Presidential Debate: Obama Played The Role Of Defense Attorney

First 2012 Presidential Debate - Mitt Romney and Barack Obama- JIM BOURG/REUTERSTo play off Lawrence O’Donnell’s analogy during MSNBC”s post-debate coverage, President Obama looked like the defense attorney during the first presidential debate. Mitt Romney looked like the aggressive prosecutor, and he was quite successful in that role tonight. I’m not talking about whether you agree on any issues of substance, I’m simply talking about debate style and body language. Mitt Romney aggressively directed his attention right at President Obama on multiple occasions. President Obama on the other hand seemed to focus most of his attention toward moderate Jim Lehrer or the camera.

President Obama clearly decided not to go on the offensive in this debate. Where was Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remark? Where was immigration? Or how about women’s rights? And is Bain Capital now old news? I realize the direction of the debate was steered by Jim Lehrer’s questions, but there is nothing stopping a candidate from speaking his mind on any domestic issue, which was the focus of this debate.

This wasn’t an MSNBC debate was it? It just wasn’t. It had none of the things [some of items listed above] you [Rachel Maddow] mentioned. It didn’t mention all the key fighting points of this campaign. And certainly there was no Bobby Kennedy in the green room before Barack Obama came out tonight. I don’t know what he [Obama] was doing out there. He had his head down. He was enduring the debate rather than fighting it. – Chris Matthews

Maybe team Obama thought the best approach for the first debate was to play it safe, but they better adjust course for the next debate. While Romney still has a huge uphill battle because there are so few undecided voters left in this election, two more debates like this could have an impact.

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Election 2012Politics

#Barack Obama#debate#domestic policy#Jim Lehrer#Mitt Romney#moderator#Newshour#PBS#President Obama#presidential debate

  • Krys

    I couldn’t bear to watch the whole thing, but there were a few comments that Mittens made that were just wrong and I couldn’t understand why the President didn’t just outright call him on it. This is his moment to do that and he failed.

    • Jim

      Obama didn’t call out Romney because for every 1 bullet he could have used against Romney, Mr. Romney could have used multiple rockets against BO. Obama knows that in a head to head debate he is on his own. No teleprompters, no surrogates or ads to lie for him, no news media from whose skirts he could take refuge, no golf course or basketball court where he could retreat, no Beyonce or that other fellow to hang with, no The View ladies or Letterman to tell him how wonderful he is or ask him what it is like to walk on water…

      I would agree with you that BO failed. But, unlike you, I am not at all surprised.

      • I’m not surprised Romney won the first debate. I’m not even surprised that Obama decided to try to take the safe approach with this debate. The point I’m making is now that this first debate is done, Obama better realize that he needs to change his approach in the last two debates. It’s not good enough to just sit there and take it regardless of the fact that substance was on his side. Obama did win on substance, but that doesn’t matter because Romney won on style. Most people are not wonks. A lot of people vote for candidates based on superficial things like debate style. I hope the Obama campaign realizes that before the next debate. Obama needs to take command and relentless go after Romney on things like 47 percent, Bain Capital, women’s rights, immigration, etc.

    • Obama better be ready to go on the offensive in the next debate. Now it’s up to Biden to do the same next week.