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A colleague at work (male, mid 30s, grad school, asian-american) mailed in his vote for Obama before the debate and now regrets it. We spoke over lunch about this and his thoughts, in a nutshell, are this:

Obama's done ok but not not great. If he worked for me, he's the kind of guy I'd want to keep but not spend too much of my bonus budget on. I'd do what I need to do to keep him around unless I found someone clearly better to replace him. He's disciplined, he works hard, but his results are just good enough to not get fired for cause.

Romney comes along and he seems like a bit of a joke. The dog on the car? The gaffe-athon in Europe? This guy can't be serious. The GOP can't be serious. Clearly, this guy has no depth and is just a placeholder for someone good in 2016.

Obama? Good enough. I'll vote for the guy because Romney ... well, he's Romney.

And then the debate happens and Romney looks like someone who maybe CAN do the job. He seems confident. He seems like someone who could influence people. He has passion. He didn't live up to the clownish caricature I had of him in my mind, of the socially inept rich boy in a bubble. He deserves a closer look. I should have waited on mailing out that ballot!

Obama's performance had nothing to do with it. I know what he's capable of. He's a solid C+ or B- performer. The question all along was Romney. Is Romney serious? Is he competent?

This is a strain of thought I have heard from quite a few people. My thoughts on the next few debates and the ad campaign over the next month are that they must reduce Romney into a caricature. He must be mocked and ridiculed and made to seem less than serious.

The Big Bird ad is good IMO. I shared it on Facebook and one evangelical white female who is a reliable GOP voter told me she thought it was funny. It won't get her vote, but she liked the ad. It does a good job of starting the job of turning Romney back into the caricature he once was.

Of course, in the next two debates Obama simply can't let Romney dominate like he did in the first debate. If he does, Andrew Sullivan could be proven right.

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