words, as Stanley can’t quite bring herself to say, Obama lost the debate, badly. He swung by to drop off a couple of old speeches. Romney came to do battle, and never expected to “have the podium to himself, like lecturers do.”