Heads up: Top comment and controversy

US reaction: Obama vs Romney presidential debate

Reaction to last night's presidential debate has swung in favour of Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who appeared feisty and combative in contrast to a more measured (some would say weedy) Obama.

A New York Times editorial, however, focuses on the general uselessness of the contest as a guide to either man's intentions for power. "With few sparks and little clarity on the immense gulf that truly separates the two men and their policies, Wednesday’s encounter provided little guidance for voters still trying to understand the choice in next month’s election."

Much of the centre-left US media gloomily laments Romney's ability to score points at the cost of accuracy. "Virtually every time Mr. Romney spoke", says the NYT, "he misrepresented the platform on which he and Paul Ryan are actually running." The central point to draw ire was Romney's stance on tax - the former head of Bain Capital denying "against considerable evidence" that he would cut taxes on the rich.

Salon's editor at large Joan Walsh harrumphs: "Romney shook his Etch-a-Sketch and lied his way through the entire debate with no challenge from moderator Jim Lehrer."

But Washington Post columnist Matt Miller points out that, this morning, Republicans won't give a hoot about Romney's fact-checkability. He's "not trying to win a prize from pundits for coherence or consistency." What he did on stage was "win big" - and that's all that matters.

The more conservative Wall Street Journal is fulsome in its praise for Mitt: he appeared Presidential, "showed a superior command of fact and argument than the incumbent, and made a confident, optimistic case for change." The paper anoints his performance as the best by a Republican since Reagan in 1980, and adds "Where has this Romney guy been hiding?"

React Now

Read Next
The Uber app allows passengers to hail a taxi with a smartphone  

Who wouldn’t like a sharing economy? Well, me, for one

Mary Dejevsky
David Cameron spoke about immigration at a press conference in Ipswich  

David Cameron’s big problem is that he has been listening to the wrong people

Alan Johnson
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?