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Politico Editor: Obama Was Too Busy Being President, Didn't Have Time to Practice for Debate

Politico editor Jim VandeHei appeared on MSNBC, Thursday, to blame Barack Obama's poor debate performance on the burdens of the office. The journalist spun, "The President had to be the President, and had to be a candidate, and so he didn't have nearly as much prep time." [MP3 audio here.]

VandeHei did not try and sugarcoat the debate performance itself, knocking the President for thinking he could "just walk on there, play it safe, and do well."

But the former political reporter for the Washington Post journalist did offer this whopper about how the triumphant Mitt Romney would be treated going forward: "He has a week or two, I think, of probably pretty positive coverage." The liberal media giving Romney two weeks of positive coverage seems stunningly unlikely.

VandeHei underlined just how aggressively the Republican prepped: "He practiced hours and hours and hours, did multiple -- literally, double digit rehearsals -- to be able to practice for this moment."

He concluded, "[Romney] comes out of the debate as somebody who reassured conservatives. His biggest critics are now applauding him. The donors who are worried are now excited again. Republicans will coalesce around him."

VandeHei's take on Obama's loss shouldn't be surprising. On September 5, in a moment of clarity, the journalist conceded, "The mainstream media tends to be quite smitten with the Obamas."

A partial transcript of the October 4 segment, which aired at 5:38am EDT, follows:

WILLIE GEIST: What does it mean materially though, Jim, for Mitt Romney. If we accept that he won the night last night, how does he make it about more than one night and a turning point in the campaign?

JIM VANDEHEI: Again, I can't emphasize how big last night was for Mitt Romney. You have to view it from the Mitt Romney that came into the debate. Conservatives were down on him. His own staff was down on him. Donors were more reluctant to give money to him. Most people in Washington, elected officials, thought he had no real opportunity to actually win the race. He comes out of the debate as somebody who reassured conservatives. His biggest critics are now applauding him. The donors who are worried are now excited again. Republicans will coalesce around him. He has a week or two, I think, of probably pretty positive coverage. He's not going to have conservatives belly aching from the sidelines about his performance. And so, he has a chance to reinvent himself. And that's the important point, Willie. He has to continue the reinvention. Last night is not enough. He needs to be able to use ads, speeches, other moments to amplify a different Romney than the Romney most voters have seen in ads over the last three months.

...

VANDEHEI: You do have to step back and understand that Mitt Romney has spent, literally, two months, almost every night, rehearsing every answer for this very moment. He practiced hours and hours and hours, did multiple -- literally, double digit rehearsals -- to be able to practice for this moment. The President had to be the President, and had to be a candidate, and so he didn't have nearly as much prep time. He has tremendous self-confidence -- some people think he had too much self confidence. He thought he could just walk on there, play it safe, and do well. And it backfired.

-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.