Why did President Obama do so poorly at last night's debate?
October 4th, 2012
03:36 PM ET

Why did President Obama do so poorly at last night's debate?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If President Obama had been a Broadway show last night, it would have closed after one performance.

Even the president's staunchest supporters were baffled by his lackluster effort.

MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked, "What was he doing?"

Democratic strategist James Carville said, "Romney came in with a chainsaw."

Commentator Andrew Sullivan said, "This was a disaster... He choked... He may even have lost the election tonight."

CNN did a poll of watchers right after the debate that showed by a margin of almost 3-to-1 – 67% to 25% - that they thought Mitt Romney won the first debate.

What happened to the mesmerizing president who captivated audiences in Berlin and Cairo more than three years ago?

Where was the visionary who saw a path forward for the country that was so compelling he became the first African-American president in our history?

Watching the debate last night, I got the impression Obama didn't want to be there. He seemed annoyed at times and disengaged. And he allowed Romney to get back in the race big time.

And when the debates shift to foreign policy, it's not likely to get any easier for the president.

The Middle East is a tinderbox. The murder of an American ambassador in Libya goes begging for an explanation as to why repeated requests for additional security at our consulate in Benghazi were turned down. And the White House won't answer questions about it except to say the FBI is conducting an investigation.

That's not nearly enough.

Here’s my question to you: Why did President Obama do so poorly at last night's debate?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

soundoff (337 Responses)
  1. Greg Matusky

    Jack, you question is why did Obama do so poorly? I think it's a simple matter of forum and practice. The President has spent the past four years living a hothouse existence of teleprompted talks given to adoring audiences. Through that lens he became complacent, and wrongfully began to believe he could do no wrong or make no mistake. So he failed to prepare or take this seriously. It's as simple as that.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  2. Andrew Clark

    First of all, I'll admit it, I'm a liberal and I wholeheartedly support President Obama. I have no trust in Mitt Romney regardless of how much he rehearses his responses in a debate. I believe that the President is busy BEING President, while the other is busy campaigning. There is a huge difference. Still, for the millions who undecided, this was a poor showing. Furthermore, I just want to say that anyone who boasts their intentions of job creation as a candidate for President assumes that the President has more power and authority to affect that kind of change than they really have.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  3. Karen

    Obama was respectful and dignified and didn't get all flustered and rude like Romney. Romney was disgusting but Obama kept his cool. I don't think Romney won at all since he AGAIN failed to provide any specifics! Romney also lied about the tax plans. We don't need a Romney who shoots off at the mouth to get us into WWIII. And Romney would rather subsidize oil companies than help an unbiased educational channel that depends also on donations and has been GREAT for educational programming both kids and adults. LONG LIVE BIG BIRD!!!!!

    October 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  4. Bruce Borchert

    Post debate spinners were asking themselves "can Romney be trusted?" Did he mean what he said? The hypocracy is stunning. Why aren't they asking if Obama can be trusted? After all, he's the guy who promised to reduce the debt by 1/2. He's the guy who made promises about unemployment and jobs. If you question what Romney says then how much more does the evidence in which Obama didn't keep these promises suggest that he's the one that can't be trusted.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  5. Ed Buenaventura

    I do not like the format of the debate because there is no chance for rebutting. If that is the format set up, accepatable.
    Mitt Romney cited 3 to 4 lies in the debate. I don't know why President Obama did not counter attack those lies.
    His first lie was the "cutting of 5 Trillion Tax plus another 3 Trillion Tax concept. Second was Tax Cut for millionaires and the tax hike for middle class people and the third was the Voucher approach on medicare was denied.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  6. Kevin in CA

    He was late for his anniversary diner?

    October 4, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  7. janet rajah

    Perhaps Obama seemed preoccupied during the dabate last night Perhaps it was because Turkey bombed Syria and that could involve NATO and the USA. As President there's more to think about than a debate even though we all know Americans are superficial, shallow and fixated on the thrill of the moment. Somehow none of the political pundits seemed to have heard of what could be a looming crisis.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  8. Jeannette, Toronto

    Mr. Romney just made us believe in President Obama! Thank you, President Obama, for letting Mr. Romney confirm everything about his views on the 47% and 99% of us Americans. 2012 Obama + Biden! Forward and Beyond!

    October 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  9. Bruce

    Why would anyone expect that he would have done better? Look at how he has delt with Congress for the last four years. In street terms, Obama is a "pussy". He's too detached from humanity to ever show any fight. For him, it's all one academic issue after another. The perfect 21st century, technocratic chief of state.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  10. Karen

    For God's sake, Obama is PRESIDENT and NOT playing games! I'm sure he was concerned about recent Turkey/Syria bombing in each others countries instead of Romney's Big Bird rantings. Romney has NOTHING to do while Obama has the office of President to work on.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  11. Dawn Larson

    ALL SPIN ASIDE.. reality is that Obama is defending his first term and asking for a second, based on his performance. There is no grade of "incomplete" as Obama is pleading, only the PASS/FAIL by the American people at the voting booth. Mitt Romney consistently was able to pivot back to that issue last night .. Obama's record. It's all about the record of the incumbent president Barack Obama .. he can no longer blame Bush .. or ATM machines .. or Europe .. or the rich .. Obama spent four years blaming others, but last night that tactic DID NOT help him. Last night .. Barack Obama lost the first debate .. decisively.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  12. Terrence Cain

    This has got to be the biggest bunch of bologna I have ever heard. For weeks political pundits have been counting on President Obama to lose the first debate and went to the extremes last night to back up your bogus arguments. The President kept Romney on his heels because everything he was saying was a lie. He will cut Pell Grants, Medicare, and other social programs that help the poor achieve the American Dream. We know Romney only cares about making sure the rich stay rich and the poor never move forward. The President killed Romney's chances of being the next President last night. The only reason people think Romney won is because they were brainwashed by political pundits for weeks to believe so.

    Terrence Cain
    Big Spring, Texas

    October 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  13. Joanne Pouliot

    Dear Jack, Look at the last few frames of last nights debate. You will see the President close his eye and keep them shut ,it is like he is falling asleep. Someone gave him something a drug or slipped something in his food. He was falling asleep you look at it and you will see. Mrs. O saw it and she took him away very quickly she knew he was sick or drugged. I was awake half the night worring about him someone has to look into what happened no wonder he did't do well. No one could fall asleep after a debate like that it was instant he just closes his eyes and can't stay awake.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  14. SFC Wayne Knox, USArmy Retired

    Obama personally feels that he is above being required to respond to anybody! The debate moderator attempted to reign in the two debaters but Obama refused to conform. He got flustered and froze! Nothing but his Blackberry to give him his notes to follow as he continued to flounder drifting in and out in a state of unconsciousness.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  15. Bob Kansas City, Mo.

    Maybe after four years in the White House he's had enough of DC and its finger pointing petty games......can't say as I blame him either.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  16. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    Mitt Romney did well in the debate last night. Good for him! The President did not react to Romney by aggresively fighting back. After I thought about it, I realized the President would have looked like a bully had he gone after an opponent totally gung-ho who, most felt, was not up to debating this President. However, Romney has set the stage and, in the upcoming debates, the President will now be free to be the effective debater he is and can come-out-swinging and take Romney on with gusto and the American people will understand he has the right to do this. Should be an interesting second debate. Can't wait!

    October 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  17. Brad, Portland, OR

    Obama wasn't aggressive enough, and didn't call out Romney on the untrue things he said.

    I think maybe he didn't do enough debate prep. He may have been overconfident, thinking that Romney had proven to be poor at thinking on his feet in the past.

    But this time, Romney seemed to have all his talking points memorized, and he showed no hesitation in walking all over poor Jim Lehrer to get them out there.

    Hopefully Obama has learned from this, and will be better prepared next time.

    Ditto Biden.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  18. Jake, Austin, Texas

    Jack, his performance was not good. I can only explain it as not being prepared. He should have looked him in the eye and challenged him on the many lies and flip flops Romny made. I have watched so many comment made by Romny and his answers to the same subjects seem like snow flakes. They are always different.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  19. curtis in philadelphia

    Jack, those pol numbers you cited, about who won the debate, are those national numbers? Friendly reminder, it isn't a national election, it's about winning states, national numbers are irrelevant. For the record, Kerry won the first debate against Bush in 2004; better to lose the first debate than the last.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  20. Mazen

    Pure Strategy. losing the first debate gives romney comfort, it will possibly allow Romney to lose his guard and reveals what romney's strategy rely is. this will allow Obama to come in the next debate and left hook his opponent and knock him out of the match.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  21. Jeannie Clarke

    Obama did so poorly in last night's debate because he believes his own press. Contrary to Chris Matthew's calls for Obama to tune in to MSNBC, the truth of the matter is he already does, and apparently believes every thing they say about how well he and the country are doing. It was appallingly apparent just how out of touch he is with the real evidence of how the country is doing under his policies. Romney was prepared; Obama wasn't. He is used to jetting around on AF1, and appearing before adoring crowds repeating his talking points at every stop. Last night he learned that talking points without command of the facts does not make for a good debate outcome.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  22. ken, atlantic city, nj

    Because he can't defend his record of poor performance. It's the liberal media that has created him into this nobel prize winning genius who knows all. 90% of the blacks,70% of the hispanics and the liberal bias media are what's keeping him in office so he can screw up 4 more years. Obama is clueless and it seems most of the electorate is also.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  23. Dennis Knill

    He's used to being surrounded by friendly audiences and sycophants. Not the case last night. But I know the lefties will play this like a game: "let's see what plays he runs, and in the next quarter, we'll run some of our own". Obama was not prepared because he doesn't read the same news sources we do.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  24. Greg Rapport

    Unlike Mitt Romney, President Obama has a day job and doesn't have the same amount of prep time to put on a competitive performance against an opponent who can prepare 24/7. I wish everyone would stop analyzing the theatrics of the debate and dwell on a couple of key facts. As weak as Romney is in details, he said he would turn Medicare into a voucher program suggested the same for education. These would be the worst things that could happen to the American people and really scare me.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  25. Felecia from Oklahoma

    I don't think the president did poorly. I think he only gave Romney the opportunity to hang himself with all those lies he told.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  26. Tom from NJ

    I think President Obama was taken aback by the many myths and falsehoods that Mr. Romney was equivocating. I noticed Romney's nose was growing as the debate progressed.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  27. Jim Charlotte NC

    Remember the first Mondale/Reagan debate when everyone wrote off Reagans chances for re-election.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  28. Sean in Roseville, California

    The president lost the debate because his work ethic sucks. He'd rather play golf and go on The View than do his job and prepare for the debate. He treated the debate like he has his presidency. He's been coasting for nearly four years, riding on the back of a liberal leaning media that hadn't challenged him with tough questions. Romney was sharp and engaged. He exposed the president as being a man who doesn't really understand economics and how jobs are created. Taxes and safety nets are not the solution to an economy that requires real leadership for change to truly happen.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  29. Gerry Iowa

    I didn't think President Obama did poorly until the pundits told us he did. I saw President Obama, with his personality, just being himself. I thought Romney looked hyper with that strange expression he always gets when he is flip flopping..
    Why didn't the pundits tell us the lies being told by Romney instead of who won.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  30. Pete

    Stoned? Drunk? Who knows...but Rick Perry could have done a better job than Obama last night. He lost a LOT of votes, and he won't get them back because many folks, me included, won't tune in for the 2nd or 3rd debates – he had his chance, and he blew it.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  31. Nancy J. Johnson

    From Liberty Twp OH (Yes.. Boehner's district.) The president did poorly quite simply because his record is HORRENDOUS. He made HUGE promises and FAILED utterly. We didn't know who he was in 2008.... We HOPED he would CHANGE Washington: He did that: BUT OOPS, he changed it for the WORSE. Why would anyone want four more years of that?

    October 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  32. Roxy in Iowa

    Telling lies does not make Robme the winner of the debates. Most of us are capable of deciding who the winner was without media input.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  33. leholzer

    I have traveled to Denver many times to Denver on business and everyone knows that the change in altitude can really affect how you feel for the first 24 hours....Romney prepared in Denver and was acclimated to the change in altitude...President Obama flew in that afternoon...this most certainly could have been a factor in his demeanor and performance.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  34. Eric

    Romney won by HOW he said things. Obama won on WHAT he said. Unfortunately, so many, even people in the media, worry about who did a better job attacking. Obama spoke to the American people as a president. Romney was rude and swung for the fences every time he opened his mouth in between his smug smirks and interrupting the moderator. No one expected Romney to say what he said because that's not what Romney has said so much in the past!

    October 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  35. Wade

    he got beat by a better man. That's all there really is to it.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:43 pm |

    Why did President Obama do so poorly at last night's debate?

    Frankly Obama did a GREAT job last night. He accomplished the following:

    He got Romney to show ALL of his cards
    He got Romney to LIE to Americans
    He got Romney to speak ill of his own children (he said that his 5 sons are LIARS)
    He got Romney to say that he was going to FIRE BIG BIRD
    He got Romney to sweat and turn RED in the face.

    Obama said that Romney's Big Bold Idea is "Nevermind"

    I can hardly wait for the next debate. Obama gave Romney just enough rope to hang himself and that is exactly what he did.

    Roseville CA

    October 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  37. Joe

    Practice practice practice.....he hasn't been in a debate for 4 years and Mittens just went through the GOP debates......get in the batting cage and take some practice swings before the next debate....cuz ut's 3 strikes and you're out.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  38. Linda, St. Louis

    The president should have called Mitt on his lie that companies don't get tax breaks for outsoucing American jobs. Exhibit A Mitt's secret tax returns.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  39. Albert Kral. Smithville Ontario

    Romney was given an Oscar as best actor last night. Unfortunately nobody realized he was at the wrong stage

    October 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  40. Jake

    The reason?

    The political version of Dope on a Rope...heed the warning Republicans, it just might save you.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  41. Cheryl in Bluffton, SC

    I suspect President Obama was just flabbergasted by Mitt's attempt to run from every idea he's ever proposed in just 90 minutes. How do you debate a liar? He'll say anything to win, and the sad fact is that many Americans will believe him.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  42. Leonardo

    Simple. The curtain hiding the great wizard of oz was pulled back and all saw the truth.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  43. chris okonofua

    like everything else in his presidency, he felt entitled to the debate. that his charm alone was enough to scare romney. well he was and is wrong. ever wonder what happens to cockroaches when you shine the light on them? am just saying.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  44. Brian Samuels (Chicago)

    Don't be so naive Jack. Obama gave Romney just enough rope to hang himself. Obama didn't do poorly....he shut up and let Romney hang himself. Everybody that follows politics knew Romney was lying. Obama just refused to sit up there and argue lies. We're doing that today.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  45. Vi

    First of all, I am sure he was tired. Secondly, I don't think he is bothered by this first. Thirdly, I have watched and studied Obama for awhile. What I believe is that he wants to know exactly where Romney, how Romney was going to play to America, and possibly what Romney's strategy is going be. I am sure you will see the Obama that we are accustomed at 2nd AND 3rd debate.

    But the dispect of Romney and the entire Republican organization is just shameful...Calling him lazy, welfare President, UnAmerican, only other racists would vote for the Republican party......Check your history, no racial or ethnic or personal attacks have been thrown at previous Presidents. And the magnitude by which these Republicans exercise the JIM CROW, GEORGE WALLLACE, hated is astounding. HOW IN GOD'S NAME CAN AMERICANS STOMACH THIS.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  46. Ray

    He's tired of being President. I would be.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  47. ron hale mi.

    The question should be " Why did that moderator do so badly". They did not need a moderator ANYWAY AS ROMNEY totally took over, when ask to answer a question, told him "NO", interupted not only Obama when he tried to reply but talked over him and the moderator and faaaaaaaar beyong the 2 min. supposedly alotted to each. He sure showed his True Self. For a Business that may pass but to Run a Country ? NO !!!! I hope Candy Crowley can control this next debate better than this " Jim Jerk" did. Totally Useless!!!

    October 4, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  48. Dan Hogan

    Manhattan, KS

    I think the better question is why weren't all the candidates who have a mathmatical possibility of winning the election included in the debates. I would like to have seen Gary Johnson on that stage and hope that the Debate Commission fixes this before the next debacle....I mean debate.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  49. Albert Kral. Smithville Ontario

    Romney took acting lessons and practiced manipulative skills to make people that he was, who he has not been and truly is not in addition to making people believe lies as truths to win the election rather than serving the needs of a nation

    October 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  50. vi

    And so-called Democratic Analyst and Strategist on these Networks are just pathetic....the insults they threw at the President for this debate is shameful. Carville going as far as to say that this may have cost the President the election....HOW? Women still know that the Republican are stomping on their rights and have passed over 1100 against women's rights, the Latinos still know that Romney and Republicans don't give a damn about them, and some whites know that the Obama's Affordable care act beneits them and their children and their pre-existing conditions and that The Rich will get more TAX cuts under a Romney administration AND that the majority of middle class WILL be raised significantly higher that Obama's tax plan.

    What this debate did was made Romney seem like he was some kind of energy drink, all pumped, talking fast and couldnt because he had to get out all those lines he had rehearsed with Rob Portman... He was arrogant and disrespectfull and above all a liar and a bully

    October 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  51. Bob

    Why? Because he could no longer hide behind "hope and change" as a strategy or an outcome. The bright light shined right in the eyes of this president's actual record makes for a lot of squinting and looking away.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  52. Albert Kral. Smithville Ontario

    It is a shame that it is said Romney looked presidential. Do we want a president who lies, studies to become who I've is not; changes plans when behind in the polls? I think a president should be knowledgeable, wise and has integrity with high moral and ethical standards. Looks like the job qualification have fallen in the gutter following last night public opinion of the debate. What a shame

    October 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  53. Ray

    Maybe the color of his hair says it all. He's had enough of the job.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  54. nancy

    How many off days has the POTUS actually had when speaking to the American public on national TV? I say cut him some slack and chalk it up to an unfortunate misstep. At least he didn't say or do anything damaging. He was just off and lackluster.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  55. E. Smith

    Much conjecture, but a couple of plausible explanations (no, not excuses). Altitude weary, 20th anniversary (that one's a real bummer!), just having an "off" day? I highly doubt that one debate is going to call the winner of the election. If that's the case, why do we go thru all the rest?

    October 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  56. Dave in WA

    To me President Obama seemed like a guy who had just gotten done with a long day at work, only to have to go debate someone who had all day to prep.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  57. Al from orlando

    He allowed the court jester to expose himself. Whether it was a jester performance or that of a clown but it was not funnyit It was scary. Like a computer without software.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  58. DJ

    Why did he do so poorly? Because he had no experience for the role to begin with and is now completely over his head in most presidential matters. And last night proved it. He was a short-term senator, so why did you think he would be qualified for the position? You all wanted to believe his WORDS but did not look at his RECORD. The question should be: Why did we ever think Barak Obama would have been competent in this role? You were bamboozled. If you think anything else, you are brainwashed a Democrat for life.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  59. Bruce Grant

    Obama could have launch a zinger of all zingers.
    " This could be history in the making."
    " I can go down in history for taking out Bin Laden,You can go down in history taking out Big Bird ! "

    October 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  60. Beverly - NYC

    No Drama Obama needs to bring the Drama. He has no excuse for acting like last night was his first debate. Why should his supporters fight for him if he is not willing to fight for himself. Romney lied from the first question on his tax plan and the President did not call him out on it. Romney compared him to one of his lying sons, no response.

    I thought maybe he had other things on his mind, I expected to awake to reports that Navy Seals and killed ot captured every high ranking Al Queada and Taliban, but no such luck. Next debate Mr. President follow Samuel L. Jackson's advice and wake the blank up

    October 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  61. Edward Nieh

    He has a poor record and he has nothing to indicate he has a plan that could change the tragitory from the his past.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  62. Renee, Illinois

    I'm wondering if it had something to do with his anniversary; after all, would you want to be where he was on your 20th anniversary? Which begs the question – Why didn't he arrange to reschedule the debate for another night? He is the president, after all. Though after last night's performance he may not be for much longer.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  63. Gus in CA

    Suspect Obama was over prepared to avoid getting goaded into a peevish response, and looking like a junk yard dog. He bent over backward not to respond in an aggressive way. Ok, he sounded like somebody who listens and is kind, reasonable and easy going. Maybe that was not the right picture either. Look for mid course corrections.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  64. Amanda, Chicago IL

    Perhaps Obama is too accustomed to having things handed to him on a silver platter? So used to be surrounded by cheerleaders that he can't handle it when he has to face a well-prepared opponent?

    October 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  65. A J

    The simplest explanation is often the right one. President Obama did poorly because he's attempting to defend an abysmal record, he's not a good extemporaneous speaker, and he's not a good debater.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  66. Jim

    Jack, I no longer think the President believes in some of his own programs. The will is missing,

    October 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  67. edward from Dallas

    Obama did poorly because he was not prepared as well as Romney plus without a teleprompter and Bill Clinton coaching him he would fall on his face. He is NOT what people perceive him to be. He may be President at this time but in my humble opinion he would not make an adequate union steward. You must admit one thing though....he is one LOUD fellow!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  68. JR

    I am a democrat, think President was complacent, he is surrounded by his supporters all the time and have not given a real interview in a long time. He was surprised that somebody is asking him all the tough questions for which he had no asnwer. To me not looking at Romney when he was talking is arrogance. I am not too sure if I am going to vote for him this time.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  69. Juan

    The real answer might never be known Jack, but specifically;
    How could he let himself LOOK so bad?
    Slumped shoulders, looking down, distracted, & annoyed is NOT a good look for a debate.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  70. MIke Ellis

    Obama has mailed it in as president for four years, why should it be any surprise that he mailed in a debate performance?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  71. Steve

    In 2008, Obama did not have a record to defend. He was able to run on Hope and Change and dish out a wishlist for the country. Now, four years later, he has a record that is easy to attack. His promises have gone unfulfilled and he has run out of ideas.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  72. Vince

    He definitely lost the debate, but their positions are still their positions. Maybe next time Obama will ask him if he's giving a tax cut to anyone, and it's revenue neutral who's taxes is he cutting, who's is he raising and by how much. If he's giving the middle class a tax cut and it's revenue neutral he must be raising taxes on those with higher incomes. So has he just shifted to Obama's position on taxes and Obama couldn't figure it out?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  73. Ronald Dayton

    Most likely it was a combination of his Anniversary and just feeling Romney out! But, as usual, you and wolf didn't see what really happened. Romney flip flopped on National TV! Besides that, the fact that his math is completely WRONG. The only way he can give the DOD money they didn't want, (Only the Military Industrial Complex Companies do), and give the tax breaks to the rich and now,NOW, to the 47%money sucking bums of America, will be to GUT EVERY SOCIAL PROGRAM AND SOCIAL SECURITY, in order to put anything on the NATIONAL DEBT!!!! But you guys didn't see that, did you? Come on Jack, surely you have math skills, this is simple addition and subtraction! All the other credible News Organizations did see that! Hell, Romney accepted several of Obamas plans for the country, BUT, no while Obama is doing them! SO, tell me Jack, who really won when nothing that came out of Romney"s Mouth was original or wasn't flip flopping by saying, ME TOO!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  74. Rob - NYC

    I think Obama let Romney the chance to let out whatever he wanted to say and then in the 2nd debate pounce on him for all the lies he's said. Remember most people will remember what the last debate gave. Kerry in '04 won the first debate but lost the election. Incumbents almost always get trounced in the first debate for their rustiness.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  75. Colleen Kelly Mellor

    Strip away all the falderal, the damned over-the-top hype...the analysis of the minutia (like the wives' biggest concerns for their husbands' performance) and at the end of the day, we've all got one choice: Do we go with a man who's changed so often his bloody rudder's seasick or do we go with "not-so-splashy-but-we-kno0w-what-we've-got" Obama. Sure, I'm never thrilled with the two extremes but if I go with conservative Mitt, I just might cut off some really needy folks from Medicare and Medicaid, school allocation, etc., and I'd rather err on the side of over-generous.Then, too, I'm heartily sick of those who send legions of our young to war, young folks who never really knew what they were getting into (Mitt's sons excluded.) Mitt's too trigger-happy for me and still buys into the John Wayne swagger. Nope, I'm staying the course, even if Obama's rudder seemed limp last night. I'm hoping that was an aberration.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  76. Mike

    Pretty Simple – Romney understands economics and Obama's polcies have failed our country.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  77. Jackie

    How wonderful it would be if candidates discussed HOW they would actually implement their policies, rather than what they plan to do. And the debate format was a disaster. I miss the League of Women Voters.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  78. Tamars

    President Obama didn't do poorly. He just refused to ACT like Romney did after days of rehearsal.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  79. Tre

    Obama missed his teleprompter.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  80. Chris Morrison

    I don't think the President did as poorly as all of the media pundits have stated. First, Mitt Romney "changed" his positions on several issues – not surprising since he is behind and has used this tactic many times in the past. Second, Romney put forth utter falsehoods instead of accurate facts, e.g. the $700+ billion "cut" from Medicare. That argument has been completely debunked. Third, I thought the format of the debate was not very good – perhaps it was because Jim Lehrer lost control very early on in the debate. Fourth, Romney appeared to be very hyped up and was aggressive – is this what Americans use to determine who the winner is?- who is the bully instead of who has something substantial and accurate to say? I certainly hope not. Finally, I do think the President should have confronted Romney more forcefully on key issues – like Romney's statement about the 47% or when Romney stated that he would defund PBS, the president should have reminded everyone how Romney also wants to defund Planned Parenthood.I think once the "facts" are established, it will be clear that what Romney said was politically expedient, inaccurate and, in some cases, outright lies.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  81. kdsworld

    I agree with "Cheryl in Bluffton, SC". I think he was just stunned by how quickly Romney threw his own ideas under the bus. You prepare for what your opponent has been and is expected to say. Romney flatly denied a 20% additional cut in taxes that he's been stumping for. I really don't think Obama saw that coming, and it flummoxed him. The mis-statements were relentless, and Lehrer did a poor job of reining Mitt the Mouth in.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  82. Scott from Eugene Oregon

    I have to challenge the premise of your question, Jack. By what objective measures or criteria do you assume that President Obama did poorly? I know that the "conventional wisdom" says he did poorly, but my perspective is that he did not. He accomplished what he set out to do, what his campaign has strategized to do, which is to present his ideas to the American people in 90 minutes in a way that could be understood and digested - no easy feat. But the advantage he has is that most people feel they already know him, trust him, and like him. Last night did not change any of that.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  83. Mack

    The way this went down last night was kind of confusing, It's Jordan shooting air-balls in a playoff game or Dale Earnhardt riding the breaks on the last lap of the Daytona 500. I feel this is some kind a campaign move of some sort. I don't think Romney won as much as I think Obama handed it to him.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  84. Gay Hollingshead

    Obama can't speak without his teleprompter. His only accomplishment is Bin Laden is dead but so is Ambassador Stevens and 3 other americans!!!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  85. Ralph Nelson

    He didn't take it seriously enough, Romney is a superb debater and well tell any lie (my his own omission) to be President. He is a chronic liar, dishonest, untrustworthy, completely self-centered, pious, bigot, former owner of Clear Channel (Right-wing radio)...in the words of the Koch Brothers (Premier Productions, writers for the Right, Limbaugh)and ALEC (one out of every four state legislators): He'll do nicely.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  86. Dave

    So, if I understand the assertion by several of the posters correctly, this was really just a brilliant ploy by Mr. Obama to lure Mr. Romney into a trap, giving Mr. Romney a false sense of security, and craftily drawing from Mr. Romney details of the Romney / Ryan plans.

    Yeah, you're right. I really am too dumb to catch the subtle nuances of the Democrat's approach to politics. Guess I'm in that 67% that thought it was actually a debate.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  87. DarthVader's Mentor

    The party that wins this election will have to face the worse economic and financial situation this country has ever faced in the next 8 years, along with a tinderbox in the middle East that is about to ignite with a tired US military and no money to pay for a new invasion.

    There's a good chance that the President in power will be the viewed as the new "Herbert Hoover" president, forced into massive cuts and doing some unpopular mandates as well as facing some potentially significant military and foreign policy losses.

    Why not let the Republicans take the hit?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  88. Chris B

    Obama is gauging his opponent, rather than coming out guns blazing. It will only help him in the next two debates, which are closer to the election and will be clearer in voters heads as they walk into the booth.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  89. Clare

    I honestly believed he did quite well, until I listened to the pundits after the debate. Romney seemed to me to be hyper and talking really fast and being quite obnoxious. Poor Jim Lehr lost control of the debate and Romney wouldn't shut up and continued to lie and flip flop. He acted like the bully he has always been. The thought of this man in the Whitehouse is frightening. Give me no drama Obama any day.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  90. Frank C. (Silicon Valley, CA)

    Mr. President got too comfortable with his 4 years presidency. He lost his edge on the battleground of politics. He needs to get his Mojo back.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  91. Brad

    Why did President Obama do so poorly, Jack? He wasn't prepared. Obama has become so dependent on speechwriters and a teleprompter, he forgot how to do what we all thought his strength was – relate with people and speak extemporaneously. He looked unprepared, unmotivated, lost and frustrated last night.

    As a communications professor, I may show clips of this debate for the rest of my years teaching just to show my public speaking students why lack of preparation can make you appear foolilsh. I may not agree with everything Romeny said, but I was so much more impressed with him as a speaker and debater last night.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  92. Chris Schwartz

    If you listen to the spin you can blame the moderator, "fake" Mitt showing up, high altitude (thanks Al Gore) but the real issue is, if Obama can't hold his ground with Jim Lehrer and Mitt Romney in a debate, Vladamir Putin must be licking his chops!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  93. Irish Seanachie from Maine

    Clear case over over preparation; stale, listless and distracted. The man's the President not a machine I would tell his "crew" no more prep for the next debate within 72 hours of the event. Romney's is a good debater, not great, but when your opponent looks half dead you only have to be good. Slainte

    October 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  94. clem kadiddle

    I see the republicans are stoked up today, but they are lying and fooling themselves it they think mittens can defeat BO Americans are getting more wise and politically astute and they know whos policys are better for the entire country and not just the aristocrats.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  95. Big Ben

    Romney is going to see in for the fight of his life in the next debate.

    Obama 2012

    October 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  96. Sandra Does Life

    Because he's finally become a politician. Something he was trying to valiantly not be 4 years ago.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  97. Yuri

    I have a feeling that something was on his mind. He looked as if he received troubling news about something very significant that happened before the debate. Let's hope that it is not a matter of national security. I watched entire debate and it was as if his mind was otherwise preoccupied.

    I am disappointed because I wanted to see him stomp on Romney but it was the other way around. I do not think that Romney won the debate to be honest. I think that the only reason why he did not lose is because Obama was not even trying and it showed.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  98. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York


    The problem is that the media fosters unreasonably high expectations for every appearance by this President. To get in the Hall of Fame a baseball player needs only 1 hit for every 3 at bats, and here you are – no doubt perfect since your Reno Nevada cub reporter days expecting the President to bat 1,000.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  99. Susan - Laguna Hills

    I think Obama walked one step back to give Romney a chance to reveal his LIES...so now we all know Romney is a big liar...next round won't be the same....Yes, just watch, Obama doesn't need to bring any chainsaw or butcher's knife because Romney has already dropped a big rock on his own toes...he has too many holes to fill.

    Susan – Laguna Hills

    October 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  100. Ted from Ontario

    Again we see the spinners highlighting the fact that Mitt Romney won the debate citing the LONE FACT that he was MORE AGGRESSIVE. Since when does being animated or loud and purposely vague and deceptive, trump the FACTS and TRUTH. This thirst for sensationalism and blood and gore has reared its ugly head in American politics and we now want to see individuals humiliated as it makes for more news highlights, tabloid style. The media has therefore morphed from a conduit through which the truth is disseminated to a corporate-run sideshow where entertainment is king and the truth.....well.....they would get around to that eventually

    October 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  101. Ronald P

    He expected grandpa Romney like he got grandpa McCain.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  102. Sandra Does Life

    Because he is now, without a doubt, just a politician, not the visionary he was 4 years ago. Washington has sucked the life out of him.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  103. Joe (Houston, Texas)

    The President looked haggard last night. Not too long ago at the DNC Convention he looked like a younger man. Perhaps the events around the globe has raised his stress level.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  104. Dave

    "I think the better question is why weren't all the candidates who have a mathmatical possibility of winning the election included in the debates."

    Hmmm.... polls show 43% absolutely will vote for Romney, %42 percent will absolutely vote for Obama. Let's see, 43 plus 42 is 85, leaving 15% up for grabs.

    Seems like a pretty straightforward "mathematical possibility" to me.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  105. Becky Cato

    Jack, as the say in Texas, "all hat no cattle". Pres. Obama didn't have a TelePrompTer .

    October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  106. Cathy in TX

    As it turns out, winning a debate is surprisingly easy when a candidate decides he can say anything and expect to get away with it.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  107. Naiman Khan

    Eugene, OR. I think President Obama wanted to lower his expectation for the next couple of debates.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  108. Jared

    It's easy to make someone stumble when what what you're saying are not "facts." How can a candidate prepare to rebuttal blatant lies? Obama did not do well, but to a well-informed American, Romney is not a leader either.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  109. Simon Mirren

    I look at this like this like the Rumble in the Jungle fight. Ali let foreman give him everything he had and it just wasn't enough. Romney is a light middle weight boxer trying to punch above his own weight division. He has no knock out punch and Obama will win this election.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  110. Kerry Day

    Aren't men always a little off their game on the wedding anniversaries?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  111. starman

    Honesty I think he was shocked at the utter strait out of his face lying done by Romney on things like the 5 billion dollar tax issues verified by the fact checkers. The point being is that Obama "appearance" was pretty bad but his content was far spurious (Why can’t Americans see these things?). I doubt many people were actually swayed when Romney said he stands for middle class Americans, most probably laughed out loud considering their actual policies numbering in the thousands prove that totally false... yet he said it a dozen times out of his mouth. I'll stick with proof over Romany’s word of mouth thanks. I sure as heck didn’t buy Romney’s new Term “trickle down Government” used to hide the rage people have for the proven complete failure of Republican “tickle down economics” that lead to the great recession which Romney still tried to peddle to us.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  112. Mike Hans

    Its frankly hard to debate with someone who changes his position with each sentence he utters. Which of the myriad of positions is one supposed to critique? I would expect to hear a more straightforward answer from the Cheshire Cat of Alice's Wonderland, than Romney.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  113. Jeff--Tacoma

    The president lost the debate, because he tried to use logic and facts against his oponent. It's common knowledge Mitt Romney is impervious to these.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  114. Jeff L.

    Classic Obama without a teleprompter. What could he say about the past 3.5 years that would sound good to an open minded voter anyway?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  115. Joe

    Why did President Obama do so poorly at last night's debate?

    He didn't do that bad. He didnt win on style and eye contact. Body Language – Superficial stuff. The media are blowing it up as the end of the world for ratings and hits and comments instead of focusing on the guy with Good Hair changing his positions and sayng "that's not my position".

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  116. Nilu Hoyt

    Just because Romney was better at the debate does not mean he is good for us – middle class. Remember the speech about 47%? That was real Romney and middle class swing voters, better be careful.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  117. Chris

    There's no Teleprompter .

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  118. Adam Goldstein

    President Obama did poorly because he knows in his heart that his philosophy is failing America and he can't come up with the enthusiasm that Mr. Romney displays, someone who actually believes he can help the suffering middle class.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  119. Jerry

    Because the lies and all of the mistruths about Romney he and his campaign have been perpetuating {and there has been many of them} are hard to keep saying when the one your lying about is in the same room!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  120. Tch4apples1

    He didn't do poorly, he was just giving Pinocchio plenty of time to grow his nose!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  121. steve

    Jack, like the rest of us humans, the Presidence has reach the peak of his incompetence.

    In addition its alot different when you have to debate an adult rather then campaign in front of 5,000 college students.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  122. lynnej@hotmail.com

    I thought so too until I took a step back and really sifted through what I had watched. He didn't do poorly.
    He let Romney talk, run his mouth, lie and back himself in a corner. Now Romney can't get out of it.
    For the next two debates, Romney has literally hung himself.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  123. Joseph Francis

    Last nights debate was truly a draw. Fact is that Romney changed his position on so many issues, that it made me and many people that I know wonder, "Is he saying what we want to hear just to get elected?" All his answers were so perfect and normally when something is too good to be true, it IS too good to be true. One more thing. This was the first debate, and this race is a marathon, not a sprint. Relax and stop being so dramatic! Geeze.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  124. Linda

    President Obama did poorly because he was not there. His debate prep team should be fired. Did they not view tapes of Mitt's debates in Massachusetts and know this is how he won there as Governor? Romney steamrolled him, and he cowered in surprise and anger, flustered, stammered without his teleprompter.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  125. Gary

    It's deeply disturbing to me the the POTUS couldn't seem to look Gov. Romney in the eye at the debate but today has all kinds of attacks ( Big Bird ). Where was this when he had to look him in the eye ?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  126. Sergio Laguna

    It's all just tactic. Presidential debates are very formal and Obama did his best to fair and give Romney to run his ideas through. Albeit knowing that he would most likely give details and most likely fall into Romney's own hole of words. Obama is now tactically portraying this to the people directly. One on One connection to what most people find as true based on what was heard last night according to Obama.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  127. Balazs Schreil

    Mitt Romney seemed extremely well prepared on complex issues. Looks like he thought through problems effectively and came up with solutions for which Obama was not ready.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  128. CoCo B.

    President Obama played it cool. He allowed Romney to ramble on and on and dispute his own lies!!!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  129. Jim

    Jet lag.Altitude sickness.Mittens came out both thumbs swinging

    October 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  130. Steve

    Finally....we get someone to challenge the Prez on his record and he falls flat on his face. I'snt it your Job Mr. McCaf to ask the tought questions? Maybe if you guys had asked the tought questions for four years, Obama wouldn't have needed CPR after last nights debate. That being said, American finally got to see the real Obama last night.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  131. Andy Martens

    Jack, Obama lost because he wasnt protected by media, who carries water for him. Obama cannot defend his horrible record, everyone saw real Obama , last night.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  132. mylifeasaconsultant

    President Obama did poorly because he simply has not put forth the effort to stay apprised of the specifics surrounding his own policies. He was unable to cite facts and figures that should have been on the tip of his tongue simply by virtue of his being employed as our president. He is great at painting a vision, but he is severly lacking in the details. And the devil is in the details.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  133. Mike

    I think he was in shock. The lies that Romney was spewing made him stop in his tracks.
    He didn't know how to debate a candidate on a position when his position kept shifting right before his eyes

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  134. Kris.ATX

    Maybe he is not too worried. Maybe he knows of more Mitt Romney video tapes that have not been released by Mother Jones

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  135. John

    He flopped because he had no choice, this is the real Obama, with nothing but a failed record and an unredeemable lack of credibility supporting him. This was the first time he had to prove himself since surfing the wave of good luck in 2008. After 4 years of being insulated by his yes-men and answering machine, his atrophy was insurmountable. He proved he is a mere hollow shell.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  136. Keith Miller

    He is obviously tired! President Obama hasnt lost it he was a 30 and 0 team that took a 0 and 30 team for granted. ie Tyson/Douglas...........
    He will be back next fight!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  137. Guy

    Perhaps if the questions were about celebrities he might have had a clue.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  138. Adam Sanders

    The reason? The President happens to have A JOB. He didn't have months to sit around his beach house rehearsing his lines as did Romney. He has real life responsibilities to balanace even while running for re-election.

    Adam Sanders
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  139. Linda, Tucson

    It looked like the President was tired and preoccupied. Unlike Romney, Obama has a job other than campaigning. Perhaps there was some difficult issue he was thinking about. I actually thought while Obama was flat, I preferred his performance to Romney. Romney was too aggressive, a liar, and overly defensive at times. Yes, Romney had style points but as far as substance, I really think Obama was superior. ,

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  140. Yvette Garcia

    Obama is all talk and no action. He has no plan and he knows it. Bob Woodward wrote in his latest book that Obama and the White House are clueless and very unorganized. Obama has been protected by the media and when he has to stand alone to explain his lousy record he chokes because he has no answers.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  141. Bill Ojai, Ca

    Jack, it's because while Obama is the greatest speech reader anyone has ever seen, it turns out that he is nothing more than an empty shirt politician. He did well in Berlin and other places because he is an orator, but when it comes to debating and leading he proves that he has nothing to offer.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  142. John W

    It is easy to debate a vision, as you saw in 2008. It is difficult to debate a terrible record as you saw last night.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  143. B. Smith

    I teach political science. Within less than 24 hours I have shown the debate to all my students. There has been no follow-up analysis yet – that will occur next week. I don't know if I am merely punch drunk by the experience of now having sat through the entire debate six time; but, I do not think the President was bad. Actually, on the facts I thought President Obama scored highly on substance. His energy level, however, was too subdued to be considered a win by the media. I expect the President will be more forceful and demonstrate his superior knowledge of the facts in the future. Governor Romney looked good because, for the first time in more than a year, he sounded reasonable. He needed to abandon his party's platform and ideological purity to do so. But the right doesn't care – as long as the press is positive. At this point, they will take anything.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  144. Rick from Ohio

    There are several causes. The first is that he is the sitting president and has many more things to do than prep for a debates. He has a record that he is forced to defend. And that includes a sluggish economy that defies all efforts to make it better. All these people forget that the Boomers have stopped spending and that it may not be easy to turn the economy around. He looked tired and probably was. It was his anniversary and if his wife is like mine, he did not want to be there, any place but there.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  145. sjemjd

    Really to say the altitude is to blame for poor performance that is reaching a bit....no one knows for sure who is telling the truth or not. The only truth is the last four years have been a disaster and its time for another change. As to the tax break, Romney is right there are not incentives to take your business over seas however all expenses of a move in the US as well as over seas is a deduction. President Obama said it was an incentive and Romney is correct to say it is not. Check your facts...

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  146. Steve

    Finally....we get someone to challenge the Prez on his record and he falls flat on his face. Isn't it your Job Mr. McCaf to ask the tought questions? Maybe if you guys had asked the tought questions for four years, Obama wouldn't have needed CPR after last nights debate. That being said, American finally got to see the real Obama last night.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  147. Navid

    Watching Mitt Romney last night, I say apparently Ahmadinejad has been successful promoting his debating skills which are formed of hiding your past records by attacking your opponent and lying straight for 90 minutes...

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  148. lynnej in NC

    I thought so too until I took a step back and really sifted through what I had watched. He didn't do poorly.
    He let Romney talk, run his mouth, lie and back himself in a corner. Now Romney can't get out of it.
    For the next two debates, Romney has literally hung himself.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  149. Jacob

    One reason is being too overconfident. Other reason i think is because of getting the Debate prepped by wrong person-John Kerry a loosing Presidential nominee.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  150. Mark D

    President Obama did his best. He was simply outclassed by a better opponent.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  151. carol

    It's as clear as the nose on your face. . . you can't lie about a person when he is standing six feet away from you.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  152. Jasmine in Germany

    I wouldn't say Obama did poorly, but I would say Romney performed better than expected. Let's not forget that Mr. President has very serious continual 24/7 concerns (contrary to former Governor Romney) which are more important than a show. One of Obama's concerns yesterday was communicating with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Prime Minister of Turkey) regarding Syria while Romney's concerns were with his pedicurist. The debate was just a sideshow, the main event is yet to come.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  153. rboblee

    Webster, NY – Q: Why did the President perform so badly at the Denver Presidential Debate?
    A: High altitude – Low hemocrit count - Proper preparation for high-altitude performance sports requires a minimum of 3-months of conditioning to naturally increase serum hemocrit count to a level that will sustain the human brain at proper oxygen levels. As we know from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), blood boosting before a critical event CAN improve human performance. FOR THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE, WADA should perform critical drug tests to ensure that both candidates are not using performance enhancing drugs - like AMGEN's Epoetin.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  154. Steve

    Finally....we get someone to challenge the Prez on his record and he falls flat on his face. Isn't it your Job Mr. McCaf to ask the tought questions? Maybe if you guys had asked the tough questions for four years, Obama wouldn't have needed CPR after last nights debate. That being said, American finally got to see the real Obama last night.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  155. kATTY OR

    Last night we saw the REAL Obama, bumbling, lying, uncomfortable, ill-at-ease, etc., etc.,.....take away his speech writer and teleprompter and he is totally at sea...what a con job he has done on his minions....and yet there are those unable to get your heads out of the sand that will still vote for him and continue 4 more years of this...then what are you gonna do? Maybe you don't really want a job, income, security but the rest of us do....

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  156. Sandstone

    "You really want me to be 'Unbiased?' It's easy when you have run your own business for a while (yes I was a Director for a short time). Had my own Business, but at the wrong time!! I have been in small business for most of my life; how could I know so much.... Mitt Romney is the same guy I worked with/against for most of my working life. Obama has no idea about running a business! No Idea ???"

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  157. Michael

    Obama didn't play his A game. He's the leader of the free world, but he's also human. We don't know what else might have been on his mind in regards to his presidential duties. I'm a strong supporter, I was disappointed, but rest assured he will bounce back all the stronger, and his integrity and humility will sustain his message.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  158. Laura

    I'm going with altitude sickness. He flew in 5 hours before the debate. Your body really needs to adjust; you really feel crappy for the 1st couple days if you live around sea level! (Romney had 2 days..) I think he didn't feel well and was, therefore, 'off'.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  159. Nancy in Iowa

    Was it simply a coincidence that our ally and fellow NATO member Turkey was attacked from Syria yesterday? It occurs to me that President Obama may have had a lot more serious things on his mind than the Romney debate since it could mean our entrance into a war due to the NATO relationship. He probably was on the phone up to the last minute beforehand. Sometimes it doesn't seem to occur to the news media that there is a reason our Presidents hair turns grey and they age fast in office....they have serious and constant issues to deal with. I'm sure he may have viewed debating with the forked tongue of Romney as a secondary concern.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  160. Sam

    Romance was in the air. It was his anniversary.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  161. Bob in PA

    Obama didn't ask: 'What happens to the jobs that are lost when the government is reduced and cut?' Romney spun his plan as a job creation initiative, but nobody pointed out that his proposal to cut government costs jobs.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  162. rafa

    Obama is the ultimate rope a dope... giving Romney as much rope as he needs with vagueness and shallow "How it's going to get done". After the election, Romney can get a gig on DWTS... man alive

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  163. James

    He was coached to do this to show that Romey should not be taken seriously but it blew up in his face.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  164. David in Decatur, GA

    In the previous 4 to 6 years, nobody has been allowed to challenge Pres. Obama, he is the end all, do all, God of All, in his humble opinion. Last night, Gov. Romney challenged him and he was not prepared for it. He seemed pathetic at best. My larger question to you is, why are not ALL the candidates for president allowed to debate? Frankly, I'm tired of the two party rhetoric and I'm looking for a better alternative.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  165. stephen hapke

    When the President already planned a conservative approach to the debate of not being combative or argumentative as soon as Romney threw out the HUGE lie about not supporting his own economic plan of cutting taxes 20% to stimulate the economy, divorcing himself from what he has been preaching since the beginning of his campaign you could see that Obama was thrown off at that total lack of seriousness and consistency from his competitor. It is not very easy to have to spend a debate calling out your opponent for being a liar and still look non-combative and Presidential–end of story.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  166. Victor

    Al Gore says it is the altitude. You better believe it he single handedly invented internet.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  167. cballard

    He didn't do poorly and I'm tired of his supporters saying he did. Just because he wasn't obnoxious, overbearing and outright rude, but rather cool, calm and collected doesn't mean he lost. He was articulate and presidential and he did fight back, just not in a rude, loud manner. He won the debate.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  168. Maria

    He looked tired. He was a rusty. He hasn't debated in 3 or 4 years

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  169. Al from orlando

    The concern should be that the people saw Mr. R and were unable to see his strong point. I almost wanted to buy a
    used car from him. If you saw him pull his own hook from the stage yet you call him a winner you lack the smarts tp

    October 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  170. Ron from Toronto

    Obama appeared last night to be as tired and fed up with this interminable process as most outside the beltway and media have become. Living in a country that calls a federal election and gets it over with in less than two months, I cannot fathom living with the full time, all time political cycle that Americans suffer through!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  171. Henrietta Dwyer

    Dear Jack:

    Simpley stated, Obama is all form and no substance.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  172. Abdur Azad, NY

    "And he allowed Romney to get back in the race big time"-yes Jack, I strongly feel your catch line is true. If he knocked out Mitt today his candidacy would drown into deep water. his supporters, Kotch brothers, Aldelsons and Trumps would then bankroll their money for down ballot votes. Now Romney's candidacy remains strong and Kotch brothers, Aldelsons and Trumps will continue their support for Romney. And that will surely help down ballot Dem contestants. Superb politics. Viva Obama.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  173. Jose Robles

    because obama is run out of ideas what do we want him to said,, another 4 years of the same thing of HOPE AND CHANGE enough we need some one with new ideas MITT was great last nite he did a great job

    October 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  174. Robert

    It goes to show that Obama needs a teleprompter and script writer in order to sound knowledgeable. It obviously doesn't know anything about economics.

    The question should be "do you think the democratic media outlets are bias towards Obama?"

    Obama lost and foolish, the cheerleading is over. We need a new president!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  175. Patrick Grant

    Romney looked Presidential, Obama looked dispirited.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  176. Kevin

    As was mentioned earlier on The Situation Room, Obama just does better with a crowd. In the debate, the crowd was silenced. You see today when he spoke, Obama was charged with the response and support of the crowd.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  177. Andrew From Alabama

    He acted like he was talking to Michelle and not Mitt. I understand the names sound alike but Mr. President know the difference.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  178. Jorgealberto

    @jackcafferty it's not the same to distort while talking to your troops than lie while being challenged in a debate

    October 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  179. John Roach

    My condolences to Cafferty- sorry that the man you so deperately want re-elected did not do well in the debate. He was never qualified to be president. He may have been a C student in school for all we know. He seems like a nice guy but he has never done anything in his life that would qualify him to be president. He does not attend security briefings, doesn't have cabinet meetings, doesn't meet with his jobs council- when the things blew up in Libya, he went to a fundraiser instead of meeting with his cabinet.
    He does not know what he is doing that is why he did not do well in the debate.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  180. ID SHITTU

    it's easy, Mitt Romney is a candidate and Barack Obama is the PRESIDENT!.. what do you expect?

    ID Shittu
    Castro Valley, CA

    October 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  181. MLG

    Just a thought – if OBama had buried Romney, funding from the superpacs might have shifted to the repub. down ticket, affecting senate and house races more. Now repubs think they have a chance with Rommey.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  182. Larry

    I don't think President Obama did poorly, I think Romney was off the wall and contradicted his own campaign and party platform. I think the long term effect of Romney's comments will benefit President Obama.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  183. Debbie Davis

    Obama can not stand on his own dismal record. Failed Foreign policy. Failed deficit reduction. Failed Economy. Failed jobs. Obamacare which most Americans did not want. Increased taxes in the future because of said Obamacare. Printing money which will cause inflation. Our military and defense is decreased. Our borders are not secure. Then there is fast and furious, and using executive privilege to protect Eric Holder. That is the exact opposite of "transparent". And then there is how Obama has divided Americans by wealth, race. ethnic groups, age, even sex. All Obama can do is attack which is how he has won every election before. Even with Obama getting extra time (4 mins) Romney showed the world who he really is and what he stands for without being colored by all of Obama's untruthful ads. Romney wants smaller government and supports our Constitution (which obama thinks needs correcting). Romney / Ryan 2012

    October 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  184. Craig from Pa.

    Perhaps he was just learning prior to the debate about Turkey firing back into Syria last night....had other things on his mind

    October 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  185. Andrew From Alabama

    The president was having a conversation and not a debate.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  186. Roland on Whidbey Island

    Regarding last night's debate, it seemed to me the president had something big, pressing or critical on his mind, I wonder if it may have been the turkey/syria and issues we are not aware off- he looked preoccupied with something.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  187. Varadan

    Didn't the president sleep well the night before the debate? I can't think of any other reason why he appeared so dull and why his performance was so lackluster.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  188. Bonnie

    Still cannot trust Mr. Romney....

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  189. Aaron

    President Obama did very well. His message was clear and understandable. Romney's plan is still unclear.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  190. karen

    Mitty was rude, arrogant, and full of lies. Obama played it cool by allowing Mitty command the spotlight. I am amazed how Americans forgot about the 47% robme was referring too. No bills i.e. Jobs Act, that President Obama presented even passed because of GOP resistance toward moving America forward. Hello Big Bird how you doin????

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  191. James from Toronto

    It's hard to say why the President didn't do well. It could be any number of reasons. In the next two debates if the President doesn't show up he can kiss the election goodbye. I'm sure that would be great news for you and Wolf, Jack. With Romney making no bones about not taxing the rich your millions will be nice and safe.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  192. Peter

    Jack, it’s not the altitude as some creative people have suggested, President Obama did poorly at last night’s debate because he lost every common sense argument on Economy. President Obama and President George W. Bush should get together after the election and write a book titled ”how not to run the Government”, it will be a big hit!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  193. Greg Nurse

    It's remarkable what happens when a teleprompter isn't available. He kept looking for one because he sure wasn't looking at or listening to what Mitt Romney said.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  194. Kathy, Arizona

    You can't judge a play until you have seen all 3 acts. Every performer knows that it isn't how you begin but rather how you end the show. Romney used a debate format he had a lot of experience with during the primaries. Wait until the 2nd act. There is no way that Romney will be able to handle a town hall debate format. The President is a whole lot more empathetic with everyday Americans than Romney could ever hope to be.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  195. Dr Sakho

    The answer is simple. Romny change all his position and denied anything he stood for. why should we believe him anymore?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  196. Clairissa Pickering

    Obama did so poorly because he did not have his handy dandy teleprompter to tell him what to actually say. It was evident in his responses he really does not know what is actually going on in our country. He is too busy making appearances on TV or contemplating his 934th executive order.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  197. Nah Hee

    Obama's campaign has been all about demonizing Romney not about making a plausible case for what he would do in a second term. While he has certainly repeated the 2008 vintage roads and bridges, schoolteachers, etc, he has shown by his record that he can't get any of this through Congress, and we don't have the money to pay for any of this either. People see through all the tax the rich class warfare stuff – if we killed everybody with a net worth greater than $1M, sold all their stuff and kept their money we wouldn't even pay off the deficit for a single one of his budgets. Now that people have actually seen Romney outside of Obama's ads they now realize that the emporer (Obama) has no clothes.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  198. Alex Landi

    Mt. Shasta, CA

    Obama is "mesmerizing" only when he is not being challenged; i.e.,giving a speech or reading from a teleprompter. I knew he would do poorly in last night's debate because he couldn't rely on his personality or propaganda techniques to fool people.
    He is so arrogant he doesn't believe that he even should be challenged in a debate. He hated the experience and it showed. This does not bode well for him. If he can't defend his policies in a debate he should be replaced.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  199. TNT

    I support President Obama, and I don't feel Mitt Romney was honest in the debate. Different from what he has said on the campaign trail. Yes I wish Pres. Obama had been more agressive, but, didn't change my mind. Romney scares me i really believe he meant the 47% comment he made at a wealthy fund raiser.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  200. Nancy

    Who said he lost? I thought Romney came off as the bully he is. Rude to the commentator – rude to our President – made up is own rules. I can never see him dealing with other countries in a crisis. Romney Sissorhands is the bully he was in school cutting that scared young man's hair off with his buddies. He is ruthless – we don't need him!!!!!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  201. David Balik

    When you rarely have press conferences, and spend your time fielding lob balls from shows like "The View" and "Letterman", it makes it difficult to all of a sudden have to respond to real questions and comments that are substantive and critical of Obama's failed record. Romney IS different than how the mainstream media has portrayed him, and Obama's commercials have tried to depict. Romney "unfiltered" was smart, credible, and very Presidential. Game on!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  202. Sarah

    I'm still in disbelief that President Obama bombed so badly last night! It's just something that we are not used to seeing from him. It's just so shocking. He probably thought it was going to be an easy debate with Mit Romney but was totally taken aback by Romney's new shift in confidence and policy. I think it really shook Obama up and thru him off his game.... BIG TIME!! It was so hard to watch.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  203. L.Newman

    president obama had a culmination of things in his arsenal he didnt use against gov. romney, but major hesitation and possible unpreparedness was the key factor....i think this was the fire lit & needed under obama to get his engine on turbo for the next few debates.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  204. Graham Rowe

    Victory defeated President Obama. Hubris set in, that's what happens when you believe your own propoganda. He clearly didn't think he needed to prepare to debate a 'goof' like Mitt Romney.

    Florida Resident living in Jamaica

    October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  205. Alvin Houston

    Jack. It is not easy to do well when the facts are confronting you. So he got what he deserves. Maybe he will take this office more seriously. I have never seen such an arrogant and irresponsible candidate running for such a high office.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  206. Annemarie (Pittsburgh, PA)

    I find this question and the response to the president odd. I thought the president did very well. He was thoughtfull, responsive, and detailed. Aggresion and "cliches" do not make a good president in my view and I much rather have someone leading the country who thinks about the questions carefully rather than shooting answers from the hip without any foundation in research and facts.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  207. Michael Bass. Tyler, Texas

    Obama was trying to be honest to the American people...but he should be aware that to excel in politics you have to do it Mitt's way.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  208. john kneeland

    john in Hamilton, ontario

    All Americans seem to see is style. Romney's arguments had holes in them so big you could drive a truck through them. But he acted like a bully, and it appears that Obama thought it was beneath the dignity of his office to respond. If you read the transcripts, you don't see Obama looking away from Romney or smirking. You read logical, detailed explanations of his policies. Romney made claims but failed to provide any detail – the sure sign of a veteran con man.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  209. Angela from Ankeny, Iowa

    President Obama showed up to debate last night. It's a bit difficult to debate Mitt Romney, when he denies his basic policy stances that he's been touting for more than a year. Mitt Romney denied his ideas about tax cuts and his plan to voucherize Medicare. Romney revealed a new plan to cover pre-existing conditions when he's been vowing to repeal Obamacare for the past year. I found myself wondering, "Who is this man and what has he done with Mitt Romney?" How was Obama supposed to debate someone who changed his major policy stances at the podium and lied about his long-held beliefs?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  210. Billie Shaffer

    Instead of obsessing over Obama's performance in the debate, why aren't you asking why Romney did sanother flip-flop on everything he has been saying for months. All of a sudden, he is NOT going to extend tax cuts to the wealthy, he is NOT going to dismantle Medicare, on and on. Weren't you paying attention? I was. And I am not obsessing over the Prez.'s performance.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  211. rutrue

    It must be very difficult to debate the debate captain when everything that the person said was being said for the first time and was a lie and differed from everything the person has been campaigning on for the past 4 years. Romney did well as the captain of the debate team but failed at being an honest person.
    Well, last night I saw who I would want to be the next President and it was not the captain of the debate team.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  212. willie wright

    I think the question shod be what is going on in the world that we do not know that might have him distracted. He left the debate fairly quick. He is a sitting president sometimes his job can be a bit distracting

    October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  213. nate

    Obama's performance cannot be described as classy but should not be described as poor either. The media maybe getting carried away but for me its a clear case of Romney falling for the bait. Obama just drew him out of his shell. He(Romney) has just boxed himself into a corner from which there is no easy exit by trying to be specific without offering logical specifics. He has given Obama more ammo to hurt him during the next two debates.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  214. Steve Edna, KS

    Here is my question Jack! What debate was you watching? I saw an angry aggressive Romney bulling the moderator Jim Lehrer , not answering the questions, flat out not putting out any details on his agenda, and making false statement. President Obama was more polite and followed the time rules more that the wannabe.
    President Obama might not have won the debate, BUT LOSING the debate and doing poorly? Maybe you need the have your hearing checked. Mr etch a sketch is a loser from word go.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  215. Cindy

    I agree President Obama was not on his game but Romney also didn’t tell the truth on many topics and knew he had to make up for the 47% remark. Also of those 12 million jobs he plans – are mostly for those 47%.

    I want to know what Romney plans for the 92% of us who DO have jobs?

    I work for myself and health care is the big issue for me. I have a private plan that I pay almost $500 a month for with a $5,000 deductible – it is only useful for a major accident. I need an MRI for my shoulder but really don’t have the $3000 for it right now. I can’t wait for Obama Care to be in effect.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  216. hivoltg

    Romney got "Bamboozled" last night and doesn't even realize it yet?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  217. Susan

    Why did the President perform poorly?
    1) From the beginning he did not look well. Of course, nobody wants to hear THAT excuse, but he really did look like he was ill.
    2) Related: nobody knows what else is going on with him as far as governing - maybe something is up. Again, not a reason anyone wants to hear.
    3) His contempt for Romney (the multiple Romneys, each carrying around an Etch N Sketch) is so great that he could not masked it.
    4) He gives the undecided American voters TOO MUCH credit - thinking they will vote on substance and facts and know that Romney changes his positions more than a model for a guide to the Kama Sutra. IF THIS IS THE CASE, too bad for the Prez because anyone undecided at this point has not been (or is unable) to p.ay attention

    October 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  218. Andrew From Huntsville, Alabama

    The moderator was probably and replacement. Where did the real moderators go?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  219. Sam Marsh

    Why did Obama do so poorly? 1) It was his anniversary, he would have rather been with his wife; 2) He hasn't debated in 4 years and is out of practice, Romney has been in numerous debates this year; 3) Obama just couldn't believe that Romney would change his stance on issues (like taxes) at the last minute and act like it was what he always believed in; 4) Obama seems more of a decent person who expects people to have some sense of decency while Romney obviously has no problem with doing a complete 180 degree shift in his "beliefs" and outright lying to the public; 5) Jim Lehrer did a horrible job of "moderating" the debate–he let Romney talk all over him and Obama, and let Romney have the last say in almost all segments (I think he actually let Obama have the last word once). Yes, Romney did a better job of "debating" if you take his words at face value. However if you do a bit of research into what his history is and what his real beliefs are . . . not so good. I would still never vote for Romney, and I think that we will see a different President Obama in the last two debates.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  220. Darrell

    Jack, President Obama was unprepared, unfocused, and not able to clearly and CONCISELY make his points. Obama's comebacks were rambling, incoherent and overall ineffective.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  221. Larry in Houston

    the real reason he done so poorly is because he's probably not going to make it on nov 6th . (for a short answer)

    October 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  222. Frank McGrath (Paeonian Springs, VA)

    I am sure that two primary reasons Obama did do poorly are; he did not have a teleprompter: he had to answer questions that he did not make up prior to the debate

    October 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  223. zoeb nek

    No rebuke. No counter punch. You loose.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  224. Kristen Richards, Worcester, MA

    I am a public school teacher and I feel like President Obama. I am deflated. When I first started teaching I was full of hope. After years of being bashed by the public, and unsupported and even undermined by administration, I am tired of fighting. He is a sensitive and intelligent man who truly cares about people like I truly care about my profession but it is depressing to have to fight against everything all the time. Obviously we want a president who can lead us but I would rather have someone who doesn't lie and act than someone who appears stronger but is in reality fooling us all.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  225. k byrd

    If Obama goes on the attack, he would have been labelled an angry black man. You think !

    October 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  226. Chuck Barker Texas

    Just like McCain choosing Palin, and all those Republican never-woulda-beens-making ridiculous mistakes that allowed Romney to get the nomination by default, it just seemed like Obama is trying to lose. Obama aided and abetted Romney's lies during the debate by glossing over and ignoring them.

    Chuck Barker

    October 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  227. RonLou

    Although most of us agree he lost the debate; it was on style not substance. The big news today is that all the Pundits and news people are asking why he did not attack Romney on his weaknesses; discussing theses weaknesses constantly and even listing them on point charts for their viewers. This has kept these weaknesses alive and in the minds of the voters; making them attack ads that neither his campaign or groups that support him must pay for. Great strategy if intentional and these Pundits and news people will probably be talking about these weaknesses right up until the next debate; wondering if he will bring them up. Is this going to be the October suprise when viewed in retrospect ?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  228. Serge Crespy

    President Obama and the First Lady may have 'celebrated' their anniversary, prior to the debate ..... The 'fighting-spirit' no-doubt drained !

    October 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  229. Ed from Pennsylvania

    I don't think the President expected Romney to deny the $5 trillion tax cut as forcefully as he did. Obama had a hard time holding Romney's feet to the fire on the math of his policies, since Romney hammered the "I am not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut" home so many times.

    Having the hardest job in the world has reduced the President's energy and his enthusiasm, but there is no way he will allow that to happen again.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  230. Steven M

    Its simple why President Obama was a bust last night...There is no defense for what he has done and not done the last 4 yrs. He never focused on the main problem when he came into office...ECONOMY...He had full control at that time. Instead he just pushed through a health care bill that the majority of the country didn't want and the majority of Congress never read. Its four years from the time he took office and the problem is still the ECONOMY!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  231. A Nesbitt

    The President looked tired and maybe even districtracted. It seemed like a "let's just get through tonight" type of performance, than a truly planned strategy. We do have to remember that through this whole campaign process, the President still has to govern, and he is currently dealing with some high profile issues such as the attacks on our embassies in the Middle East. His opponent has nothing else to do but prepare. Plus, it was his wedding anniversary. Who wants to be working extra hours on that day?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  232. M. Stewart

    It's almost impossible to answer an opponent who is stating one lie after another with such glibness. Romney was smirking at President Obama the entire time. President Obama maintained his dignity and calmness without stooping to reacting in a like manner. It makes me disrespect Romney ten times more and raised my respect for President Obama even more.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  233. Carol Cortez

    The President was being a gentleman and hoping that Mr. Romney would be likewise. The gloves will off for the next debates.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  234. Chad, from Oklahoma

    Chad (Oklahoma) Look, We cannot be hoodwinked from mitt romney's showing , we cannot afford to go backwards in this country . the last time it was a recession but this time if, we are hoodwinked it will be a depression. You cannot rush progress when it is running a marathon..........

    October 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  235. Graham Rowe

    Victory defeated President Obama. His previous oratory successes have turned confidence into Hubris. He clearly didn't think he needed to prepare that much to debate a 'goof' like Romney. While Romney was busy burning the midnight oil.

    -Florida resident living in Jamaica

    October 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  236. Pat Woods

    I think the real question is "How does a Presidential candidate lie to the American people so blatantly and then declared a victor?" Are we the American people just that stupid? I mean c'mon... I do admit that Romney was enthusiastic, passionate, engaging but what about truthful? Does telling the truth mean anything anymore? You would think that after such devastating events like the housing collapse,Wall Street, the war overseas that we Americans would now demand the truth. However according to the media, all one needs is theatrics!!! If you're smiling and throwing your arms around, you can say anything! Perhaps my six year old should run for president....

    October 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  237. Joe

    President Obama is lulling Governor Romney into a false sense of security. The only bounce that counts is the one on election day.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  238. Walter Stevenson

    Jack, how do you debate a person who lies about their real beliefs and switches platforms on "Every" position he stands for? I think the President was bewildered at Romney's inconsistent stances on just about every issue they talked about! This had to have sucked the wind out of President Obama!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  239. Craig P

    I think based on todays' campaign stops, he may be taking a page from the Great Muhammad Ali and doing the "Rope a Dope' by letting Romney punch himself out and delivering the knock out blows in the later rounds.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  240. Ginette Dumas Ottawa, Ontario Canada

    Being from Canada let me tell I only wish President Obama would be our prime minister that said..
    Good for President Obama, he didn't lower himself to Romney's level, he did not give in to his sad and pathetic game.
    The president does not play games and last night was also not the place to have a game of tag and my father is better than your father...etc. If Romney get elected just because of last night well, good luck to you my friendly neighbors.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  241. Dan Nka. LA CA

    Why did President Obama do so poorly at last night's debate?

    Because all along the media has sugar coated his job performance for the past four years with no questions asked.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  242. Joan

    Just a suggestion-President Obama is far from being an incompetent, much less stupid, debator. I wonder if, after the first question, when it became obvious that Mr Romney was prepared to deny or blatently lie about statements he has been making for months, President Obama decided the smart response was to give his attacker enough rope to hang himself?!
    Joan in NB Canada

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  243. Mark Philadelphia, PA

    Because he's not entitled to his own facts!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  244. willis smith

    He had a taste of his own medicine and didn't like it, Mitt romney used the history of obama's record as he reverts to the "mess he inherited" he had no good answer. As he has had no good economical policies to recoup us out of this mess

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  245. Aaron from California

    Great debate and great responses. Really enjoyed reading all the responses and different points of view. Most people would agree that Romney won. He was very well prepared and embraced the moment. Obama looked tired and not quite up the challenge. I think it's safe to assume that Obama will be better prepared next time. However, Obama's record is history and hard to deny. He PROMISED to cut the deficit in half and instead it's trippled. When his term started HE SAID if the Unemployment rate isn't below 8.0% then he shouldn't be reelected. Ca'mon, what did you expect, he was a "community organizer" and U.S, Senator for only 2-3 years. Did he really have the experience to be President of the United States? It's time for a change and I thnk Mitt will make America a better place in the next 4 years than it is today

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  246. Jan (Santa Barbara)

    President Obama has not had a press conference in 7 months, he has only agreed to interviews with non-confrontational moderators. He has spent too much time drinking his own Kool-Aid. Gov. Romney has a solid plan, with new ideas, and he's an experienced Executive. After 4 years on the job, President Obama has been has been coasting through the most important job in the world. Instead of rolling up his sleeves, working with Congress to find solutions, meeting face to face with foreign leaders in a time of crisis, and bringing people together; he's been golfing, talking to ladies on the View and joking with David Letterman.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  247. Tom in Ontario

    Obama couldn't believe that Romney denied ownership of the budget and policies he's endorsed in this campaign. Romney endorsed Ryan's budget (which cuts educational spending) and then said he didn't want to cut educational spending. That budget requires $5 trillion in extra revenue to make off for the cuts in headline rates, yet Romney said it didn't. Obama expected a serious discussion of the issues and got Romney's usual vagary without the details needed.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  248. Ronald A.(Columbus, Ohio)

    The next President will deal with a European and USA recession/depression . Obama 's poor performance rewards Obama now ..with a library, a huge pension for the rest of his life, federal security, etc. Why not retire now and relax. Give the mess back to the Republicans, hell they created the mess. Let the Repubs deal with it.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  249. Patrick

    Obama did poorly because the record speaks for itself. He looked utterly exhausted and worn out, he is not someone ready to "move forward" by any means. Rising national deficit, health care costs, food, and gas prices are among some of the many accomplishments he can add to his resume. He had four years for change and he failed, plain and simple. Now I've had four years to change my mind and I will not vote for that man again.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  250. Kelly from California

    Clint Eastwood was vindicated last night...the empty chair showed up for the debate.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  251. Dwight

    I don't think he lost the debate I think he just waited for Mitt to insert his foot a little deeper!I'm not even a democrat or republican voter I vote Libertarian but watch the others intently and Mitt flips like a top and Obama needs to get more guts and just say it ( I could have got more done if your party helped instead of just refusing cause it is a democratic idea!) and they both need to face the fact that the only way to cut the deficit is to ask everyone to do a little more rich to poor! I don't know about you but if I owe I have to cut somewhere else or work harder not just give the kids more money and say don't worry someone will pay for it! We are America the greatest nation on earth how did we get to be a debtor nation with competent leaders we would be the lender not china!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  252. jpetz

    In 1984 Reagan was pitiful in his first debate against Mondale. Its one reason why its necessary to have multiple debates. The other reasin is the format which doesn't give enough time to correct outrageous claims made by an opponent. For instance, Romney stated last night "I will not cut taxes for wealthy Americans". Now anyone who watched the GOP primaries know full well Romney never made such a claim and in fact has been touting tax cuts for everyone for months. Obama could have rebutted that statement for 10min or more but there just isn't enough time in this type of format. What Obama needs to do is cut to the chase and not provide background info; that way he gets to use his time more effectively. Romney made more effective use of the time he had.

    Come the 2nd debate, Obama will come out swinging. If he doesn't then he lacks the passion and will go down to defeat as he should if that is his attitude. However, I do believe Obama intentionally laid back to get a feel where Romney would be attacking. Now, the gloves come off.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  253. JB

    The President is a very bright guy with very astute men and women surrounding him. My best guess is the plan was to give Mr. Romney the rope to hang himself with. JB Florida

    October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  254. Sabrina

    I feel President Obama should have been much more aggressive and let MR. Romney have it, because he could have. I felt MR. Romney was talking LOUD and saying nothing. He was very rehearsed, and was all over the place, when asked a question. he would not allow the President to speak. I saw a President who was willing to talk, and answer the questions he was asked. it was like watching an attack dog going after someone who was not there to fight, but to talk to the American people, and show some of the differences between the two of them. MR. Romney lied, twisted things, run over the Narrator, along with President Obama. I wondered which Mitt Romney who show up, we'll it was both, the condescending person who does not say what he truly feels, and the LIAR who would say anything to try and win the White House. I hope the next debate is more controlled, and respectful. if President Obame had of attacked MR. Romney, it would be said today, that he was mean, vindictive, and what ever descriptions the right wing could and do create.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  255. Kathryn (Mountain Home, AR)

    The answer is simple. He did not have a teleprompter telling him what to say.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  256. AB

    President Obama did not perform pooly, nor was he aloof or disinterested. But he was annoyed and upset with Romney's lies and dishonesty. President Obama calmly and cogently made the point that Romney has no better alternative to his plan for fixing the economy and for reforming healthcare. In fact, Romney enacted the same exact health reform program into law in Massachuttsetts as Obama did nationally. Yet Romney disingeniously criticized Obamacare. Obama is merely giving Romney more than enough rope to hang himself. This will happen later in the campaign season. The press values drama more than it does constructive and substantive political discourse.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  257. Jimi Akinmolayan. Hyattsville MD

    Yesterday's performance by the President was strategic, sometimes you don't play your Ace at first go. Gov. Romney now feels a false sense of comfort.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  258. John from Alabama

    Jack: The debate moderator from PBS should have retired 3 years ago. President Obama did not debate the fool from the Romney/Ryan ticket, but a new Romney who flipped-flopped on every issue. President Obama talked about the differences between himself and Romney, but Romney changed his mind on everything. Where is the money coming from for $5 trillion tax cut, what are the new tax exemptions for Romney-Ryan, and where is the plan to replace the Affordable Health Care Act. Mr. Romney there are states who will not handle the money for food stamps, and medicaid for the poor correctly. Mr. Romney scares me. I am afraid Romney will start a new war with the $2 trillion the Defense Department does not want to spend. I will give more money to re-elect President Obama.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  259. Jeff L.

    The curtain was pulled away exposing the true community organizer. Had this fraud been vetted in 2008 he would have never been the Democrat party candidate let alone our President.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  260. David

    Last night was the first time that Obama has had to stand next to someone who wasn't awed by his promises of Hope and Change. Obama is fond of saying that Romney lack specifics, but it is Obama who has coasted on vague details that have so far been paid for with the slowest economic recovery on record. Obama has alwys been a lot of smoke and mirrors. After last night the whole world now knows that the Emperor has no clothes.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  261. Ton Dou ... pronounced tone doe

    Last night was round 1 of the presidents debate "rope-a-dope", stay tuned for the knockout!!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  262. Monique

    I don't think President Obama did that poorly. That's his style being calm, cool and collective under pressure. Sure he could of given Mitt more of a run for his money. I'm hoping that's what he'll do at the next debate. He's probably saving his best performance for last. I'm hope americans don't judge the president or future president on their debating skills, but on who really cares about the middle class and the country.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  263. clubschadenfreude

    It's rather hard to debate a liar like Romney. I think Obama will eat him alive in the next debate since he knows how it will go.

    Woooh, now he claims there will be no tax cut for the rich. Step right up folks, spin the Mitt to see where he'll land next!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  264. Name*Codi Fletcher

    Obama has alot on his plate..and yes as President he has to handle it....bombings in the middle east, so he has to run the country, campaign, he has to run his campaign, prepare for the debates and all this amid Michelles wrath for having her spend her anniversary with the Romneys!...But he was still substantive...give the guy a break!...Im sure he'll bring his A game at the next debates...

    October 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  265. Stephanie in Seattle

    I'm sure he did the best he could but the truth is....he can't run on his record and he has no ideas Flowery talk is nice and it got him elected the first time but now we really need a leader and he's not it.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  266. john from north dakota

    I believe that President Obama was stunned! After riding the wind last election and being easily swept into the white house as the first president of color and having never been questioned by the press with things such as Lybia and Egypt , the economy and jobs. Shoot, I voted for him as well. With the press assisting the President in character assasination of Mitt Romney, Mr. Romney was able to show the american people who he is with out the filter of attack campaign ads and the press looking for every misplaced word (some appropriately so). The perfect example, after not responding to Romneys face and looking silly after the debate and not saying a word, the Obama campaign called the press in this morning and told them what was really said ( I think both sides told fibs) again it is easir to tell your spin through the press than live on stage facing the american people. The President appeared to be suffering what we in the military called PTSD!!! (SHELL SHOCK) Lord please help this country!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  267. Name*omar

    The president was playing chess mitt was playing checkers all the the president had to do was let him run his mouth because his words will come back to haunt him. I still didn't learn what mitt was going to do. He sounded good but that's it

    October 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  268. A steelers fan

    Everyone who talks as if Obama lost this election on one debate. Obama is just feeling out Romney just like an experienced boxer! Just when Romney thinks he comfortable that's been Obama comes out swinging and catches Romney off guard and knocks him on his butt!!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  269. Really?

    Romney gave the people what they wanted to hear. I see the fact that his flip flopping, and numerous stances on the same subject still doesn't sway folks into believing he is a liar and opportunist. He is preying upon the dimwits, and surface observers of our nation. Some of you may not be the brightest bulbs in the box, but I see Romney for exactly what he is. A phony.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  270. Scott

    Today’s Letters are… A,B,C
    A is for Arrogant
    B is for Barrack,
    C is for Confused and Colorado,
    As in Arrogant Barrack confused in Colorado.
    Big Bird

    October 4, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  271. Terrell

    Name me one Incumbent President that won a second term that won the 1st Debate against the challenger, let me give right-wingers the answer NONE! The first debate is the set up debate for the President to counter hard for the second and final debate. The question you have to ask yourself is what is else does Romney have to say he has now stated on record he is proud of the Universal Health care in Massachussetts. This was a great trap Obama set he knows the next debate will be the knock blow and Romney wont have the TIME to recover!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  272. Evelyn

    I think that the president has been sheltered by the mainstream media. Few and selected press conferences, hard questions about things like" Does Michele know about the hot dog that the president ate", and the ever present teleprompter along with prepared speeches may have hampered his debating skills..

    October 4, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  273. Dan

    The president probably had bigger things on his mind than what the " twit " Romney would lie about. Every syllable that poured from Romney was nothing but lies. The president was letting him rattle off lie after lie to give him enough rope to hang himself. When the debate turns to foreign policy, the president needs to remind the American people how Mitt the twit was received on the world stage during the Olympics etc.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  274. Stan

    There was no debate last night... All Obama did was show up. He will save up his ammo for the final debate and use it if he has to. The public has a very short attention span. All that matters is who is the last man standing. Media covers all his campaign events.... Safer for him to shoot out his zingers from there than in an unscripted debate setting. This is a trap and I can't believe folks are going to fall for this.
    Bradenton FL

    October 4, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  275. Bob in Dallas

    Jack I listened to the debate without watching last night.

    From just listening I thought Romney was overly combative with the moderater as he had been in the primary debates. Listening, I heard no winner or loser. The talking heads seem to criticize Obama on lack of style & aggression, but I did not hear the debate as being one-sided. Today I watched the actual TV debate and came to no different conclusion from my original assesment. I felt the biggest loser was the moderator.

    I did not expect the cage fight others seemed to want from the President. I think he did fine.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  276. Bill of Socal

    Jack your opinion amazes me in it's obvious bias. Why, why all day DIDN'T WE......hear this or that from Prez Obama.
    The prez is too classy to try to land a bunch of punches-and if he had, today he'd have been labeled a bunch of stereotyped adjectives about bullying from the position; the arrogant, uppity big buck (need I spell it out more clearly). Instead, he did enough to let Romney "show himself" as a say anything -truthfull or not- blowhard which should give our intelligent electorate a chance to see Romney for what he is-a pompous, rich man that is about as sincere in his feelings about the non-rich as Arnold was about being true in his marriage.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  277. fairlady1946

    As the Italians say, "calm is a virtue of the strong!" It's all in the strategy. President Obama knew exactly what he was doing in the debates. He allowed windy Romney to say what he had to say and as I expected, Romney hung himself. Keep watching.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  278. captjdavis

    President Obama didn't do bad ONLY last night. He is not doing good since 4 years. Just empty rhetoric. Still the same after 4 years of failed recovery. Today he hooked on Big Bird issue. How important issue for the Commander in Chief who have no idea how to pronounce the word Corpsmen. Brilliant !

    October 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  279. Lee from NH

    The person who had the worse performance in last night's debate was the moderator. He lost control of the debate almost immediately. Romney was given the opportunity to have the last word on almost every topic that was brought up. There are rules to debates and those rules went out the window last night. Did Romney win? Well he certainly was more aggressive and was given the opportunity to be so.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  280. Hal Selander (Santa Cruz, CA)

    The thematic, hopeful messages we heard 4 years ago persuaded me to crossover and vote Democratic. It's been a very disappointing ~4 years. We now know why. Our President does not have command of the issues unless reading from a teleprompter.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  281. John Taylor

    Given that Americans can only remember what comes out of Biltzer's mouth 5 minutes ago, the Obama camp is banking on the Situation Room story will be the performance of debate 2 or 3 in the next few weeks. Perhaps a smart move by the Obama camp to see their opponent's hand. God help us, I sure hope this is true....who wants another Bush in office.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  282. zookz

    Obama did as well as he did in the 2008 primary debates. The difference then was his minions were all kool-aid addled, including corporate media. Now that Obama has let them down in so many ways, with so many unemployed and or living with mommy and daddy again, they have a clear reference of the past 4 years as to who Obama is, and always has been: And empty-suit who will say and do anything to get what his unsatiable ego wants. He never was "the great orator" except when he was reading a teleprompter scrolling the words of someone else.

    Do you get it yet? Your Emperor isn't wearing any clothes.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  283. mylifeasaconsultant

    Obama did badly because he was unable to cite or respond coherently to specifics around his own policies and those of his competitor. He is great at painting a vision but when he is challenged on how he can make his vision a reality, Obama is simply short on details - and the devil is in the details.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  284. Sandy Davis

    I'm not so sure Pres. Obama did anything other than he intended to do. When he realized that Mit Romney was prepared to put on a show, he deceided to let him hang himself. Pres. Obama is trusting in the intelligence of the American people to see through the performance. For those of us who do our own research we know that Romney was lying repeatedly. For those who rely on others to tell them how to think, they got lost in the performance. When it is all said and done Pres. Obama cleary believes that the american people should have been supplied with the truth during that debate not a rehearsed show. Kudos Obama for your quiet strength, because the squeaky wheel is a sign that there may be a problem.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  285. Irene

    It distills down to personality. Romney would carry the banner, rather than lead from behind. It was obvious why Romney would be a persuasive and effective CEO – he came across as someone who is not dissuaded easily, he was upbeat, in charge, well informed, optimistic, and so on. The president came across as churlish, not proactive, defensive, acting like the underdog, responding to the other's lead. It is difficult to hide ones personality and the obvious difference explains why the phrase "Leading from behind" came into being. Romney was quite presidential. I am sure he has his weaknesses, but he sure looks like a better CEO for this country than what we currently have.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  286. jim

    Being a democrat i was thoughrly dissappointed with Obama. Without his teleprompter he looked dazed and confused.Romney looked more presedential and he has a business backgroung ,something we need.Time to rethink who i'm voting for.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  287. Lance David

    Its poker! Its a pool hustle! Its a trap to catch an egomaniac. Let the bozo think he has the advantage to draw him out to see his best shots. The sucker will go out on a limb with his false confidence and WHAM the hustler runs the table, the poker master takes the pot. Obama set the trap. Let's hope Romney isn't watching and doesn't catch on.

    Baltimore, Maryland

    October 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  288. gary howard

    Obama had a script and played it perfectly. He won the underdog advantage. Remember Rocky, remember Ali and rope-a-dope. Media spend all day talking about who won and played down most of the issue differences. Good political tactic...he will kick ass in the next debate.....Apollo Romney will hit the mat and we will all cheer.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  289. Vassie

    OBAMA is strategic. Underestimating was a serious mistake of Bin Laden. Remember when Michael Jordan said he had the FLU and then won the championship. Careful!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  290. Tom

    You have to want to. No matter what what it is in life, you have to want to do it! No passion at all by Obama.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  291. Rita in illinois

    I think it was the blue tie. He should have worn red.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  292. Jeff L.

    The debate was a look at the candidates without the filter of the media. It's pretty easy to pick the winner.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  293. Gordo from NJ

    Romney was bouncing off the walls. Time for some Ritalin. It would be hard to have a rational debate with anyone that wired up. His first statement denying the existence of his long-proposed 20% tax cut was surreal, and I think it threw Obama off track. I'd say Romney clearly won the first 30 minutes, but Obama won the second and third. Most in the media assumed Obama would do well, but no one expected A.D.D. Romney to walk on stage. Have you considered that this guy may have multiple personality disorder?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  294. Dana C. De Witt

    It is simple to explain why he face-planted – hubris!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  295. Kevin, Virginia

    Does it matter? Will the candidate's performance in the debate changes their core beliefs? President Obama does not have anything to prove, nor Mr. Romney. After four years we all have an idea of the path that each candidate wants to embark on. If by this time on the campaign you haven't decided your vote yet...you are clueless and you better don't vote, probably you'll end up making the wrong choice.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  296. clem kadiddle

    If you think there is partisan gridlock now, just elect king mitt. A ceo business man cannot run Washington the same way he would run his Company. Mitt thinks he can come in and start issuing edicts, slashing programs (departments) and firing people, That is a sure fire receioe for gridlock and division of America. Mitt Mac A Ronnie is not right for America

    October 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  297. TNT

    All those who support President Obama, hope they won't believe the lies Mitt Romney told last night. He has only started talking about the middle class because Obama supports us and Mitt is playing on it. Beware of Mitt Romney
    he is Not trust worthy when it comes to the 47% that he dosn't want to be the President of.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  298. DavidM

    Romney is basically on vacation and had whatever time he needed to rehearse his script. Obama's situation was like that of the college student who had three final exams during the day - then had to write a 20-page paper that night on what he accomplished during the entire term (and he wasn't happy about it)!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  299. Patrick

    Riverhead, N.Y.

    Obama did poorly because the record speaks for itself. He looked utterly exhausted and worn out, he is not someone ready to "move forward" by any means. Rising national deficit, health care costs, food, and gas prices are among some of the many accomplishments he can add to his resume. He had four years for change and he failed, plain and simple. Now I've had four years to change my mind and I will not vote for that man again.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  300. captjdavis

    In this election the choices are simple :

    a) If you want to elect an American Idol vote for Obama !

    b) If you want to elect an American President vote for Romney !

    October 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  301. rndo2

    Our President behaved like what he is. A president. The media and others should not base this debate only on character or how each candidate appeared to the camera, instead lets focus on all the questions and answers that each individual had to answer. No one wants to talk about the true issues of the debate and we are wasting our time focusing on rhetoric. Not only Obama was firm and direct in each question, but Romney avoided to answer direct questions and distracted to audiences with his energy. Romney seem like that kid in school who has never know an answer for any subject and for the first time he knows something and needs desperately to tell the whole class (America)

    October 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  302. Ken

    Simple, he can't think on his feet, without the Tele-Prompter he is lost

    October 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  303. mike

    Obama is an actor, not a leader. He can't function without a script!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  304. Kristina Richardson

    Wow..I watched the whole debate on CNN, was taking notes. I watched the men and women interest lines. When it was over and the pundits started talking, I thought they had watched an entirely different debate. This ISN't a Broadway Show...this is a debate about the future of America! I am truely sorry you weren't entertained. Romney lied and bullied his way through out. HOW does Romney Give out 5.2 Trillion in tax cuts and 2 Trillion in Defense Spending, and NOT pay for it (keep it revenue neutral)? HOW does Romney say out loud that he would VOUCHERIZE Medicare, and get away with it? Obama slowed the growth of Health Insurance costs, insured millions more people (thank you from a pre existing condition) and The Affordable Health Care Act isn't even fully implemented yet! Romney, apparently wants to repeal Obama Care...and Replaced it with...Obama Care, just not pay for it. Romney , apparently thinks Health Care should be doled out in Emergency Rooms and under state control, if you aren't rich (he prefers is own private insurance, as he said). Romney apparently thinks if you live in a rural area you shouldn't have access to Public Broadcasting, Health Care, or education. Romney gave ZERO substance, but gave it like a true actor!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  305. dave

    He only won the war of perception and show – he still has flimsy policies with no specifics and no real plan. Sadly, a lot of people are too dim to see that.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  306. Overby

    He was just like he always is when he doesn't have his teleprompter....he was stuttering, stammering and mostly incoherent. I'm sure he was wishing he was at a fundraiser instead of being in the middle of another disaster he can't deal with.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  307. zookz

    Blaming it on "altitude" now? Bwahahaahaaha!!
    Obama had no problem with the altitude during the DNC Convention in Denver in 2008.
    Just accept your guy is dependant on someone else's words an an adoring audience. He wasnt ready for prime time then, nor is he now. Now, watch his drive!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  308. Ken Miller

    Simply put he wasn't able to use scripted talking points, sound bites, the teleprompter or campaign rhetoric defend his actual record for the state of the economy. No president, ceo, manager etc. with this record should expect to do well when called on to give an honest accounting for it. Strip it all down substance outweighs style, leadership is more important than likability.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  309. Russ

    Why did he perform poorly? If you had promised to reduce unemployment to 5%, cut the national debt in half, and change the tone in Washington – how would you have done at the debate last night?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  310. Nancy Ellington

    Poorly? Really? Obama was the only one who made any sense to me. My father used to tell me to never judge a man until I walked a mile in his shoes. Surely the media can tone down the hoopla a bit to give Obama credit for running the country while being on the campaign trail. Are we so unforgiving in this country that we can't acknowledge we're not all super-human every time someone expects us to be? So Romney had a good night – one debate should not deter any voter from voting for Obama. It certainly won’t deter me. We need to all remember Obama’s use of the word "balance." I doubt we'll ever be able to hear the word “balance” again if the Republicans win.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  311. Jeff L.

    The smirker in chief showed he is truly the emperor with no clothes.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  312. Maria

    Nothing, no debate impersonation can change my mind on the fact Obama is the man for 2012 and beyond

    October 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  313. Tammy from Memphis

    He was exhausted. This is not a complex explanation, a very simple answer, he was up for most of the 72 hours before the debate, oh and by the way, he was doing Presidential duties and some campaigning. Romney had months of practice for this debate. Also, the President, because he did not have to time do his homework like usual, the President and man we know.

    Tammy, Memphis, TN

    October 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  314. Manual

    The real Romney showed up through the unfiltered prism of live TV and not as how the Obama campaign has tried to define him. The real Obama showed up without his usual props like teleprompters, surrogates, and media bias, finally being exposed to the nation the alarming realization that he truly lacks the qualifications of someone to which I would entrust my vote to be the president who can lead us out of this economic and foreign policy mess. The POTUS is double-downing on his inaccurate portrayals of Romney in today's rallies which is not surprising based on how his campaign has been run thus far, through fear-mongering, inaccuracies and stretching the truth.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  315. Barbara K., New Mxico

    Because he didn't have a prepared speech to read, or teleprompters to keep him from stumbling. He had to actually think on his feet, & he's no good at that.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  316. JamesB

    The real problem is that he can't hide from the fact that is record is awful. In 2008 he could wax eloquently on what he would do as President, and we believed him. He can't run away from the fact that he hasn't delivered on any of his 2008 promises.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  317. fairlady1946

    Romney not only gave up on 47% of Americans, he gave a pink slip to Big Bird too.
    Mary from MN

    October 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  318. Peter in VT

    Duh! He did the same as he's done ine the past four years, poorly.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  319. Richard Van De Water

    The media empire is run like the NBA – it's all about attracting viewers. If one team wins two in a row, it's all over and big money is lost. So we can expect Obama to win the next debate, in order to keep the show rolling.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  320. doug from washington state

    He looked like there was something else going on syria perhaps? What was on the tv screen in the back room this time?
    Also Chris Stevenson dying / and not increasing his own security because he wanted to walk among the people. The president cant say that though.
    when we are attacked on 9-11, 11 years later. I am smart enough to know it is a terrorist attack. why isnt anyone else smart enough to figure it out (news media, defense committies asking for head of un to resign. ect.)
    I think the president values the lives of americans to much to just send in FBI the day after a terroist attack to get some paperwork . God bless and protect those brave cnn reporters who are there finding and reporting stuff.
    I hope everyone studies all the facts before they vote

    October 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  321. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I'll admit Romney did win the debate but I don't believe Americans are looking for a "great debator in Chief" as the Republicans have often called Obama. It's possible Obama will win the election leaving Romney with the title of "great debator" and will be called President Obama.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  322. sono40

    Romney has shown himself to be a liar and someone who constantly changes his position. Nobody can win an argument against such a person...and only a fool would try. Obama is not a fool. I thought Obama won the debate and I believe Obama will win on November 6th.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  323. Lee Barron

    As rehearsed and dead on every point that Romney was last night, it is evident that he has memorized and practised and practised for a long time for this debate. Isn't it kind of strange then, that last night when he listed those points and plans for what he would do, they had no relation to the "plans" for the country that he has been stumping to his far right supporters all of August and September. I have heard it said before, Romney has no core beliefs, only a consuming desire to be President. After all, when you are as wealthy as he is and has been most of his life, there is nothing else left to buy to make him happy.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  324. SAKS

    Why did he do poorly last night?

    Well, Obama became a US president by accident without any credentials at all. That showed, didn't it? I am surprised that 25% of the so-called debate watchers thought that Obama won the debate. They are either dishonest or blind if they really watched the contest. I think, this 25% will support Obama anyway even though he did not utter a word....

    October 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  325. Karen O Manno

    Romney used his normal bait & switch like he did at Bain Cap. Bid the highest then at closing when your opponents are long gone, you lower the price due to all kinds of flaws you supposedly found. Too late to back out, you win with a cheaper price than your competitors. It's how he did business. I kind of legal cheating. He has many enemies.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  326. Robyn W. from NJ

    I think everyone should relax. It's only the first debate, 2 more to go. I think that Obama had a strategy last night. While alot of people are slamming Obama for his performance last night and allowing Romney to think that he has the election in his hand after last night's debate, how do we know that Obama's performance last night wasn't on purpose? Maybe that was part of his strategy to let Romney THINK he has it but I think Romney fell into Obama's trap. Just wait, it only the beginning. I think that Obama is going to two come out strong in the last two debates.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  327. Chris

    Jack, I think Obama's performance was about as lackluster and cynical as his DNC address. He seems tired, and if I had to survive four years of relentless GOP ad-hominem, birther nonsense, a republican leader that openly declared that his only goal was to take the president down – I think I'd be a tad cynical, worn out and disgusted too. I'm not sure I'd want to put up with 4 more years of that garbage – maybe he doesn't either?

    October 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  328. Chip

    Obama did so poorly for one simple reason, he is and has been in over his head and surrounded by people in the same boat. Simply, lack of competence !

    October 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  329. LLeonard

    It's not the entity Obama, nor the entity Romney. This is the Republican and or Democrat strategists. This is all political strategy. Stay tuned.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  330. HURRICANEPAUL from Hawaii

    ** Why did President Obama do so poorly at last night's debate? **

    Jack, it wasn't that Obama "did so poorly", it was all about people's inflated expectations that they had of Obama having never seen Obama go one-on-one for two hours with someone with Mitt Romney's business experience.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  331. DavidM

    Don't worry, Obama supporters. The undecided (detached) voters were probably watching baseball last night!

    October 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  332. MC in TX

    Probably the biggest factor is just the "Romney is busy campaigning" versus "Obama is busy administering" aspect of preparedness. The other thing, though, is that Romney went into this with very little to lose. So he's kind of "going for broke" whereas Obama is trying not to stick his foot in his mouth. That situation creates an aggressive vs. passive dynamic which showed on the stage a bit.

    Frankly, though, I didn't think Obama did so poorly as it was made out to be. Maybe that's because I tend to be a bit professorial myself.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  333. Perera Saskatchewan Canada

    I think the answer is obvious. The way he appeared the President must have had serious matters to worry at that time. The questions I want to raise are, "Do you believe in someone just because someone appears good in just one speech (or debate in this case)" and "Do you condemn oratorical skills of an excellent speaker just because the person could not deliver what you expected just in one occasion". Obama was presidential, respectful to the opponent, calm and cool. I do not expect a president to behave differently (as a candidate) even for a moment. We must not forget the president was responsible for the nations’ security even at the time of the debate.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  334. Patricia Stevens

    I certainly hope this was some sort of strategic move for President Obama. Because if he performs the way he did last night in the remaining 2 debates, he might as well start packing for the move back to Chicago. This would be a travesty for the middle class, poor people, Gay community and immigrants. Why do you think Romney will not be specific on what he plans to cut (with the acception of Big Bird).

    October 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  335. Charlie

    I believe the following: A poor job of prep work and/or consultation from his advisors on Mr. Romney's strengths in the context of the platform (job/economic growth) that he was going to project to the American public (a.k.a. board of directors).And, second, a seemingly lack of understanding or disregard of the business accumen necessary to be CEO.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  336. ash

    Obama was finally exposed by Romney as the incompetent, unqualified empty suit that he is. Take away the teleprompter and adoring media and there is nothing there.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  337. Keith R. Willoughby

    Next time you have a debate, appoint a moderator who will uphold the rules that were agreed to by the rules Jim Lehrer was nothing except a non-entity. He did nothing to guide the debate. Romney walked allover him. Lehrer should apologize to the american people for his performance.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm |