Some quick thoughts:
1. I don't know if it was the new, deadly developments in Turkey/Syria, or his 20th anniversary, but Obama clearly looked underprepared and like he'd be somewhere else. He actually looked bored.
2. Romney scored all the hits tonight, both for him and against him. I thought this was the most moderate he's appeared (more on that in a moment) and you could finally see him as a human being instead of the robotic corporate drone we're used to seeing. Very prepared tonight, bravo all around for his performance. (Competing against the moderator has always been unpopular, however, and he did it like eight or nine times.)
3. To pull this off, he had to shake the Etch n Sketch. This was Moderate Massachussetts Governor Romney, the Romney I've been wanting to see for like four years, not the Romney that's been campaigning for those past four years. His rhetoric and positions, foggy as they were, were pure rightwing. 47% won't take responsibility for their lives, any collectivist rhetoric is a joke, Arizona is a model for the country, endorsing Paul Ryan's plan. But his debate performance, including the bizarre "trickle down" jab and his loving embrace of regulations, was a totally different Romney. Very strange to see.
4. I watched the debate at a huge debate party (~500 people) with mixed allegiances between Obama, Romney, and even a few Gary Johnson supporters. Obama earned more laughs but Romney had quite a few. I think Obama remains more likeable. Aside from healthcare, Romney earned plenty of applause -- but healthcare the crowd was behind Obama in near-totality. The very common opinion was that Romney was crisper and better last night.
5. Some big punches on both candidates were not landed tonight. Romney had his chance with Obamacare but for the most part kept detailing the parts of it he agreed with. Bain and the 47% comments were not discussed. So there are some big hits that the next debate can invite.
6. Sad that there were almost no words for the poor tonight. Spent almost their entire time on the middle class.
7. Edit: Hooray for this new debate format. Seriously. Much, much better to have them actively interact and speak on time-allotted subjects than to have them speak in 30-second bits. This does have greater demands on the moderator, however, and Lehrer was obviously not up to the task. Plenty of others will be. Stick with it, please.
Last edited by Direckshun; 10-04-2012 at 08:00 AM..