Gov. Mitt Romney defeated President Barack Obama soundly in the first presidential debate in Denver, and even Obama’s supporters knew it. The media quickly went to work spinning excuses for their candidate, claiming that “the deck was stacked against Obama” from the start, and that Romney had not fought a fair fight.
Here are the five biggest–and worst–excuses for Obama’s defeat:
5. We won’t know for 2-3 days whether Mitt Romney actually won. The idea here seems to be that the polls will tell us who won, although even CNN’s instant polling of those who had watched the debate had it at 67%-25% in Romney’s favor. This excuse has a purpose: to buy time for so-called “fact-checkers” to attack Romney’s arguments and change the narrative from “Romney won” to “Romney lied.” Speaking of which…
4. Romney lied with a straight face for ninety minutes. This excuse betrays the fact that so many on the left never leave their own media bubble. They believe what they tell each other about Romney and his policies, rather than listening or learning the truth. A good example was Rachel Maddow’s battle with Rudy Giuliani afterwards, in which she insisted Romney lied about a $5 trillion tax cut that he has never, in fact, proposed. Sad.
3. The free-flowing format was bad and let Romney dominate. On the contrary, the format allowed Obama to deploy his favorite defense, the filibuster. It just so happened that Romney didn’t let him get away with it, insisting on the right to reply to repeated distortions of his position. It is Obama’s fault, not the format’s, that he didn’t know when to stop talking, letting himself lose focus while the words kept coming out.
2. The moderator, Jim Lehrer, let Romney win. This is the Obama campaign’s official excuse, judging by the post-debate comments of Stephanie “Felon” Cutter, who argued that Lehrer allowed Romney to dominate. Actually, Lehrer was his usual liberal self, and was tougher on Romney than on Obama, interjecting more often with follow-up questions and letting the president use a full four minutes more than his challenger.
1. Obama didn’t show up tonight. This was the lament of Chris Matthews, who suggested–colorfully–that Obama had not tried hard enough to win the debate. The idea, once again–it is always the same when Obama suffers a setback–is that the president needs to fight harder, to be more aggressive. In fact, Obama was often too hostile. What needs to change are the ideas, not the tactics. And it’s too late for that.