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Romney won. That seems to be the consensus, and I guess I'll go along with it. But he didn't "beat" Obama in the same way John Kerry beat George W. Bush in their first debate in 2004. That was a total demolition, to the point where I remember feeling sorry for Bush when it was over. (In the end, of course, Bush won the election, with a little help from the Republican crooks in Ohio.)

My main reaction as I watched last night's debate was one of numbed boredom. Romney's over-caffeinated hyperactivity and his incessant bullying of a hapless Jim Lehrer were mesmerizing, but I didn't think he ever had Obama in serious trouble. His goal was to spout so much gibberish so quickly that Obama would be unable to respond to it all. It's the Sean Hannity School of Political Propaganda, and it worked. But the debate lacked clarity. And Romney's "victory" came at a heavy price. He piled so many fresh lies and obfuscations on top of the steaming pile he's already excreted that the Obama ad shop is going to have a field day. Like a mediocre football team that wins the first quarter of a game against a superior opponent by using trick plays and onside kicks, the Romney camp has shot its wad. No more surprises.

Romney will undoubtedly get a bounce from his performance last night. But any voter stupid enough to be persuaded by "Hyperactive Mitt" should be easy pickings for Obama when the president brings his A-game.

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