As a Hillary supporter in the 08 primary, I was having flashbacks of the sprightly candidate Barack Obama telling Hillary, the obviously better qualified candidate, that she was "likable enough," As we all know, despite the dashing young senator's lack of executive experience and legislative skills, an enraptured media embraced Obama and carried him over the finish line.
Obama was not so dashing last night and the morning after, the punditry appear to unanimously declare Romney the winner.. In Campaign Stops at the NY Times, columnist Stanley Fish offers his take on the first presidential debate of 2012:
Mitt Romney on points, in all areas. The first sign that this was a Romney night came early, when the governor accused President Obama of championing “trickle down government,” Jim Lehrer asked the president to reply, and he didn’t — and the accusation stuck and was repeated later without response.
Nothing stuck to Romney, who was able to handle everything Obama pitched. He refused to accept the $5 trillion tax tag and declared that he won’t propose any tax cut that adds to the deficit. So he was able to say that he would cut taxes and he wouldn’t at the same time, without leaving any opening for an attack.
He then took the opportunity to highlight an important difference between himself and the president, when he pointed out that his health care plan was the result of bipartisan co-operation because it had to be — 87 percent of the Massachusetts legislature was Democratic during his term — while Obama was famously unable to get a single Republican vote. An Obama partisan might say that all this proved was Republican intransigence; but that’s not how it came across. It came across both as a fact (I did it by reaching across the aisle) and as a promise (when I’m president I’ll do it again) — a promise he made again near the end.
(I can't resist noting here that in 08 the Obama camp and the media labeled Hillary Clinton as "too polarizing," even though she had built a bipartisan reputation in her two terms as a US Senator. Ironically, Obama is now on record as the most polarizing president in recent history.)