Democratic political strategist James Carville acknowledged on Sunday that he doesn’t know why President Barack Obama turned in such a lackluster debate performance, but it looked to him like “he really didn’t want to be there.”
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Carville lamented, “I didn’t want to come to this conclusion, but sitting there watching I had to come to it.”
Carville said that the president’s mind seemed to be elsewhere.
“His mind wasn’t on it. He didn’t want to engage. He just wanted to get through the 90 minutes,” Carville explained.
Asked by Stephanopoulos if the president’s poor performance was somehow tied to his debate strategy, Carville said he didn’t think so.
“We’re going to know the next debate,” Carville offered. “He’s either got to be different or it’s going to be pretty bad.”
Noting that the president has a competitive streak, Carville said that he believes — “knock on wood, we’re going to see a different president Obama at Hofstra” University, where he will try his luck again in the second presidential debate on Oct. 16.
Carville’s wife, conservative political consultant Mary Matalin, who joined him on the panel discussion, wasn’t buying any excuses for Obama’s performance.
“Can I state the obvious here since we all have theories? The obvious is he didn’t bring his game because he doesn’t have a game,” she asserted. “They have now blamed his performance on everything . . . He has no game.”
Stephanopoulos pressed Carville as to why Obama didn’t at least cite the auto bailout as an example of a decision he made that paid off.
“You know I don’t know the answer to that. But I think we’re going to see a different president Obama in the next one,” Carville responded.
“Sometimes in life you just have a bad night. Anybody that follows sports knows that. Sometimes the most logical explanation is the real one. He just had a bad night.”
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