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Four Takeaways From Romney's Denver Debate Demolition

2:04 AM, Oct 4, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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“Obama didn't even explain his plan well. He couldn't even use the word ‘exchanges’, he called them group health plans or something. He seemed very out of it on health care,” he told THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Troy also notes that he wasn’t able to effectively challenge Romney on health care, either. “It seemed like Obama set him up with a big fat softball, where he said, 'Well, Governor Romney you did the same thing in Massachusetts’ and Romney was ready. Anybody who's followed this race knows what Romney's going to say to that. ‘I didn't raise taxes, I didn't cut Medicare,’ and he added this new point—‘I did it in a bipartisan way.’ Obama had never even heard this was a possible response. I don't know what John Kerry was doing in debate prep.”

Former Democratic congressman and Romney supporter Artur Davis was even more direct about the problem. “President Obama is supposed to be greatest communicator in American politics, but you can't be a great communicator unless you have great things to communicate. The reality is that President Obama struggled tonight because his his record has struggled.”

 

4. Even the Obama camp is more or less conceding it was a beatdown.

You would expect a gleeful GOP after the debate, and they did not disappoint. Davis was bold in declaring victory. “This was the best performance by a political candidate in a debate since Bill Clinton in 1992, so I'm being perfectly bipartisan about this,” he said. “For people who love to score these things like ball games, Mitt Romney pitched a shutout tonight.”

Now you expect even the newly minted Republicans in spin alley to be doing about 30,000 r.p.m. after an event like this. What is telling is that Obama surrogates were alternately candid and unconvincing. Asked by reporters about whether Obama came off as too “professorial” and aloof during tonight’s debate, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said, “I’ll leave that to the theater critics.”

Obama senior adviser David Plouffe was asked if he thought the debate was a “defining moment.” He responded, “We don’t believe in defining moments.” Which is odd, because they thought that Mitt Romney’s off-the-record comments at a private fundraiser were such a defining moment they’re now running millions of dollars worth of ads based on them.

But perhaps the biggest admissions of defeat were non-verbal. As the clamor in the press room wound down, nearly a dozen Romney surrogates were still chewing reporter’s ears off in spin alley, while Axelrod was the only Democrat left talking to reporters.

Davis noticed an even bigger tell. “Any politician who's been on a debate stage knows that the guy who lost is the first one to get off the stage,” he said. “Barack Obama got off that stage as quickly as he could tonight.”

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