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Barack Obama’s performance was not nearly as bad as Romney’s performance was good.
I’m not talking about his politics and policies; I’m talking Romney’s remarkable presence. Here are the four principles of presence that Romney knocked out of the park.
Command of the Facts
When it came to facts—and to how those facts matter to the listeners—Mitt Romney seemed more prepared for the office of President than the President. Every attack by the President was countered, not with excuses or logic, but with numbers, facts, and verifiable statements.
The words that popped into viewers minds regarding Romney: confidence, authority, intelligence, competence, and readiness.
From the moment he stepped onto the stage, Mitt Romney’s body and face reflected a friendly, but determined, man. His eyes danced. He smiled when appropriate, and never scowled. He stood still and straight—“in neutral,” as personal coach Frances Cole Jones describes the position: feet planted, hands at sides, ready to move but disciplined to hold steady.
Romney’s demeanor led people to think: approachable, safe, unguarded, honest, open, and strong.
When Barack Obama attacked Romney, the President looked down or at Jim Lehrer. When Romney called out Obama, he looked his rival in the eye. While Obama’s eye-aversion looked weasel-like and weak, Romney’s forthrightness looked brave.
The word that Romney’s eye contact conjured: mensch.
After 90 minutes, the President looked beaten, exhausted, distracted, and uncomfortable. He stood on one leg, often rocking back and forth like fidgety boy in Sunday School. But Romney’s strength, energy, and determination never waned. Romney never soared, but he never descended.
The word viewers thought about Romney’s consistency: stamina.
In every respect, Mitt Romney came across as more presidential than the President himself. He was more in command of facts, he was more likable, he had the wherewithal to look his rival in the eye and maintain all of these qualities consistency.
Mitt Romney’s impression on voters: Mr. President.