Third debate: Romney shakes his Etch-a-Sketch again

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The last presidential debate is over. At last. Obama won this one hands down. Apparently someone had finally scolded Romney about being a belligerent bully in the first two debates and this evening he seemed chastened (and quiet!). Polite, even. As for his positions on the issues, he was shaking that Etch-a-Sketch like crazy.

There were too many good lines from Obama to enumerate, but I did cringe sometimes when he chose to attack Romney rather than explain his own positions.

That’s about it. The election is two weeks from tomorrow. Vote!



Categories: Election 2012, Obama, Politics, Romney

16 replies

  1. I saw more of this one than any of the others, and I think your assessment of it is dead on. Though he did okay in his closing, Obama still could have done a better job of pointing out how the apparent “effectiveness” of his first term was due primarily to the country-be-damned, block-Obama-at-all-costs actions of the Republicans.

    • Funny how he never, ever mentions that, yet there’s always lots of talk about what Obama didn’t do.

      • I wonder if he or his campaign fears that acknowledging how successful they were at it might give them more energy? Surely he can’t be thinking “I’ve gotta work with these people, so I’d better be nice.” 😯

        • The GOP obstructionists didn’t worry about working with the Democrats. Why would Romney? I doubt he worries about being “nice” to others; he expects others to worry about being nice to him. But if he thinks he’s going to go in there like a new CEO and start telling Congress what to do, he’s got another think coming.

          • Sorry PT. I was wondering about Obama not mentioning the GOP’s obstructionism. 😳

            • No prob. I can only assume Obama’s afraid it would sound like an excuse. And yet, facts are facts. I’d have found a way to lay at least some of the blame at the feet of those deserving Republicans.

            • The people who strategize these things are smart and they work off carefully tested data. they made the choice not to emphasize that the successes Obama has had came IN SPITE OF constant GOP obstructionism. IMO, they figured that the voters who already get this, already got it; the voters who don’t think so, would object to ‘whining’ or excuses; and that at the least, Romney would point at that and say, “see, he admits it: he can’t work with across the aisle. I can.” Of course, the flip side to Romney’s argument that in MA he worked well with the state leg which was 87% Democratic, is that he HAD to… he had no choice. It doesn’t say a thing about how he would do as Prez, with a razor thin majority or minority in Congress to work with. In fact, for three years Obama caught endless grief and criticism from his party’s farther-left base, by being TOO willing to take time to negotiate, TOO willing to compromise with the right in order to get things done. That’s why O’care is such a patchwork. To work with the other side despite their obstructionism and to take heat from your own basis shows political courage — which he rarely gets credit for.

            • I understand all the careful scripting to not lose support while also trying to gain it from the undecideds (hard to believe there are any out there at this late date). The biggest problem is that too many people won’t look beyond the choreography and scripting to get the facts. It’s scary to think there are so many people who just watch the debates and the ads, pick up a little spin from the media, and vote.

  2. A few times I thought Obama pushed the sarcasm a bit far. But I got very tired of Romney whining about “being attacked.” That’s all he has done since day one is attack Obama. Every time Romney says, “we can’t afford another 4 years….” is attacking the POTUS. Besides this is for the top-dog position in this country, not senior class high school president. If you – and Ann for that matter – can’t handle the attacks, then I suggest you find another line of work. Obama has had to endure the birthers – and still has to put up with them. It would drive me insane if people kept insisting that I was born in Timbuktu and not my home town in Indiana….

  3. It went very well for Obama. I kind of cringed when he bitch-slapped Romney with the horses and bayonets remark.

    “You mention the Navy, for example, and the fact that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916,” Obama said to Romney. “Well governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets.”

    Damn, that had to sting! If this weren’t bad enough, Obama didn’t stop.

    “We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”

    I was like, DOOD, chill out already. I mean, Romney may not know shit about our military capacity or what we actually require to accomplish the mission, but he knows we’ve got aircraft carriers and subs. Oh, I did find it funny, but it was a major slap.

    My immediate vision of what the US Navy would do with a trillion dollars naturally went toward how much of it would probably end up being wasted. On the other hand, yeah, we certainly would end up with a bigger fleet. Think of all the DDX destroyers we could build. There’d definitely be a lot of jobs involved too. But do we really need a bigger fleet? I guess if we had to go to war against China and Russia at the same time, a bigger fleet might be nice, but in a war of that scale, it would end up nuclear, so what’s the difference? I think that’s Romney’s mentality though. He’s stuck in the cold war. Not only that, but he’s pandering to fears – which is not unusual. And a lot of his base probably thinks military spending is spending on security. And it is, but… security from what? The Iranian navy? The North Korean navy? Shouldn’t we balance what we need with what we’re going to build?

    The big clincher, though, was Obama telling Romney how his numbers for the economy didn’t add up. And Romney telling him to “go to our website,” and Obama saying, “we’ve been to your website.” I thought that was pretty effective (and a rather funny exchange). Obama called him on the BS. Romney has not explained what he would cut or how. Analysis of his numbers has been done using assumptions, resulting in a “maybe, possibly, theoretically, it could work” sort of answer. But he doesn’t actually have a plan. That became very obvious. I’m not an economist, but I know the smell of bullshit. Everyone got a whiff of it.

    • Absolutely loved the horses and bayonets remark. But yes, continuing with the carriers and subs was really unnecessary. The point had been made quite well. Even I knew immediately that Romney was hopelessly out of touch on that one. What I wish Obama had pointed out at that time was that the Navy has not asked for more ships and the army has not asked for more soldiers.

      As for Romney and his numbers on the economy, I can only conclude he doesn’t have a plan at all. I heard someone (maybe Ryan) explaining one day that it’s like when a new CEO comes in to save a floundering business — he doesn’t have numbers to give you until he gets in there and actually sees the books. Uh huh. Problem there is the U.S. government is not a business and the president most definitely can’t function like a CEO. There’s are little things like the Constitution and its separation of powers standing in the way.

  4. @ Writerdood & PT,

    I generally agree with both of your comments, with the exception that Obama went too far in disrespecting Romney. He tried to be a gentleman in the first debate and look where that got him! The Romney campaign selected the mode of playing to the crowd and it’s absolutely fitting that they should now suffer its effects, IMHO.

    The “horses and bayonets” zinger is destined for the presidential debate highlight archives for sure. It was brilliant debating because it showed not only executive appreciation for military hardware capabilities but gave proper ridicule to the budget-heavy Romney approach which appears to hearken back to Reagan’s 600-ship navy, something I supported at the time. But that was the Cold War, the one in which we won by outspending the opposition. That’s hardly the approach we want now, especially with the national debt at 16 Trillion dollars. How bizarre, that the GOP stalls the farm bill and freezes action over the Bush tax-cut issue, not to mention attacking Sesame Street, while at the same time advocating spending wildly on a Defense build-up the military hasn’t asked for and we can’t afford. Hmm. What’s wrong with this picture?

    Although it indicates some exposure, probably in a briefing sometime, Romney’s mention of Iran coveting use of a Syrian sea port exposed a fuzzy understanding of things naval and geographical. Iran has one deep water port, at Umm Qasar very near its border with Kuwait, but that’s at the northern end of the Persian Gulf. The Gulf is immensely crowded and of course only accesses the Indian Ocean, so it’s not nearly so useful for trade with Europe as would be one on the Mediterranean. Syria has two such ports, one of which is being used regularly by Russian warships. However, they are about 400 miles from the Iranian border and materials (oil pipeline?) would have to cross Iraq in the bargain. I suppose it could happen. Maybe in a few decades, you know, after the Middle East gets their collective act together.

    I was proud of Obama in this last debate. As the first black President he is walking a fine line. If he’s too aggressive, he comes across as arrogant, but too reserved, he’s weak. I think he hit it right down the middle.

    • I was tempted at the time to grab a map to check that seaport thing. My thinking was Romney must have meant Iran covets Syrian seaports because it has none of its own, which struck me as odd. I’d always thought if it was geographically possible, most borders were drawn so everyone had a port. Since Iran does have a port, I’d have to discount his comment, especially in light of the distance you mention.

      I just hope Obama’s quieter demeanor in the first debate doesn’t end up costing him the election. It was not a good night for him, but I’ll take his calm to Romney’s bullying bellicosity any day.

“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.” ~ Cornel West

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