If President Barack Obama had performed two weeks ago like he did tonight the race would be over. Tonight the President defended his record and cited the accomplishments of his administration that he has been loath to do until now. He did not waste any time or opportunity to reminding people where we were when he took office.
He reminded everyone that the reason gasoline prices were so low when he took office was because the economy was in full collapse. The President has largely avoided blaming current problems on the past but this was a deft call because it also allowed him to the compare former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s economic strategy outcome to the same one that lowered gas prices, a collapsing economy.
On issue after issue the President mounted strong defenses of his policies, articulated a path forward which includes his policies of investing in education, research and new technologies, especially alternative energy. He forcefully reminded everyone that there is a long list of promises he made in 2008 that he has delivered on.
Most important though, he continual attacked Romney’s positions and painted him as the misleading, plutocrat salesmen that many of his base believe Mr. Romney is. The President reminded us that Mr. Romney was for banning assault weapons before he was against it.
When Mr. Romney said he never said Arizona’s immigration law was a model for the nation, the President reminded everyone that Mr. Romney’s top advisor on immigration wrote the Arizona law. I’m sure the Presidents game plan included exposing every lie that Romney was prone to say and he did that so many times I couldn’t count them all.
The only short coming I saw in the President’s attacks was letting the Republicans in Congress off the hook for obstructing his policy initiatives from day one. If things go right however, their day may come in one week.
The President’s base should be happy with his performance. They saw the President they want to vote for, the one who is fighting for them and the issues they cared about. Mr. Romney’s base will probably concede that the President was on his game tonight but they still believe the case against the President on the poor economy was effectively made by their candidate.
They will take the pause in momentum as a normal phase of the close race and move on. The next debate will be a real challenge for the Romney campaign because they no longer have a foreign policy issue to exploit. When the President looked Mr. Romney in the eye, pointed his finger at him and said politicizing the Benghazi attacks was offensive, that moment should be a marker for the Romney campaign that the President has no intention of ceding any ground in the foreign policy debate.
The President has his mojo back.