Five surprises of the debate

1. How articulate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was and how inarticulate President Barack Obama was

Time magazine’s Joe Klein said Obama gave “one of the most inept performances (he has) ever seen by a sitting President.” The charismatic Obama that liberals know and love cowered behind his party’s lines and minimal sassy one-line quips. The President who went on Reddit to connect with voters was nowhere to be found. He fell behind Romney’s string of sound bites and talking points and didn’t recover until it was too late. Instead, a usually socially awkward Mitt Romney emerged as the better orator. He was clear, direct and eloquent and contrasted how flustered and tongue-tied Obama was. If we’re judging the two candidates merely by the styles with which they debated, Romney clearly came out on top. Romney was impactful, albeit slightly aggressive, and was persistent in getting his policy plans across.

The Los Angeles Times reported several erroneous statements Romney made regarding Obamacare, but whether Romney lied in his debate won’t matter much to those who have already pledged their allegiance to him. To Republican voters — and even liberal ones, for that matter — Romney appeared more presidential and more prepared.

2. Obama didn’t bring up social issues

While Obama fans have supported him through an unofficial campaign of social issues, neither candidate brought up women’s reproductive rights, gay marriage, pay discrepancies, immigration or labor unions. The two candidates did touch upon socioeconomic issues such as entitlement programs, food stamps and unemployment, but only in relation to the economic condition of the U.S. Perhaps Obama could have shined in this arena, and Romney would have had opportunities to better articulate his positions, particularly in regard to labor unions.

3. Jim Lehrer isn’t very qualified to moderate presidential debates 

Poor Jim Lehrer. He lost control very quickly into the debate, failing to enforce the candidates’ two-minute statement limit. The Internet doesn’t really know how to react to Lehrer. Some argue that Lehrer was going for a different style of facilitation that, while refreshing, wasn’t the best choice for a presidential debate. Perhaps Lehrer wanted to let the candidates speak without little interruption.

Lehrer’s facial reactions spoke for him, showing how visibly frustrated he was with the two candidates. The Twitter handle @SilentJimLehrer quickly surfaced to highlight the night’s low points. @SilentJimLehrer tweets, “…uh, excuse me…” and “…er…okay so… now…” And that’s exactly how he sounded at the debate last night.

4. The amount of self-deprecating humor

It’s difficult to go through an entire presidential debate without some level of sass, but the humor between the two candidates and moderator were slightly self-deprecating in nature. Romney congratulated the president on his 20th anniversary with first lady Michelle Obama and said sarcastically, “I’m sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine, here — here with me.” Obama reiterated how he wasn’t a perfect president and “that’s probably a promise that Gov. Romney thinks (Obama has) kept.”

5. Romney hates Big Bird

He has, like, eight kids. They must have been raised on Barney.


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