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Presidential debate: A lackluster Obama, a revived Romney

Publié par Clifford Armion le 10/04/2012

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Doyle McManus

It always comes as a surprise, but incumbent presidents tend not to do very well in formal campaign debates. Gerald Ford stumbled against Jimmy Carter in 1976, Carter was pummeled by Ronald Reagan in 1980, Reagan fumbled in his first try in 1984, and so on.
On Wednesday evening, Barack Obama showed that he was no exception to the rule. Maybe he underestimated Mitt Romney, even though Romney did well in a long string of Republican primary debates last spring. Maybe the president has gotten unused to being challenged directly or -- with crises across the Middle East -- didn’t spend as much quality time on preparation as his opponent.
The explanation for Obama’s lackluster performance (and reporters will demand one) won’t matter. Even the details of the 90-minute debate, which got pretty wonky on taxes and Medicare, won’t matter for long. Obama did land a couple of zingers -- notably when he asked whether Romney was withholding details of his proposals “because they’re so good” -- but that won’t matter much either.
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"Presidential debate: A lackluster Obama, a revived Romney", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), avril 2012. Consulté le 23/06/2024. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/archives/archives-revue-de-presse/presidential-debate-a-lackluster-obama-a-revived-romney