Raise your hand if you saw this one coming?
After months of suffering one gaffe after another, 'Mr. 47 Percent' Mitt Romney finally got the one thing he had been waiting for, the chance to stand alone on a stage with President Obama.
His handlers had been telling us that the campaign won't really start until the debates, until Romney and Obama went mano a mano.
You don't need to go to the judges' cards on this bout. Romney won in a knockout.
We have a campaign again. Brace yourself for a furious five weeks.
On a night that most likely will be remembered most for a reference to Big Bird and the inability of moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS to rein in the candidates, Romney had his best night of the campaign. The president, widely hailed for his debating and in particular his oratorical skill, was oddly aloof and dispassionate. Basically, he looked like he'd rather be somewhere else.
Romney charged through the door and never looked back.
It should be said that Romney took part in all those GOP debates in the Republican Primary. Obama was busy running the country. It showed for both men. Romney took it to Obama, and the president seemed to be doing some version of the famous 'rope-a-dope.'
Bottom line is that almost everyone who witnessed saw the night as a clear win for Romney, a sub-par performance for the president, and an awful night for Lehrer. Truth is that when you get two men of this skill on the stage, I don't know if anyone will be able to act as a moderator.
The other thing that becomes obvious is that the next two debates, as well as the vice president's soiree next week, take on added significance.
Expect to see Romney surge in the polls following his performance last night.
Expect Obama to reload. He had a couple of moments on health care, but for the most part was off his game.
Romney consistently beat him to the point, sure in his position, as opposed to the flip-flopper he's been painted as again and again.
This one is a contest again. Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy five weeks.