The Early Read: Romney Won, and He Will Gain

Pundits across the political spectrum are giving the first debate to the challenger, saying Mitt Romney performed more aggressively than President Obama, who seemed to lack the energy of his opponent.

From Dylan Byers at Politico:

Obama spokesperson Stephanie Cutter took a swipe at moderator Jim Lehrer’s largely passive debate performance tonight, saying the PBS anchor had allowed Mitt Romney to act as the moderator.

“I sometimes wondered if we even needed a moderator because we had Mitt Romney,” Cutter told CNN shortly after the debate.

Cutter’s decision to place blame on Lehrer may signal an acknowledgment by the Obama campaign that the president did not perform as well as his challenger, Mitt Romney — which was the general consensus of the media, including the usually pro-Obama MSNBC. (MSNBC hosts Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz slammed Obama’s performance.)

When one side starts taking swipes at the moderator, you know they think they lost.

A Democratic operative told Ron Fournier of National Journal that focus groups and polling about the debate favored Romney. Liberal comedian Bill Maher joked that Obama needed his teleprompter.

Romney was remorseless in attacking Obama and gave people at least some idea of what he’d do as president. Obama sounded like a professor trying to put down a class rebellion with a repeat recitation of his most recent lecture.

This one has already been called for Romney. The polls should tighten, at least a little bit. The election probably just went from “leans Obama” to either “tossup” or “leans Romney.”

Keith Koffler


Award winning journalist Keith Koffler has 16 years of experience covering Washington. As a reporter for CongressDaily, National Journal magazine, and Roll Call, Keith wrote primarily from the White House, covering three presidents and learning as few have the intricacies of the West Wing and the behavior and motivations of its occupants. While mainly stationed at the White House, he also extensively covered Congress and Washington’s lobbyists. Keith has also written for a variety of other publications, including Politico, The Daily Caller, and The London Observer. He currently writes regular opinion columns for Politico. He blogs at

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  • MaryK

    In some ways i agree with the Obama spokesperson that Romney moderated the debate rather than Jim Lehrer. The latter allowed MR to interupt his opponent in mid-sentence many times; MR said things out of whole cloth, totally opposite of what he’s been saying all during the campaign, and gave few if any details of his own plan, totally ignoring the part played by the Republican side of Congress on jobs, health care and the economy, refusing to do anything to pass legislation that would give Obama any credit. That way, they can get by with saying, “Obama has accomplished nothing in 4 years”. It is the Republicans who have done nothing in 4 years – causing total gridlock while happily receiving their own paychecks at the taxpayers expense.
    And if the only criteria for winning/losing the debate is aggressiveness and false information, then, yes – MR won. If he wins the election, then in 2016 he will have to face opponents just like him – because he can’t possibly deliver on his claims.
    And, if you think i’m saying this out of tail-wagging liberal anything goes mentality – well, think again. I’ll probably vote for MR, but not because of his false bravado in the debates, but because he’s the lesser of 2 evils. Then again, i may just leave potus vote blank.

  • Catholicvoter

    You obviously don’t study the candidates. Blame everyone else…that is getting old.

    As a Catholic, none of your comments matter to me anyway. Obama is anti-life. Period. That is non-negotiable. If you disagree, then you must not be Catholic.

  • MaryK

    C-voter- Well, I had to study the candidates to know when one is telling whoppers, but there are many who spout Catholic values but don’t value truth. I do want MR to win – that’s why it upsets me when he thinks voters lack the grey-matter to to know when he lies or promises things he cannot possibly deliver. If he would just tell the truth and be specific about how he plans to change government, instead of all these fake snow jobs, maybe – just maybe we might be able to win in November. Yours proves the claim that many Catholics are one-issue people, and no candidate ever won an election in this country when the only platform issue is to end abortion. Many other issues are of equal value. If Victory is built upon lies, it is a very shallow victory indeed.

  • Maryann

    My reasoning exactly! One party is pro life. The other is not. I believe with the Church that ‘abortion is intrinsically evil.’ I
    Will vote for the pro life candidate. ‘Let the children come to Me’
    Jesus said. I’m on His side…

  • Catholicvoter

    I guess Obama does not lie. To you, he must be the “anointed one”. I for one, do not want a person who advocates murder of babies inside the womb and outside the womb. In case you don’t know, he voted numerous times to not provide medical assistance to children who have survived abortions and were born alive. I am proud to be Catholic and by the grace of God, I will die fighting for it. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Our Savior did not “win” any election. So “winning” should not be the goal of Catholics. We should all take up our crosses as a result of following our Lord and Savior. “Jesus I trust in you”. God bless you MaryK. I pray for your salvation.

  • Poppiexno

    ‘Many other issues are of equal value.” NO THEY ARE NOT!! You can quibble over MR all you want, the fact is Obama has a strong consistent record favoring abortion, abortion for everyone, abortion at tax payer expense, abortion even for viable fetuses. If someone thinks abortion is acceptable, then that person is not Catholic. The term. “Pro-Choice Catholic” is an oxymoron. If someone thinks abortion murders babies, then how can that person in good conscience vote for Obama?
    As to MR lying, that will be the preeminent theme of the Obama campaign – right out of the liberal playbook. Don’t swallow it. When your position is indefensible, attack your opponents character. Remember Bork? Remember Thomas? That Obama, a master of lies, would have the audacity (OK, that’s part of his persona) to accuse MR of lying is breathtaking.
    Specifics? Read Paul Ryan. Specifics? Where were Obama’s specifics in “hope and change.” And where are they now?
    If Obama is reelected it will be a catastrophe for this country!

  • MaryK

    I rest my case – “One Issue Catholics”. Poverty, homelessness, hunger, access to affordable health care, pornography, sexual slavery, injustice, Truth, taxing equality and much, much more all fall to the altar of the “One Single Issue”. As important as that is, (and i fully believe and practice the Church’s sanctity-of-life teaching), that is one reason why politicians laugh and ridicule the Catholic voter. They think nothing matters to us except the one issue rant. Until we stand up against all forms of public tyranny, who will listen – except maybe the choir? When Catholics are as loudly vocal at all forms of evil in our land, in addition to abortion, then we might be heard by some.
    Thank you Cvoter,for praying for my salvation – we should all pray for one another. The journey is long and dark, and we so often stumble. During this evening’s Eucharistic Adoration, I will remember you also. May we all ask God to stay with us, and to heal our land of ALL the evil we heap upon the heads of others.

  • catholicexchange


    I’m sure you realize that the “One Issue Catholics” critique is very often used as a propaganda device by pro-abortionists as a way to make faithful Catholics feel embarrassed about what they believe. I think you’ve allowed yourself to be taken in by them a little. No faithful Catholic voter I’ve ever heard of is ignorant of or ambivalent towards affordable health care, pornography, sexual slavery, and the other things you mention. Quite the opposite–faithful Catholics care very much about those issues, often more so than others. But it is perfectly logical to take the position that if a candidate is completely wrong on the issue of abortion, then they are not likely to get other issues right, either.

  • CatholicVoter

    No REAL Catholic in good conscience can vote for a pro-abortion candidate! None of your talking points are relevant to REAL Catholics. You can go on and on and on and on with your arguments. They are not based on Catholic teaching. Please do not scandalize Catholics with your rhetoric. Vote as you please. I still pray for your salvation – which is the ultimate goal of REAL Catholics. Maybe you should study Catholic teaching more. Start with the Bible then read what the popes say. If you do not agree with the Bible and the Magisterium, then the evidence speaks for itself. The Truth will set you free.

  • CatholicVoter

    Thanks for your witness! We need to weed out the arguments that confuse the faithful. May our Guardian Angels keep us close to the Truth. Mary, Queen of Victory, pray for us!!!

  • Catholicvoter

    To Mary K.
    Oh, and by the way, the Catholic Church is the largest charity in the world. You should try volunteering or donating to one of the Catholic charities. They assist the poor with health care, personal care, sexual slavery, AIDS victims, etc. All the issues you seem to care about. You can actually be involved personally. Try it out. It is very satisfying to offer your own services to the poor. God bless!

  • patrick

    your words cause scandal and only hurt America’s chances of actually electing the candidate to the office of POTUS who does value life. You need to learn when to be quiet.

  • MaryK

    I must add that i am totally saddened and appalled that so many of you think the ONLY issue of importance in this election is right to life. When you say that if a candidate is Right to Life, then all those other issues are implied importance to him as well, that is pure conjecture on your part!
    And when you say that anyone who has any other opinions from yours is lost forever and you must pray for his/her salvation, i fear for your own ability to comprehend reality. What are debates for anyway, except to argue sides. Are we Catholcs forbidden to exercise our free right to see both sides of an issue? Truth seems to mean nothing to you. Personally I am very wary of someone who says one thing to gain votes, but in private (with secret tapes recording every word), says another. i don’t trust MR one whit because of his lies. Then again, neither do i trust BO and have no intention of voting for him, or did you just gloss over that statement bc i dared to crash on your party?
    I’m beginning to think CE is simply a website for tail and tongue wagging sheep. Then again, you probably search other websites for any chance to flout your narrow mindedness. Well, while you pat yourselves on the head and revel in your own self-righteousness, i will continue to listen for Truth and try to make good decisions. May God have mercy on us all!

  • MaryK

    Cv – Do you assume that i don’t volunteer? What did i say in my post that would give you that assumption? Did you read something that was not there? What do you know about me anyway that would make you think i am anything but a practicing Cathoic? What is it about you, that desperately wants to surround yourself with people who have no different opinion from yours? Perhaps that would validate your self-esteem,or lack of it?
    Would it help for me to tell you one tidbit of information about me? At 30, i gave up home, family members, friends, relatives because of my newfound Catholic faith and my fidelty to her teachings, choosing to follow Christ, rather than people. In the Church, I am home. But God did not make me a rubber stamp; I can still think and weigh the issues.
    And, when it comes to volunteering, just try to keep up with me.

  • Catholicvoter

    I am sorry for my assumptions. You confuse me with your scandalous statements that put ALL those social issues on equal ground. For a serious Catholic, I pray that you understand what non- negotiable means. It is a matter of life and death…and I don’t mean of the physical body. My concern is your eternal salvation, nothing more nothing less. God bless!