By John Barron
A funny thing happened in Denver tonight: a Republican presidential candidate who seemed heading for likely defeat in just over a month effectively said "this race ain't over yet".
Mitt Romney showed a feisty, confident, even commanding side to his personality — one that has eluded him until now. He in turn made President Obama seem testy, hesitant, and sheepish.
Romney has been through twenty debates in the past year; President Obama hasn’t debated in four years — and it showed.
Quite simply, the fast-talking former CEO outshone the irked former professor of constitutional law.
Maybe in the bubble that is the White House, President Obama has gotten used to having the final sayand never being criticised to his face. Romney changed that.
On every topic — the economy, the debt, healthcare, education — Romney’s attacks were razor sharp while the President was waffley and halting.
And the President seemed to pull his punches, inexplicably failing to mention Bain Capital, the 47 per cent gaffe, or attack the more extreme plans of Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, to gut Medicare for the elderly.
After the Republican leapt in boots and all, Democrats must have been hoping for a rope-a-dope strategy. But it wasn’t to be. Romney kept landing punches; the President looked like he couldn't be bothered to duck.
Maybe President Obama thinks the race is over, it’s in the bag, and these debates don’t matter.
Sure, President George W. Bush probably "lost" all of his debates with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000, yet beat them both at the ballot box (or in the latter case, the Supreme Court).
We’ll know in the next few days whether Romney’s star performance was enough for voters to give him a second look.
4 October 2012