Dan Rather picks apart Obama’s puzzling performance


The legendary Dan Rather joined NOW w/ Alex Wagner, and he didn’t pull any punches talking about the president’s performance in last night’s debate in Denver. The host of Dan Rather Reports called it “very curious” and “very puzzling.” But he wasn’t alone in his confusion. It seemed to echo, though to a lesser degree in terms of passion, the cries of msnbc’s Chris Matthews in the immediate aftermath of the debate.

All of the expectation for an Obama victory was not without substantiation. Leading up to Wednesday night’s debate, a Washington Post – ABC News poll showed that among likely voters, 55% thought that the president would win the debates. Only 31% predicted that Mitt Romney would walk away with a win.

But when the challenger took the stage last night, expectations evaporated into inconsequential poll numbers of days past.

Dan Rather described that Obama’s missed opportunities for attack were the most puzzling for him:

“What puzzled me the most is that he had opening, after opening, after opening to dispute what the governor was saying compared to what he said before. He didn’t take any of those openings. I am really puzzled by his performance. He seemed aloof, he seemed he’d rather be in a dentist’s chair than be where he was and that translates to body language and facial expressions. I just can’t say what happened to him.”

Rather gave credit where it was due: it was clear that Governor Romney prepared for this debate and as many are saying today – his efforts paid off.  Of course there is a larger question that looms over all of this: Does any of this matter and will it make a difference come November 6th? Contrary to the pre-debate consensus that debates don’t move the needle much, Dan Rather thinks that this time, it might. “I’m not saying Barack Obama is going to lose. But if he loses, we’ll look back on last night as the night when the tide turned.”

Dan Rather picks apart Obama's puzzling performance