BOSTON (CBS) – Ever since last Wednesday’s surprisingly weak debate performance by the president, there’s been a ton of armchair analysis and psychoanalysis of why he seemed so half-hearted about expressing his vision for a second term and rebutting Mitt Romney’s criticisms.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Much of it, like most commentary you read and hear about this campaign, can and should be quickly discarded in the circular file cabinet.

But one line of thought I’ve been hearing strikes me as worth considering – does Mr. Obama really want to be president anymore?

The Atlantic Monthly suggests “His Heart’s Not In It.”

On the Daily Beast website, they’re asking: is he “tired of being president?”

And conservative columnist Byron York notes: “he has never stayed in a job four years without looking to move on to something better.”

That pattern is far from unusual, especially in politics.

Politicians like Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who win a job and stay in it forever without any sign of ambition for higher office are the exception.

Ambition and restlessness are not only common attributes, they’re very much a part of the American way.

Read: Obama and Romney on the issues: Weigh in on the Presidential Forum

And while there’s no higher job in his chosen career than the presidency, you couldn’t blame Mr. Obama if he’s had enough.

As it did his predecessors, the years in office have visibly aged him, and his first term has come at an especially stressful and corrosive time.

There is no guarantee a second one will be any easier. His children are still young enough to need him, and he is still young enough to have an impact and make money while returning to something more closely resembling a normal life.

It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s some truth to the notion that, maybe even subconsciously, the president isn’t so sure he wants another four years of this, and that’s what we saw in debate number one.

Then again, let’s hold off on a final diagnosis until we see debates two and three.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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