Mitt Romney suckered Obama.
Romney is what you would expect of someone who was an outstanding student with a Harvard MBA and Harvard law degree and a track record of great success in business and in rescuing the Salt Lake City Olympics. He is a problem solver who relies on logic, a command of the facts, and discipline in execution to achieve his goals. All of that was on display at the debate in Denver and in the weeks leading up to it.
It looks like he made a conscious, strategic decision to focus his assets for use in October because that is when the undecideds make up their mind. Ever disciplined, he refused to panic, even with various pundits on the right wringing their hands with worry throughout September. Note:
* He has spent very little of the money he's raised. He must be waiting to unleash it in the last few weeks. This is the time where he can get the biggest return on investment.
* He knew that the first time most voters would really get a chance to see the real Romney would be in October in the debates. The conventions provide a little introduction for the campaign, but the race is decided in the last month.
* He knew that he is smarter, harder working, and has a better command of facts than his opponent He knew that his opponent has a terrible record to run on, a very thin skin, and gets prickly when he is challenged in the least. And, having probably analyzed every Obama debate and press conference over the last 6 years, he knew that Obama is not effective when he has to think on his feet.
* He has let the media narrative about him, encouraged by hundreds of millions in Obama spending since summer, go unchallenged until now. Why? Because he knew that, just like was the case with Reagan, the disconnect between how the media and Obama have portrayed him vs. the real Romney revealed in the debate would be so stark as to discredit both Obama and the news media in the eyes of undecided voters.
* Finally, by holding his fire until he saw the whites of his opponent's eyes, he lulled Obama into overconfidence. Romney is more impressive than Obama in general, but the unprepared Obama who showed up in Denver was particularly limp.