Debates suck. I'm sorry, but they do. They are completely meaningless. We learn nothing from debates. All I can do is quote the great jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and say, "So What?" Let's think about this just for second. Suppose Barack Obama had come out on the offensive. Suppose that he had jumped on every misstatement and unsupported piece of data that Mitt Romney offered up throughout this first debate. What would have happened? Barack Obama would be painted by the Right as having been too aggressive. "He is overly aggressive. He's a man; he's angry." You know where this would be going. Then, on the other hand, what if Barack Obama took a scholarly approach? Well, that would also play into one of those conservative memes. As far as I can tell, debates rarely change the outcome of an election. By now, everybody knows who Barack Obama is and everybody knows who Mitt Romney is. If you don't know what they stand for by now, it is because you have been living in a cave.
From the Daily Kos:
So what will happen moving forward? There will be aggressive fact checking, which may make a dent in Romney's win, but I'm not confident of that. Romney's favorabilities, if the snap polling is to be believed, will also improve. But nothing will knock Obama's down, and in fact, that CBS snap poll found that people found Obama more empathetic.
We'll be watching the polling carefully over the coming days and weeks, obviously, for signs that the damage runs deeper. It wasn't a great night, but not a catastrophic one. The fundamentals still favor our team, by a longshot, and Team Blue has three more debates to turn things around (two presidential and one vice-presidential). But they will definitely need to make adjustments.