The president seemed peeved and flat, while his challenger went on the offensive in Denver.
Call it the curse of incumbency. Like many of his predecessors, President Obama fell victim Wednesday night to high expectations, a short fuse, and a hungry challenger.
If Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney didn't win the first of three presidential debates outright, he more than covered the spread. He was personable, funny, and relentlessly on the attack against Obama.
The president looked peeved, flat, and -- this is the incumbent's curse -- for the first time in four years had to carry a conversation with somebody telling him he's wrong.
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"Going forward with the status quo is not going to cut it for the American people who are struggling today," Romney said, stealing the mantle of change Obama wore so well in 2008.
The former Massachusetts governor also reminded voters repeatedly that the president has not lived up to promises he made four years ago. After Obama vowed to reduce the deficit in a second term, Romney replied, "You've been president four years."