Contendinghe was just “too polite“, President Obama attempted to excuse his performance in his first debate with Mitt Romney:
But, you know, the good news is, is that’s just the first one. Gov. Romney put forward a whole bunch of stuff that either involved him running away from positions that he had taken, or doubling down on things like Medicare vouchers that are going to hurt him long term. …
And, you know, I think it’s fair to say that we will see a little more activity at the next one.
Interesting that Obama claims his politeness stems from his failure to attack Mitt Romney — and not from his failure to respond to Mitt Romney’s criticism of his record. Or his failure to more aggressively defend his own record. Or his failure to more aggressively outline his plans for his second term.
It’s all about his failure to attack the challenger. Later, he echoed the notion of his failure to attack when he said he had been “too restrained when Mr. Romney was telling his tall tales.” Obama believe that “when you read the transcript, everything I said was true and a lot of what he said was not.” In short, his failure wasn’t related to what he failed to say about himself, but what he failed to say about Mitt.
Given this self-critique, we can thus expect him to put Romney on defense in their second face-off by attacking the Republican. This seems to confirm what National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru observed about “Obama’s strategy, to the extent he had one“; he wants “to make the race a referendum on the challenger.”
That’s really not a good place for an incumbent to be. And likely not what wavering voters want to hear from a president about whose record they have concerns and about his plans (for a second term) they have questions.
RELATED: Take a gander at what Bill Kristol found missing from Biden’s performance last week in Kentucky:
What gets Biden excited aren’t any particular plans for the future. Biden spent almost no time in his debate explaining how things would get better in a second term of an Obama-Biden administration. Democratic spinners tried to explain Biden’s maniacal smiles and smirks as evidence he’s a happy warrior. But the spirit of Biden is altogether different from the truly happy warrior of the -liberalism of another era, Hubert Humphrey. Humphrey bubbled over with enthusiasm for the future. Biden was agitated rather than enthusiastic, and his energy was entirely channeled into demagoguing a Romney-Ryan future.