Skip to navigationSkip to content
COMMENTARY ROUNDUP

The Big Ideas: Was the US presidential debate a game-changer or too little-too late?

Getty Images / Spencer Platt
Americans watching the US presidential debate
  • Lauren Alix Brown
By Lauren Alix Brown

Director of Special Projects

This article is more than 2 years old.

After the first US presidential debate, an almost universal reaction is that Romney won. With his trove of zingers and aggressive style, he made Obama look asleep and at times bumbling. Here is some of the best analysis from around the web:

Gail Collins for The New York Times makes light of some of the oddities from last night’s debate: Romney had a funny look on his face when Obama spoke, Obama looked bored and has taken to calling his own health plan “Obamacare.” But she also offers an important point. The debates are not for the committed, who will follow their candidate regardless; they’re for the undecided.

Ben Smith for Buzzfeed points out that Romney’s great victory from the debate was his ability to appear as an equal on stage with the president, especially after coming from such a deficit in the polls. “But Romney’s core success was that he won by not losing: He has barely weathered a campaign that reduced him to a smaller figure than President Obama. On stage, they were roughly the same size.”

Joshua Green for Bloomberg said that Romney appeared as if he had a better grasp of the facts than Obama and the ability to get the economy on the right track. Notably, pundits have been harping on what Obama didn’t say. For Green it was these three things, “1) 47 Percent, 2) Cayman Islands/Swiss Bank Accounts, 3) Tea Party.”

James Downie for the Washington Post argues that regardless of his poor debate performance, Obama will still win the election. For Romney it’s “too little, too late”; he has no shot at matching Obama in the electoral college. “After six years of both these men running for and/or being president of the United States, is there really anyone out there who thinks Mitt Romney can go a month without making a single mistake?”

This is what’s floating around the internet post-debate:

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.