“Personally,” writes our reader Kurt, commenting at Neoneocon
I was disappointed that Romney wasn’t more aggressive and that he didn’t go for “the kill” when he could have by hitting Obama hard about numerous issues. But the talking heads afterward were saying that was not his strategy, and that corresponded with what I observed while watching the debate. I was watching at a Romney campaign office near my house, and two of the people in the office were Romney staffers who recently relocated here from Boston to help with the campaign here. One of them was pointing out every time Romney hit on his strongest campaign points; the other was worried about the women’s vote, so she became a little anxious when things became too contentious, fearing it might alienate women voters.
Partly with that in mind, Romney managed to lure Obama into a few big tactical traps. For one thing, Obama couldn’t resist being nasty and snarky at times, and as Kolnai said above, it was easy to see when he was getting mad. Obama would look at Romney much of the time, but then he would get really mad and look at Bob Schieffer and act impatient and irritated. I think those were little points scored by Romney because they made Obama look petty and thin-skinned.
One of Obama’s worst lines will be loved by his base, but it made him look insufferably arrogant and condescending: it was the one about the navy now having things called aircraft carriers and the marines no longer using bayonets (which, I just heard someone on TV say they actually still use on occasion).
Another major tactical error for Obama was when he claimed that Romney wanted GM to go bankrupt. Romney correctly explained what his column said, which Baklava has quoted above. Obama denied it, and said “check the record,” and apparently, twitter exploded with people doing that and pointing out that Obama was lying about what Romney had said.
Romney just had to appear presidential and like a potential Commander-in-Chief, and he did both of those things. Obama seemed stronger in the first part of the debate, and less so as it went on and Romney got under his skin.
So while it may not have been what Pat or I wanted to see from Romney tonight, it appears to be a tactical win for him.