Denver Debate Was a Game-Changing Win For Romney

Tingling feeling? Not so much for Chris Matthews. The MSNBC commentator was like a parent whose kid brought home a bad report card after President Obama delivered a lackluster performance in the first of the three presidential debates last night in Denver.

"Where was Obama tonight," asked Matthews, who has carried the president's water--with a tingling feeling up his leg--for going on five years now. "What was he doing?"

What he was doing was letting his challenger back in the race. The fading Mitt Romney, the one who can't get out of his own way, whose campaign seemed to be reeling, particularly in battleground states, is no more. Today, he is surging, and the wind is clearly at his back.

Make no mistake, this was a game-changer. CNN said 67 percent of those who watched thought challenger Mitt Romney won--the highest percentage since the question was first asked in 1984. He won among independents and the undecided. On taxes, the economy, the budget deficit, and the reach of government, he outperformed the president by double-digit margins.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report

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Analysis & Political Strategy