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If you are a Democrat, no doubt you thought "Obama killed it" (as I saw some tweet during last night's live iVillage debate coverage on Twitter). If you are a Conservative, Mitt Romney won hands down. The pundit jury is still out as I write this, but one thing I have already noted is the common theme of Governor Romney's demeanor tonight.
I honestly believe that after well over a year of campaigning, with negative ad campaigns by many candidates, repetitive stump speeches, mudslinging and at times some contentious (and, in Joe Biden's case, contemptuous) debating, the American people are over it. Those of us who are clearly aligned with a candidate aren't crossing over. Those who are undecided a mere two weeks out are the ones Romney was trying to reach. He did so knowing that we're tired of all the ugliness and pettiness. We tuned in to see answers, diplomacy and leadership.
Governor Romney knew exactly what he was doing, and played to the audience at home. He didn't "pull a Joe Biden" and scoff laughingly. Though forceful when, once again, the moderator tried to insert commentary into questioning, or shut him down after an accusation was made to which he was not allowed a response, we got to see how this man would lead under pressure, and he did so civilly.
President Barack Obama has been given pass after pass by a complicit media already in the bag for him, as evidenced by all three debates wherein he was lobbed softball questions on pressing issues like Libya. So for me, tonight the president was full of filibusters and once again avoided any real answers to serious questions. Obama said time and time again that his primary job is to "keep Americans safe" yet we have an ambassador and three colleagues dead, and still no answers as to why pleas for help were ignored.
Obama stressed how the U.S. would stand by Israel "if attacked" and discussed how important our relationship with Israel is. Yet he offered no answers as to why on a day when nothing was scheduled for him, he declined to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Since none of those answers were forthcoming, nor likely to ever come, tonight, in my estimation was a strategic bid (and a brilliant one, I think) by Team Romney, to show the former governor as a "softer, gentler" candidate, knowing Obama had to be on the defensive after one disastrous debate and one contentious one. A strategy designed to show a sharp mind, a clear grasp on foreign policy, and a "presidential air." I think he did just that, especially at the very end, when he looked straight into the camera and spoke to the American people. As Michael Moore recently said, "Start practicing the words President Romney!"
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