The real culprit for Obama’s disastrous night is not entirely Barack Obama, but rather the media training-wheels who assured Obama for years that he was riding on his own; when they came off last night, he immediately fell, and for some reason we are supposed to be surprised?
Dana Milbank says something similiar, at the Washington Post:
.... Obama has set a modern record for refusal to be quizzed by the media, taking questions from reporters far less often than Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and even George W. Bush. Though his opponent in 2008 promised to take questions from lawmakers like the British prime minister does, Obama has shied from mixing it up with members of Congress, too. And, especially since Rahm Emanuel’s departure, Obama is surrounded by a large number of yes men who aren’t likely to get in his face.
This insularity led directly to the Denver debacle: Obama was out of practice and unprepared to be challenged....
.... Towson University political scientist Martha Kumar, who keeps a running tally of Obama’s media appearances, tells me he has had 19 solo news conferences in the White House as of Sept. 30. That compares to 26 for Ronald Reagan at the same point in his presidency, 59 for George H.W. Bush, and 31 for Bill Clinton. Obama had more formal news conferences than George W. Bush (13), but Bush engaged in many more informal Q&A sessions with reporters: 340 at this stage in his presidency to Obama’s 105. (Clinton had 585 at this point, the elder Bush had 309 and Reagan had 135.)
Obama hasn’t held a full-fledged news conference at the White House since March. After a Cabinet meeting in July, a reporter tried to ask him whether new gun laws were needed after the Colorado shooting — and Obama brushed off the inquiry with a joke....
VDH gets the last word... about the next debate:
For Obama to win the next debate, Romney will have to be uncharacteristically bad, Obama will have to be uncharacteristically good, and the moderator will not only have to be engaged but also unashamedly hyper-partisan. All of the above can happen, but it is unlikely.
Makes sense to me. And if it weren't for that bizarre jobs report this morning, I might even feel a bit cheered up.
Yes, the U-3 unemployment rate fell to 7.8%, the first time it has been below 8% since January 2009. But that’s only due to a flood of 582,000 part-time jobs. As the Labor Department noted:
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose from 8.0 million in August to 8.6 million in September. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
.... The broader U-6 rate — which takes into account part-time workers who want full-time work and lots of discouraged workers who’ve given up looking — stayed unchanged at 14.7%. That’s a better gauge of the true unemployment rate and state of the American labor market.
"Read more" James Pethokoukis at AEI.