The Washington Post

Romney: an acceptable alternative?

As expected, Mitt Romney has received a bounce in the polls from his clear win in the first presidential debate; he has also gotten a new bounce in his step.

You could see it yesterday in the two campaign's public events. There was Romney in Florida with a simple message, but ge said with renewed conviction: "We can't afford four more years last like the last four," a point which even the most ardent Obama supporter might also endorse. And there was the president's team, still trying to shovel out the debate debris and explaining how Romney's tax plan really works. All you have to do is read is the paragraph near the bottom that begins, "Aboard Air Force One..." to see how challenging this argument is.

The debate has created a lasting problem for Obama because it has called into question his central argument against Romney. Perhaps, some voters are now thinking, Romney isn't such an unfeeling plutocrat after all. What's so dangerous for Obama is that the American people have been poised to make a change for a long time; Romney has just never looked like an acceptable alternative. Whether he is or isn't is, for the first time in a while, the central question of the campaign.


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