President Obama must have known that his prospects for re-election had taken a devastating hit after he failed to show up for the first Presidential Debate in Denver. If he trusted even a little bit in Joe "Gaffe Machine" Biden's ability to retake the ground he'd lost with a dominating performance in the Vice-Presidential Debate last week, he must have been dismayed at what he saw. Mr. Biden's smirking, rude, and condescending manner was less than palatable to many viewers.
Last night, Mr. Obama at least showed up to debate. But, prepared as he thought he was, it wasn't enough. Feisty as he was, the President lost the argument with Mitt Romney again. He lost because his arguments have no substance. He lost because he couldn't hide behind the shield of the liberal/socialist/Democrat (LSD) mainstream media, although the LSD moderator, CNN's Candy Crowley, did what she could. She was decidedly on the President's side.
When Mr. Romney pointed out that it took 14 days for Mr. Obama to label the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans as an act of terror, Ms. Crowley pounced.
"He did in fact, sir," she interrupted. "So let me - let me call it an act of terror."
"Can you say that a little louder, Candy?" the President asked.
"He - he did call it an act of terror," she stammered. "It did as well take - it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that," she said.
Mr. Romney appeared incredulous that Ms. Crowley had forced her way into the conversation, and he couldn't apply the crusher. The fact is, he didn't have to. There will be ample opportunity to do that. Next Monday's third Presidential Debate will focus on foreign policy, and Mr. Romney set the stage for it just by broaching the subject. He derided the President's foreign policy from his infamous "Apology Tour" all the way to Libya. Between the end of last night's debate until Monday night, the subject of what the President knew about Benghazi, and when he knew it, will draw lots of air-time. Mr. Obama can't be very happy about that.
Moreover, Crowley's incredible interruption only delayed the inevitable. She was also mistaken, as she had to admit after the debate. At the Rose Garden press conference, immediately after the Benghazi attack the President danced around the issue of terrorism. He did not specifically refer to the attack as an act of terrorism. What he said was that "no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation."
And for the next two weeks, whether appearing on "Late Night with David Letterman," or on "The View" with Joy Behar, or standing before the United Nations, the President actively promoted the idea that he believed that the Benghazi attack, and more than 20 nearly simultaneous attacks on other American embassies, were the result of Muslim outrage over an internet video which made fun of the Prophet Mohammed, demonstrations which got out of hand.
The greater point, however large an albatross hanging from around his neck the Benghazi attack is becoming, Mr. Obama lost the debate. Mr. Romney scored time and again, effectively painting Mr. Obama as anti-oil, anti-coal, and anti-natural gas. He pointed out that gas prices have more than doubled under the Obama Administration.
When Mr. Romney spoke of his plan to cut tax rates, to allow taxpayers to choose whatever tax deductions best suited their needs, and help small businesses to create jobs, he was eminently clear about what he has in mind. His ideas to get the economy up and running, the creation of 12 million new jobs over the next four years, establishing energy independence and new trade markets, and a balanced budget are exactly what the doctor ordered.
The President went back to his tired old "tax-cuts for the rich," and "We can't go back to the 'failed policies which got us into this mess in the first place'" refrains. He came across as petulant and annoyed that anyone, especially Mitt Romney would have the audacity to ask him to explain his agenda or suggest that it had failed.
Having been beaten up on the economy, job creation, Obamacare, and the rest of his indefensible record, the President doesn't have much left. He will likely go after Mr. Romney for his lack of foreigh policy "experience." Allowing that it was Mr. Obama's order which killed Osama bin Laden, Mr. Romney will counter by asking the President how much foreign policy experience he had when he came to office.
The "Apology Tour" wasn't Romney's idea. Nor was kow-towing to the Japanese Emperor or the King of Saudi Arabia. It isn't he who's stood by as Iran built a nuclear weapon. Mr. Romney isn't the one who supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Libya, and Syria. He didn't throw Hosni Mubarak under the bus. It wasn't he who refused to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because he had to make a campaign stop. All of this only scratches the surface.
For Mr. Obama, it's only going to get worse.