In the 3rd and final (thank goodness) Presidential Debate, the insta-pundits and the snap polls all gave the nod narrowly to Obama, saying he won "on points". Except, of course, for the CBS poll. They gave Obama a ridiculously huge win; they've been an outlier from the beginning, showing results way outside what anyone else was reporting.
I gave it to Romney. This wasn't a high school or college debate, where points are awarded for the forcefulness of the argument and for the lack of a significant riposte from your opponent; where a false charge, left unanswered, still wins points. I gave it to Romney based on the substance of his arguments, as well as his conduct and demeanor during the debate.
Again, Gov. Romney kept his composure in the face of repeatedly being call a liar by the President. The same as in the 2nd debate. He tried to portray Romney as a liar and a flip-flopper on his decisions. He trotted out the discredited claim that Romney wanted to "let Detroit go bankrupt". By the way, that title for his op-ed in the New York Times was not written by Mr. Romney, but by an editor. The President claimed that Romney would have let the auto makers go through liquidation and collapse. When Romney pointed out that in his column he favored government-backed financial aid for the companies to continue operating after going through bankruptcy and shedding unproductive costs and to assure car owners that their warranties would be honored, Obama said "That's just not true." Actually, it is. At the end of his opinion piece he did, in fact, argue for government assistance and loan guarantees for GM and Chrysler after they had gone through the bankruptcy process and shed crippling debt and unsustainable obligations and become more efficient.
The President's behavior was, in a word, un-Presidential. He was derisive. He was condescending. He was snide. He was snarky. He was profoundly discourteous and unprofessional. In the debate over the question of national defense and the military, when Romney pointed out that further cuts to the military would affect readiness and the ability to respond to problems around the world, pointing out that we would have fewer ships in the Navy than we did in 1916, Obama responded that we "also have fewer bayonets, and fewer horses. We have these things called aircraft carriers, that planes can land on; we have boats that can go under water, called nuclear submarines."
Really, Mr. President? That's your idea of a proper response? Aside from being unnecessarily rude, you were also wrong. The Army has and uses more bayonets now than in WWI and fighting tactics for bayonets are still taught to our military personnel. We also train personnel on horseback, for deployment in terrain unsuited for motorized transportation (like Afghanistan & Pakistan, for example). Also, the Navy is crucial to the ability of America to both project strength and to respond to emergencies around the world. How else to you expect the military to transport men and material to the war zone? How else could America transport aid to hurricane/earthquake/flood victims in third-world countries? His response(s) to Mr. Romney's arguments is(are) further and continuing indication(s) of Obama's shallowness of thought and refusal to consider any information that doesn't already align to his preconceptions.
He has now compounded the lowering of the prestige of his office by going on tour promoting "Romnesia" and "getting tough on Big Bird" as reasons not to vote for his opponent. This is the Presidential election of the United States, not amateur night at the Chuckle Hut. With almost every public appearance, Obama is making himself and his arguments (and the Office of the President) smaller and smaller; making Gov. Romney much the bigger man.
Many Republican pundits bemoaned the fact that Gov. Romney didn't really get into it with Obama. That he didn't hammer home the administration's failures around the world, particularly concerning the events in Benghazi, Libya. As it turns out, making the conscious decision not to do so may have been one of Gov. Romney's shrewdest. The more information that comes out concerning the events of September 11th and it's aftermath, as well as the administration's response (or lack thereof), the worse the President looks. And, since Gov. Romney decided not to pursue the subject in the debate, there aren't any sound bites available for the President and his allies to use in an attempt to deflect attention away from themselves and their failures.
As of right now, all of the national polls show Gov. Romney either with a narrow lead or within the margin of error. The battleground polls show the same, with some truly startling results in Ohio and Pennsylvania. If you dig into the internals of the polls, it gets even better for Romney, with the trend firmly in his direction in several different metrics. Barring the collapse of the Romney campaign (or outrageous voter fraud) I'd say the election is Romney's to win or lose. Obama has shown his true colors, and more and more Americans are beginning to wake up to the destructiveness of his policies. The only poll that really matters is the one taken on November 6th. That day will truly decide the course of America's future, for better or worse.