Presidential debates: Part Deux

It’s demeaning when two “gentlemen” constantly interrupt, talk over one another, and point. Fortunately they stopped short of pokes to the chest. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(Updated October 17, 2012)

Oh horrors! Terrible intelligence lapse. Both the wives were dressed in hot pink! Gasp! Somebody may lose their job over that. As for the speculation earlier in the day about Romney not knowing how to sit on a bar stool because he’s a non-drinking Mormon, that was a non-starter. They weren’t really bar stools; they were tall chairs. And he seemed to handle his just fine.

Aside from those important issues, the debate itself was so-so. Obama was much more engaged tonight, to the point of getting at least a draw. He set the record straight on his assertions about the attack on our Benghazi consulate, noting that the very next day in the Rose Garden he had called the attack “terrorist.” And moderator Candy Crowley backed him up, saying that is what the transcript says. Period. So Romney stumbled badly trying to say it was a week or more before the administration declared the attack was the work of terrorists. Too bad the Obama campaign hasn’t made this clear before now, because Republicans have been having a field day with it.

Romney used his bullying tactics on Crowley and he really needs to stop. Running roughshod over a moderator, or anyone else, is unnecessary, rude, and unseemly. The man is obviously used to having his way in every situation; imagine the tantrums if he gets elected and Congress won’t do what he wants!

Obama’s last “answer” was commentary about Romney’s infamous 47%. Perfect timing, leaving the audience to think about that. It distinguishes the two candidates more than anything else.

The rest of the debate was a toss-up, which was a definite improvement for Obama. Crowley was the big loser; she didn’t even come close to Martha Raddatz’s moderation of the VP debate. And to think both sides were trying to muzzle Crowley in advance for fear she’d nail their candidate with a difficult, embarrassing follow-up question.

_______________
Obama’s exact words in the Rose Garden the morning after the Benghazi attack:

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.



Categories: Election 2012, Obama, Politics, Romney

20 replies

  1. I actually watched more of this one than either of the other two PT, and I think your assessment is spot on. Romney really is a bully, isn’t he? He reminds me of the “city slicker” stereotype even more in these debates. I felt kinda sorry for Candy Crowley, who did do a good job on the Rose Garden speech thing, but I was glad to see Obama standing his ground a little more. I just wish he’d pointed out how Romney’s GOP buddies had fought him tooth and nail on every one of those “promises” he kept accusing Obama of breaking.

    BTW, I had just finished gathering GIFs for an “Animated Debates Part Deux” post when I saw this one. I’ve got a tough job ahead of whittling the image count down a little from the 42 I have now, so I probably won’t post it until sometime tomorrow…

    • I agree; I don’t understand why Obama doesn’t fight back against all those accusations that he’s done nothing by reminding everyone of what the obstructionist Republicans swore to do in 2010. They, not he, brought DC to a grinding halt. On another topic, there was Romney saying, “Government doesn’t create jobs” (and then repeating it for emphasis), while the GOP has been all over Obama for not creating jobs!

      42 images is a lot of wrangling. And by tomorrow, there will be so much fresh stuff out on this particular debate. Good luck with that!

  2. I thought it was a great debate. Romney lost a lot of women tonight I’ll bet. A twitter account and Facebook account started up immediately called “Romney’s Binder Full of Women.”

    And to make that woman wait who asked him a new question so that he can go back and rehash yet another rebuttal was just down right rude. That is saying, “You’re question isn’t as important as me getting the last word in.”

    The AK47 took them both by surprise. Obama looked a bit uneasy with that one. Neither of them prepped for that, I’m sure.

    • Funny that either, much less both of them would be caught off guard by the assault weapons question. Maybe they’d just prepared for a question about gun laws in general. Too bad. I’d like to have seen Obama go off on assault weapons and Romney try to defend them.

      • I would also have like to see a debate about assault weapons, PT, because I think the issue is a no-brainer. Clearly there is only one real purpose for such a weapon and it’s not to blow Bambi away. However, it’s best that a second-amendment debate did not come up because it’s impossible to win it. NRA-inspired ideologues are absolutely impervious to any argument, no matter how sensible, and paranoia about Obama grabbing guns is pandemic among those who think that way. And they are numerous enough to swing the vote. Obama is wise to choose battles that he has a chance of winning.

        • Good point. I’m still slack-jawed and dismayed over my daughter-in-law’s compulsion to run out and buy a gun right after Obama was elected. She’s an intelligent woman, but it’s apparently an issue where intelligence just doesn’t factor in. What is smart is Obama’s choosing his battles, and avoiding those where reason will never prevail.

      • True. Other than the 2nd Amendment, there really is not other argument that I can think of.

  3. I saw it as a clear win for Obama, and was somewhat surprised when the post-debate analysis made it out to be more of a draw than a clear win for either. I pay a lot of attention to the undecided voter stat at the bottom, and Romney sank quit a bit more in those stats than Obama. Although, I must admit, it seemed to have more to do with interruptions and delivery than actual content. It’s funny what “undecided” voters seem to pay attention to. I think the bottom line is, they appear to want to hear the good stuff about how things are getting better and how they can be fixed. Stats almost always dropped when either candidate started bitching about the other candidate.

    I’m not sure if I would have mentioned the “47%” comment in the same way. I would have rephrased it. Stats dropped as soon as he said it and picked up as he continued. It’s had too much press, and the “term” 47% is the sound bite that caused the drop. If he instead said something along the lines of “Certain conservatives feel nearly half the country…” instead of “Romney” and 47%, then he would have been able to lead into the statement and finish it up with the 47% and Romney, thus building before dropping the hammer.

    I think the whole “you didn’t think it was terrorism” argument is foolish to begin with. Obviously the Obama administration held the possibility of the attacks as being terrorism as exactly that – a possibility. Tactically, you don’t want to make assumptions when presented with a situation like that. Anyone foolish about making an assumption in any attack of this type would be leaving themselves open for mistake. Romney should know this, and so should all the other conservatives. You don’t make assumptions, you plan for contingencies and develop responses, then you analyze the situation until you have enough evidence to act. I don’t believe (and I hope) that a Romney administration would have acted any differently than Obama’s administration did. Going off half-cocked with little evidence is NOT policy, it is a reactionary response, and it would be stupid for a major government such as the US to operate in that manner. Romney shouldn’t have even brought it up.

    As for the whole “I worked with Democrats and developed bipartisan support” thing, it pisses me off every time Romney says this for the same reasons you mentioned to Izaakmak. You can’t work with an opposing side when they state that their intended purpose is to oppose you in every way, and that their goal is to get you out of office rather than working with you. Obama has avoided bringing this up twice now. Perhaps his advisers believe it would appear negatively to undecided voters for some reason. Or perhaps he’s saving it as a final salvo in the last debate. I’m not sure. Either way, I think the undecided voters need to know why shit doesn’t get done in congress. Unfortunately, it would also highlight the fact that THEY are largely responsible for this, since it was a lot of their votes that put the teabagger Republicans in congress to begin with. And why? Largely because of the wonderfully fantastic job conservatives did of casting Obamacare as bad health care reform. (This is my opinion, but I remember how much press it got and how negatively they cast it). They did such a good job, that a lot of people still hate Obamacare without knowing a thing about its policies or how similar they are to Romney’s (although there are still big differences). Thus far, Romney has had very little to say in regards to how his health care system is similar to Obamacare other than that he was able to get it through with “bipartisan” support. Maybe if the Democrats in his state had come to power with an agreement to oppose him in every way, it wouldn’t have been so “bipartisan.”

    In the end, I’d have to say the general tactic of the debate, for both candidates, was attack, attack, attack. While the undecided voters saw the attacks as negative, and saw the defense as positive. Yet, in a debate, you want to attack. The more time you spend defending, the bigger chance there is for confusion and the less chance there is for attack. It is a strange battleground, intended to reach a variety of audiences on a variety of levels. In this regard, the strategy may be sound, but the results may not mesh with the strategy.

    • Good assessment, Dood. I especially agree with your take on the ObamaCare issue – in my part of the country, just the name is used as a pejorative.

    • Again, I didn’t really learn anything new, although I was reminded that Obama used the word “terrorist” the morning after the Benghazi attack. I was just relieved that Obama showed up this time.

      • To be fair, the effect of the debates is mainly to swing undecided voters. Energizing the base is also a goal, but the base just needs to see a good showing. You’ve been following this for a long time, so it’s not surprising you didn’t learn anything new. Anything new would have to come from Romney actually “revealing” something about the details of his policies. Obama’s been in power for four years, so we know his policies. Romney, on the other hand, benefits from being vague at this point. The minute he puts out a detail, it will be analyzed to death. And unless he’s got plans that are actually different and will actually work better, then he’s winning by keeping vague.

        • I can’t tell you how much I’d hate to see a man elected by being deliberately vague and offering no details. Either he’s too cowardly to spell them out and thus have to defend them or, perhaps worse, he really has no plan at all. I don’t think either approach is worthy of a vote.

  4. Immediately after hearing Obama’s Rose Garden address, the ABC News spin doctors seemed to assume that the president’s reference to our religious and speech tolerance meant that violence was not an appropriate response to religious differences. Listen for yourself

    More Republican lies?

    • If Obama secretly colluded with Crowley, discussed with her, prepped her for her response, then this clearly violates the neutrality of the debates, and is clearly unfair and unethical on both her part and the part of the president. Crowley defends that she knew this topic would come up in the debates, and had just recently re-read the transcript Obama’s rose garden speech, so it was fresh in her mind.

      Here are the transcripts:

      ROMNEY: I — I think interesting the president just said something which — which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.

      OBAMA: That’s what I said.

      ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you’re saying?

      OBAMA: Please proceed governor.

      ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.

      OBAMA: Get the transcript.

      CROWLEY: It — it — it — he did in fact, sir. So let me — let me call it an act of terror…
      (This is where Crowley injected herself).

      OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?

      CROWLEY: He — he did call it an act of terror. It did as well take — it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.

      ROMNEY: This — the administration — the administration indicated this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction.

      CROWLEY: It did.

      What do you believe? Do you believe there was collusion here? Or was it a matter of serendipity? Was Crowley coached? Should she have spoken at all? Is it a moderators role to speak at this point?

      • My son, a Republican, had a cow over this. Why is she defending Obama!? She’s supposed to be neutral!

        I assumed she had a transcript in front of her, or had just read one, and was simply trying to stop the pissing contest to save time.

        What can I say? I hate bickering adults and adults who talk over each other. It’s irritating and childish.

      • I don’t believe it’s a good idea to take as gospel what either one of these clowns say. Look at their records. They’ll say whatever they think it takes to get another vote. That’s what I believe.

        • Sad what’s become of our political system. All’s fair in love, war, and politics. And politics is only about getting elected or re-elected. To hell with representing their constituents or conducting the nation’s business. The next election is the most important thing; it’s the onlything!

          Yep, I’m as cynical as you are.

  5. I read a whole lot of debate assessments and opinions by fact checkers. Your comments were the best of the bunch. Congrats.

“We have met the enemy and he is us." ~ Pogo

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