Good morning folks,

Wow. If one picture could tell the story of  the opening debate, it would be this one.

This morning’s Wall Street Journal editorial gives voice to the picture above.  “These columns have often criticized the former Massachusetts Governor, but this was easily his finest performance as a candidate, and the best debate effort by a Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan in 1980.”  And, perhaps more importantly, “Undecided voters saw a different challenger than they’ve been reading about, or seeing on TV, and the race is finally on.”

Last night Mitt Romney’s masterful performance lifted a huge amount of media pressure off of his shoulders and placed it directly upon President Obama’s. That’s tough thing to do, and will create a Romney surge of sorts. The reset button has been pushed, and Governor Romney has sprung out of the gates. He must now channel that energy and enthusiasm out on the stump, and enjoy the moment…. then prepare even harder for debate number two.  The President will be ready to pounce and will the media be ready to declare him the comeback kid after even a moderately improved performance.

President Obama? Yikes.  Time to get serious about this campaign, and frankly, your job.  Enough with Letterman and the View, enough local sports interviews.  It’s time to answer the tough questions, no matter how much you may not like it. Perhaps it’s time to break the spell and do a Sunday show, whether it’s Meet the Press or… gasp… Fox News Sunday.  And stop the smirkingnext time.

THE JUDGES SAY

CNN POLL OF REGISTERED VOTERS

  • 67% said Romney won, 25% say Obama did.
  • 35% said the debate made them more likely to vote for Romney while only 18% said the faceoff made them more likely to vote to re-elect the president.
  • More than six in ten said that president did worse than expected, with one in five saying that Obama performed better than expected. Compare that to the 82% who said that Romney performed better than expected.
  • By a 58%-37% margin, debate watchers thought Romney appeared to be the stronger leader.

CBS POLL OF UNDECIDED VOTERS

  • Romney 46%, Obama 22%.
  • 56 percent of those polled said they viewed Romney in a better light after watching the debate.
  • Before the debate, 23% favored President Obama and 22% ercent favored Romney, while 50 percent were still undecided. But while voter preference for Mr. Obama changed little, after the debate support for Romney increased 12 points.

With Friends like these….

Michael Moore: “President Romney?” Anybody worried now? Get it the F together, Team Obama. And the rest of us? What are WE doing tomorrow?”

Michael Moore II: “This is what happens when u pick John Kerry as your debate coach.”

Andrew Sullivan: “How is Obama’s closing statement so fucking sad, confused and lame? He choked. He lost. He may even have lost the election tonight.”

Chris Matthews: Where was Obama tonight? He should watch — well, not just Hardball, Rachel, he should watch you, he should watch the Reverend Al [Sharpton], he should watch Lawrence. He would learn something about this debate. There’s a hot debate going on in this country. You know where it’s been held? Here on this network is where we’re having the debate.” “What was Romney doing?” Matthews asked. “He was winning.”

Bill Maher: “I can’t believe i’m saying this, but Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter.”

Vanity Fair: Good LORD Obama wouldn’t win a student council election against a chubby nerd with that closing argument.

Samuel L. Jackson: What Really happened tonite?! NOBODY changed who they’re voting for!! NOBODY!!!

David Corn: Romney has reason to be happy. Obama, not so much. #debate

Joe Klein: Did the President send out his body double tonight? Because if that was the actual Barack Obama out there, I’m not sure he can communicate well enough to be an effective President in a time of trouble, to say nothing of winning a second term.

Van Jones: I think he did not expect Romney to throw that kind of heat. Romney was able to ‘out-Obama’ Obama. On the connection piece, on the authenticity piece, on the being able to tell the story.”

Ed Schultz: I was disappointed in the President. He had an opportunity tonight. He created a problem for himself on Social Security tonight. He agrees with Mitt Romney. Every liberal in this country knows that Mitt Romney wants to privatize Social Security down the road, and to do a deal with the devil on that would be the wrong thing to do.  I think the President created a big problem for him tonight, for himself. I don’t think he explained himself very well on the economy. I thought he was off his game. I was absolutely stunned tonight.

Jeffrey Goldberg: Romney did better on the subject of Obama’s anniversary than Obama did on the subject of Obama’s anniversary.

HOUSE RACE BUZZ

NEW NATIONAL JOURNAL RANKINGS: …Democrats still look unlikely to win back the House, but the most striking aspect about the House landscape right now is how differently Democrats and Republicans are viewing the battleground….  For the first time in four cycles, no wave is emerging for either side, and that’s making the landscape a little trickier to judge than in recent times. That won’t stop us from trying, though, and without further introduction, we can proceed to our newest edition of Hotline’s House Race Rankings.

  • 11. (18) MA-06 (D, Rep. John Tierney): Independent polling from The Boston Globe confirmed what Republican surveys suggested: The bottom has dropped out of Tierney’s campaign after the YG Action Fund and the NRCC spent big bucks assailing his family’s legal problems. House Majority PAC has since decided its money could be better spent outside the pricey Boston media market. Richard Tisei could well become the first Republican to win a House seat as an openly gay candidate.
  • 30. (24) NC-07 (D, Rep. Mike McIntyre): This has been the most expensive district in the country for outside groups over the last month and a half, seeing over $2.5 million in independent expenditure ads. YG Action Fund’s polling shows downward movement for McIntyre. But the district has proven the lone frustration for Republicans in an otherwise stellar North Carolina congressional landscape.

PA-12: Americans for Tax Reform Announces $500,000 Campaign for Young Gun Keith Rothfus:  After a barrage of proven-false negative ads targeting Republican Keith Rothfus, ATR is investing nearly half a million dollars in the district.  Americans for Tax Reform is investing $495,000 into a targeted campaign in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District in defense of Republican Keith Rothfus. After a barrage of proven-false negative attack ads from the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee and their allies, ATR is fighting back on behalf of Taxpayer Protection Pledge signer Keith Rothfus.

NH-1: WMUR Poll Concern for GOP Freshman Frank Guinta: Frank Guinta won the 2010 election by 12 percentage points, but the 2012 election looks to be much better for Carol Shea-Porter, who was elected to this seat in 2006 and 2008. Currently, Shea-Porter is favored by 46% of likely voters, Guinta by 35%, and 18% are undecided. When undecided voters are asked which candidate they are most likely to support, Shea-Porter continues to lead Guinta by 47% to 38%, with 2% favoring some other candidate and 12% still undecided.

MA-6 – Editorial: John Tierney Lies in Flyers:  Now moving on to the real race, which is between Richard Tisei, a nice young man (roughly my son’s age) whom I’ve known for almost 30 years, and John Tierney, whom I loathe with every fiber of my being.. … All these lying fliers have been sent to me by the Massachusetts State Democratic Party. Tierney clearly approves of them — he hasn’t stated otherwise, and his most commonly used word in the debate was “extremists.” He tried to make Tisei appear an extremist because Republicans of all ideological stripes are enthusiastically supporting him against the ultra-liberal Democrat Tierney.
I can’t imagine who would support the likes of him even if they agreed on some issues. But some of us are targeted “potential” — near as I can tell from the fliers, the Democratic Party thinks that Independent women and senior citizens are dumb enough to believe anything they’re told by sleazy campaigners, then scared enough to vote for Tierney. Personally, I resent that a lot.

IL-12: Young Gun Jason Plummer Holding Strong: There’s a lot on the line in the 12th District race, which became especially competitive after U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, surprised everyone by announcing his retirement. ..  At least one campaign watcher sees the region’s races as indicative of how challenging it could be for House Democrats to prevail.  “There’s some similarities between this trio of races and the challenge Democrats have nationwide,” said Nathan Gonzales, an analyst with the Rothenberg Political Report. “Even though Democrats are trying to broaden the playing field and bring as many races into play and challenging seats like the 13th and the 17th, Democrats still have vulnerabilities on their side like the 12th. They have to spend money and energy defending.”

THIS & THAT 

Rage Against the Machine – New Album? (MAYBE)

Dangerous Shopping: 2nd Alligator Found at Long Islander Supermarket 

Awkward: LoLo Jones Twitter Exchange Gone Bad

Ways to Not Celebrate Scoring in Hockey 

Incredible New Lincoln Trailer 

OOOPS: New Orleans prosecutor arrested after joint falls from his pocket in court

Batman Arrested… Bat Girl Vows Justice
Seize the Day…..

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