Debate #3: I live-tweeted the third and last debate with the L.A. Times’ crew. The stream of commentary is available here. They also asked for a quick short verdict. Here’s mine, slightly modified for clarity:
Romney won the first half by sounding moderate, knowledgeable. Obama seemed peevish trying to prove Romney wasn’t those things. Obama hit his stride in the second half by abandoning sniping and ‘but-you-said’ gambits for a broadbrush “reckless” critique, and by playing bin Laden card effectively. He suddenly seemed more commanding.
1) I assume the first half of a debate is more important than the second half, because voters tune out (absent any zingers or gaffes).
2) I also assume Romney had a lower bar to meet, thanks to low expectations and the numbers of voters simply looking for a plausible alternative.
Both of those rules suggest that Romney did a bit better in pure political terms.
I’m not at all sure that’s what others will think. I haven’t looked to see yet.
P.S.: Schieffer was trying desperately not to be Candy Crowley. He succeeded.