The winning attitude for Romeny was this--he didn't accept the premise of any of Obama's lies. Obama kept repeating that Romney would have $5 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in defense spending increases. And every single time Romney slapped that back and refused to let Obama get away with lying about the facts. And he defended his tax plan against the typical talking points parroted by Obama.
"I know that you and your running mate keep saying that, and I know that's a popular thing to say with some people, but it's just not the case," Romney said. "Look, I've got five boys. I'm used to people saying something that's not always true but just keep repeating it and ultimately hoping I'll believe it. But that is not the case."
There were many other great moments, but the other one that stood out was Romney schooling Obama on energy taxes and breaks. Obama took after Exxon and "Big Oil," saying that they got a $4 billion tax break.
Obama said: The oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. Basically, they get deductions that those small businesses that Governor Romney refers to, they don't get. Now, does anybody think that ExxonMobil needs some extra money, when they're making money every time you go to the pump? Why wouldn't we want to eliminate that? Why wouldn't we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets? My attitude is, if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it.
And Romney totally destroyed the talking point:
Love. And excellent usage of "Solyndra!"
After their initial, 15-minute exchange, it was clear that Obama was lost. He was caught in the undertow and never got his feet back under him. The only time his condescending, nose-in-the-air stance appeared was briefly during the Obamacare discussion, but that was quickly replaced by his posture of the night--eyes downcast, standing off balance, unwilling to confront Romney.
In fact, I'm not so sure that part of the Obama strategy was to let Romney look overly aggressive, as Obama submitted to him several times. Because the people who might still have a swing vote might not necessarily want a "cowboy" personality. It's just not nice.
But Romney reined it in and struck the balance between defending his record, getting out his message, and owning the night.
Now the Romney campaign just has to be prepared for every leftist talking head, writer, and blogger in the media to come after them to do the job Obama wasn't willing or able to do.
The questions were fair, the moderator was excellent--letting the debaters truly have the stage while maintaining the forum of the evening--and the politicians allowed their true colors to come through.
Romney was golden. Obama was just yellow.