OK

Yes, Mr. Romney's zingers came out. I especially 'liked' the one where he managed to get "boy" and "Obama" in the same sentence as "lie," throwing his own five sons under the bus to do so.

Stay classy, Mitt.

I'm flummoxed by the pundits who claim Mr. Romney "won" this debate (well, no, I'm not; I understand their crowing, they desperately need good news, but still...) or the President "lost" it. I'm a little angry, too, at the "fair weather friends" who have berated President Obama - evidently for not stalking over to Mr. Romney's podium and punching him in the mouth.

Those following my blow-by-blow on Facebook could see my real-time reactions, but just to summarize: Mr. Lehrer had no business being a moderator. He hasn't for many elections, but this one was especially egregious; he let himself be bullied, which gave the signal to Mr. Romney, it seems, that anything went. While the President stayed within the debate guidelines, looking to the moderator several times as the lies piled up from Mr. Romney - and gave deference which wasn't actually due Mr. Lehrer - Mr. Romney openly showed contempt for the moderator, even mentioning FIRING him.... which seems to have been lost in the outpouring of support for Big Bird.

If one were to put this on a "observing the kids in the schoolyard" level, what I saw was the rich kid bullying, the bookish kid with the facts looking to authority to enforce the rules, and the his-daddy's-got-money teacher letting the smiling bully get his way. It was disgusting.

There is a debating strategy - I posted about it on my wall - the Gish Gallop - in which one side just BURIES the other in everything but the kitchen sink, knowing the other side simply cannot respond to it. In Mr. Romney's case.... even the kitchen sink was lying. I saw the President take copious notes, and I'd bet $10,000 they were the seeds of the ads, now running with footage from the debate, refuting both the lie and showing the implications of Mr. Romney's proposals. Very effective.

The President didn't look tired when he entered, and he sure didn't seem tired when it was over; I think he realized very early on that Mr. Romney was putting on a performance, the same kind Mr. Gingrich said during the primary debates made Mr. Romney the "Etch-a-Sketch" candidate, and then discovered Mr. Lehrer had no intention of calling him out on the 180-degree inconsistencies. He also discovered that Mr. Lehrer would step into his lay-up shots to refute the lies.

The smart thing to do - which the President did - was to gather up all the ammo Mr. Romney was tossing out... and use his own time to make some important statements of fact. And while it wasn't his most fluid performance to date (pretty wooden, if you ask me), he got enough information out there, undecided voters heard it in sufficient numbers to prefer him to Romney by 7 points. That's not much - it would have been more if he'd been forceful - but it's a positive sign.

Progressives wanted a KO. What they got was Grant probing Lee. ; )

BTW - Barack Obama's debate performances in 2008 weren't spectacular; not sure why everyone expected so much. He's very thoughtful, a "big picture" thinker, and plays a long game in which his OWN part is just a piece.

After 8 years of "gut," we now have "brain."

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