More on 12-Dimensional Chess and the Discombobulation of Mitt Romney


Following an earlier reader assessment of the subtle ways in which Barack Obama may have been trying to rile Mitt Romney -- apart from the quite obvious jibes and challenges he applied in the second debate -- another reader adds this observation:

Obama also did one other thing - constantly interjected comments like "that's not true" - or "you're wrong Governor" while Romney was speaking.  My experience in corporate life showed me very few CEOs or execs that would tolerate those types of disrespectful interjections while they are talking.   Romney becomes exasperated quite easily - and then he goes to adrenaline pumping "attacky" Romney --- "I'll give you some advice."  --- or following up on the text of the Rose Garden speech - even when Obama said "proceed Governor" - a sure sign that this was a trap.   

Two things happen when the Governor's adrenaline pumps - first Romney becomes nonstrategic and unfocused.  Second - he has to have the last word (Crowley saying Governor, please take your seat).   I believe subconsciously, women voters are not impressed with a man that "has to have the last word."  I'm expecting a lot more of this tactic.

This rings true -- about what Obama was doing, and how Romney reacted. In a few hours we'll have a better idea of whether it was a concerted strategy on Obama's part, and whether Romney has thought about the ways he should respond.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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