That's what his people are saying.
Before we get into it, wouldn't they be better off denying such a thing?
Anyway, here's how they're playing the Denver Debacle:
How Obama’s debate strategy bombedInterestingly, James Taranto posits the argument that the Obama performance you saw Wednesday night is the same Obama performance that he's delivered in every debate in his entire political career. Taranto:
Denver — A stunned Obama campaign acknowledged Thursday that President Barack Obama delivered a lackluster and even ineffectual performance in his leadoff debate against Mitt Romney, mistakenly opting for a cautious approach to handling his opponent that all too often left Obama looking timid and disengaged.
Democrats close to the president privately acknowledge that their candidate appeared flat and uninspired against a more animated challenger, resulting in the worst debate showing he’s had since the early days of the 2008 campaign. Even more frustrating to many Obama supporters was the fact that the president’s muted tone was at least partly by design.
Multiple party strategists privately attributed Obama’s demeanor to an ailment that frequently affects incumbents: a fear of appearing too aggressive and risking a larger-scale misstep that could transform the campaign. Projecting a calm, reasonable — some said “presidential” — demeanor was the strategy during Obama’s debate-prep sessions outside of Las Vegas.
But as a result, Obama allowed Romney to set the terms for much of their Wednesday night faceoff at the University of Denver. [link]
This columnist has to disagree. Obama's lame performance last night seemed typical to us. We can think of a few occasions in which we've seen the president less flaccid, less dull-brained, less jejune, less shifty, less downcast. But only a few.Which means that all hopes that Obama's supporters cling to regarding his chances of improving his performance at the next debate upcoming will be dashed as well. As a debater - and as a conversationalist, when you think about it - Obama is dull and uninteresting. And not all that engaged.
But these qualities--or, to put it another way, this lack of quality--was harder than usual to miss last night because of the contrast with the highly effectual Romney. One reason it came as such a shock to Obama is that it was the first time in his career that he shared a debate stage with a serious opponent.
Think about it: John McCain was feeble. Alan Keyes, whom Obama beat in his 2004 Senate campaign, was crazy. All the Democrats who ran in 2008 were preposterous except Hillary Clinton, and she, as a beneficiary of nepotism, was highly overrated as a politician. He used Chicago-style dirty tricks to dispatch his original opponent in 2004, as well as the state senator he replaced back in the 1990s. The test he failed last night is one to which he had never been put.
The startling part of all this? Why are they only now catching on to this fact?