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I thought that President Obama was very presidential, but Mitt Romney really did dominate the debate through his constant lying, interruption of the moderator, and insisting on having the last word. I didn't like that because I knew they were outright lies, but how would it have been impacted if the President had called them out for being outright lies? It's difficult being put in that position where the President had to rebut Mitt Romney's lies several times, only to have the lies repeated back again.
Could the President have hit harder back? I think that he could have. I also think that this is a debate for the President to have learned from---and a very telling lesson about his opponent, Mitt Romney, in that Mitt Romney will not follow the rules of the debate. And it's one that the President will keep in mind for the next debate.
Also, one of the most effective points that President Obama made was that Romney talks all about what he's going to do, but never reveals the details of his plans. I think that President Obama will have to bring that back up again.
Do I think this will affect the polls? I think it will affect the polls only to a small amount, but I expect a strong counterattack from OFA by using Mitt Romney's constant lies in the debates and possibly framing them as such in television ads in swing states.
The President has had a history of traditionally underestimating his opponents, being nice to them, and then finally realizing that they're not going to play on a level playing field with him. That history will be borne out here, with the President more ready for the next debate, and I think what we'll see in the next debate will surprise us and make us happier than we were tonight.