Two discussions of the third debate revolve around the “tests” that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama had to pass. First from Fred Barnes in an article titled “Romney Passed the Test“:
Mitt Romney’s aim was to present himself with the demeanor and grasp of foreign and national security issues of a president of the United States. He succeeded. President Obama sought to make Romney appear unqualified to be president and commander in chief. He failed. And that was the story of the third and final presidential debate.
Then there was Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal in an article titled, A Perfectly Plausible President which begins:
Mitt Romney needed to pass the usual tests for Republican presidential candidates in his debate Monday night with President Obama.
There are a number of tests listed by Stephens – the Ford Test, the Goldwater Test, the Bush Test, the Carter Test, the Nixon Test and the Clinton Test – all no doubt essential and each duly passed. His conclusion:
Two points in particular: Mr. Obama referred at least twice to Israel as ‘our greatest ally in the region,’ a subtle but definable shift from his usual references to the Jewish state being one ally among several. This is the kind of pandering that fooled Jewish-American voters once. Will it fool them again?
And then he said: ‘One thing I’ve learned as commander in chief, you’ve got to be clear to our allies and enemies about where you stand and what you mean.’ If only that described the president we’ve had these past four years.
Score-keepers will say the debate went for Mr. Obama. Maybe it did. But Mitt Romney emerges looking like a perfectly plausible president—which was no doubt all he wanted from tonight
Mitt Romney is fighting an uphill battle against the Democrats, the media and the 47%. He has run a near flawless campaign and is within striking distance of a famous victory. Although he did not pass the Newt Gingrich Test – which is to be as ideological and strident as possible – nor the Rick Santorum Test – which is to focus on social issues rather than the economic – he may have instead passed the 271 electoral vote test, which when all is said and done is the only test that will matter in the end.