I tried to stay awake here in the UK to watch the Biden-Ryan debate, but couldn't. For those who like me missed it, Talking Point Memo offers this 100 second condensation. It's strong on the gestures, cackles, eye rolls, while leaving out entirely all "content."
In a sense this reduces the event, I suppose, to a study in primatology. Given that we're in a recession that's not inapposite.
Last evening, in preparation, I also watched on youtube the first presidential debate. Mitt Romney was excellent AND President Obama really was bad… and his performance played worse on TV, with sidelong and downward looks, than it would have if followed on the radio.
Once Romney let drop, during his first two minutes, the phrase "trickle-down government" (a term of art) many of the president's points were ruined… they were simply going to sound illustrative of Romney's thesis.
The Republican platform, and Romney's move to the center aside, the strategic messaging the Republicans prepared for Romney were superb. Whoever prepared President Obama's messaging anticipated none of Romney's points. It was as if they believed their own truths were self-evident and didn't require arguing. I suspect the American media may have too long convinced them that was the case.
I do think President Obama has it in him next debate to walk that line being resolute while not seeming angry, angry as he did in the video dredged (or drudged) from years ago by the Daily Caller, nor indulging in the kind of antics that Vice President Biden did.