From Lord of the Flies to caffeine boosts, we take a look at the reaction from the US political circuit following the first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado, on Wednesday night.
NEW YORK TIMES On the east coast Andrew Rosenthal for The New York Times says Mitt Romney "looked and sounded presidential" and "President Obama failed to step in and puncture that image" despite several whopping factual errors from the Republican. The first of three presidential debates was notable for what wasn't said in the 90-minute joust, he says, highlighting Obama's failure to challenge Romney on his 47 per cent remarks, tax returns and tenure at Bain Capital. "When the president discussed his opponent’s tax plan, he sounded lost and detached. He should have put a direct and simple question to Mr. Romney: 'Please name the deductions and exemptions you plan to eliminate in order to cut taxes without increasing the deficit. Just four or five would be nice.'," he wrote. Despite this Rosenthal was not surprised by the president's lack of pizzazz on Wednesday, saying: "Mr Obama has made his distaste for political jousting disappointingly clear over the last four years."
WASHINGTON POST Alexandra Petri called Romney's performance his "Lord of the Flies" moment, saying that not only did he win but he "set the whole island on fire and chased [Obama] down with a spear". "He trampled poor Jim Lehrer underfoot, rolling a boulder onto his head, even though Lehrer clearly had the conch. Poor Lehrer. Whether letting go of the leash was a calculated, intelligent choice on his part, or simply the only option for a man walking two recalcitrant cats, he definitely let go of the leash," she wrote. Comparatively Obama acted as though his wife Michelle was about to leap up from behind the television and announce the debate had all been an elaborate anniversary prank, she added. " 'Wasn’t that awkward!” he would say afterward. 'I thought I was actually going to have to debate that absurd person.' ," she adds. Washington Post colleague Greg Sargent concludes: "Overall, Romney had the far better night. At a minimum, his performance will get pundits to stop blowing funeral dirges and will get them to start saying it’s a race again. Romney needed that badly, and he accomplished that and then some."