Last night's foreign policy debate was an interesting one. I suspect a lot of people in Northern California were switching between watching the Giants destroy the Cards - but that may be a regional story.
The instant polls may have called the debate for the President but I think there is a different story. Obama looked combative in this one like he did last week and less somnambulant than he did in their first encounter. But I am not sure he offered a convincing picture.
One of the most memorable lines from the debate came after an encounter where Romney had challenged Obama on his sotto comment to Vladimir Putin saying we will do something more after the election. Obama said -
"When it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s," Obama said to Romney.
Some on the left like the comparison - at the end of the 1920s we moved into the Great Depression - although the early 1920s had some unbridled prosperity, a balanced budget and a rising middle class. In the 1980s Reagan's foreign policy helped to bring down the Soviet empire. In the 1950s we saw the beginning of the long road to civil rights - with the Brown decision and beginning efforts to desegregate the schools in the south. No time in history is perfect but Obama either did not study history or simply has no perspective on the important forbearers of current policies. Hope and change looked increasingly frayed last night.
Supporters of the President argued that he finally got Romney - but from my perspective Obama looked increasingly like a challenger not the President. On the contrary Romney looked increasingly presidential. I was surprised that he did not bring up either Fast and Furious or Libya - but I think the campaign may well understand that both of those issues are already pretty well baked into this race.