Crucially, the president himself must become a critic. One flop may not an election make, but a second one? Can't happen. At the next rumble -- er, debate -- Mr. Obama must pull off Mr. Romney's many masks and expose his contradictions.
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?
Mitt Romney won the debate last night but only if you judge the "winner" of a debate as the most hyperkinetic, oftentimes aggressive and condescending participant who used his rehearsed delivery to spackle over his lies, mistakes, generalities and misleading statements.
Last night's debate came close to a Donald Rumsfeld press conference: "As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know..."
We all know about the difference between the responses of those who listened to the first Kennedy-Nixon debate on the radio versus those who watched it on television. I did both last night and the same was true.
Well, for a town-hall meeting, I sure didn't see a whole lot of 'town." A couple dozen of over-lit, under-whelmed people who got free tickets. As a comic, I have to say, that really looked like a tough house.
Why are these debates so incredibly boring? Is it McCain telling us constantly he is our friend while he grimaces in a way that is friendly to no one? Or is it Obama keeping his cool despite all the idiotic lies and provocations?
At the end of the debate, Brokaw asked McCain to get out of the way of his Teleprompter. He might as well have been speaking on behalf of the future: Senator McCain can you please get out of the way so we can get on with it?