Romney’s strong debate draws cheers and relief from Republicans in Congress
Mitt Romney’s strong debate performance eased concerns by fellow Republicans in Congress that his recent struggles could be a problem for all of them on Election Day.
“His first debate was very important – and he delivered,” said Congressman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a member of the House Republican leadership.
“He established himself as a person who can be president of the United States – and that will make everyone feel positive,” said Republican Senator Mike Johanns.
“This is our first good morning since our convention,” said Republican Congressman Tom Cole. “We’re buoyant.”
Romney raised Republicans’ spirits – and lowered those of Democrats – with a powerful showing on Wednesday in his first of three nationally televised debates against President Barack Obama.
Pre-debate surveys found that most voters figured Obama would dominate.
Other polls showed Obama leading Romney nationally as well as in several key states in the race for the White House.
Consequently, there have been concerns that a weak Romney could undermine Republican chances to take the Senate and perhaps even hold on to the House in the Nov. 6 election.
But those concerns were eased – if not erased – after the Romney’s 90-minute showdown with Obama, during which the former Massachusetts governor showed political muscle and prowess.
Senator Mike Lee, one of several Republican lawmakers contacted by Reuters on Thursday, said, “Republicans everywhere have reason to be optimistic after last night’s performance.”
“Mitt Romney really did well, and, in part, because he did so well, President Obama didn’t do so well,” said Lee.
A top Senate Democratic aide expressed the sentiment of many in his party as he headed to work at the U.S. Capitol. “I feel bummed,” the aide said. “Obama didn’t even seem as if he wanted to be there.”
Picture: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks during the first presidential debate with President Obama (not pictured) in Denver on October 3, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed