It was not Romney versus Obama in the first presidential debate of 2012
It was Romney versus Romney. And one of them prevailed.
A restrained Barack Obama, who went into the debate with a solid lead in the polls, and an even more solid lead in the battleground states, often seemed to be more of a spectator than a participant.
Obama’s reluctance handed Romney an opening that the Republican took.
Indeed, Romney took it to every side of every issue.
Mitt Romney was for government, but not for “trickledown government”.
Mitt Romney was for cracking down on Wall Street, except when he was against the Dodd-Frank banking reforms.
Mitt Romney was for Romneycare, and against Obamacare.
Mitt Romney was for the 47 percent, and against them.
The liberal, moderate and conservative Republican who has been on all sides of all issues brought his commitment-free brand of politics to the national stage in the first of three presidential debates. Even by Romney standards, it was a dizzying performance.
— Excerpt from THE NATION October 4, 2012