PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In their first match-up one-on-one in the presidential debate, President Obama was bested by Governor Mitt Romney, say some local political and communication experts.

“He took control of that debate in a way most people figured Barack Obama would,” Prof. Anthony Moretti of Robert Morris University told KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano.

“It was rather shocking what a weak and listless drift of a performance it was for the president,” added RMU Prof. Phil Harold.

It’s a judgment confirmed by many public opinion polls.

The CNN Poll found 67 percent of viewers thought Romney won the debate to 25 percent for Obama.

Moretti teaches communications and speculates why Obama had such a difficult night.

“He wanted to look like the president of the United States, so he doesn’t want to appear to be attack dogging or anything along that line. But as it progressed, I got the sense that this was the president’s demeanor or persona. He’s not that in-your-face kind of person.”

Political scientist Harold says Romney was prepared — and more experienced in debating.

“He’s been running for president for years now. He had a lot of experience in debates in 2008. He had a lot of experience in debates this time around. There were 23 Republican primary debates.”

Whatever explains Romney’s success and Obama’s poor performance last night — both campaigns realize that one debate does not elect a president.

Today — both sides were on the attack — accusing each other of lying in the debate.

A week from today, the vice presidential candidates will debate in Kentucky.

Then, on October 16th in New York, Obama and Romney will go at it again.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Get The All New CBS Local App
KDKA Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE