The Washington Post

Obama needed a better debate and he had one

This debate was close. But I call a slight edge for President Obama. He gets an extra lift because he so badly needed a good performance.

Mitt Romney was argumentative at times; Obama was inspirational at times. Obama got away with some platitudes because Romney was occasionally too defensive, and uneven in his use of the president's record against him.

The debate was very fragmented. Each candidate had many good and not-so-good parts. Nobody crashed, and there was no defining moment for either President Obama or Governor Romney.

This fight will be called by the judges in the media over the next couple of days.  More people will be influenced by analysis of this debate than they were by the debate itself.  That gives Obama an advantage.

The president was wobbly going into this debate. He got his balance back and regained his footing when he most needed to.

Also, specifically regarding Benghazi, the president appears to have offered a new take on what he thought and did immediately after the attacks. If the president is changing his story again, it could confirm that he is being deceitful, and it could be very harmful. Everyone will be watching this.

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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