From the lead editorial in this morning’s edition:
The first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, so long anticipated, quickly sunk into an unenlightening recitation of tired talking points and mendacity. 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.
Translation: our guy lost.
More insightful was the TV review of the proceedings by Alessandra Stanley:
Theirs was a glaringly public confrontation that looked oddly intimate and personal. And that may help explain why tens of million of people tune in — there is nothing else like it on television. It’s not a gladiator fight, or a boxing match or the Super Bowl; it’s not a quiz show, a singing competition, a beauty pageant or a finale of “Survivor.” If anything, these confrontations look more like a dispute in couples therapy: neither partner can really win, but either one could get rattled and blurt out something unforgivable.
That scale-tipping moment didn’t happen…
…It looked less like a historic first than a rerun, an archival clip. Mostly, the subdued, old-school tone was helped along by [PBS anchor Jim] Lehrer, who was moderating his 12th presidential debate. He presided over this one with courtesy, fairness and absolutely no flair for enlivening the discussion. Mr. Romney said that despite his personal fondness for Big Bird and Mr. Lehrer, he would reduce government spending by cutting financing for PBS.
Mr. Lehrer may have helped make his point.