Rove: Obama Won the Debate but Is Losing the Argument
On the essential question of who would be better at handling the economy, CNN found Mitt Romney ahead by 58% to 40%.
By KARL ROVEAmericans on Tuesday night watched what was the most ferocious presidential debate ever. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney circled and interrupted each other, jabbed fingers, got into each other's space, and exchanged verbal body blows for 90 minutes at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
Yet it did not change the campaign's dynamic. President Obama won the postdebate polls, but he's losing the argument.
In CNN's insta-poll, 46% said Mr. Obama did the "best job" while 39% chose Mr. Romney. And in CBS's survey of uncommitted voters, 37% said Mr. Obama won the night while 30% gave it to Mr. Romney. But to reverse the GOP challenger's momentum, the president required nearly as big a victory Tuesday as Mr. Romney had last week. He didn't get it.
In his strong presentation in Denver, Mr. Romney did two things that altered, perhaps permanently, the race. By ticking off what viewers saw as a common-sense, practical agenda and then explaining what each of its five elements would do to improve the lives of all Americans, Mr. Romney came across as a man with a plan. He also demolished the image nurtured by the Obama campaign of him as a heartless, selfish plutocrat.
This week, Mr. Romney continued explaining how his agenda would help all Americans—especially the middle class—rise and prosper. He was at his strongest when indicting the president's economic record.