John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


The First Debate

Posted on October 3, 2012

The best part of any American Presidential debate is at the beginning and at the end.

The beginning is when the two candidates shake hands in mutual respect, instead of shaking fists in mutual disdain.  The end is when the families of the two candidates intermingle, share laughs and show the more human side of American politics.

In Russia, Putin kills his opponents before they ever get to a debate.  China doesn’t do debates.  In most other countries, the idea of having this kind of civilized debate is fanciful.

But in America, we have these debates because in America, we agree on far more than we disagree.  At least theoretically.

So, let’s just all agree that Mitt Romney completely dominated the first Presidential debate.

He was good on the facts.  He was practiced in his responses.  He knew the rules and used them to great effect.  He ignored Jim Lehrer when he had to and acknowledged him when he had no choice.  He was respectful of the President, but not deferential.

And he was specific.  Very specific.

And finally spelled out his plan.  He finally spelled out a pro-growth plan.

The only way to balance the budget is grow the economy.   That should be the central message of his campaign.

President Obama was terrible.  He offered nothing new.  He clearly didn’t practice much.  His energy was low.  He was best when he smiled, which he did rarely.   He had four more minutes to answer the questions, but he had so many umms and uhhhs, he said a lot less than Romney despite the fact that he had so much more time.

The liberal left is going to move to lynch Jim Lehrer.

They can’t blame Obama, because that would be self-defeating.   So they have to blame somebody, and that will be Jim Lehrer.

The left is mad because Lehrer didn’t bring up abortion, gay issues, or the whole 47% deal.  In other words, Lehrer decided not to repeat the talking points of the Democratic convention.

Good for Lehrer.

The topics covered by the debate were the proper topics for the conversation.

What are we going to see is a furious counter-offensive by Obama campaign to “set the record straight” to try to cover for Obama the person.  It may work because the Obama campaign is full of very talented spin-meisters, and of course, the media is in the corner of Team O.

Romney and his team won this round clearly and convincingly.  But they can’t rest on their laurels.   This debate puts Romney back in the game.  The question is:  Can he close?