Mr. Obama had a bad night.  As in the picture below, if it is possible that his ego will allow him to do so, he appeared to be thinking, ” I wish I had crammed for this exam instead of just phoning it in like I have so many things over the past four years.”

Left-leaning media members were falling all over themselves last night and this morning trying to cover for Mr. Obama’s ‘deer in the headlights’ performance in the first debate of the election cycle. All the while, most tried to pretend to be non-partisan and tried to compliment Mr. Romney on his performance, but, the compliments were hollow.

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(Credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg/AP/Eric Gay)

It is said that when analyzing what someone means you need only pay attention to what they say, “after the ‘but’.”  Examples were numerous today.  Here are a few:

Lynn Parramore in the Huffington Post said, “Last night I placed a five-dollar bill into a bowl at the start of the debate, clipped to a prediction that Romney would be declared the winner. Not because I think that Romney is a better debater, or that I feared Obama would make a horrible gaffe — but because that’s how The Script has to go in these cases.”  In other words, the far left-leaning columnist for the Huffington Post really means that though Romney was declared the winner, that means nothing since the cards are stacked that way.

E. J. Dione, Jr., writing in the Washington Post, was complimentary of Mr. Romney’s performance before the ‘but.’, then he said what he really believes:  “Romney entered the debate facing a skeptical pundit class and a party faithful that perceived his campaign as floundering. This, at least, he reversed on Wednesday. By going on the attack, he won himself strong press notices and shouts of joyous relief from his own camp. Obama, by contrast, surprised many of his supporters by not even repeating criticisms of Romney he has made in his own stump speeches.    But Romney’s relentlessness may not play as well with swing voters. His decision to change his tax plan on the fly, rather than to defend it, will provide fodder for further Obama attack lines on how it would affect middle-income voters. And his obvious pivot to a new political persona — or, perhaps more precisely, his reversion to his older, more moderate self — will lead to more questions about who the real Mitt Romney is.”

And then there’s Noam Scheiber in the New Republic who made his excuses for Mr. Obama’s weak showing:  “As James Fallows has persuasively argued, Romney is an impressive performer when he can anticipate questions: He is impeccably prepared and executes well. He only struggles when the debates take a surprising turn. But with Obama up several points in the national polls, and nearly uncatchable in swing states like Ohio, there was no incentive for Obama to get creative. That meant Romney was very likely to have a good night.” 

Mr. Obama has spent the last six years reading from teleprompters and showed once again how badly he needs that prop to give a speech.  He looked tired, arrogant, and amazed that anyone had the temerity to question his divine pronouncements.  You can be sure he will be asked again and again by the Romney camp how he thinks doing the same thing for four more years will bring a different result.  He needs to find a good answer because last night he didn’t have one.

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