Just as he did during his “60 Minutes” interview last month, Mitt Romney gave answers that were crisp, to the point and evasive at tonight’s debate in Denver. As a result and as I predicted, the Republican presidential nominee may have gotten the reset he desperately needs.
Romney stood next to President Obama, aggressively made his case and didn’t wither under the spotlight. Not that I expected him to. The former Massachusetts governor has always been a good debater. But the substance of what he said won’t stand stand up to scrutiny. Folks are already pointing out that Romney disavowed his own $5 trillion tax plan.
Meanwhile, Obama is catching hell for his performance. Anyone who has followed the president’s career knows that he’s not good at debates, especially the first debate. In addition, Obama didn’t attack or push back on Romney. When Romney hammered the president over the $716 billion in cuts, Obama repeatedly neglected explain his plan or to mention that Paul Ryan advocates the same cuts in his budget plan. And there were no base-pleasing attacks. Hello, 47 percent?!
Obama arrived at the debate with the polls going his way. He was a man with a lead that he was as determined to maintain as much as Romney was determined to snatch it from him. Obama will leave Denver facing a reenergized opponent. The game is on.
But, folks, remember something. There are two more presidential debates. Will tonight’s Obama and Romney show up on Long Island and in Florida? Republicans certainly hope so. Democrats are praying not. Mark my words, when they meet again on Oct. 16, Romney might be riding a wave of rising support, but the competitive streak in the president will force him fight more forcefully than he did tonight.