My take on the debate: Romney was obviously way more aggressive, but not necessarily convincing. Obama was in his professorial mode that people don’t love, though I like it fine. The result in my eyes was a draw — no knockouts, not super-zingers.
Just Obama saying he’ll do things in the next four year that he didn’t get done in the last four and calling out Romney on some of his positions over and over and, and Romney sidestepping those by completely abandoning the Right and claiming he doesn’t hold positions he’s be espousing for a year or five, and then making his points about Obama over and over.
Did Obama miss lots of opportunities to go on the attack. Sure! But he’s not the type to do that and that’s part of what a lot of people like about him. He acted presidential, rather than like a candidate who has to deliver a knockout to stay relevant. Did this technical win help Romney? Sure. By maybe a point or two, but he’s 6 or 7 behind. Romney won the debate if the goal was to dominate the debate. But he gave his base nothing. He only attacked Obama on the economy, completely ignoring social issues, and he played a dance with Obamacare that was as nuanced as his position is nonsensical (he created the plan it’s based on and brags about what it’s done for Massachusetts but says it’s a horrible thing for the nation and will repeal it, though now he’s even backing off that and saying he’ll keep what’s good in it).
So all the left-wing pundits are frustrated that Obama didn’t attack Romney on the 47 percent comments and come after him harder on the inconsistencies in his statements. But Obama is not an aggressive debater. Never was. And the right wing is gloating over the fact that Romney “won” the debate, but privately deflated over his sharp tack to the center.
End result: a draw.