- Special to The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2012

If Mitt Romney goes on to win the 2012 presidential election, Wednesday night’s debate will go down in history as the moment in time he gave conservatives across the United States their “Rocky IV” realization. Up against a statist opponent, Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa was told he didn’t have a chance. He should pack it in. He should retire. Instead, he ignored the critics. When the bell rang he came out swinging. Then, the unthinkable happened: He drew blood.

Rocky’s trainer said it best: “You got him hurt bad. Now he’s worried. You cut him. You hurt him. You see! You see! He’s not a machine! He’s a man! You want it more than he does. … Take it to him.”

Moments after round one of the presidential contest, even Mr. Romney’s far-left critics conceded that President Obama was damaged, with one Obama super PAC donor even going so far as to state that he needed a teleprompter. MSNBC’s panel of analysts, like the worried Soviet suits who fretted over Ivan Drago’s performance, were equally disturbed. Mr. Obama was up against the ropes all night, looking down at his notes, throwing out non sequiters, and rambling in ways that prompted Mr. Romney to say, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Perhaps worst of all was the point when the president turned to moderator Jim Lehrer for a lifeline, saying: “You may want to move on to another topic, Jim.” Had Mr. Obama been in command, that would have never happened.

By the end of “Rocky IV,” Mr. Stallone’s Italian Stallion took a hostile crowd and had them cheering his name. Likewise, Mr. Romney’s performance Wednesday night probably went a long way toward convincing independent voters it’s time for a change in the White House.