Romney did three things at the debate:
1) He totally randomized his policies, thus putting into effect an excellent version of the Chewbaca Defense;
2) He made up his own rules, forcing Obama to follow them and embarrassing PBS and Jim Lehrer; and
3) He made a bunch of independents giddy, so when the post-debate polls were carried out, he ends up winning or being statistically even in key swing states.
Today’s polls are worrisome unless you hate America and The Earth. Obama is up only 2 points across the board, and Romney has pulled ahead (though statistically even) in Florida and Virginia. Ohio has become a toss-up.
Future debates might be different. For one thing, the Obama camp will probably have a better strategy. Both Obama and Lerher were blind sided by Romney’s approach. There will be a different moderator for the next debate, CNN’s Candy Crowley. I know nothing about her, but I imagine she watched the first debate and is already trying to figure out how to contain Mr. Priv. So, a second factor will be both the moderator and the approach taken. Third, the next debate will be in a town meeting format. Obama always does well with real people, and Romney tends to say the wrong things when confronted with real humans, often demonstrating his well known disdain. Also, this will be a “crowd” that the Romney camp will have less than the usual control over.
Over the days before the first debate, almost everybody seemed to have decided that the election was already over.
The election is not already over.