The pundits and their screwy flash polls of "undecided voters" seemed pretty insistent tonight that Mitt Romney was the clear winner in the first debate on domestic policy. (Even the "undecideds" didn't seem all that sure -- 46% in the CBS poll thought Romney was the winner, but a total of 54% either thought the President won or it was a tie.) I wasn't so sure. I thought Romney did OK, but he didn't do as well as he needed, and while President Obama didn't score any knockout blows, he seemed much calmer than the excitable Romney and avoided making any major blunder. Check the polls in a few days. I'm guessing Romney will go up a bit among likely voters, but that he won't get nearly the bump that he needs at this point.
The Washington pundits would probably have called this for Romney no matter how the debate turned out. They've been dying to move on to the next new thing. They've been hungry for a new campaign storyline, and the Mitt Romney campaign "turnaround" story has the drama they're looking for. They certainly weren't going to let something like a messy, inconclusive, badly moderated debate stand in the way of an exciting new story. Also, the media types tend to be impressed by guys like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan who use big words to talk fast about complicated issues without making much sense or even necessarily being bound by the truth.
Although the talking heads talked about a Romney victory, there was only one clear-cut winner Wednesday night, and that was a bird. When people recall this debate in the future (or when SNL parodies it), they're likely to remember only one thing -- and that's Romney "firing" Big Bird.
About 30 minutes into the verbal contest between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, the former governor explained that he would cut what he considers non-essential items in the budget, including cuts to PBS, which employs debate moderator Jim Lehrer.
Everybody's favorite big yellow feathery Muppet fired back with his own Twitter account, @FiredBigBird. Two hours after the end of the debate, the beleaguered bird's account had more than 20,000 followers and was going viral. Some were really passionate in their defense of their big yellow friend:
"I worked with Big Bird. I served with Big Bird. You, sir, are no Big Bird."Poor Romney. First he loses the 47 percent. And now he loses the avian demographic. What's next?