Obama wins debate on foreign policy...which nobody cares about
I thought Romney was shaky at the start of the debate and his answers had a staccato rhythm. It's pretty clear he wanted to project an image of steadiness but at times he let easy rejoinders slip away. For example: Obama has never visited Israel as President although he's visited nearly every other country on earth. Romney got stronger midway through and he was clearly more at ease talking about the economy.
Obama was better at the start and made some palpable hits. But then he ran out of steam and fell back on 1.) snark and 2.) his stump speech. How many times did he say we needed to invest in education? Four? Should we ask "people like him" to pay more in taxes? What American hasn't heard it a thousand times? By the end he seemed desperate to let people know he was smarter, oh so smarter, than Mitt.
In the larger sense, Romney needed to appear Presidential and he did. If Americans were looking for a Commander-in-Chief, Mitt can fill the bill. This debate will not change the trajectory of the polls one bit and that's a win for Romney.
Extra - CNN poll of registered voters says Obama "wins" 48-40% but on whether the candidates could be President, the numbers were nearly equal. On the question of whether you'd be more likely to vote for a candidate it was 24% more likely to vote for Obama, 25% for Romney, and 50% neither. In other words, no change at all.
More - Oh, I forgot to mention: Obama's closing argument to the American people was his vapid laundry list from his stump speech. Romney's final pitch was optimism, peace, and strength through a strong economy. Excellent and effective.
And - White House Dossier: "Romney's brilliant maneuver."
Plus - Instapundit: "Snarky, condescending, peevish and small." Obama that is.
Finally - Nice Deb has a video of Charles Krauthammer who thought Romney won, hands down.