Based on the first presidential debate, this race is not over yet.
GOP challenger Mitt Romney had a very good night. President Barack Obama had a sort of good night. And the moderator left his game in the locker room.
Everyone wants to know if there were any knock out punches? Not a one.
The president, two minutes into the exchange tried to take his last four years off the table. "This is not about where we've been, it's where we are going," he began. Mr. Romney would have none of that as he repeatedly ticked off the jobless rate, the number of folks on food stamps, and while he didn't asked the question are you better off under Mr. Obama, it was the subtext of just about everything he said.
The president scored his points by repeatedly reminding everyone that on health care, taxes, reducing the deficit, and Medicaid, his opponent has not laid out the details. "He's been asked a hundred times," he lamented while finally wondering, are there no details "because his ideas are so good?"
The exchange on taxes was perhaps most revealing as the president kept saying Mr. Romney has a $7 trillion dollar tax cut program, and Mr. Romney kept saying, no I don't.
On the role of government, and this was no shocker, Mr. Obama believes it has "the capacity to open up opportunity for everyone" while Mr. Romney worships at the altar of free enterprise while belittling the president's philosophy of "trickle down government."
Mr. Obama returned the favor by basically saying, Mr. Romney wants to help wealthy business owners at the expense of the middle class. The challenger noted that many of those business owners create one half of the jobs in America.
At times both got a little wonkish in their answers which seemed to drag on forever. Mr. Romney seemed more focused while the president seemed to delve too far into the details of this program or that.
Bottom line, for those who feared Mr. Romney was on the ropes, this debate got him back into the center of the ring. Whether it will change the momentum of the contest, only the voters can answer that.