The Washington Post

Romney did what he needed to do

If the race was trending towards Mitt Romney before tonight's foreign policy debate, nothing has changed. The debate produced no breakthroughs or even any clear headlines. After the first hour of the debate, I got an e-mail from a veteran staff member on Capitol Hill that said: "30 minutes left, I'm bored - and I'm a foreign policy wonk.

Romney was credible as a commander in chief. President Obama was fine, but was defensive at times. The president tried repeatedly to draw Romney into an argument, but Romney never took the bait. Romney was the bigger of the two men. The president's visible frustration tonight suggests he knows he is losing.

Also, Romney did a good job of inserting the economy into the foreign policy debate. Good for him. If he wins in November, it will be because of the economy, not because of national security issues.

Obama needs something to happen to stop Romney's momentum. That didn't happen tonight. The good news for the president is that there are still two weeks left before the election; the bad news is that he needs to get reckless and throw some wild punches. An angry, shrill Obama is something we have never seen — and it won't be easy for him to execute.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.


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