The Atlantic: Obama’s botched debate performance shouldn’t surprise anyone

According to a recent article by Molly Ball at, we all should have seen Obama’s disasterous debate performance coming.  The only problem was that we were distracted by some of Gov. Romney’s perceived (many would argue) gaffes.

Pres. Obama listens during first presidential debate

Before the first presidential debate, President Obama was riding high in the polls. Now, he finds himself tied or even behind Mitt Romney, both nationally and in key states. But what happened may not be as simple as simply a good debate for Romney and a bad one for Obama. The president was showing signs of weakness before the two candidates met up in Denver — everyone was just too distracted by a run of terrible news for Romney to take notice.

Obama had two prominent public outings prior to the Oct. 3 debate in Denver, and both should have been alarming to his supporters: A 60 Minutes interview and a forum hosted by the Spanish-language network Univision. In both extended interviews, the president was off his game in the same ways the debate would soon showcase — unsteady, equivocating, lacking in forcefulness or punch — and made a number of minor gaffes. But Mitt Romney was in the midst of a rather spectacular ongoing implosion at the time, so Obama’s blunders largely went unnoticed.