BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a safe bet that Bobby Valentine is not coming back to manage the Red Sox next season. And while President Obama’s fate won’t be determined for another five weeks, he may well have free time to go bike riding with Valentine, if Wednesday night’s debate performance was any indication.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Only the most ardent Obama loyalist could have watched or listened to that debate and not noticed the glaring difference between the energy level and preparation of the two candidates.

The pressure was on Mitt Romney to take charge of the debate, go on offense, and prove he belonged on the same stage.

Mission accomplished, although it wouldn’t surprise me if the polls show only modest movement in the next few days, due to the contrast between Romney’s somewhat agitated body language and the president’s usual calm demeanor.

Stuff like that matters to casual followers of politics, and those are, for the most part, the voters still up for grabs.

Mr. Obama opened the debate by declaring it was not about the past, but about the future. Then he spent much of his time on the defensive talking about the mess he inherited.

But when you’ve been in charge of the show for a full season, it’s hard to credibly point the finger somewhere else.

Just ask Valentine, who has an even better excuse for blaming others for the team’s horrid showing than the president does.

Incumbents have a lot of advantages, in both politics and baseball. But when things go sour, it’s human nature, people start clamoring for a change.

Obama got his chance due to Republican failures, Valentine got his due to the September 2011 collapse.

But as Clint Eastwood put it at the GOP convention, when someone isn’t getting the job done, “you gotta let ‘em go.”

And that’s the problem confronting the Obama campaign.

Voters wanting change but uncertain about Romney may well have been reassured about the challenger Thursday night, we’ll see.

Red Sox fans who’ve had enough of losing don’t need to see the next manager audition.

Anyone not named Bobby Valentine will do just fine.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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