Last night's debate may well go down in history as one of the oddest on record. After a contentious second debate in which the idiot moderator took over for Obama at a crucial point and misstated his previous remarks on Libya, most viewers were no doubt expecting Romney to come out guns blazing. He certainly had the opportunity. Moderator Bob Shiefer, perhaps desperate to save the mainstream media's lock on presidential debate moderation after the Crowley embarrassment, started things off with an underhand softball toss to Romney on Libya. Surprisingly, Romney launched into a general discussion of the future of the middle east, filled with platitudes and never even mentioned the Libyan fiasco. Obama, no doubt relieved beyond measure to not have to explain his administration's weeks of lies and abandonment of Americans under fire, answered in a similar fashion. Republicans across the nation were slapping themselves on the forehead and asking, "WTF" or words to that effect. As the debate wore on, Romney generally stuck to Reaganesque themes of lifting everyone up via American leadership and the importance of strength and resolve. He rarely attacked or even criticized Obama except in the most general terms. Instead, he often underscored his agreement with Obama's approach or policies. Obama by contrast attacked relentlessly and in a very personal manner. He mocked Romney for supposedly not understanding modern military needs and linked him to Bush and Cheney. His signature line was some idiotic reference to the foreign policy of the '90's, the social polciy of the 50's and the economic policy of the '20's or somethng like that. The usual suspects are jubilant today, thinking Obama triumphed decisively. But did he really? What was really going on? My take is that the differing styles reflected polling and focus groups results. If so, democrats have nothing to celebrate. Romney reminded me of an NFL coach protecting a lead in the fourth quarter. Run the ball, eat clock and play a soft zone defense to prevent big plays. His message to voters was expect nothing too different from me on foreign policy. He wanted undecideds to come away thinking, there isn't much difference between them on foreign stuff, so let's focus on the economy. Obama by contrast was like an MMA fighter who knows he is well behind entering the final round. He was swingly wildly, hoping somethng connected. He got a few shots in, but none of them put Romney down. His central argument, that Romney is a reckless neophyte who cannot be trusted to run foreign policy, was always a tough sell and he didn't come close to making that case. he scored some debating points, but also probably hurt himself by appearing uncivil while Romney was gracious. I think this debate and whatever effects it is shown to have had will be studied by political pros for years. The reason is it provided such a stark contrast in styles, and in Romney's case, a total departure from his previous tactics. It is no secret that undecideds and independents invariably say in focus groups that they are sick and tired of all the partisan bickering and just want the parties to work together and get stuff done. They also express distaste for personal attacks and incivility. Romney's camp obviously took that to heart; Obama, not so much. I personally was disappointed, but one of the spin crew made the point that partisans always want red meat and that is not always the best approach to woo undecideds. Going into a rope-a-dope in the last debate seems risky to me, but Romney has very sophisticated people handling him. I am assuming they believed they have a winning hand now and wanted to leave voters with a positive impression of a Romney who is likeable and gracious.