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[Romney] had stuck to the plan of coming across as reasonable, even-tempered, magnanimous - he agreed with Obama far more often that most conservatives would have liked - and competent. In short, as the kind of candidate who would be entirely acceptable to a late-deciding swing voter who might have voted Obama in 2008 but since soured.
Debates are not about who "won" on the night - an almost nonsensical measure. They are about how the night affects the shape of the race. By that measure, Obama, who needed to change things, may have "won" the debate battle but is still losing the election war.

What I don't think the ignorati over at PA have figured out is that Romney is focused on winning the independent vote. Obama's patronizing tactics won't help with that. Obama chose to fire up his base, and Romney chose to forgo that and reach out to independents. Let's face it; all conservatives are already fired up to vote for Romney because they know that an Obama second term means another recession, national debt eclipsing $20 trillion and a nuclear-armed Iran. Obama's 'free candy' base is going to vote for more free candy. The independents have the task of deciding whether we're a nation committed to freedom and prosperity or committed to social justice and being 'just another nation' in the world.
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