{{show_title_date || "Matthews: Obama missed key opportunities at first debate, 10/4/12, 8:00 PM ET"}}

Obama missed key opportunities at first debate

Updated

Let me finish tonight with last night’s disaster.

You get nowhere in life by not realizing what’s done is done.

President Obama was not prepared for his huge debate with Governor Romney. This isn’t about left, right, good, or bad. It’s about coming to work to work.

His challenger did. He took charge. He took command of that stage, issuing orders to moderator and rival alike. He owned that platform, owned all within the sound of his voice. It was impressive, powerful.  It must have been horrible to feel the smothering, all-enveloping sufficiency of the thing. With Romney in the room, there didn’t need to be anyone else.


So I’m not here to slam Obama for a hard night. My concern—and that’s what it is—is his readiness to skip the politics of this campaign. There’s no excuse for a democratic leader to think himself excused from politics—and today that means mastering the 24-hour back and forth, the war room stuff that gets you elected, protects you from being destroyed either on the way to public office or once there.

Simple question: Did the President know he was allowed to mention—in fact, champion—his saving of the American auto industry? Did he know he was allowed last night to interrupt that pissant conversation about PBS funding to say, “Excuse me, let’s talk the big stuff. I rescued the American auto industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs working for it. You, sir, were willing to have it go bankrupt.”

Obama missed key opportunities at first debate

Updated