No doubt plenty of conservatives wanted a more reactive and aggressive Romney. But as I said last time, the purpose of these debates is not to score points. It’s to appear in charge. This late in the game, the shift has already happened.
Obama came into the 3rd debate as the challenger and acted like it, launching attack after attack at Romney. But Romney, in a turn from his previous debate performance, took on a laid back attitude. The two men had switched roles and Romney’s goal was to maintain his lead by alienating as few voters as possible.
The election is Romney’s to lose. Obama has nothing left to lose. That is what you saw in this debate. Romney had the ball and Obama did everything he could to get it from him. He failed.
Romney’s goal was to appear presidential, assure voters that he wouldn’t take any drastic steps and keep foreign policy on track while showing more leadership. It’s not what we want to hear, but we’re not swing voters. What they want to hear is that there will be no new wars but that the country will remain strong and secure. That’s what Romney gave them.
The polls show that people think Obama won the debate. And that’s because he kept doing what challengers do, which is work to get on camera, stay on camera and throw as many shots as he could while on camera.
Romney’s goal was to act presidential, remain calm and assure people that he won’t take any drastic steps as president. It’s not an approach that wins debates, but at this stage in the game it does win elections.
Romney did not come to the debate to beat Obama, but to pick up Obama’s voters. Time will tell if he succeeded or not.