While making my Sunday political rounds I noticed the good Governor Chris Christie on the talk-shows talking up Romney for the first Presidential debate. Christie quoted: America would wake up on Thursday and see a turned around campaign and be talking about Romney for the next 33 days.
Most right-leaning pundits, even while attempting to hide their elephant trunk lapel pins, simply couldn’t find it in their hearts to talk noise. You just don’t do that, right. Raising expectations for your candidate is a no-no. However, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey simply didn’t get this memo ~ claiming Romney would win and win big.
And what do you know… Romney won big. Romney jabbed, with no upper cuts, his way to a victory. Obama weaved all night and the only rounds he won came on technicalities – which we’ll discuss later.
I think his focus was demonstrating and defending his record – which he did successfully. What he didn’t do is shut Romney down… even once. The optics simply did not work in the President’s favor. Just 1 strength play would have been a good move. I saw prudence tonight but not much strength.
The only thing that could help his “performance” tonight is fact-checkers – enter the technical points. There were a number of faux-paus mentioned by the good governor but I’ll let the folks that get paid for fact-checking deal with that overnight tonight.
And let’s not forget Romney literally walked away from some of his campaign rhetoric to make it through tonight’s debate. In the most sinister voice I can muster…
Well played Govna… well played.
He was definitely prepared though. I will gladly give him that. Much in the same way I wanted the Chicago Bears to score 40 points on the Cowboys Monday night, I wanted this loss to stick in the President’s mind so he will never allow it to occur again. I’m a fan of the Cowboys and our President but I need this to sting.
Where Romney fell a little short was refuting the successes of the President. Essentially, ignoring hard-fought advancements in favor of doubling down on Republican values for the sake of doubling down on Republican values. Though the fun part for Republicans is they don’t have to. There is a construct that exists now where the accomplishments of the previous Congress must be ignored in order to gain control in 2013.
But it’s not their job to talk about how good a job the President may have done. That’s the President’s job.
Familiarity breeds contempt.
Unfortunately, I think we saw that tonight. Romney didn’t use the typical “Mr. President, with all due respect…” statement as much as I’d like. He treated Obama like any other ashy “candidate” and not an sitting President.
Stodgy, stuff-shirted, George Will conservatives might say this President doesn’t deserve to be addressed that was but in my 31 years as an American I simply disagree. Obama is your President too Governor Romney. It also tells me a culture of disrespect for this President is no longer brewing but bread. But whatever.
While that strategy will not fly again it appeared to be effective tonight. I’m sure Governor Christie won’t let us down reminding us he is a New Jersey sooth-sayer.
And now for a little Monday-morning quarterbacking:
Obama should have used terms like “As President we did XYZ…” more. He would have benefitted greatly if he began every retort or point this way. Do not assume we “know” you as President ~ command it.
Phrases like the following score big and frankly hold the Clintonesque qualities that Obama so craves:
- “Our Administration achieved…”
- “Through our work with the blah, blah, blah agency…”
- “Governor Romney won’t mention that in Massachusetts…”
…to name a few.