Huffpost Media
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Scott Blakeman Headshot

Did I Watch the Same Debate as My Fellow Liberal Pundits?

Posted: Updated:

After listening to the chorus of Obama debate bashing by liberal pundits on MSNBC and elsewhere, I felt as if I had watched a totally different debate.

I thought the president did an excellent job, and came off cool, confident and informed. Mitt Romney seemed agitated, anxious and out of breath. Liberal pundits have to realize the president's goal in the debate wasn't to play to liberals. It was to connect with independents and moderate Republicans who are undecided. And I think he achieved that goal.

Even those who proclaimed Romney to be the winner of the debate conceded that he had expressed opinions diametrically opposed to positions he had taken previously in the campaign. The reinvented Romney claimed to be against cutting aid to education, while the pre-October 3 Romney called for abolishing the Department of Education, and was against the Jobs Act provision that would have saved hundreds of thousands of teaching jobs.

And did pundits really think Romney scored when he praised his Massachusetts health care plan but called for the repeal of Obamacare? I thought the president nailed him on that inconsistency.

The basic thrust of the post-debate punditry was that Romney had better energy than the president. How does coming off loud and frenetic make you appear more presidential? Are these men running for president or are they trying out to be a spokesman for late-night infomercials?

And how is being professorial a negative? The president dared to thoughtfully explain his programs and policies, and effectively pushed back when Romney attacked him. But the fact that Obama did all this calmly and forcefully but not loudly, seems to have turned off MSNBC pundits who clamored for the president to be more like them.

But most liberal pundits with shows on MSNBC don't have many undecided voters in their viewing demographic. So while President Obama may not have passed his audition as a fiery left-wing talk show host, he succeeded with what I suspect was the campaign's debate strategy: to show undecided voters that he has been consistent and trustworthy the last four years. And after Romney's desperate "I'll say whatever it takes to get the deal done" mentality on display at the debate, consistent and trustworthy are traits that undecided voters will have difficulty associating with Romney.

  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Holdover
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
Click for Full Results