The Obama campaign is flooding my inbox with notices of how rampantly Romney lied last night. Which, you know, yeah.
This doesn't absolve Obama from sleepwalking through his debate. But Obama - as a reader at TPM noted - Obama is not very good at confrontation. And so debates aren't really his forte. Romney took advantage of this and played Alpha Dog.
I don't think this is going to swing the election, because how many women are going to be persuaded by Romney being a dick to Jim Lehrer? The snap polls and focus groups all agree that Romney won the debate, but none of them really say that this has changed their votes.
To me, the real impact is among partisans.
Democrats have been sniping at Obama over the drone program recently. They considered the race almost over and went back to Circular Firing Squad mode. Meanwhile, the GOP was on suicide watch.
Romney's debate has put a shock into Democrats who spent the last few months amazed at the ineptitude of Romney as a candidate. He's still an inept candidate, but he's an adept
But more importantly, I think it has energized Republicans who were also amazed at the ineptitude of their candidate. Romney has shown - throughout his decades long pursuit of office - to be a vigorous, strident debater. Obama made a decision (I guess it was a decision) to be low key. It's his nature, after all.
Listening to NPR with half an ear this morning, Obama SOUNDED much better in sound bite form than Romney. He was trying to be Presidential and aloof. Romney sounded overheated. I'm not sure it worked the way Obama assumed it would. I think Obama has also taken on the persona of a penitent, trying to make sure he doesn't sound triumphalist in the face of a crappy economy.
But he needs to come out as a fighter. At the very least, Joe Biden needs to call Paul Ryan a liar to his face in the next debate.
I don't think this changed the race, but it changed the trajectory of the race, which was all against Romney. He's stopped the bleeding, but he's still anemic.
Obama has to open a vein with the accusations of lying. Bleed him white. OK, whiter.
UPDATE: Oh, look! I was right!