Wednesday night's presidential debate in which Mitt Romney shellacked Barack Obama attracted the biggest audience since the debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan seven days before the 1980 election.
Mitt Romney was 13 years old and Barack Obama had not been born when an energetic-looking John Kennedy, 43, and a tired-looking Richard Nixon, 47, walked into the WBBM-TV studio in Chicago for the first general election debate between presidential candidates.
"The most important lesson I've learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside," Barack Obama said in an interview Thursday on the Spanish-language Univision network. "You can only change it from the outside."
This is a tale of two cities. No, not Dickens' phlegmatic London and passionate Paris. Nor the two neighborhoods Charles Murray contrasted in his recent bestseller "Coming Apart" -- prosperous but isolated Belmont (actually, Mitt Romney's home for decades) and needy and disorganized Fishtown.
There has been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth as, in the spring, it appeared that forces supporting Mitt Romney would be able to raise about as much money as those supporting Barack Obama. There's even more now that it seems likely that the pro-Romney side will raise and spend more money than the pro-Obama side.
Last week, I wrote about the standings in the presidential race and said it looked like a long, hard slog through about a dozen clearly identified target states, much like the contests in 2000 and 2004. Call it the 2000/2004 long, hard slog scenario.
Just as the political air is filled with talk of the inevitability of Barack Obama's re-election -- we are told that the kids at his Chicago headquarters are brimming with confidence -- in come some poll numbers showing him behind.