There have been lots of excuses to explain away Obama's weak performance in the first debate, but Peggy Noonan says don't listen to them. Viewers "didn't see some odd version of the president" in Denver, she writes in the Wall Street Journal. "They saw the president"—the "real Obama," as one senator who knows him put it. This is much the same Obama in Bob Woodward's Price of Politics, Noonan writes, the one who "misread his Republican opponents from day one" and let his ego obscure the fact that he was in way over his head.
"His confidence is consistently greater than his acumen, his arrogance greater than his grasp," she writes. If the president loses Ohio, and subsequently the entire election, or even if it's a tight race between him and Romney, it'll be because of his performance in Denver. The debate gave voters a glimpse at an Obama that many had only heard of previously, "and they didn't like what they saw, and that would linger." Click to read Noonan's full piece. (Read more opinion stories.)