How the Media Will Cover Wednesday's Presidential Debate

You don't need to watch the debate on Wednesday, because we already know what the Obama-friendly media will write about it.

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On Wednesday President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, will meet in the first of three planned debates that could determine the outcome of the upcoming election.

Most of the national polls continue to have the race tight, within the margin of error, meaning the debates will likely help most of the undecided voters decide which of the two candidates they prefer to lead the country over the next four years.

[Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]

The president, of course, has many things going for him—least of which is the overwhelming support he has among the political reporters and commentators covering the race. So, in order to save time and allow everyone to watch something other than the debate, here's an example of how the coverage is likely to go Wednesday night going into Thursday morning. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.


From the moment he crossed the stage to the podium at Wednesday night's debate in Denver, President Barack Obama took a commanding lead in his first face-to-face encounter with his opponent in the upcoming election, a lead he never relinquished.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.]

So confident was the president that he seemed to be floating a foot or so off the ground, Barack Obama was bright, engaging, and well-versed in every possible nuance of every question asked by the moderator, PBS's Jim Lehrer. His opponent, in contrast, was nattily attired in an expensive outfit appropriate to his status as part of the 1 percent of the nation's wealthiest individuals but, on substance, was sorely lacking in his understanding of the issues facing America.

"President Obama's performance was so good, my whole body was tingling," said Matt Christopher, the noted commentator for the SMBND cable news network. "In fact at one point I thought I might be having a stroke, but that would have been okay because the last thing I would have heard was Obama's ringing defense of his superior presidency."

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Has Obama Properly Handled the Arab Spring?]

"Not since Jack Kennedy has the nation had a president of which it could be so proud," Christopher said. "It is too bad the Republicans continually reject his efforts to bring the country together, to pursue on a bipartisan basis the tax increases and cuts in defense spending that are so necessary to restoring confidence in the American economy and getting people back to work."

In a performance that will go down as among the best ever in presidential debates, Barack Obama—who, due to pressing matters of state that demanded his attention had little time to prepare to go up against his opponent, who is known to be a superior debater who had a lot of time to practice—made a convincing case for giving him a second term. The problems of America, he seemed to say, are those of our own making because the nation foolishly choose to give the reins of power to the Republicans for an unacceptably long period of time. It was only through giving him a second term, he implied, that there would be time enough to resolve the many crises started by his Republican predecessor in the White House.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Democratic Party.]

Even conservatives were pleased with Obama's performance. Donald Rivers, the influential right-wing columnist for the world's most important newspaper, gave Obama high marks for coming across as presidential while attacking his opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, for his fealty to shopworn notions that have been widely discredited.

"There were no appeals by the Republican nominee to national greatness," Rivers wrote immediately after the debate. "All he could talk about was the discredited idea of cutting taxes to liberate America's entrepreneurial spirit and giving parents a greater say in their children's future through a greater push for so-called 'school choice.'"

[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

"Most telling," Rivers added, "was Romney's failure to stand up for the American working man by refusing to repudiate the GOP's attacks on government workers that have become a staple of the Republican agenda. He offered nothing to inspire women, young people, minorities, the poor, or the elderly to stand with him in the election. His performance was flat and uninspiring and I don't know why he just doesn't concede now so that conservatives can get on with the important work of preparing an agenda for the post-Obama years."

The debate was the first of three in which Obama and Romney are scheduled to meet. After Obama's stunning and overwhelming victory on Wednesday, however, it seems there is little need to continue on with the other two.

  • Read Mary Kate Cary: The Media Isn't Talking About Independents
  • Read Peter Fenn: Will the Presidential Debates Make a Difference?
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy