Yeah, maybe that's what went wrong. Needless to say, this debate has to go to Romney. On the substance, Obama was right on all the policy points, but he just let Romney launch attack after attack, distortion after distortion, and they all went unchallenged. The thing is, Romney didn't even come off angry or contemptuous-- he seemed confident, while the President looked mellow and passive. He had moments of stride, but he let too many arguments go unchallenged. Romney had personal anecdotes, and Obama really didn't. To use a football analogy, Obama never got to the quarterback, and posted a disappointing lack of offense.
Ideally, the fact the Obama told the truth and Romney lied repeatedly should count--but in a debate you have to press the issue, and the President didn't do the job. Methinks he might have been too focused on not making gaffes, so he played it safe. Maybe it was his lack of a real debate challenge prior to this. Either way, he needs to readjust, and bring the heat next time.
Not that this changes things as much as certain people think it will. Let's not panic.