I can't see where everyone got the impression that Mitt Romney won the first presidential debate. If winning means you're rude, uncomfortable when someone else is speaking, interrupting the moderator and not answering the questions that were asked, then yes, he won. There was no substance in his claims -- and not once did he outline a "How" in his plans.
Jim Leher, the moderator of the debate, failed to ask questions that inspired true debate, and, when the two men on stage drifted from the questions and repeatedly overrode his authority, there was no action taken. It was a little like the recent stretch of replacement referees in the NFL: When the players saw what they could get away with, they went for it.
In the end, what did we learn about Romney? That he likes to attack, doesn't listen to anyone, and has no real plan in place for carrying out his empty promises. Is it anything different than we've known during the campaign season?
In declaring Romney the winner of the debate, the news media can keep brining on talking heads and making a story out of something that really is not a story at all. When watching the news recaps last night, I was struck by how much they were taking random tweets from users out there and reporting it as news. Where are the political experts who can give us insight to what we just saw?
I felt Romney looked like the better CEO at a board meeting -- fierce, sticking to talking points, and not really saying anything of substance. His attacks on the economy made it seem like it all happened on President Obama's watch -- which is just not true. Obama inherited a country on the brink of economic collapse and has stopped that collapse from happening.
Romney kept saying that he wanted to put more Americans to work so they could pay taxes, which would contribute to the overall economy, but he didn't say how he would do it. As a member of Bain capital, he sent jobs overseas and did not concentrate on economic growth within America.
Obama seemed to outline a plan that focused on education and creating knowledge at the ground level -- a plan that takes time to grow and become ingrained in the fabric of the country. Again, Obama provided the "How" and Romney provided the promises.
It's amazing that the media right after the debate focused on how Romney seemed more energetic and combative. There was no reporting on what he said -- only how he said it. What I would like to see from the Washington insiders on the next debate reviews are breakdowns of how each of the candidates laid out their plans of actions instead of merely comments on how they delivered their rhetoric.
Where is the money going to come from if you cut taxes? How are people going to shop for insurance if they can barely afford food and shelter? What is your plan for that? Why do you think your opponent's plan doesn't work?
I'd like to see the moderator ask some pointed questions and not let the candidates dictate the rules of the debate. If someone doesn't answer the question, press them. That's what you're there for.
Victory in a debate comes from arguing a point from your side and making sure the audience knows what your support. The president clearly did that last night. Though of course, if the media made that the story, they'd have nothing to talk about for the next few weeks.
The machine marches on.