Tags: Noonan | Obama | debates | perception

Noonan: Obama Has No Advantage in Debates

Despite the perception that President Barack Obama has a rhetorical skills edge over Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee actually has the advantage going into the first debate on Oct. 3 in Denver, Peggy Noonan says.

Noonan believes Obama’s debate skills are overrated and that he has more to defend against in the debates than Romney.

“Everyone says Obama has the advantage because he’s a wonderful debater,” Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “It’s not true. There’s no evidence he’s ever been a wonderful debater. He won the election in 2008, so people think, retrospectively, that he was great at debate. But he wasn’t, he just never lost an inch to John McCain and seemed steadier, less scattered.

"What Mr. Obama tends to be is unruffled, steady and cool, Noonan added. "But this can also come across as passive, uninterested and unforthcoming.”

She went on to say, “He’s not promising a better future, he’s saying he did a good enough job to merit re-election, which will usher in a better future. Everyone knows the economic facts: There’s a lot that needs defending.”

Romney has endured a rough primary season in which he was grilled relentlessly by his opponents and by panelists during many debates whereas Obama has been somewhat insulated, Noonan wrote.

“All modern presidents are disoriented to some degree by the presidency, and the biggest way they become disoriented is that for 3½ years everyone around them has bowed to them, murmured compliments, been awed by them. No one ever pushes back hard, puts down, fiercely challenges or insults a president,” she wrote.


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