I just finished watching the first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado between President Obama and Mitt Romney. I didn’t get to watch it in real time because they scheduled it during my small group meeting. I told both candidates that Wednesday night was a church night and not very good for me. They were both willing to change it but the networks wouldn’t budget. Sigh.

So, I DVR’d it and as soon as I got home I popped some popcorn and watched it straight through. My family even watched it with me. Kim swiped my popcorn and finished it off but I didn’t care. I was in a political geek mojo.

Let me disclaim two things. One–I endorse no political candidate. I have reservations about Mr. Romney and the President supports some public policies which I find untenable. Two–I have not fact checked anything. My opinion here is based solely on the performance of the debate as a speaking art.

Here is what I noticed and what interested me.

1. Mitt Romney won the debate, hands down. In fact, he commanded the stage over the President. This surprised me quite a bit, to be honest. Mr. Romney was focused and on message. He succeeded in presenting the President as a ‘big government’ man contrasted with his ‘small business’ model.

2. The President looked very uncomfortable defending the home field. Four years ago he was the one fighting for change and that fit him well. Now, he has to defend the status quo and that does not come as natural for him. Several times he talked about bad things like corporations and loopholes for moving companies. That is usually something the challenger should say, not the incumbent.

3. Jim Lehrer was awful. I’ve seen him moderate other debates much better than this one. Tonight he seemed to have no control. His questions were okay enough, but they were not as specific as one would like. However he failed miserably to keep the candidates on target and on time. It felt like there were so many other topics that needed to be addressed that were never gotten to.

4. The President needs to smile more. He has a great affable smile that makes me want to like him. However, tonight he was in full “Professor Obama” mode and kept his likeable nature bottled up. I do not know if this was a calculated decision or just how he felt tonight, but it was not a positive for him.

5. Mr. Romney could have played one of the robots from the Terminator movies.

6. What was that noise about three quarters through the debate backstage? Both Romney and the President jumped and turned to look. I bet they were both thinking the same thing: Duck!

7. Neither one wore very nice ties. Romney’s tie had a funky knot I didn’t like and the Presidents tie screamed NERD.


Okay, those are the things I noticed. I’m going to bed now. I am looking forward to the Paul Ryan VS Joe Biden debate. Joe Biden scares me, which is why I pray for the Presidents health often.


  1. I did not watch the presidential debates, but you make a very interesting point in #2 and I think it is true in general for President Obama’s campaign this year.

    • the more i think about it joan, i think you are correct. the president is far more comfortable as the ‘outsider’ than as the ‘insider.’ of course, the machiavellian scheme would be that he intentionally performed poorly so as to sucker punch romney later and be the guy who ‘came from behind and pulled it out,’ to use a sports metaphor.

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