Posts Tagged ‘debate’

My immediate reaction? I don’t know. I’d say a draw. The winner tonight was everyone that watched baseball instead. The loser? America. We get more of the same from both of these folks. I’d say on balance that Obama did slightly better at pointing out Romney’s flip flopping than Romney did at selling it, but not by much. Their opinions on these issues are very similar. Or, at least, the Mitt Romney that showed up tonight’s positions are similar.

A tie, with a very slight tilt towards the President.

On substance, we actually did though get some important policy notes. First off, Mitt Romney absolutely wants to increase military spending by one trillion dollars. That’s not new. What is new is increasing foreign aid, and making Pakistani aid conditional on, something. We also got a specific budget cut number: 5% to domestic discretionary. And finally, not cutting food stamps.

For Obama, the most important part I think was that we will stand with Israel if they are attacked. A much more cautious, measured statement than Romney.

One final point. Iran with a nuke is so far from our biggest threat. The very idea of it is nearly laughable. Would it be a bad thing? Probably. Biggest threat? Please.

10:32 BREAKING: Mitt Romney won’t cut SNAP. And so deficit reduction gets farther and farther away. His policies are so increasingly absurd.

10:32 Romney: same stuff as usual

10:31 Obama: After a decade of war, we need to do some nation building at home.

10:29 Romney: the federal government didn’t hire our teachers. They really did. For better or worse, the federal government really did hire your teachers.

10:28 Romney just mentioned the same unemployed girl from Philly that he mentioned in the last debate.

10:28 Food stamps and unemployment!

10:26 Romney really did call for liquidating the auto industry. By calling for bankruptcy, that was the only choice. Private capital didn’t want to touch it, that’s why the government had to move in.

10 23: Imports from China: $37.3 billion. Exports to China: $8.6 billion. Balance: $28.7 billion.

10:20 An enormous trade imbalance with China? Is it so?

10:19 I don’t know about anyone else, but China bashing is getting really old.

10:17 Romney: Biggest future threat is a nuclear armed Iran.

10:15 Obama: Biggest future threat will continue to be terrorism.

10:14 On to China.

10:11 Drones. Romney 100% agrees. Ugh. This debate is depressing.

10:09 Yes, he just said Obama bin Laden

10:08 Obama: A history lesson and then jobs for Vets. This debate mostly seems like a draw right now.

10:06 Romney: Aid to Pakistan ought to be conditional on some benchmarks. That’s a pretty important policy point.

10:05 Romney: Hell yes, because this war is going awesomely!

10:04 Will we hold the 2014 deadline for withdrawing from Afghanistan? Also an excellent question.

10:03 Romney really needs to stop arguing about the rules.

10:01 So far I think Obama’s doing a decent job pointing out Romney’s flip flopping on this stuff, but for the most part I think everyone is just going to come away confused.

9:59 BREAKING NEWS: Mitt Romney can stop Israel from bombing Iran by the sheer force of his own awesomeness.

9:58 He should go to Pakistan. People could show him where missiles landed in their kids’ rooms there too. Of course those missiles have American flags on them.

9:56 Israel has a sad because Obama didn’t stop by!

9:56 Mitt Romney has noted the passage of time. Glad he noticed.

9:55 Glad he’s defending against the apology tour schtick. It really is amazingly dumb.

9:54 Now the real Mitt is coming back. His foreign policy is “be tougher”.

9:51 Iran saw weakness in this administration? This administration has attacked Iran more than any other that we know of. Not saying that’s a good thing, but its true.

9:48 A seven point plan! We get two more points! Drink.

9:47 There is so very little difference between these two.

9:46 An absolutely crucial question. And note Obama’s answer. “I will stand with Israel if they are attacked”. I really, really, really hope he means that last bit.

9:43 It actually makes sense that our military is “smaller” than it was in WW2. Mostly because we can now do with a drone what it used to take a couple tank battalions and a month long carpet bombing campaign.

9:41 “Our budget isn’t driven by politics” Oh how I wish that were true.

9:38 Cut 5% of the discretionary budget excluding military. Not even close to a balanced budget. Not. Even. Close

9:37 Well, fuck it, education policy now! Mitt’s Kids ™ are smart! And Bipartisan! And, yet again, a promise to 25% of highschoolers of free tuition. How will you pay for it?

9:36 Seriously someone needs to check on the moderator.

9:35 Baseball is on, right?

9:34 Well, Greece is in fact a foreign country, so, I guess that counts?

9:34 Did someone kill the moderator?

9:33 Twelve Million New Jobs! Have you heard about my five point plan?

9:31 Why bother having a foreign policy debate? We’re on Detroit, energy, taxes, and the budget deficit, now.

9:29 “We don’t know what the world is going to throw at us down the road” Well, I agree. Luckily, we have the biggest military in the history of the world, and can single-handedly vaporize any country on Earth with relatively little effort, so I’d say we’re good on that.

9:27 In the same sentence Mitt Romney deplores the debt and promotes increasing military spending by $1 Trillion.

9:26 If I am correct here, Mitt Romney wants increased foreign aid, while Barack Obama says we shouldn’t spend money abroad while there is nation building to do here. Seriously: Which one is the democrat?

9:25 On young people in Egypt: “Their aspirations are the same as young people here”. Regardless of your views on foreign policy, this is a point that cannot be made enough.

9:22 “Would you go farther?” Excellent question. Romney is against military intervention, but pro-arms dealers. Which is what Obama thinks too.

9:20 Twenty minutes, hardly any disagreement thus far. That’s actually pretty depressing.

9:16 Romney’s strategy: use Syria to get to Iran, without arming Syria, via a council, while arming Syria, and…   fuck what was he talking about?

9:15 Wait I’m confused. Which one’s the democrat?

9:14 The Status of Forces agreement was from the Bush administration wasn’t it?

9:11 The 1980’s called, they want their foreign policy back.

9:09 Aaaaand Mitt just stated his support for increased foreign aid. Righteous Tea Party Anger? Anyone? Buhler?

9:08 Right Now Mitt Romney just threw Two Minutes Ago Mitt Romney under the bus.

9:07 It took less than 2 minutes for Mitt to entirely change his tune on Foreign Policy. “We can’t kill our way out of this mess” was a great line, but Romney’s solution to Iran is to start a war!

9:06 “We can’t kill our way out of this mess”. I agree! I wish Mitt Romney agreed.

9:04 Maybe none of the subjects tonight are going to be funny. Just saying.

9:02 Oh God is he really opening this with a nuke scare? This is going to be unbearable.

9:01 Brian Williams just said that “neither campaign expected to see themselves in a dead heat two weeks before the election.” I absolutely guarantee you that they expected exactly that.

8:55 Last one. Local NBC leading with a story about Vintage Wine Bar on 13th St in Philly. Its good, and you’ll need wine for this. Well played, NBC. You know the drill, hit refresh a lot.


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Wish I could take credit for the title, but I got it from a friend

Looking back on last night, my immediate reaction was that the biggest win for Obama of the night was on Libya, when Romney got fact checked in real time, to audience applause. That was a bad moment for Romney, but looking back on it I think the women in the workplace question was the real killer. The binders full of women was a condescending comment, but it was also pretty hilarious, which ensures it won’t disappear down the memory hole any time soon. And his statement that women should be allowed to leave at 5 so they can cook dinner fell flat. Flexible schedules are a great thing, for everyone, because men can make dinner too. And as it turns out, the binders full of women story was a lie. The binders were prepared by an advocacy group to be given to whoever won. They were not requested by Mitt because he loves the womens, which is how he tried to play it.

Contrast all of that with Obama’s pitch perfect (and true!) statement that these are issues that are important to everyone, not just women.

Mitt Romney’s biggest and most important gain in the polls after the previous debate was among women who had previously strongly supported Obama. Expect those gains to be, at least partially, lost. Romney really stepped in it.

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Overall, an absolutely excellent night for Obama tonight. He effectively tied Romney to his primary positions on every single question. He rattled him, he threw him off and he made it clear that he is lying. He outright said it, in fact. On substance, a clear Obama win. His biggest threat in my mind tonight was Libya, and it was his best moment of the debate. He exhibited real leadership, he sounded presidential. He seemed legitimately offended at the politicization of the incident, and he made Mitt Romney look petty, small, and stupid. “Check the transcript” was devastating.

Tonight Obama defended his record, and he dragged Severely Conservative Mitt back onto center stage. This is the Obama we’re used to.

Andrew Sullivan, you may step down from the ledge.  

10:40 NBC Commentary “Governor Romney’s binders full of women is a phrase that will live forever”

10:39 “A different President Obama showed up tonight.”

10:38 Finally, the 47%. “If they succeed, I believe the country succeeds”.

10:37 Obama’s answer: I’m not a big government socialist, equality, opportunity

10:36 Romney’s answer: the private sector, God, and Obama’s economy sucks. He turned it into an attack.

10:35 Final question: What’s the biggest misconception about you? That’s a great question.

10:33 “Government does not create jobs. Government does not create jobs.” – Mitt Romney. So, so, so incredibly wrong.

10:32 I was afraid she was about to ask them if they were iPhone or Android users…

10:30 Nope, I wasn’t.

10:29 Obama wants to reduce the corporate tax rate as well, if I’m not mistaken.

10:27 Well, Romney is right about Chinese currency depreciation. But, yelling at them about it won’t really help.

10:26 Outsourcing!

10:24 Obama just tied education to reducing gun violence. YES. Much, much, much, infinitely more of that, please!

10:22 My prediction is that the party line coming out of the right wing blogs tomorrow is going to be that Candy Crowley is in the tank for Obama. Probably that the questions were plants, too.

10:22 The greatest failure involving gun violence was Fast and Furious? Really? Tell that to all of the kids getting shot in the slums of our cities.

10:21 Um, Mitt? The Assault Weapons Ban expired, buddy.

10:20 A re-introduction of the ban, and more importantly a strategy to address the causes of violence. I don’t know if that can be done, but I’m all for trying.

10:19 “Weapons that were designed for soldiers don’t belong on our streets”

10:18 Assault weapon ban. Great question.

10:17 OK folks, you can turn on Breaking Bad now, this debate is over.

10:16 The President, in the rose garden, with the terrorism

10:15 Also, Tonight Mitt Romney just threw Last Week Mitt Romney under the bus on Israel

10:14 A fantastic answer on Hillary Clinton’s responsibility. That is leadership.

10:12 Is Mitt Romney criticizing Barack Obama’s reaction to the Libya attacks? Recall that Romney gleefully turned this into a political attack before the situation had even finished playing out.

10:08 Obama had to know the Libya question was coming.

10:07 Mitt Romney is coming off as an entitled jackass. And the blind trust defense is awful.

10:05 Are we going to argue whether DREAM was introduced in the first year or not? It was introduced.

10:04 I don’t want my daughter or yours to be the victim of racial profiling.

10:03 Obama is absolutely dominating this

10:01 I’m all for high skilled immigration, by the way.

10:00 Just say DREAM, Mr. President.

10:00 Yes, yes he did

9:59 Did he just endorse the DREAM Act?

9:58 What would you do with immigrants currently here? Good question.

9:56 Tonight Mitt Romney just threw Last Week Mitt Romney under the bus on Dodd Frank and healthcare.

9:55 It’s called the DREAM Act, asshole. And you opposed it.

9:53 Every answer Obama has given, he’s included a reminder of Severely Conservative Mitt. “You should expect those are promises he’s gonna keep”. And then the real kicker: Who are you gonna believe, that guy? Or me?

9:52 Fantastic to see this guy defend his record, because it really is very impressive.

9:49 Obama nailed him to the wall with it. And now pointing out the differences between Bush and Romney in cases where Romney is more extreme.

9:48 Differences from Bush: More oil, lower taxes, less regulation.

Wait, was I drunk during the Bush administration?

9:46 Um, Mitt Romney did not name an actual reason why he is different than Bush.

9:45 Gov. Romney, whats the difference between you and Bush? Well ma’am, back to the previous question…

9:44 “These are not just women’s issues, these are family issues. These are economic issues.” Exactly right. That needs to be better understood by everyone.

9:42 On the substance, though, Romney is right that full employment will go a long way towards improving people’s situations regarding their rights in the workplace.

9:39 Romney’s answer is the “women’s issues” equivalent of “look at my black friend!”

9:37 Inequality in the workplace for women. Fantastic question. Defend your record, sir. It’s a good one.

9:36 Actually, if the President is re-elected and he does literally nothing, the deficit goes away and the debt is well on its way to being gone.

9:35 “Of course they add up” because Olympics

9:34 A brilliant answer from Obama, pointing out the impossible math, folding in Romney’s low rates, and making it plain that Romney knows full well his plan is shit. He’s baaaaaack.

9:30 Yea, no one pays 60%, sorry Mittens.

9:29 Yes. Hold him to his previous positions. Don’t let him shape shift again.

9:27 We can balance the budget by cutting taxes. Math!

9:26 Oh hi massive deficits, didn’t see you there.

9:25 He isn’t going to answer. He has no answer. His plan is bullshit, he knows, the questioner knows it. Hopefully Crowley tries to make him answer.

9:24 Romney had to know this was coming. The question is essentially “Will you cut all those things I like?”

9:23 Obama’s getting to him. Romney is getting pissed.

9:22 Obama is exactly right that wind energy is not “imaginary jobs”. Good answer. But Christ, no more “winning the future” please. It’s a god-awful slogan.

9:20 The increase in energy prices would have happened under any President. Oh and Obama? Don’t let Romney tell you to shut up.

9:20 These dudes are arguing for the same policies.

9:19 Security! I’d like to report an imminent fist fight. Yes, the two guys on stage.

9:18 Clean coal. There. Is. No. Such. Thing.

9:15 I’ve never understood this “on federal land” argument about oil drilling. Public sector oil is different that private sector oil? And for the record, the coal industry has taken a massive hit the last few years, but not because of the EPA. It’s because of Romney’s example: shale gas. Coal is not competitive with cheap shale gas. That’s all there is to it.

9:14 Jeremy now has two job offers.

9:13 Biofuels! Still a nerd

9:12 Of course it’s not the job of the DOE to lower gas prices. That’s just plain stupid. Oil is a globally traded commodity and there’s nothing DOE, EPA, Obama, or Romney can do about it

9:10 Touchdown Obama! Much, much more of that, please.

9:10 Two lies from Romney just now. Drink twice.

9:09 Number salad from Romney. He’s touting his five point plan, which has been largely debunked all day

9:07 Obama just fit his State of the Union into 2 minutes. Unfortunately this kid doesn’t give a rats ass about community college, biofuels, Detroit, and the rest. Obama needs to connect.

9:06 Mitt’s totally gonna hire that kid in 2014. Right?

9:04 Romney just promised 25% of highschool grads free tuition, along with not cutting Pell grants. What’s Paul Ryan say about that?

9:03 Pro-tip: Don’t clap into your mic.

9:02 Activist moderators!

8:55 Local NBC affiliate is leading with a story about two women (one an opera singer) getting into a fight at Trader Joes over the last cup of frozen Pad Thai. I think the debate will be something like that.

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Here’s what the deficit looks like since the start of the Clinton administration:


The deficit, after being blown up by Bush, has been shrinking steadily under Obama. Keep that in mind, because it’s the opposite of what Mitt Romney will say during the debate, which I guess I’ll be live-blogging again. Man the refresh button! And the beer fridge.

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Obama will throw some serious punches tonight, and all the commentators that complained last time that he didn’t put up a fight will this time complain that he was too mean, that his combative tone will be off-putting to moderates, etc.

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It seems that Obama’s startegy last night was to channel Bill Clinton from the DNC, be wonky and detail oriented in a way that can connect with average, non-wonky folks and in so doing make it clear that he had detailed proposals relative to Romneys lack of detail. That only works if you’re willing to press Romney anytime he starts getting less than truthful or evasive.

But Obama didn’t do that. He passed on countless opportunities to attack, he allowed Mitt to pivot back to the center, and worse he allowed Mitt to turn the world upside-down. Mitt Romney would insure more people, Republicans are the party of compromise, and Obama governs by just saying no to everything. If I hadn’t been paying attention to anything until last night, that’s what I would have come away thinking.

The most interesting thing, though, is the conservative reaction to the debate. They are elated, even though until last night every time Romney has even glanced towards the left they lost their shit. But last night Romney committed all kinds of conservative heresy. He’s pro-regulation! He wants to attack big banks! He jettisoned his own tax plan and supports Romneycare again! He took completely different positions last night on everything, as compared to his positions thus far. At the beginning of the debate, I even commented that I was confused because Romney seemed to be just repeating after Obama and agreeing with him. Team R was elated. They truly will do and say anything to win.

As for the single biggest missed opportunity: Mitt Romney, the man with the tax dodging offshore accounts, actually said “where you put your money is where your heart is”. He said that. Out loud. At the debate. And Obama passed on it! All he had to do was look Romney right in the eye and say “My heart is in America, governor, but its good to know yours is in the Caymans”. And then pivot off of that to “but the governor is right, where you put your money is where your heart is [repetition: make damn sure no one forgets the quote!] and that’s why I support insert programs to help the middle class and create jobs here.

But he didn’t.

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Tonight was a complete, 100% redefinition of Mitt Romney. He came across as, well, human. Not a robot. I spent the first half of the debate really confused as to what was going on, because nothing Romney said made any sense as a Mitt Romney thing to say. He completely changed his positions on everything. Tonight was a huge shift to the center for him. This was a completely different Mitt Romney, both in style and substance, than we’ve seen on the campaign trail so far.

On substance, though, Obama was the clear winner. The actual policies promoted by Obama made sense and were fleshed out. Romney’s, to the extent they exist, had no detail at all. But he was able to wave them away. And he completely threw everything back in the President’s face. He came off as the defender of medicare, despite his massive, devastating changes to it. He came off as bipartisan, even though his party has agreed to nothing, been entirely unwilling to compromise. He came off as being anti-Wall Street and a challenger of the big banks, even though he proposes to let them do whatever the hell they want while cutting their taxes.


10:36PM “He looked like a credible alternative tonight”

10:33PM NBC’s closing coverage is that Romney was energetic and feisty and in control, versus Obama who seemed to be just coasting. I agree. Devastating.

10:30PM Now Romney is trying to say that less people would have health coverage under Obama.

10:27PM “Governor Romney has not been able to say no to some extreme elements of his own party”

10:25PM Romney is trying to be more bipartisany. For a Republican to say that today is fucking nuts. Just remember: $10 in spending cuts for $1 in tax hikes got a no.

10:24PM Reaction from Facebook:

Obama, all you needed to do from the very beginning was simply say "47%". Just once. Then go give Lehrer a hug, he really needs one. 😦

10:23PM “Where you put your money is where your heart is” – Mitt Romney. I shit you not.

10:22PM “Mr. President, you’re entitled to your own airplane and your own house, but not your own facts”. Oh come on, Mitt.

10:19PM Obama just hit Romney for having hazy, non-detailed proposals. It’s true.

10:15PM Obama is rambling. But “Governor Romney doesn’t think we need more teachers. I do.” Good line.

10:12PM Romney: “What we did in MA [Romneycare] is a model for the nation”. How the hell is Obama letting him get away with these things? Obama is doing terribly.

10:09PM So… how ‘bout them Nats?

10:08PM Death Panels? Really, Mitt?

10:06PM Obama’s right! I got my insurance premium rebate a month or two ago. $28.00! Almost a case of delicious Sly Fox Rt. 113 IPA. Drink.

10:05PM Now a defense of the cost control provisions of Obamacare. They won’t be enough, but they’re more than anyone has attempted thus far.

10:03PM Obama just made my point. Drink.

9:59PM A good defense of Obamacare. Where has it been these past 2 years? Romney is accusing him of pushing something “completely partisan” through in Obamacare, but it’s a Republican plan. ITS MITT ROMNEYS PLAN!

9:55PM This is bizzarro Mitt. Either he is lying through his teeth tonight, or has been doing so up until this point.

9:52PM Now Romney is arguing that Obama has been too nice to banks. He has spent the rest of this campaign saying that the only reason the economy is bad is because Big Bad Barack has been too mean to banks!

9:51PM Romney: “Every free economy has good regulation”. This is absolutely 100% a completely different Mitt Romney than we’ve seen in this campaign so far.

9:48PM The ability to choose your own insurance provider is in fact a feature of Obamacare.

9:43PM Romney just accused Obama of making the precise same medicare cuts he himself proposes.

9:42PM Obama sounds like a talking spreadsheet.

9:39PM Romney is on tonight. He’s doing quite well.

Reaction from Facebook:

“Governor Romney, you just threatened Big Bird. You Sir, have gone too far.”

9:33PM Romney, on the charge that he has ruled out new revenue: “Absolutely”

9:31PM Romney: The President should have supported Bowles Simpson. Never mind that his running mate Paul Ryan was instrumental in killing the proposal. Why doesn’t Obama point that out?

9:30PM They are both citing Bowles Simpson now

9:25PM Mitt Romney is a dick. He’s also lying about what his plan is. But he’s having the better debate, I think. Forcing Obama to try to explain the math is making him just go through numbers while Romney can try to make points that connect to people.

9:23PM “Math, common sense, and our history” show that Romney’s plan won’t work. “We’ve tried this". A good point.
9:17PM Romney: My tax plan adds up because I say so, and no economist can tell me otherwise.

9:15PM Obama: Your math doesn’t work, Mitt.

9:13PM Romney: "There’ll be no tax cut that adds to the deficit”. Still no word on how he plans to do that, but the give away was when he said it all adds up when you account for growth.

9:11PM Right off the bat, Obama points out that Romney’s math doesn’t add up. Romney says he won’t cut taxes, just provide tax relief. This is weird, Romney is nearly just repeating what Obama is saying.

9:10PM Biofuels! I’m a nerd.

9:08PM Holy shit, Mitt Romney accuses Barack Obama of believing in trickle down economics?

9:07PM Romney doesn’t like “top down economics” either. He does like small businesses.

9:04PM Straight to jobs. What are the major differences between the two candidates policies? Obama: “a new economic patriotism”, investments in the future, paid for by not fighting wars. Now that is change I can believe in.

9:03PM An emphasis on specifics. Ruh roh, Mitt!

9:01PM Hug time. Precious.

8:56PM Going to try live blogging this thing. Probably won’t work well. You’ll probably have to hit “refresh” a lot. Drink.

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