How bad was it for Obama Wednesday night? Even some of his biggest fans were livid that he let Mitt Romney walk away with a win, and they were not suffering in silence.
Within an hour of the debate ending, liberals and longtime Democratic operatives and pundits took to the airwaves and Twitter to lament the lost opportunity that was the first presidential debate.
Some of the highlights from the losing side:
- Commentator and blogger Andrew Sullivan might have captured the collective reaction best with this tweet, “Look, you know how much I love the guy, and how much of a high-info viewer I am, but this was a disaster for Obama.”
- On MSNBC, talk show host Chris Matthews asked incredulously, “Where was Obama tonight?” He suggested that the president take some cues from the liberal voices on the cable channel. “There’s a hot debate going on in this country. Do you know where it’s being held? Here on this network is where we’re having the debate. We have our knives out. We go after the people and the facts. What was he doing tonight? He went in there disarmed.” Obama failed to put any points on the board by not bringing up Romney’s controversial “47 percent” remark or his work at Bain Capital, Matthews complained, while Romney “did it just right,” keeping a direct gaze on Obama as he spoke, ignoring moderator Jim Lehrer’s mild-mannered attempts to cut him off and treating he president like “prey.” Matthews said, “What was Romney doing? He was winning.”
- Comedian Bill Maher, who takes regular hard jabs at conservatives on his television show and who gave $1 million to a super PAC supporting Obama’s reelection, tweeted, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter” -- a reference to Obama’s critics who say he relies too heavily on teleprompters.
- Even some of the Democratic party’s best spin-meisters threw in the towel on this one. Jim Manley, a former longtime aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, tweeted, “What can I say? Romney lives to fight another day.” And this was the best Manley could muster in the way of positive news: Romney, he said, “did a masterful job of running away from his record, like doing a marathon in 2.5 hour type running. But he is still destined to fail.”
- Democratic strategist and lobbyist Hilary Rosen also did not bother to try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear of a night. She tweeted, “I guess tonight comes down to the fact-checkers because it was obvious Romney will say anything to get elected.”
- Obama senior advisor David Plouffe tried to rally the troops with a chirpy, “We are very happy with the president’s performance.” Stu Rothenberg, one of the country’s leading election and campaign analysts, tweeted in reply, “Oh brother.”
Gallery: The Body Language Says it All
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