Presidential debate: From The Times’ right, left and center, Romney’s the winner

Wednesday night’s L.A. Times live Twitter-slam during the presidential debate featured real-time opinions from the left, right and center. But how did our tweeters assess the performances of Mitt Romney and President Obama after it ended? To one degree or another, they all thought Romney came out on top, but that doesn’t mean they all thought he played fair or that his performance would tip the election. Here are some of their comments:

Charlotte Allen: It’s clear as a Swarovski crystal that Romney won. I did think Obama did a pretty good job of resurrecting the affable, eloquent and reasonable-sounding Obama for whom many centrists voted in 2008 -- an Obama who has been largely replaced by a testy, irritable Obama who gets annoyed with journalists and lashes out at Republicans. But Romney bested him.

Doyle McManus: Bottom line: Romney won. The question now is whether Romney can turn one good night into four good weeks.


Mickey Kaus: Blame John Kerry! Did Obama’s sparring partner not anticipate Mitt’s move to moderation?

Harold Meyerson: Notwithstanding all of Romney’s dubious points, he won the night. Entirely on performance, not substance, but in debates, performance counts.

Patt Morrison: Some version of Romney won, but it looked like a different Romney from what he has been over the last year. The newly minted Romney looked to be throwing the old Romney and his policies under the bus, as commenters and fact-checkers on the debate have pointed out, and seeming to do it on the fly. Obama did not help himself by not being prepared for this other Romney, and the whole thing turned into a wonkfest. I’m surprised they didn’t whip out their smartphone calculators. I think my most re-tweeted Tweet was “We’re almost out of time” -- WILD CHEERING ACROSS AMERICA.

Jonah Goldberg: Know that scene at the end of “Rocky” where Apollo Creed says, “There won’t be any rematch?” That’s what Obama wants to say during the handshake.

Tom Hayden: Obama strayed from his more populist attacks on Bain Capital and offshore tax havens and Citizens United to the more narrow math argument Bill Clinton used at the convention: that Romney’s plans just don’t add up. Romney, on the other hand, remembered the Reagan lesson that facts don’t matter.

Meghan Daum: There are two more debates left, right? Obama can still hire the people who coached Sarah Palin.


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