The debates are over. Now voters must decide which man, President Barack Obama or former Gov. Mitt Romney, has the best vision, strength and ability to govern and pull this country out of its economic doldrums and generate enthusiasm and a positive attitude about this country’s opportunities.
Romney won the first debate by a wide margin and he has been able to maintain and possibly strengthen his position through the subsequent debates.
In all the debates, Romney represented himself as a creditable candidate, able to move into the White House, knowledgeable and up-to-date about both domestic and foreign affairs. The debates have provided him an opportunity to present himself in an unfiltered manner as a decent, compassionate and caring individual, not an out-of-date warmonger who has no empathy or appreciation for the importance and role of women in our society.
Following Monday’s debate, a senior GOP spokesperson described the events as “90 minutes of gold” for his party and Romney because the debates provided the opportunity for millions of voters to see what Romney is all about, not what the Obama ads have portrayed.
Debates two and three were much closer than the first. However, the momentum created in the first debate carried over into the subsequent encounters to give Romney a positive position going into the last two weeks of the grueling, rough, tremendously costly and often ugly campaign.
Obama enjoyed the advantage of three years as president, and the prestige and public exposure that accompanies this position. However, he was unable to take advantage of this and seldom gave viewers the confidence he is the clear-cut best possible individual to hold the reins of this country for another four years,
His record during the past three years has been bad, and try as they may, Democratic strategists have been unable to tie all of Obama’s failures to his predecessor, George W. Bush. They tried, but they didn’t gain any traction.
Republicans probably are disappointed their candidate did not come out Monday evening with a strong attack against Obama for the manner in which the president and his aides misled the public about what actually happened in the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
It appears that rather than take an aggressive stance during the third debate, Romney was determined to take the safe road, not be goaded into making serious mistakes, giving Obama an opportunity to score a decisive win. Romney played not to lose, instead of playing to win.
As it turned out, Obama failed to derail the Romney surge following the first debate and he was unable to present a powerful winning performance that would convince the public he deserved four more years. Totally justified or not, he has failed to measure up on many of his 2008 campaign promises, and this country has slipped into an even deeper hole of debt. Unemployment remains high and millions of Americans depend on the government for aid. There is an embarrassing lack of openness and commitment to work with Republicans on legislation and, in the last several weeks, the sad story of how Obama misled the public about the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate.
The public has every reason to wonder, if their president finds it convenient to mislead, maybe even lie, about a matter so serious and open as the Benghazi affair, has he been honest with the public on many other matters?
Also, there is the lingering question of whether the president may try to come up with a major last-minute surprise or effort to change voters’ minds just before they go to the polls.
No matter how the debates colored the campaign, it’s not over until the last vote is cast on Nov. 6. It would be a mistake for Republicans to underestimate the lengths to which the president might go to pull off a last-minute, last-second victory.
Aside from a manufactured last-minute “hail Mary” effort by Obama, Romney has presented himself as a candidate very able and prepared to lead this country for the next four years.