For 75 minutes tonight, I was tearing my hair out over missed oppotunities for Romney. But he did succeed in making it so boring that few people will base their votes on Obama's better performance during that long, long stretch. By "better," I don't mean "slam dunk." I just mean slightly better body language and tone of voice, and a narrow edge in terms of electoral effect.
In the last 15 minutes, Romney hit his stride. And while Obama's closing argument was warmed over, same-old same-old pablum, while he looked a bit shaky, Romney's closing statement was superb. If anybody was still awake by then, Romney left a much better closing impression.
Final effect: More people, by a narrow margin, will say Obama "won." But he didn't get a game-changer. A couple of days of poll doldrums for Romney will follow -- not big losses, but just a few little ticks down -- and then comes a nice little recognition by the public that Obama is a disaster. Tonight's debate did nothing to make Romney look unpresidential or unlikeable. Therefore, Romney is still more than viable.
This will be a dog fight until the end. Nerve-wracking. But if Romney turns the closing statement into a commercial, it should help him make a nice final push.
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