I was a little disappointed to see some mainstream conservative pundits declare Obama the victory of the debate “on points.”
Obama, to his credit, performed much better this time around. He kept pace with Romney and landed a number of critical blows. He came out ahead on the Benghazi exchange, though as other pundits noted, the story tomorrow may not look so good for him. But I don’t think Obama can be declared the winner of the debate.
Each issue ranks differently on the list of importance for voters. I think many of us would agree that the economy is by far the most important issue for most voters, including the undecided voters who were present at the debate and in the post-debate focus groups. Given this, it follows that winning an exchange during the debate on the economy ought to be weighted more heavily than winning an exchange over other issues. Of course almost all issues can be related back to the economy, but some are more “purely” economic than others.
On those issues, I thought Romney emerged the clear victor. I think he presented himself as someone with a superior working knowledge of business and economics, and probably inspired more confidence in his ability to handle the nation’s economic problems than the President. Double Romney’s points for every answer that created the impression that he knows more about economics than Obama, and he becomes the clear winner of the debate.
I may just sleep through the foreign policy debate, though. My regular readers know why. I’m a Paulbot anti-American isolationist! No one represents my views. Oh well.