The Obama camp floated the idea that the president would be under-prepared for the debate early last week. Jim Messina, arguably the brains behind the president’s campaign strategy, had a nationwide campaign conference call outlining just that. Even the president himself joined the call & jabbed that Romney is far more proficient in debate performance. Mr. Messina commented that the president has been “doing his job” which doesn’t leave much time for debate practice. (Clearly high donor fundraisers, stumping in Vegas and photo ops with Beyonce are quite time consuming, but I digress.) One has to assume media traveling with the president were on the call that included Obama for America Field Directors from across the nation. The media, now acting shocked at the outcome, was well aware for at least a week that Obama would likely not be the debate winner.
More than just ill prepared, Obama failed his own plan B.
Knowing the possibility was there that the president would perform poorly, surely the campaign had a plan B, right? And in typical progressive fashion, it was time to play the victim card.
This administration, the Obama campaign and those on the progressive left have long used victimhood as a means to gain favor and earn votes. Whether it’s a stump speech centered around the sad story of a crumbling bridge, or at the State of the Union address claiming to read letter after letter from suffering people, or an entire Democratic National Convention pandering to the manufactured hardships of the war on women, the progressive left wins when they play the victim card.
Now, I don’t claim to have definitive inside knowledge, but I would be willing to bet, looking at the full scale attacks from leftwing media pundits and campaign spokespeople, that Team Obama fully intended to play the victim card following the debate. In fact, Obama’s Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter’s first interview sounded like a carefully memorized berating of Jim Lehrer saying, “I sometimes wondered if we even needed a moderator…”
As if marching to a synchronized drumbeat, MSNBC pundits, ABC and CBS talking heads and others on the left immediately flashed the victim card claiming Lehrer had lost control of the debate. Some even went so far as to claim Romney was given an unfair amount of time to speak, though it was confirmed later on CNN that the president had actually spoken 4 minutes longer than Romney.
I think the president fully expected to be grilled by the moderator. I think the plan was to pander to the audience, play victim as much as possible, tug on heartstrings & when in doubt, blame those darn republicans. But I also think Obama was stunned to learn 10 minutes into the debate that the plan was foiled. Romney’s use of facts, history and his obvious passion (which had been lacking in the campaign to this point) rendered the president listless. He was simply unable recover without a teleprompter & pre-written speech. Obama was so off his game and bewildered that he sounded like the Miss Teen USA contestant that went completely off the rails when trying to explain why kids couldn’t find America on a map. When asked about the economy his answer was about education and medicare, when asked about deficits or taxes, his talking points were off-point and irrelevant.
Obama failed to effectively make the case that he is a victim and thus failed to gain control of the post-debate narrative.