Party Remains 'Stunned, Depressed, Angered' Following Obama's Performance

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Is a sense of urgency eating away at the brass of the Democratic party?

Despite being more than a week removed from the first presidential debate, many pundits and Democratic lawmakers have yet to let go of the fallout from President Obama’s bad debate performance.

Several analysts said Romney scored a huge victory over Obama last Wednesday evening, in which polls began to tilt toward Romney after the debate. As Romney started to get the upper-hand in several polls – including Gallup and Rasmussen – Democrats went into “crisis mode” to try to get a handle on things, but matters only got worse over the past week.

“Sure it was a bad debate (for Obama) and Romney did much better than the president, but the collective Democratic freak-out has taken it from a bad night to an awful, hair-on-fire week,” Mathews Pierson, director of politics for CBS Local Media, told CBSDC.

And it still continues.

Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary and current senior campaign adviser for Obama, commented about the dreadful feeling he had about the presidential debate during a discussion at the University Club in New York City Wednesday.

“Five minutes in, I thought, ‘Oh s***,’” Gibbs said, according to Politico.

The president even weighed in on his own debate performance to ABC News, a week after it took place.

“Gov. Romney had a good night. I had a bad night. It’s not the first time I’ve had a bad night,” Obama told ABC News.

Larry Sabato, director at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told CBSDC that the debate talk still continues — and isn’t settling down — because what happened was so “unexpected.”

“Romney was expected to do well, but almost no one thought Obama would be so listless and ineffective. It stunned, depressed, and even angered Democrats,” Sabato explained to CBSDC. “Obama let down his own strongest backers. No wonder GOP enthusiasm is skyrocketing and Democratic enthusiasm has taken a dive.”

One of those backers, Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast, thought Obama threw in the towel at the debate.

“I’m trying to rally some morale, but I’ve never seen a candidate this late in the game, so far ahead, just throw in the towel in the way Obama did last week – throw away almost every single advantage he had with voters and manage to enable his opponent to seem as if he cares about the middle class as much as Obama does,” Sullivan wrote. “How do you erase that imprinted first image from public consciousness: a president incapable of making a single argument or even a halfway decent closing statement?”

Even Jon Stewart from “The Daily Show” got in a knock on Obama, saying the president’s “October surprise” was that he had given up.

Pierson believes it’s time for pundits to stop talking about the debate and getting back on-board with the president if they want Obama re-elected.

“Democrats need to shut up about the debate, put their noses to the grind stone, and re-commit to their previous talking points that were working so well,” he said.

That could start during Thursday night’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. But even if Biden can score a decisive victory over Ryan, Sabato warns that might not bode well for Obama.

“In a way, if Biden does well, he makes his boss look worse,” Sabato told CBSDC, adding that “only Obama can restore Obama.”

The next presidential debate takes place Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.


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