By Mark Ellis
I have to be honest in admitting that I’m one of the evangelicals who have had a hard time warming to the idea of a Mormon president. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for Romney, he clearly out-shined the president in last night’s debate.
Romney had the confidant, breezy air of a man holding five aces. President Obama looked like he had gargled with lemon juice prior to the event, which resulted in a sourpuss demeanor for most of the evening. It seemed he would much rather have been celebrating his wedding anniversary with Michelle than defending his economic record with Mitt.
When Obama spoke, the split screen showed Romney with a serene half-smile, gazing intently at the president. When Romney spoke, Obama looked down at the podium with a discomfiting grimace or off toward moderator Jim Lehrer, with eyes silently asking Lehrer to throw him a lifeline.
At 78-years-old, Lehrer sadly showed he is slipping with age, as he essentially gave up moderating or enforcing the time limits and rules of the debate. Lehrer and Obama were in the same befuddlement camp, as Romney took control of evening.
It’s my guess Romney has studied tapes of Ronald Reagan in preparation for the debate. Amazingly, he was a better communicator than Reagan, the so-called ‘Great Communicator,’ Romney was slicker than Bill Clinton, with an assurance and command not seen since JFK.
It was probably the best debate performance by any politician since JFK’s first debate against Nixon on live television.
Even CNN’s liberal commentators were struggling for air – a dispirited crew – as they were forced to admit defeat. CNN’s poll of registered voters confirmed the thumping; results showed a 67-25 margin of victory for Romney – unheard of in recent times.
The race changed yesterday night. Romney not only transformed the momentum, he probably assured himself a new home on Pennsylvania Avenue next January.