Mitt Romney won the debate. Does it matter?

Mitt Romney and US President Barack Obama  participate in their first debate at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, 3 October 2012 The Obama team wants to pass off Mitt Romney's win as one of style over substance

The first trial is over and the jury's verdict is clear. But the judge's sentence is not.

Conservatives continually accuse the main American media outlets (Fox News excepted) of being in President Obama's corner.

But there was a rare agreement over last night's debate: Mitt was a hit.

What we don't yet know is what the American people make of that verdict and whether it shifts any votes, or enough to matter.

'Devoid of honesty'

The Obama team aren't trying to pretend their man had the best of it. They are claiming only a victory of substance over style. Their tactic is to dismiss the debate as so much theatre.

Campaign strategist David Axelrod said Mr Romney "may win the Oscar for his performance, but he won't win the presidency for his performance". He added the act "was devoid of honesty".

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But imagine you are undecided, you don't care much about ideology, but want some one who looks like a vigorous, motivated leader”

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He said the campaign would take a long hard look at last evening before the next debate in New York, in two weeks time, and make judgements about "where we draw our lines and how we use our time".

It sounds as it they are considering challenging Mr Romney a lot more.

The president himself told an audience in Denver: "When I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney."

"But it couldn't have been Mitt Romney because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favour the wealthy. The fellow onstage last night said he didn't know anything about that."

The tactic is clearly to dismiss Mr Romney as an actor playing a part, in a briefly successful role, whose performance is a fiction.

Moving the undecideds

It might work. But the debates could work in persuading the very people Mr Romney needs to convert. The debates are, of course, performance, but body language, tone and style can matter.

The bottom line was that Mr Romney seemed not only more animated, but more motivated; Mr Obama seemed lacklustre, unexcited, even a bit bored.

Now, most people know how they are going to vote, and they aren't going to change because of those sort of vague judgements. But imagine you are undecided, you don't care much about ideology, but want someone who looks like a vigorous, motivated leader.

Mr Romney on the stump, in the adverts, hardly fits the bill. Last night's incarnation was much more convincing.

The next opinion polls will be important and will tell us whether debates can make a difference.

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US Presidential Election 2012


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  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    Bottom line. If you want to win an election don't insult 47% that include military vets, retiree's that built the country only to have deregulation of the financial system wipe them out. Canada ducked that bullet by keeping regulations. Maybe Mitt should look into that. Also remember Mitt will have you competing against a Chinese worker so good luck with those wages.

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    Mr Romney`s facade has been blown in my view, clearly articulating where his loyalties lie in his recent `47%` remark....utterly disgraceful in my view. How he can claim to represent the majority of Americans as a man of privilage (like Mr Cameron in the UK) is beyond me. After `9/11` it seeks to me that a new geopolitic for the 21st century was underway to be followed by any president `elected`.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    Obama played a blinder and deserves an Oscar. He deliberately threw debate 1 so as to flush out Romney forcing him to play his best hand early on so now he's a busted flush. Obama has held back some real firepower for 2 and 3. Masterful.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    " ... the Dem economic policies have effected my income."
    This means: "the Democratic economic policies have put my income into effect." What you meant to say was "affected my income". But you belong to the people who think that knowing things, such as spelling or grammar, is European, un-American, the work of Satan.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    151. Kiz 'There's a lot more of it.'

    4. Mitt Wins. But does it matter?

    And now the BBC ensures us that the '47%' story is the most newsworthy story in the whole world today, and has it right up front in case you miss it....with all the other negative Romney stories attached. More liberal left wing anti Republican bias from the BBC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    Who wins the Presidency is really irrelevant today. It`s pretty much like eating McDonalds or Burger King, the illusion of choice, but they`re both the same. The Presidency, Congress and even every State House has been inflitrated by special interest groups, corporations and lobbiests to the point that the elected officials in many nations part of the globailsed ecconomy become blurred.

  • Comment number 178.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    It doesn't matter. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are run by the largest investment banks in the US and other power elites. The leaders of these parties are mouth pieces; so, the debates are simply a matter of who has the best mouth, the nimblest tongue, or who is most trainable to be presidential.

  • Comment number 176.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    "Animal farms based on the corruption within the communist / socialist entity Orwell a supporter of socialism was disappointed by the moral corruption that he was observing."

    Communism and Capitalism are systems to monopolize wealth and exploit people w/ lies about a glorious future. Same lies whether its the Commies or Investors.

    We support a MIXED economy w/out the corruption we now witness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    I do not know how assessing that Romney has debated well. For me Mr. Obama's debate was absolutely better. Because on the job's front US lost 4.3 million jobs during recession created by the erstwhile government and Mr. Obama's administraton got back 4.5 million jobs during these tough economic times. It is an absolute record. Obamacare will have its fruitfull results in the longer run. Excellent

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    ref #171

    "that they are too important to take a menial jobs"

    Do you work a menial job, MagicKrin? Guessing no. Why not?
    I work two jobs because the Dem economic policies have effected my income.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    @170.Chris London
    ?!? No it wasn't! It was meant to portray corrupt leadership as the flaw in revolution, rather than the act of revolution itself and also shows how potential ignorance and indifference to problems within a revolution could allow horrors to happen if a smooth transition to a people's government is not achieved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    "that they are too important to take a menial jobs"

    Do you work a menial job, MagicKrin? Guessing no. Why not?

    Romney goes around with his rolled-up you think he ever in his life rolled up his sleeves to wait tables or wash dishes?

    Like the slave or sharecropper on the plantation, you think the guy in the big house is there because he works harder?

    Wage slavery is now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    Ethan Farber

    Animal farm was a parody by Orwell on the Russian revolution and the rise to power of Stalin. It is based on the corruption within the communist / socialist entity within Russia. Orwell a supporter of socialism was disappointed by the moral corruption that he was observing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    How many of you Americans & Eurolanders pull up your dreaded utility bill thank heaven you live in a Free Market where you can find an alternative?

    Or your tuition, grocery bill, anything else you watch get more and more expensive as your fiat money buys less and less...?

    I bet you all thank your stars for the Free Market. Without the Free Market ensuring "alternatives" you might be worried!

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    ref #163

    Do you even bother checking DNC talking point.

    Everything you have posted asbout Romney and Bain is a lie.

    OWS protesters have been quoted saying that they are too important to take a menial jobs, they are lazy parasites.

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    The list you requested.

    Anglia Water
    Thames Water
    Other water co.’s…

    Other energy co.’s

    Other banks…

    Other petrol co.’s

    First Group
    National Rail
    Other transport

    And most telecoms co.

    This is just the UK, but look closer to your home in the US and at the same industries and you’ll see the same price fixing taking place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    That you actually claim Americans or Euros have real choice when it comes to their daily expenses for utilities etc or that they can do anything as they watch their cost of living climb reveals just how out of touch you are...

    ...and the interests you are paid to represent.

    As life gets harder and harder (why?) fewer and fewer believe the lies.

    People are waking up to a capitalist Animal Farm.

  • Comment number 165.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?


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