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Conservatives on Debate: A Better Obama, A Weaker Romney Conservatives on Debate: A Better Obama, A Weaker Romney

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Campaign 2012

Conservatives on Debate: A Better Obama, A Weaker Romney

Some high-profile conservatives scored Tuesday’s debate favorably for President Obama, with many agreeing that the president was much more forceful this time around and Romney was not quite as good as in the first debate.

“President Obama was much better than last time, not surprisingly," wrote Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review. "He got in all the expected hits on Romney, and at times threw out more things at once than Romney could plausibly respond to.”


“Romney, on the other hand, wasn't quite as good [as] two weeks ago," Lowry added. "I think he’s at his weakest as a performer when he gets a little too worked up and shows too much concern with the rules. He did both” at the debate.

The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes wrote, “Too bad for President Obama that he saved his aggressive performance for his second debate with Mitt Romney. If he had done as well in the first debate, the presidential race might look different today.”

Also at The Standard, Jay Cost wrote, “Obama was aggressive on debating/rebutting/getting points in. It was a big improvement over last time. In particular, Obama had a lot more facts at his fingertips this time around.” He added that “Romney was not as aggressive as Obama, but was by no means passive.”


At The Wall Street Journal, the editorial page editors wrote: “President Obama bounced off the canvas with a more spirited debate at Hofstra University on Tuesday night, as everyone expected he would. He was animated and on the attack.”

Many conservatives, however, said that the first debate had changed the race irrevocably and that this performance, though a solid one for Obama, would not make much of a dent in voters’ sentiments. As National Review’s Lowry wrote, “The big take-away from the debates so far — and the problem President Obama has — is that Mitt Romney has established himself as a plausible alternative with a plausible plan. Absent some terrible gaffe in the next debate, it’s hard to see how that bell is going be un-rung.”

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