Did Obama close the deal last night? Probably not, but he established the proper tone, beginning with the reminder that he IS the president. I thought the Republicans’ mocking tone at their convention was a false note that doesn’t play outside the hall. Ridicule may feed the red meat base, but I don’t think it sits well with independent voters. People still instinctively like Obama, and are instinctively leery of Romney. The campaign themes are now set: Romney wants the election to be a referendum on Obama’s four years; Obama wants it to be about a choice between different paths—if you throw me out what are you replacing me with? So far, Romney has done a poor job of explaining why he should be the replacement.