Commentators from the mainstream media to cable talkers on the left overwhelmingly concur that President Barack Obama got his “butt kicked” on Wednesday night.
Time magazine’s Joe Klein said, “I’m with all the other talking heads: Mitt Romney won this debate. Barack Obama lost it. I mean, he got his butt kicked. It was, in fact, one of the most inept performances I’ve ever seen by a sitting President.”
Mitt Romney’s performance in the first presidential debate with Obama was so dominating it left some on the left sputtering.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews’ dismay over Obama’s performance was so great that many were left wondering whether he had lost it.
“I don’t know what [Obama] was doing out there, he had his head down, he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it,” Matthews said while suggesting the president needed to watch his show for tips on how to handle himself in debates.
Fellow MSNBC talker Ed Schultz literally threw his hands up, saying Obama "created a big problem" for himself..
“I don’t think he explained himself very well on the economy. I thought he was off his game. I was absolutely stunned.”
Other commentators from the mainstream media were equally harsh.
ABC News’ Jake Tapper said, “I’ve covered President Obama for about six or seven years now and I’ve seen him inspire crowds of tens of thousands and then I also recall the summer of 2007 when he was listless and flat and uninspired and his campaign manager had to knock some sense in him and get him back in the game.
"Unfortunately for the Obama campaign that's the Obama I saw on the stage tonight. It was not a strong performance by him.”
Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson added, “Overall, Romney looked like a man who’d gone to every class, pulled all-nighters, done work for extra credit and came prepared to ace the exam. He did it without sweating and by ignoring the proctor. He came to fight.”
Politico’s Glenn Thrush said, “How tough a night was it for the incumbent? He even muffed some of the basics of Debate 101, struggling to find the right camera to address once or twice during the mostly civil 90-minute exchange.”
Time’s Mark Halperin agreed. “A performance that will both delight the Republican base and make undecided voters take note," he called the Denver debate, describing Romney as "the dominant figure on the stage on almost every exchange.”
ABC News’ Russell Goldman said, “Mitt Romney came out swinging in the first presidential debate, challenging President Obama over his health care reforms, treatment of the economy, taxes and funding for Sesame Street's Big Bird.”
The Brookings Institution's William Galston, writing on the left-leaning Huffington Post, said Romney "vastly exceeded expectations," adding, "I suspect that over the next week, the public opinion surveys will show a significantly narrowing of the gap between President Obama and his re-energized challenger."
And writing on Slate, CBS' John Dickerson pointed out the temperature in Denver went down by 20 degrees during the 90-minute debate. "Coincidentally, that was also the same number of undecided voters who thought the president had a good debate."
Dickerson added, "As the campaign heads deeper into October, the president is going to have to regroup, shake off the chill, and turn up the heat."
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