Romney trounced Obama in last night's television debate, stalling his recent momentum. It's game on

The Republican contender was combative and persuasive, and though Obama retains key advantages, the success of the last month has been abruptly terminated

Share
Related Topics

There’s no need to detain ourselves with any questions over who won last night’s first television debate: the President was trounced. Curiously for a man capable of inspiring a generation, and running the most effective political campaign in History, Barack Obama knows how to look completely uninterested in politics. Indeed, the lugubrious, professorial suit who turned up yesterday looked and sounded like Andrew Mitchell after a bad day at work, short on patience, condescending and out of touch.

Mitt Romney is right back in this race after a terrible month. Edward Luce nailed three reasons why: first, presidential debates really can swing an election; second, the media loves a tight race, and portraying Romney as the Comeback Kid suits everyone other than the Democrats, which is a lot of Americans; and third, after an almost equally flat convention speech last month, it may even suggest an element of complacency in a President who has lost some of his fire.

Naturally we ought not to read too much into one evening. Many of the American people won’t have watched last night. Obama retains crucial advantages among Hispanics, blacks, women and the young, and recent polling in the swing states suggested a slightly increasing advantage. He ought to thank his advisers that they went so hard after Romney at the outset, portraying him successfully as an asset-stripper who couldn’t be trusted. And in the past Obama has shown a willingness to fight when down, and spring back from moments of adversity during campaigns, whether over the Jeremiah Wright scandal or his remarks over “guns and religion”.

In and of itself, last night certainly won’t win Mitt Romney the presidency. But campaigns are about momentum, and at the very least Obama’s has been halted. In the next two debates, he needs to come out fighting, and show not just the mastery of detail that he was at pains to convey last night, but the passion and zeal and charisma that won him 2008. Actually turning up would be a good start.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
RIP Voicemail?  

Voicemail has got me out of some tight corners, so let's not abandon it

Simon Kelner
A sculpture illustrating the WW1 Christmas Truce football match in Liverpool  

It's been 100 years since the Christmas Truce, but football is still changing the world

Jim Murphy and Dan Jarvis
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there