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Unanimous decision page 2
Obama vs. Romney: And the winner is

Date published: 10/5/2012


Why was the president so often outmaneuvered? Perhaps because he has a day job with manifold and great demands, unlike Mr. Romney, whose waking hours are entirely devoted to his candidacy. Also, Mr. Romney knows his way around the ring, having recently emerged from 20 GOP primary debates. Mr. Obama hasn't faced a forensic challenger since John McCain four years ago. The ring rust showed.

The elementary combination punch in boxing is "the old one-two"--and it's the "two" that does the real damage. A "two" may be awaiting the president far from the debating stage. In fact, it may come this morning in the form of the September unemployment figures.

Last month's jobless numbers were a letdown: only 96,000 jobs created in a nation where 23 million are officially without work and an unemployment rate that had fallen to 8.1 percent only because 368,000 despairing Americans had stopped looking for work. If this morning's figures look like that, or are even worse, the president's dismal debate performance will seem almost a love tap by comparison.

But here's the hopeful news for Mr. Obama--and the dangerous tidings for Mr. Romney: There are two more presidential debates to go. It is almost inconceivable that the president will answer the bell for those as flat-footed as Wednesday night. He will, as they say in the fight game, be punching with bad intentions. Expect to hear about Mr. Romney's horrendous 47 percent remark, his frequent flip-flops, the human collateral damage of his Bain Capital activities, and more.

Most presidential debates are forgettable. A hypnotist would be required to extract memories of the 2008 Obama-McCain clashes from the average American's brain. On Wednesday night, however, there was real action and the promise of more to come. At the end of it all, Americans should have a clearer idea about who can better lead this nation for the next four years.

They will arrive at what determines the outcome of most boxing matches: a decision.

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