Mitt Romney not only won the first presidential debate but it ranks as “one of the major wipeouts in a presidential debate that I’ve ever seen,” Dick Morris, former adviser to President Bill Clinton and Fox News analyst, told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
Morris said that the debate “ranks with Kennedy and Nixon, and with Reagan and Carter, and second Reagan-Mondale debate,” Morris said.
Romney’s projecting of compassion and charisma compared to President Barack Obama’s demeanor was key.
“It was not so much a specific thing he said, but the way he projected compassion and openness and charisma and credibility and grasp of the subject,” Morris said. “And the performance of Obama was dismal. He looked at the ground the whole time. He couldn’t get out complete sentences without saying, ‘Uh’ every five seconds. His whole approach was totally unlike he is when he give a speech with a teleprompter. There was no lift to it at all.”
Morris continued, “The last two minutes, when he gave his canned closing, you could see the contrast between that and the other 88 minutes of the debate. But, on specific points, let me tick a few off. Obama conceded that there was no difference them on Social Security or Medicare for people 55 or under, that there was no difference in that. That was his big point for Romney because it’s a huge part of the Obama campaign to sell the Medicare issue.
“Romney made stick the $716 billion cut and the federal panel,” he said. “He was very, very effective in doing that. When they got to the discussion of taxes, Romney effectively rebutted the idea of a tax cut to the rich and he finally really explained to people that a tax cut for the upper bracket means a tax cut for small businesses that hire half of all American workers.
“It was just absolutely terrific in the way he did that. Romney defended his record of governor superbly. He handled the Obamacare attack brilliantly. … I can’t imagine a more decisive victory for Romney. I certainly thought he was going to win before this, but I think he’ll win now.”
Romney’s discussion of taxes was right on point, Morris said, and couldn’t have been better.
“He got over the 47 percent thing by talking about compassion and entitlements and Social Security and all of that in a very moving way,” Morris said. “The way he handled tax cuts for the rich was kind of a sleight of hand, which was great. He said, ‘I will not cut taxes if it adds to the deficit.’ What he meant by that was that there would be economic growth and, therefore, it would not add to the deficit. That’s exactly the truth.”
Obama will have difficulty in recovering from the poor debate performance, Morris said.
“Obama has to do much better in the second debate. He needs a comeback on the order of Ronald Reagan’s comeback after Mondale won the first debate in ’84 on the issue of Reagan’s age and then Reagan came back and said he won’t hold Mondale’s inexperience against him, and, with that, recouped all the damage. I don’t see Obama being able to do that. I’ve always believed the polling is wrong. I’ve always believed that it overstates Obama’s vote by about five to seven points…Now, you’re looking at a very significant Romney edge emerging.”
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