The first debate: A clear win for Romney, but not a knockout

In my September 23, 2012 column, I flatly stated that in order to defeat the Obama-Biden ticket, both Mitt

In my September 23, 2012 column, I flatly stated that in order to defeat the Obama-Biden ticket, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would have to score knockouts in their respective debates.

Last night, I thought Mitt Romney scored a clear victory, based on style, rather than substance.  Barack Obama was unduly defensive, while Romney was effectively aggressive throughout the entire debate.  In boxing terms, the debate reminded me of the September 23, 1957 bout at Yankee Stadium in which World Welterweight Champion Carmen Basilio moved up in weight and defeated Sugar Ray Robinson for the World Middleweight Championship.  Mitt Romney was the counterpart of Basilio last night – constantly moving forward, taking his opponent’s best blows, and landing effective punches.  Obama was the counterpart of Robinson in the 1957 bout – landing some good counterpunches, but for the most part being far too defensive.

Yet like Basilio, Romney never landed a knockout punch last night, in the form of a super-effective “zinger”.    Analogous to Robinson in the 1957 bout, “Sugar Ray Robinson” Obama never committed a gaffe that left himself open to a “Carmen Basilio” Romney knockout punch.

If boxing history is any guide to the Romney-Obama debates outcome, it must be remembered that on March 25, 1958, Sugar Ray Robinson came back and regained the World Middleweight Championship from Carmen Basilio.  Expect Obama to be far more aggressive against Romney in future debates.

There may also be two future negative consequences for Romney from last night’s debate.  First, he seemed to throw his tax cut plan under the bus.  Second, expect the Obama campaign to run commercials in Florida aimed at senior citizens regarding Romney’s Medicare proposals, which he embraced in front of the entire nation last night.

My view is that the debate last night did not change the dynamics of this year’s presidential race.  While Romney may get a national popular vote bump of one to two points, I do not believe that the debate will affect significantly the outcome in the presidential race in any specific state.  My Electoral College projections remain as follows:

I currently project Barack Obama as the likely winner of the District of Columbia and the following nineteen states, for a total of 247 electoral votes, only 23 short of the 270 electoral votes needed for his reelection:  


California (55), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), District of Columbia (3), Hawaii (4) , Illinois (20), Maine(4), Maryland (10) , Massachusetts (11), Michigan (16), Minnesota (10), New York (29), New Jersey (14), New Mexico (5), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (20), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Washington (12), Wisconsin (10).   


I currently project Mitt Romney as the likely winner of the following twenty-three states, for a total of 191 electoral votes:    


Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arkansas (6), Arizona (11), Georgia (16), Idaho (4), Indiana (11), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (8), Mississippi (6), Missouri (10), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), North Dakota (3), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (9), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Texas (38), Utah (6), West Virginia (5), Wyoming (3).  


The election of 2012 will be determined by the results in the following eight toss-up states, holding a total of 100 electoral votes:


Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), Virginia (13). 


The race for the White House continues as before.


Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush. Region 2 EPA consists of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight federally recognized Indian nations. Under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman, he served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. He currently serves on the political science faculty of Monmouth University.     


The first debate:  A clear win for Romney, but not a knockout