msnbc | October 04, 2012
>> were talking about how this looked very much to you like george w. bush and john kerry . is it inevitable? is there a way a president cannot do this? can you mortgage president obama in ap second debate behaving different differently?
>> i think david pluff is steady and they understand. what david was previewing, i think, is the line of attack you'll see in the second debate. i think it's almost unthinkable to think the president is going to come into the second debate passive and unprepared in the manner that he was tonight. i think there's going to be a lot of sparks in the second debate. one of the things that's interesting that's true about presidential debates is in the flash poll. that number will spread over the next 48 hours because people who are undecided or who believe it will -- is a tie, will side with the conventionalromney's the winner. they're going to default to agreeing with the consensus view that he won the debate. so you're going to see a tightening in the poll numbers very much. barack obama came that this debate tonight with the race in his total and absolute control. he let mitt romney back in the game. mitt romney campaign has made a lot of mistakes over the last month. i think a lot of them are erased so we'll see going forward, can mitt romney keep momentum? for the first time since the republican convention , he has a bit of offense now. a bit of momentum. we'll see if he can maintain it.
>> i don't think there's any doubt. you said earlier, this is the first time both of them are on the stage for everybody to see. howard, the profound point, a lot of people and novice news consumers that don't follow the day-to-day bump and grind of the campaign that are that are going to make some judgments tonight. i do not think mitt romney looked angry tonight. irthink he looked determined and like a guy that really wanted the job. i mentioned on the commercial, president obama looked like he wasn't sure if he wanted this or not. i was stunned. so many missed opportunities and so many things that i think he needed to call romney out on that would have gotten romney off his game.
>> ed, you've spent quite a bit of time with the president. i've seen you interact with the president face-to-face, eye to eye . from your sense of what he's like do you think the president responds to a night like tonight by coming out a changed man in the second debate or do you think this is what he has to offer as a debater.
>> i'll go to the first answer. tonight the president didn't seem like he was on sure footing the first answer. he didn't seem to come out ochl confident and to use a basketball metaphor, he didn't act like the point guard and the guy calling the shots and i think mitt romney did. romney took a page out of obama 's playbook tonight in his first answer. he personalized it and talked about an american he met on the road. that's what obama is so good at. and so i think you're looking at a guy who's very well prepared. president obama has been in plenty of debates and he has plenty of things that he can talk about to direct positive thinking about his campaign. and i think tonight, unfortunately, it pains me to say it, i think there are some lefties out there that are probably questioning it right now. i'll say it again. it's a story that we're going to have to cover. we need definition from the president on exactly where he's going to go on social security . this is a huge opening.
>> i think it's very important before we close the chapter on this, mitt romney made, mark my word on this ed, very serious mistakes tonight. he committed himself to things that starting next week, with joe biden is going to haunt ryan and haunt him in these next three debates.
>> i don't see that.
>> i think whatever your judgment or my judgment or anyone's judgment on president obama , it will come back to serve him well that mitt romney committed himself to things that the right and he are not going to live up to. a fish would not get caught if they kept their mouth shut. he spoke often tonight. he's going to have to back it up in three debates.
>> i'll let chris matthews in denver jump in on this, chris?
>> completely agree with the reverend. one big one is i don't how people don't hear this stuff. he said he was going to take his health care plan up in massachusetts which was based on the individual mandate, and apply those principles nationally. what is obama -- what has he done? the exact same thing. the principle, the individual mandate nationwide. he said it tonight as if -- was anybody listening to romney ? i agree with you reverend al. this is the kind of commitment he made to move to the center and get away from the right wing but he's here by committing himself to a nationwide replication of the massachusetts plan which is what obama did. it's an extraordinary statement he made tonight.
>> extraordinary statement for which he did not get pinned down. at the time that 50 or 60 million people were watching. so he can get pinned down on it later in the follow-ups and when people write this stuff up and we talk about it on our shows but in the moment when it kale down to talking about whether or not mitt romney was making sense for america, president obama made it seem like he was when factually speaking,