Media outlets and personalities across the political spectrum agreed that Mitt Romney won the first presidential debate of the general election.
“That wasn’t a debate so much as Mitt Romney just took Obama for a cross country drive strapped to the roof of his car,” The Weekly Standard’s Mark Hemingway tweeted. But it wasn’t just conservatives saying Romney beat Obama.
“What was Romney doing? He was winning!” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said. “Obama should watch MSNBC every night” to improve his debate prep, he added.
Newsweek’s Andrew Sullivan, a fervent Obama supporter, denounced his performance. “He choked. He lost. He may even have lost election tonight,” Sullivan tweeted.
“Has Obama ever been this off his game?” Vanity Fair tweeted, adding “Good LORD Obama wouldn’t win a student council election against a chubby nerd with that closing argument.”
James Carville, a former Clinton adviser, said on CNN that it “Looked like Romney wanted to be there & Obama didn’t,” per Laura Ingraham, who also noted that Anderson Cooper said Obama appeared “rusty.”
Bill Maher whacked Obama throughout the debate, before concluding that the president “needs a teleprompter” when facing Romney.
“I don’t think he explained himself very well on the economy,” MSNBC’s Ed Schultz said of Obama after the debate. “I thought he was off his game.”
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell argued that the media cannot declare a debate winner, only the American people on election day and in polling. That abdication seems about as clear a sign that Romney won as anything.