Skip to comments.Round III: Romney Passes Commander-in-Chief 'Eye Test'
Posted on 10/23/2012 3:44:28 AM PDT by Kaslin
President Obama and Governor Romney battled to a draw on foreign policy points tonight, with each candidate scoring on several lines. As expected, the discussion meandered into domestic policy for a large portion of the evening, and both men came prepared with a flurry of talking points. Romney needed to strike casual viewers are informed, poised, and plausible as president. He accomplished that task, without question. The president often seemed like the aggressor, hammering his challenger in almost every answer he gave. Romney coolly chided Obama, explaining that attacking him (especially dishonestly) doesn't advance any solutions. The candidates found themselves in general agreement on a number of fronts (Syria, Iran sanctions, etc), leading to smaller skirmishes over who would have done what sooner, or more forcefully. Romney's strongest answers came on the state of the economy and the debt -- as well as on Israel and the so-called "apology tour." He closed very well. The president told a very touching anecdote about meeting a 9/11 orphan, and repeatedly reminded Americans that he is the Commander-in-Chief, often emphasizing the word "me," or "I." On the whole, Obama turned in a strong performance, even if he failed to bait Romney into the more heated exchanges he appeared to crave. Romney executed a clear strategy: Pass the "eye test," challenge the president where necessary, and project strength without striking war-weary Americans as unduly bellicose. Success. I would not be surprised to see the snap polls tilt toward the sitting president tonight, but this was in no way a game-changing event; advantage Romney. Stay tuned for updates...
UPDATE - Two early fact-checks: On a disagreement over forces remaining in Iraq, Romney was right, and Obama was wrong, according to CNN and the New York Times. On the auto industry flare-up, the last two paragraphs of this Times story back up Romney's contentions, as well.
UPDATE II - CBS' instant poll gives a substantial advantage to Obama, 53-23, with 24 percent calling it a tie.
UPDATE III - On CNN, conventional wisdom maven David Gergen says Romney "passed the Commander-in-Chief test:"
David Gergen: Romney Passed The Commander In Chief Test
UPDATE IV - Many people are giving atta-boys to moderator Bob Schieffer. I agree -- he executed his responsibilities well.
UPDATE V - If Twitter volume is any indication, viewership and interest was down significantly from the first debate, and down slightly from the second.
UPDATE VI - The president's team is already backpedaling from Obama's interesting assertion that the sequestration defense cuts "will not happen."
UPDATE VII - A bizarre moment on CNN. Swing voters in a focus group indicate they've made up their minds, but the anchor goes out of her way to not ask them in which direction.
UPDATE VIII - PPP insta-poll respondents give it to Obama 53-42. Upon further inspection, it looks like the poll was shaded toward Democrats, and the results were pretty undramatic. The Romney people will certainly like this data point (indies).
UPDATE IX - John Harris from Politico was not impressed with the president, says his performance "diminished" the presidency:
Politico's John Harris: Obama Diminished Himself As A Commander-In-Chief
UPDATE X - CNN's snap poll indicates a narrow Obama debate win, 48-40. On clearing the Commander-in-Chief hurdle, Romney runs neck-and-neck with the sitting president. As I said, he did what he needed to do.
UPDATE XI - Krauthammer: Romney won tactically and strategically, for reasons that I by and large agree with.
UPDATE XII - Big picture, I think Ross Douthat gets it right: "I expect the snap polls to give a clear edge to Obama, and for Romney's polling to suffer not all." I'll leave you with this, from CNN's poll:
CNN poll of debate watchers: Who did debate make you more likely to vote for? Obama 24%, Romney 25%, Neither 50%. #CNNDebate — Sam Feist (@SamFeistCNN) October 23, 2012
None of which changes the Mittmentum - in a week you’ll see the MSM begin discussing what a Romney White House might look like - and the week will be over before we know it!
Last night when this thing was over, I kept thinking about that line in the movie ‘Trading Places’ where the Duke and Duke brother screams; “Come back!.... turn the machines back on......Come back!...”
romney blew a chance for a good zinger when he complained about the navy having less ships than in 1917, and obama said that they don’t have bayonets anymore. romney should have asked obama if he was saying that the US Navy no longer needs ships...
I think in Obama’s answer, he was all but conceeding that we don’t need all of those ships. Big concession. Especially to voters in Virginia which has a huge shipbuilding industry. I think that was a mistake to be dismissive of shipbuilding. Oh, and BTW, to keep the sea trade lanes open yes we need a big Navy.
When our Dear Leader went on his petulant tirade about “bayonets and ships that go under water, etc.”, I wish Romney would’ve looked him directly in the eye and said, “You’re embarrassing yourself Mr. President”.
He wasn't thinking about that tsunami that $hithole Islamic country he grew up in had a few years ago and those ships that carried in relief troops and supplies.
One ship even served to provide the only clean drinking water for the ungrateful bastards.
Those weren't aircraft carriers or subs.
Needing a lot of ships ...
Could it be that we need a lot of ships not for offensive reasons since today a single ship can have tremendous firepower, but because ships are gonna be sunk by the enemy and we don’t want all of our eggs in a small number of baskets.
Perhaps a good Romney reply would have been, Mr. President if you and your cohorts didn’t put a stranglehold on our domestic energy policy, perhaps we could pump more oil here and not have to have as many ships to protect the sea lanes and the straits of Hormuz so those oil tankers can get to America.
Obama’s staring freaked me out last night. Was he on something?
Probably Zero's biggest gaffe of the night - trivializing the Navy as he did. It demonstrated a marked lack of grasp of the strategic and tactical value of the Navy and showed him unfit to be CinC. I hope Mitt's folks capitalize on it now that Mitt is out of the minefield of a debate - he did well to come out unscathed which probably explains some of Zero's frustration - they had a lot of ammo to use against attacks and Mitt dodn't give them the opportunity.
i’ve been seeing a lot of stories today about the use of horses and bayonets in afghanistan, etc... i’d put those out, and remind people that the navy is all about ships, and what would obama’s navy look like without ships... then i’d show a bunch of clowns thrashing abotu in teh water... i’d end up with the uss ronadl reagan and the caption “romney’s navy” which would you trust to defend you?
Obama ridiculed Romney about the navy ships, but Romney had already mentioned that the Commanders also feel that more ships are needed, he should have repeated that fact too.
“the ocean is huge”
well... a navy with 300 ships can do more than a navy with 200 ships.
I’m thinking it’s more like he had to concentrate on what that hidden earpiece was telling him.