Well yes he can come across that way. And don't forget "um, ah, um, um" and the ever popular "I have always said..."
For a man known as a powerful speaker, Obama has rarely wowed people in political debates. He can come across as lifeless, aloof and windy.He didn't do well at the Rick Warren forum. I suppose it was above his pay grade.
But Obama didn't make any serious mistakes in the many debates during the Democratic primary, or when he was running for the U.S. Senate in Illinois. He sometimes showed flashes of wit and charm. And, with a couple of exceptions, he got better with time.
"A year ago, he was not nearly as polished," said Timothy O'Donnell, a professor at the University of Mary Washington and chairman of the collegiate National Debate Tournament. "He equivocates less. He's quicker with examples."
O'Donnell says staying on offense will be key if Obama wants to shape the discussion and reach undecided voters.
The Illinois senator failed to do that in what is often mentioned as his worst performance in a major debate, an April 16 confrontation with Clinton in Philadelphia.
With Obama on the verge of wrapping up the nomination, the moderators focused on his potential weaknesses, asking questions about Obama's former minister, his policy on flag lapel pins and his comments about rural people clinging to guns and religion.
Obama seemed deflated by the questioning and failed to steer the debate toward his theme of change. His performance did little to reassure nervous supporters.