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Why President Obama Got Thumped By Mitt Romney in Wednesday's Debate

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Why Obama Got Thumped

A semi-vulgar headline in the Onion depicts Obama’s 11-year old daughter questioning her father’s masculinity following his dreadful obama romney debateperformance on Wednesday night’s debate.  Jon Stewart suggested that Osama bin Laden watched the debate from his watery grave, and thought, “This is the man that shot me in the face”?

It appears so, Mr. Evil one.

Fake news or real news…liberal outlets and conservative ones, the consensus is the same--  President Obama fell short Wednesday night, letting Mitt Romney run away with the first of this year's three presidential debates. In a CNN snap poll, 67 percent of viewers said Romney won the showdown, and 61 percent said Obama delivered a performance worse than they expected. Conservatives and liberals alike were astonished that for 90 minutes on stage, Obama didn't once mention Romney's derisive comments about the "47 percent" of Americans who pay no federal income taxes. Many liberals were tearing their hair out, frustrated that Obama was so passive in the face of Romney's relentless attacks. "I don't know what [Obama] was doing out there" MSNBC's Chris Matthews lamented. "He had his head down, he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it."

Not counting Al Gore’s altitude theory, most have wondered why was the President so bad? Here are four theories:

1. He was playing prevent defense
Obama went into the debate in command of the race, says Brett O'Donnell at The Daily Beast. He "played not to lose, played it safe, and lost." He "avoided clashing with ideas advanced by Romney, and in doing so ceded ground on almost every front, from tax policy to spending to energy." Romney aggressively criticized Obama's approach on just about every element of domestic policy, including the economy, taxes, spending, entitlements, energy, and education. As a result, viewers got one of the most substantive debates they'll ever see. And since "the president struggled to ever mount a meaningful counterattack," the impression voters took away was that he had fewer answers than Romney.

2. Obama is just rusty
Romney has weathered 20 debates in the last 18 months. Sure Romney had some poor performances in some of these debates, most noticeably in South Carolina, but Romney can bring it to a debate when he is challenged, like he did against Newt Gingrich in the Florida debate.   In contrast to the battle-tested Romney, "it had been nearly 1,400 days since Barack Obama strode onto a debate stage," says Glenn Thrush at Politico, "and it showed in a major way." For the last four years, Obama has been "speaking to hand-picked interviewers or lecturing audiences required to remain mostly mute while he spoke," and he "struggled to shake off the rust" when Romney came at him. The mainstream media has been playing protective guard around him for the last five or six years. He has seldom faced tough questioning, having managed to avoid open press conferences (as I recall) since last June, says Michael Barone in the Washington Examiner. Yes, Obama "seemed out of shape," says Byron York at the Washington Examiner. He "looked like a president who hasn't had to face many sharp challenges," while Romney "came across as a man who had made the most of session after session of debate prep," getting the better of Obama on jobs, taxes, energy — "pretty much everything."

3. It's hard to look good defending his dismal economic record. The reason, says John Hinderaker at PowerLine: His "ideas have been tried and found wanting," and now, after four years of failure, he's completely "out of ammo." In 2008, Obama exuded confidence as he used smoke and mirrors to sell the American public on his fantasy promise of hope and change. But after presiding over four years of economic pain, he looks "weak, hesitant, stuttering, often apologetic" standing next to Romney, the competent "alpha male" who's optimistic and ready to take over. The "pitiful figure" Romney just steamrolled "was the real Obama, the loser behind the curtain who is finally revealed as an utter hoax."

4. Obama was preoccupied.  The President appeared to have more on his mind than just the debate.  No, it was more than his 20th wedding anniversary. One source is suggesting there may be a donor scandal brewing big trouble.  The only source of the reported donor scandal is at The Examiner, Washington Secrets (WS) website. Sole source reports of impending doom, scandals, and political wrongdoing of any sort are often suspect. However, the extreme detachment shown by President Obama during the debate and that, coupled with the obvious importance of the first Presidential debate could indicate something very serious is bothering him.

The Washington Examiner has more details:

According to the sources, a taxpayer watchdog group conducted a nine-month investigation into presidential and congressional fundraising and has uncovered thousands of cases of credit card solicitations and donations to Obama and Capitol Hill, allegedly from unsecure accounts, and many from overseas. That might be a violation of federal election laws.

The Obama campaign has received hundreds of millions in small dollar donations, many via credit card donations through their website. On Thursday, the campaign announced a record September donor haul of $150 million.

Political analysts have been trying to figure out why Obama looked off his game during the debate — a possible donor scandal story from a national magazine and website could be one possible explanation.

Whatever the reason, Obama failed miserably on Wednesday night. Romney took command and Obama looked irritable and weak. Americans don’t usually want irritable and weak leaders as their commanders-in-chief.

Which one looked more like a president? Mitt Romney.

Contact Erik Uliasz at euliasz@philly2philly.com

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Obama Romney debate photo from cbsnews.com