"You know what would make this debate better? MST 3000." - The Digital Hairshirt
By Kevin Cirilli
(Politico) Left-leaning commentators hit President Barack Obama hard on TV and the Internet after the first presidential debate in Denver on Wednesday night, saying GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney handily defeated his more experienced opponent.
MSNBC hosts were “stunned” by Obama’s performance, suggesting the president was rusty for not having debated in four years.
“I don’t think he explained himself very well on the economy. I think he was off his game. I was absolutely stunned tonight,” Ed Schultz said.
“Where was Obama tonight?” Chris Matthews asked.
Matthews said Romney addressed Obama “like the prey. He did it just right. I’m coming at an incumbent.
I’ve got to beat him. You gotta beat the champ, and I’m gonna beat him tonight. And I don’t care what this guy moderator, whatever he thinks he is, because I’m going to ignore him. What was Romney doing? He was winning.”
“It does remind you that the last debate Mitt Romney had was seven months ago and the last debate that Barack Obama had was four years ago,” said Maddow.
“He choked. He lost. He may even have lost the election tonight,” Sullivan wrote, later adding, “Obama looked tired, even bored; he kept looking down; he had no crisp statements of passion or argument; he wasn’t there. He was entirely defensive, which may have been the strategy. But it was the wrong strategy. At the wrong moment.”
Sullivan, an Obama supporter, was even more vicious on Twitter, calling Obama’s performance “terrible” and “political malpractice.”
“This is a rolling calamity for Obama. He’s boring, abstract, and less human-seeming than Romney!” he wrote. “He’s throwing the debate away.”
Another Obama supporter, liberal comedian Bill Maher, went on a similar Twitter rant, firing off such comments as, “Obama made a lot of great points tonight. Unfortunately, most of them were for Romney.”
Howard Fineman, editorial director of the Huffington Post Media Group, said on MSNBC that Romney delivered “a big wake-up call” to the Obama campaign on Wednesday night.
“It’s a classic case of a president kind of showing up and figuring that because he’s president he going to get extra points. It didn’t work that way tonight. And it’s a big wake-up call to the Obama campaign with 34 days in the race,” Fineman said.