Analysis: Five reasons the president fumbled the debate
October 4th, 2012
08:24 PM ET
10 years ago

Analysis: Five reasons the president fumbled the debate

Editor's note: Jessica Yellin is CNN's chief White House correspondent, based in the network's Washington bureau. She was named to the position in June 2011. Yellin contributes to CNN's America's Choice 2012 election coverage, reporting on President Barack Obama's administration and his re-election campaign.

Denver (CNN) - President Barack Obama turned in a less-than-stellar performance Wednesday night in his first debate this election season. On Thursday, his campaign aides said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came armed with distortions. But if the president believed that, he barely brought them to the viewers' attention during the debate. Instead, he turned in a distracted, passionless performance.

Here are five reasons he fumbled:


Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Presidential Debates
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Where are the reasons... ?

    October 4, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Well, it is ok, two other debates–he better be more aggressive, raise voice, teii public 47% comment–47/50 job ranking in Massachuttes while mitt was there, Bain capital outsourced jobs– these people know. These are truths. Good luck. Take lesson from me. Be aggressive and naive too. In politics these are so common. I will teach you. Public is after you, espy meddle class America.

    October 4, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    Stress on bin laden kill, make statements like let Detroit go bankrupt, corporations are mypeople, my friend, etc, etc,.,

    October 4, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  4. Dean

    The 'actual' five reasons:

    1. The debate focused on domestic issues, and Obama couldn't make valid arguements based on his failed policies.

    2. Obama knows that his presidency has been a failure, and his heart just isn't into debating for a lost cause.

    3. Unlike the media, Romney actually pointed out the deficiencies in Obama's policies.

    4. Romney was very clear on the direction he would take this country.

    5. Obama wasn't the smartest guy on the stage (perhaps third).

    October 4, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  5. bud tarken

    What part of Romney being in the Mormon cult as a high priest are people forgetting? He's wierd folks do some research on the Mormon religion and his role in the church. He can't be trusted he is mentally weak and subject to doing things with his faith first and Americans second.

    October 4, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  6. Woman In California

    Last night, I will admit I was down and I was asking myself what happened, but I was never disappointed in the president himself. When I heard the president's opening address to Michelle, referring to her as "sweetie", I knew it would not be a good night as I have never heard him become so personal and emotional in public when speaking about the First Lady. Sadly, I was right. Although there was nothing wrong with what he said-the time and place was just all wrong.

    Having said that, when I came home today, I have been able to watch portions of the debate over and over again, and I now feel a lot better and a lot more confident the president MADE THE RIGHT CALL. Willard looked like a complete idiot. Waiving his arms and flapping his oversized jaws, all in an attempt to make the president look small and sell the American people on his lies. I have complete faith in the president, and he looked far more presidential and statesman to us and people all over the world. As a matter of fact, I am more energized now than ever, as I have come to see Willard is totally unfit for the office of the president and he hung himself before the national audience.
    Mr. President you have my FULL support!

    October 4, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  7. CanadaONE

    If Romney becomes president NO DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY will believe the USA ever again – your credibility is GONE

    Romney lies like a rug!

    October 4, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  8. Albert Matus

    The president looked like a deer in the head lights. He all this time to prepare for this and he let me down. Now he really looks like he dosent know what he is doing. I voted for hom last ellection but i dont know about this time

    October 4, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  9. justin

    Can't bring your teleprompters with you all the time.

    October 4, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  10. chit reyes

    for someone that is a mormon, mitt romey is a heck of a liar....

    October 4, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  11. mb

    I think since Romney lied and twisted the truth so much last night, anyone with any common sense would see right through him. He's a liar and a crook. How can someone so religious be on national tv and flat out lie to the citizens of the united states like that. It makes me not want to vote for him even more. Wake up Romney supporters and realize he's a fake!

    October 4, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  12. MaryM

    How in the hell can President Obama debate Mitt that changes his positions, that Mitt has been running on the last year, without telling Anyone.

    October 4, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  13. Margaret Scully

    Mr. President - you did fine you looked exhausted is all some people have more to do than pret fior debates. First Romney goes which the wind blows. Next he looks like a deer in headlights and forever looking at his wife. Who by the way said something quite disturbing–"she said Romney has been preparing for this job. All his life. Seems like. His polligomistn grandfather moved the whole family to Mexico, which is where Mittt was born. His Gradpa, then father, now mitt were big in his church. Therefore It seems the Church has annoited himn to become President of the Us. They believe the Us is the real Jerruslum. also he showed no respect for you, or Michelle or Jim Lehrer (he has probably never watched his show). Last but not least when his whole family on came on stage I kept expecting to hear the tune they play after the game show Wheel of Fortune. And I diid't think they were ever going to leave. Was he waiting for a medal?
    Even more scary was that he Brought his five boys on stage when addressing OPEC. No he only caress about getting your job so he can be. The pride of his forefathers. @ his congregation who will now have to bowv to him ( kidding). I bet if he win those boy will be in his cabinet. Don't you dare let him win. And next time let his come to you to shake hands.

    October 4, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  14. acutabove

    1. Why does Obama's 'Birth Certificate' say his race is "African American" when that term did not exist in 1961 when they were all called the N word?
    2.How could Obama's 'Birth Certificate" from 1961 say his father was from "Kenya, East Africa" when that country did not exist until 1963 and was called "The British East Africa Protectorate" before 1963?
    3.How could Obama's 'birth certificate' say he was born in the" Kapi' olani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital" when that hospital was named something different until 1978?
    4. World War II was essentially between 1939 and 1945. How could Obama's father (as his own books claim) have fought in WWII when he would have been about age 9 at the time?
    Answers: Obama is not truthful!

    October 4, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  15. mb

    I'm a intrevert, and I need a moment to think about the question or statement coming out of someone's mouth. Obama appears to be that way to me as well. And if he is a intrevert like myself, he was proabalay totally trying to figure out all the BS Romney was spouting off last night. Wow, who could believe the lies. Oming out of that clown Romney's mouth? I didn't buy it, and I hope most people with any common sense didn't either. What does mitten stand for, he flip flops, lies, or whatever he has to do to make his words sound good whenever needed. Obama should have just flat out called him on his lies last night and asked him if he really believed what he himself was saying at the moment, because it will all change in the morning and be something totally different.

    October 4, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  16. common sense

    Poser: "someone who acts as if they are the experienced authority on a subject or position when in fact, they are inexperienced but use vauge words to convince the less informed that they are the subject matter expert". Last night the Poser was exposed by an actual experienced succesful person who was the subject matter expert. So the reponse? "Romney cheated. He didn't play fair. He tricked everyone with smooth talk. Blah blah blah"

    October 4, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  17. Obama-RomneySameOldSameOLD

    Obama looked bad because he was TOLD his time was over and that he should go quitetly.

    October 4, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  18. ClearThinker

    5 reasons Obama lost the debate.
    1. No TelePrompTer
    2. No TelePrompTer
    3. He's a poser
    4. No TelePrompTer
    5. No TelePrompTer

    October 4, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  19. Name w.bullock

    Kick out of presdient obama cause people are keep enjoy. Money from fraud check scam from afrcian amercian

    October 4, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  20. Marry

    It is so tiresome to listen to the GOP, R+R distortions over and over again! All they can do – as we have seen for so many years is tearing down – not to build up! They are against freedom, for us to breath clean air, drink clean water, have good health care, control over our personal lives, safe working places, become smart through education, etc. because they want to get the most out of US! It would be foolish to hand the GOP/TP the reins of power over our future again!
    Go out and VOTE! Strait DEM ticket!

    October 5, 2012 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  21. Marie MD

    He didn't fumble. He let the twit lie himself out of presidential job.

    October 5, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  22. A True Centrist

    Let's call it like it is...this President can't function without a teleprompter. He is one of the best ever at reading a speech written for him, but he can't think outside the box and he isn't quick with his thought process.

    October 5, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |