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President Obama lacked zing in debate without zest

The presidential debate hyped as an exercise in meticulously planned zingers had little zing.

And President Obama was doubly zinger-less Wednesday night in Denver.

He was flat. He meandered more than Republican Mitt Romney.

Obama used lots of numbers. But it sounded like a calculus lesson at times. It wasn’t the 2+2=4 math that proves a point during a debate.

And there was a more important figure he missed: 47.

That’s the percentage of non income-taxpaying citizens Romney seemed to denigrate in a recently released hidden-video, which played right into the Democrats’ narrative about trying to make Romney the out-of-touch rich man.

But Obama never mentioned it.

And when the debate started, it was Romney talking about the little guy.

Romney was the phrase-coiner fretting about “trickle-down government.” Romney was the great communicator, starting off by congratulating the president on his 20-year anniversary.

“I'm sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine here -- here with me,” Romney said.

Ordered to be silent, the crowd couldn’t help itself. People laughed. Obama smiled.

By night’s end, though, liberals from HBOs Bill Maher to MSNBC’s Ed Schultz were in head-shaking disbelief.

It was the millionaire Romney who sounded like feel-your-pain Democrat Bill Clinton talking about the struggles of everyday folks.

“I was in Dayton, Ohio, and a woman grabbed my arm,” Romney said. “And she said, ‘I've been out of work since May. Can you help me?"

Romney said another woman with a baby in her arms told his wife recently: “my husband has had four jobs in three years, part-time jobs. He's lost his most recent job. And we've now just lost our home. Can you help us?"

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