Another Blasphemy Problem in Russia »« Questions to Ask in Tonight’s ‘Debate’

Reactions to the ‘Debate’

Well I was wrong about one thing. I predicted that Democrats would think Obama won and Republicans would think Romney won. But the Democrats seem mostly to agree that Obama did very badly. I could only watch about 10 or 15 minutes of it before it became absolutely obvious that the format was terrible and Lehrer was so far out of his depth he might as well have been in an ocean trench. As usual, lots of lies and empty rhetoric and no one calling them out for it or challenging anything. Is this really the way we pick our leaders? Because it’s fucking ridiculous.

Comments

  1. Uncle Glenny says

    I watched the whole thing, and my blood pressure is an issue now.

    Like someone said on the previous thread, there was a Gish Gallop aspect to it (I called it a Gish Gallop of lies in an email).

    I also thought Sullivan’s realtime commentary on it was pretty good, and mainly differ with him on one thing: my sense was that, quite early on, Obama realized what was going on (Gish Gallop of lies, not to mention etch=a=sketch), and may have had to struggle to maintain his cool.

    Parallels to why PZ won’t debate creationists.

  2. snafu says

    I thought Obama used Romney to wipe up the floor.

    Really? These debates are theater. I think Romney had a superior performance. Romney appeared sharp, engaged and hungry. Obama appeared a bit flustered/baffled a few times and had to resort to his talking points.

    It appeared to me that Romney really tried to strike a more moderate tone (regulations are necessary for markets to function, support of education and the poor are good things). This surprised me. I think this move will play well with the many undecided/low interest voters.

    I am an Obama supporter and am a quite disappointed by his performance.

  3. wordsmatter says

    The president was spineless, and let Romney get away with pretending to be a Democrat.

    My only consolation is that Romney will now have to defend all the moderate things he said tonight the next time he’s in front of a Tea Party crowd.

  4. some bastard on the net says

    I will say that Obama had more facts on his side than Romney (like that’s such a high bar), but I’ll agree: Romney bullrushed and took control of the whole thing.

    Granted, showmanship is easier when you’re lying your ass off.

  5. says

    Interesting report at Daily Kos: While a majority seems to agree that Romney “won” the debate by a significant margin, the former governor’s numbers didn’t move. That is, people don’t like him any better than they did before. Short message: Romney won, but it doesn’t matter.

    Also, Mark Knoller cited a poll that said after the debate 69% of respondents believe the president better understands their problems (it was only 53% before the debate). The president may have “won” where it counted.

    Here’s the dKos link.

  6. some bastard on the net says

    A few notable moments for any undecided folks:

    1) Mitt Romney repeatedly flogged the dead horse that “Obama took $716 billion from Medicare.” When Obama pointed out that it was actually a decrease in costs and not benefits, Romney spun that by saying it meant we weren’t paying hospitals a fair price (IOW, price fixing, which Obama -regrettably – didn’t challenge). Not long after that, however, Romney began berating Obama for (I shit you not) high gas prices.

    2) Mitt, yet again, repeated his lie that Obama doubled the deficit. The deficit was $1.3 trillion when Obama took office, it is now $1.1 trillion. However, while it is true that Obama promised to have it reduced by half by this time in office, Obama didn’t bother to point out the tireless efforts of Congressional Republicans to not do anything.

  7. some bastard on the net says

    Oops I forgot one:

    3) Romney claimed the ACA would put into place an unelected bureaucracy that would decide what treatments patients get. IOW, death panels!!!!! Naturally, Obama only gave minor pushback to it.

  8. anteprepro says

    Short message: Romney won, but it doesn’t matter.

    Hah. That’s exactly what I was wondering and I’m glad I hit refresh.

    I only saw a minute of the debate and I got the impression that Romney was dominating it, which was surprising and disappointing. It is more disappointing to hear that my impression was accurate and applicable to the whole debate, not just the tail-end. But, the debates matter so little. In theory, you would think they would. But they don’t, and that is kind of how it should be, really. Debate is one of the most over-hyped games in a world where over-hyped games are ubiquitous. It would lower my already low impression of humanity if people actually used them in any significant way as a deciding factor for President of a country.

  9. Aratina Cage says

    The president did look stressed out tonight, and I don’t blame him for that, but yeah, he lost. There were some big openings where he could have easily dealt blows to Romney, like when Romney proudly stated that he would kill the jobs of both Jim Lehrer and Big Bird and when Romney proudly declared that he knew from experience that companies don’t get tax breaks from going overseas. Romney calls himself a proud job killer and business outsourcer and the president didn’t pounce. Oh well!

    Obama could also hardly contain his laughter at some of the “zingers” Romney threw at him, like the $90 billion Romney said Obama gave away to green energy companies. It’s tough to stay serious when debating a clown, but Obama should have remembered that hardly anybody watching knew if Romney was telling the truth or not, so Obama grinning about it made it look like it was true and that Romney had got him on it.

    So Romney sounded shrewd, intelligent, and energetic and presented himself well, but the content was mostly horrid. There were even times I thought he was turning more libertarian than Republican with all his promises to cut programs based on the silliest thing, the “Is it worth funding with a loan from China” rule, which basically means every government program would be cut, right?

  10. dingojack says

    According to Intrade the Republicans gained 11.6166%, but Romney gained only 9.343%. *
    The President leads by a mere 30 points by party and 33 points personally.
    33 days to go.
    Dingo
    —–
    * there was large movements in the market around 9:10pm Eastern. Dems down to 74

  11. dingojack says

    Wow. OK, I’ll continue with my footnote thanks FtB.
    Dems down to just under 65%, Repubs up to just under 35%.
    Obama down to 66.667%; Romney upto 3.333%.
    Dingo

  12. Ichthyic says

    the only dissapointing thing was seeing so many commenters on the debate saying how human Mitt seemed, and they couldn’t figure out why the media kept portraying him as a heartless clod…

    oh, what a fucking short memory we have these days, considering it’s been what, 2 weeks since the release of the Romney tape showing him dismissing half of america as freeloaders and trash?

    sad.

    OTOH, I’m sure that someone will take Romney’s quip about liking Big Bird and make a parody out of it to the tune of Sir Mix a Lots old song.

    already there are suggestions for the title…

    “Baby got Beak!”

  13. Ichthyic says

    hardly anybody watching knew if Romney was telling the truth or not

    that’s probably the real reason Obama seemed a bit down.

    sure is fucking depressing, realizing that.

  14. chrisho-stuart says

    I am not from the USA, but I do find the politics rather… “interesting”. I’ve been interested in the debate; but not as a debate. I expect the event to be mostly just theater, and I don’t expect politicians to answer questions. A major part of “answering questions” for any politician is taking the opportunity to say what they want on whatever issue they like, regardless of the question topic; and making it somehow sound plausibly related as a bit of secondary packaging.

    No; what I am mainly interested in is simply how far each side actually tells the truth. I’ll be watching “factcheck.org” for their take on the comments made by both sides; as I think they have very good credentials and history of doing precisely what they claim: checking the factual accuracy of statements made by public figures. I’m not bothering to look at the debate itself, or instant responses from all and sundry. Factcheck have said they are going to take a bit of time to double check their research, and identify the factual accuracy of the various claims that were made by the two debators. I can wait… go factcheck.

  15. Aratina Cage says

    that’s probably the real reason Obama seemed a bit down.

    sure is fucking depressing, realizing that.

    No kidding.

    “You can do tailspins and nosedives, but please don’t lose that fluff.”
    “Yeah birdy, when it comes to feathers, Tweety ain’t got nothing to do with my selection.”

  16. lcaution says

    Well I’m a liberal who will vote for Obama again, but I wasn’t surprised by his performance. All the so-called oratory that got him media support, the nomination and the Presidency seemed to disappear the day after he took office. Yes, the economy was a mess but compare Obama’s public performance to FDR’s and you can see just how poor an orator he is. He fought for the job but nothing else. He has spent 4 years trying to prove that he is a compromiser to people who don’t want to compromise or who hate him so much that nothing he can do will please them.

    But he has never once gone on the offensive. I saw it first with health care and the public option. Did he try to sell it? No, he practically apologized for even suggesting it (and, believe me, I watched a lot of his speeches.) SCOTUS nominees? He went for safe.

    Bush 43, an utter disaster who became President thanks to the SCOTUS, governed from day 1 as if he had won a Reagan-style mandate. Obama has governed from Day 1 as if he might lose the job at any minute. OK, that’s an exaggeration and too harsh. But what I saw tonight is not all that different from what I have seen for 4 years.

    If he were a car salesman, I’m betting I could buy a car from him at below dealer cost.

    So yes I will vote for him, will hope he wins because Romney would be Bush 43 redux but my expectations for a second term are so low they are practically the China Syndrome because after 4 years I still don’t think he is up to the job.

  17. says

    I wonder if it is a case of win the battle but lose the war. Romney did such a shift to the left during the battle it will be interesting if the far right hold their noses and still vote for him or they start bailing on him for being sold out.

  18. dingojack says

    Bush 43, an utter disaster who became President thanks to the SCOTUS, governed from day 1 as if he had won a Reagan-style mandate“.

    Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

    You actually think he governed?!?
    He spent most of time as president hiding out on his ranch (pretending to work if the cameras came around), while the guys who were actually running the country bollocks it up.

    Dingo

  19. Ichthyic says

    You actually think he governed?!?

    W treated his presidency just like every other business he was given:

    as a private business investment that other people would take care of for him, and he would just get money at the end of it.

  20. Ichthyic says

    …and even Reagan never had a “mandate”.

    amazing how history has been rewritten around that doofus.

  21. carlie says

    There are national forensic competitions, right? So why not use an actual competition debate moderator instead of a news anchor or a journalist? You know, someone who actually knows how to do the job?

  22. laurentweppe says

    Interesting report at Daily Kos: While a majority seems to agree that Romney “won” the debate by a significant margin, the former governor’s numbers didn’t move. That is, people don’t like him any better than they did before. Short message: Romney won, but it doesn’t matter.

    If it can makes anone feel better, in the last debate during the last french presidential election, Sarkozy ended up gaining three points in the polls after being rhetorically skewered by Hollande.
    *

    In theory, you would think they [debates] would [matter]

    They arrive to late to matter

    Debate is one of the most over-hyped games in a world where over-hyped games are ubiquitous

    That I agree: debates are oh so often competitions of witticisms where the guy with the more substance on his side is too often beaten by cheap rhetorical tricks.

    *

    There are national forensic competitions, right? So why not use an actual competition debate moderator instead of a news anchor or a journalist? You know, someone who actually knows how to do the job?

    Because if someone dares to sa that the guy on the right spewed more bullshit that the guy on the left he or she will be accused of being partial and biased and unprofessional.

  23. dave says

    …and even Reagan never had a “mandate”.

    I am wondering what you would conisder a mandate then. Reagan won both his elections by huge electoral college margins. While he had only a bare majority in 1980, that was mostly due to the presence of a third party in the election, as he beat Carter in the popular vote by over 9 points. In his re-election campaign, he won by 18 points. By most peoples political calculus, that is a mandate.

  24. says

    The real winner of the “debate” was …

    The New York Yankees!

    I didn’t have to watch two (not necessarily equal) lying liars lie and was reassured that many Americans had their priorities straight!

  25. Skip White says

    If being rude and constantly cutting off the moderator is what “dominating” the debate means, then yes, Romney dominated it. I do wish that after the first or second time being cut off, Lehrer would have brought some verbal smack-down on Romney. I only recall one time when Obama really cut off the moderator. Obviously, both candidates went there with a laundry list of things they wanted to say, but I think Romney was much more obvious about it.

  26. eric says

    my sense was that, quite early on, Obama realized what was going on (Gish Gallop of lies, not to mention etch=a=sketch), and may have had to struggle to maintain his cool.

    The ‘Gish gallop of lies’ definitely happened, but Obama started talking in mealy-mouth generalities before Romney even got to speak. Obama’s opening was terrible. So I don’t think anyone can claim that Romney’s exaggerations put the President off his game. His game was off from the start.

    The real winner of the “debate” was …

    The New York Yankees!

    Yeah, no kidding. A beating in the Bronx.

  27. Michael Heath says

    I scored it as follows:

    Lies (assertions that misinform the public):

    President Obama – 2
    Mitt Romney – 54 (which I think is well below Sarah Palin’s score IIRC, I’ll look it up later today)

    I read Andrew Sullivans’ handful of reax blog posts early this morning, some of which pointed to fact-checking efforts, especially at Wonkblog (Ezra Klein). That number of false assertions rises to:

    President Obama – 4
    Mitt Romney – 60 (though some of these additional six lies might be double-counted).

    Good Points:

    Obama – 26
    Mitt Romney – 7

    “Good points” are not good arguments but a subset of good arguments. My context is me the highly informed viewer, so repeating stump arguments for the zillionith time doesn’t work here. I’m only counting what I personally thought was fresh and compelling insight. Sullivan’s post-debate sources had me increasing the number of good points to the following:

    Obama – 27
    Mitt Romney – 9

  28. eric says

    Heath:

    “Good points” are not good arguments but a subset of good arguments. My context is me the highly informed viewer, so repeating stump arguments for the zillionith time doesn’t work here.

    I’m not disputing your analysis, but I think the real problem for both candidates was the ratio of seconds spent making good points to seconds (minutes…hours…) spent repeating stump arguments. I’d also point out that by ignoring the rhetorical effectiveness of the stumping, you’re going to come up with a radically different view of the debate from, well, pretty much anyone else.

    The ratio was very very low for both candidates, making it very easy for a casual listener to miss the good points altogether. And IMO, Romney was more rhetorically effective.

  29. thisisaturingtest says

    @#21, computerguy:

    I wonder if it is a case of win the battle but lose the war. Romney did such a shift to the left during the battle it will be interesting if the far right hold their noses and still vote for him or they start bailing on him for being sold out.

    Sure they will, and under any circumstances. Romney could stand on stage during the debate and sing “Dead Babies,” and the far right would still vote, not for him, but against Obama.

  30. Eric R says

    Obama, the great orator, got his ass handed to him in the worst way, I really dont see how he could have done worse.

    The really sad part about this debate and its result is something we all know too well. It doesnt matter one whit that Rmoney lied his ass off. The vast majority of the electorate doesnt know it, probably wouldnt believe it if they were told as much, and even some couldnt care less.

    Its been shown that many folk choose a president or any candidate by how personable they are. Rmoney has been a disaster at personable since day one, until tonight.

    He was engaged, comfortable, mildly humorous and otherwise seemed very presidential. Obama on the other hand, spent virtually the entire debate looking down, making faces and mumbling to himself, he didnt sound convincing at all on any point and Rmoney had a response for every single point Obama brought up.

    Rmoney cited the studies from which he drew his data, again, almost irellevant if the studies were accurate or if they even said what he claimed they said. Obama came out and said, your raising the deficit 5 trillion, but didnt adequately explain how or where that data came from, all Rmoney had to say (in a much more engaged and convincing way is) “Nuh-uh”

    In so far as the change, well give it a day or two, I’m not swayed by instantaneous post debate polls, I want to see what the swing state polls come out and say within the next week.

  31. says

    My reaction: Obama kinda sorta “won,” but not by nearly enough. He could have nailed Romney’s flat-out long-discredited lies a LOT more efectively than he did. Here’s some of the things he could have/should have said:

    “Excuse me, but you and your entire party were calling me a socialist, and accusing me of trying to destroy free enterprise, before I even took office, let alone added a single new regulation to the books. But now you’re saying regulation is good? Winning a debate is easy when you’re taking both sides on every issue.”

    “You wanna talk about partisan gridlock? It’s a consequence of one party, the Republicans, locking themselves in their own reality and refusing to face the facts that ordinary Americans have to face every day. How can you expect our government to get anything done when one party has nothing to offer but fantasies, delusions, and lies?”

    “You won’t support any tax cuts that add to the deficit? What other kind of tax cut is there?”

    “Did you just call your sons liars on national TV? If they lie as much as you say they do, it could be because they’re growing up in an environment where lying works. It wasn’t like that in my mother’s house.”

    “Maybe YOU can switch from one private insurance company to another, but most ordinary Americans can’t. You really need to get out more.”

    “Did you just tell our senior citizens they should stop watching this debate? Do you always brush off your elders like that?”

    “Tax cuts will magically cause the economy to grow, and make the deficit go away? When has that ever worked? It didn’t work when Reagan tried it, it didn’t work when Bush Sr. tried it, and it didn’t work when Bush Jr. tried it either. What makes you think it’s going to work now?”

    AS for demeanor, I thought Romney came off as a beady-eyed smirking twit. He was clearly pretending to be the grownup, confidently talking down to the little people like a proper feudal lord talks down to the commoners.

    Shallow juxtaposition of the day: Obama publicly wished his wife “happy anniversary;” Romney publicly ridiculed his sons as liars.

    As for the debate format, it seemed at times that the “moderator” was letting Romney get away with more than Obama in terms of bending the rules and exceeding time limits. But that may just be me.

    What really disgusted me about the media-spectacle side of this debate, was the flood of spin proclaiming Romney the “winner” as quickly as possible. Today’s WaPo headline: “Romney Takes Fight to Obama.” Did everyone agree in advance to ignore whatever lies Romney told?

  32. Doug Little says

    To be honest I didn’t really learn anything new on the Democratic side, the president’s comments (I hazard to call them answers) were pretty much in line with what I understand the Democratic platform to be, so no surprises there. OTOH Romney’s positions seem to have moved to the left, I say seem because I’ll believe it when it lasts for more than one news cycle. It is interesting that the Romney tactics seem to be trying to persuade more moderate undecideds this late in the game, at the risk of alienating the teabaggers mind you.

    The president did get some points when he bought up about how Romney was lacking specifics when it came to paying for further tax cuts, “replacing”* Dodd-Frank and “replacing” The Affordable Health Care Act. That was my highlight anyway.

    * Yes the scare quotes are intentional as I don’t believe for one minute that if repealed these pieces of legislation will be replaced with something better.

  33. Michael Heath says

    lcaution writes:

    Well I’m a liberal who will vote for Obama again, but I wasn’t surprised by his performance. All the so-called oratory that got him media support, the nomination and the Presidency seemed to disappear the day after he took office.

    I realize this is a very popular perspective but I simply don’t get it. The presidential nominee who campaigned and won in 2008 appears to me to be exactly what we got the entire four years. So very few surprises for me with the exception of his Administration’s arguments in court on 4th and 5th Amendment matters. (I don’t buy the argument he’s horrible at transparency since I’ve seen only anecdotal evidence supporting this assertion.)

  34. gshelley says

    I despise Romney, and like Ed only managed about 15 minutes before it got too much for me, but thought Obama was terrible, he waffled, lost focus, didn’t respond to questions and most importantly, didn’t respond to Romney, even when given golden opportunities
    Best example in the time I saw was when they were talking about shipping jobs overseas and Romney said something like “I’m a business man and I don’t know what you are talking about. Perhaps I need a new accountant”
    Leaving aside the fact that the chances of Romney not knowing what Obama was talking about were approximately zero, Obama missed the obvious implication there, which was that Romney had shipped lots of jobs overseas, so would be in a position to know all about tax breaks for doing so.
    There were at least half a dozen other occasion in the brief time I watched that Romney made some accusation, and Obama’s response was weak at best.

  35. Aratina Cage says

    Another thing Obama flubbed was how he kept trying to humanize Romney by talking about how similar they were and the values they shared, which was not a good strategy. The president has always been like that, though, and it comes through at the worst possible times.

    He also talked down to the viewers, essentially saying that “If you are that stupid, vote for Romney.” He should have kept that targeted at Romney and not questioned the intelligence of viewers.

  36. Michael Heath says

    eric writes:

    I think the real problem for both candidates was the ratio of seconds spent making good points to seconds (minutes…hours…) spent repeating stump arguments. I’d also point out that by ignoring the rhetorical effectiveness of the stumping, you’re going to come up with a radically different view of the debate from, well, pretty much anyone else.

    I don’t consider myself cool enough to cynically write-off the value of debates. I instead find them to be a very high value encounter with the candidates. I ignore the theater presented towards people other than myself, like how Mr. Romney posed as an Obama-lite moderate, seemingly in order to attract low-information moderates and independents.

    So my scoring is focused on my attempt to determine how well qualified they are for office, both on character, but also a lot of other qualifications necessary to be a successful executive. That of course includes policy positions where of course I have to filter out the false promises to gauge for myself what I think they’ll actually fight for or against while in office.

    I’ve been using this approach since the Ford-Carter debates and it’s served me very well. I however have been wrong, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in 2000 though one reason on the Bush perspective was that I was a low-information voter in that cycle since I was out of the country much of the late-1990s traveling on business, or traveling in-country without much time to keep up. Mr. Bush did not fool me in 2004 where it should also be noted he fooled tens of millions of others in 2000 (as did Dick Cheney), including those who still voted for him in 2004.

    But when it comes to Carter, Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton, and Obama – my debate analysis strongly correlated to how they performed as president. For me the surprise is the rapid decline in competency of the Republican party during this period. I understand it now of course, but I don’t think you could’ve predicted such in the 1960s or before.

  37. baal says

    One debate is too small a sample size but I fear the beltway democrats are handling Obama much like Al Gore. The same down side is there, Obama is good when he is Obama. Playing it safe is not the right way for Obama to go.

  38. Michael Heath says

    Raging Bee writes:

    As for the debate format, it seemed at times that the “moderator” was letting Romney get away with more than Obama in terms of bending the rules and exceeding time limits. But that may just be me.

    It was you, CNN used a clock that showed that President Obama was normally about 2 minutes up on talk time relative to Mr. Romney. It got as high as a 4+ minute advantage to Obama near the end though I’m not sure what the final tally was.

    The reax from Andrew Sullivan’s linked bloggers last night was that Romney dominated in spite of using less time; I didn’t gauge that at all nor care a whit about since I was focused on content and not theater. Unless one or both of them was completely inept at articulating their positions where both are excellent at that aspect of public speaking. In fact I don’t recall a presidential debate as wonky as this, though again, much of the assertions Mr. Romney presented were not true. (Where I love wonk.)

  39. Reginald Selkirk says

    I enjoyed the clip of Romney accusing his sons of lying.

    00:58 “Look, I’ve got five boys. I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it.”

    The apple falls not far from the tree.

  40. netamigo says

    I had the impression that Romney gave the stronger performance. Obama seems to have a problem articulating his policies or selling them to the public. He failed to sell Obamacare to the public and the Republicans successfully attacked the program with grossly misleading rhetoric. In my opinion, Romney would be a disaster for the country. It is hard to pin him down to any position as he skillfully evades providing any substantive details and constantly changes position on the issues to fit his audience. Obama, though, has got to learn to articulate his policies in a convincing manner to the public.

  41. thalwen says

    The debates are stupid and I doubt many people are convinced by them. However, the media hype that Romney is going to get from this, and the other debates will probably be enough to get him elected. The media doesn’t cover issues and policies unless forced to, and debates and polls give them ample excuse not to. *sigh* Time to find a more progressive country to flee to, with the teabaggers in charge, pretty much anywhere seems better.

  42. Michael Heath says

    netamigo writes:

    Obama seems to have a problem articulating his policies or selling them to the public. He failed to sell Obamacare to the public and the Republicans successfully attacked the program with grossly misleading rhetoric. […] Obama, though, has got to learn to articulate his policies in a convincing manner to the public.

    The president agrees with you, I’ve seen him express the same point about this weakness.

    For me though what he’s asked to do to better sell his ideas is the very thing I cringe at; so I greatly prefer his approach while realizing that’s usually not politically expedient. His approach I prefer is the sufficiently-framed argument that takes on credible preemptive counter-arguments and doesn’t oversell predicted results. His approach is actually highly valued in well-run businesses and a key to advancement into middle and upper-management, especially because they’re also more dispassionate rather than reliant on arguments from popularity, strawmen, outrage, or other remedial rhetorical fallacies.

  43. says

    I see the Republican noise machine is getting into high gear. Here’s a subheader from Yahoo! News:

    Even on the most basic political points, Jeff Greenfield says, Obama seemed clueless.

    This isn’t just an exaggeration, it’s an outright lie. If they wanted to say Obama didn’t present his case coherently, that would be at least plausible — but he was not “clueless” in any reasonable sense of the word.

    Perhaps this is the Republicans’ “October surprise:” a Gish Gallop in the debates, followed by carefully-orchestrated spin and pure BS after.

  44. says

    It was you, CNN used a clock that showed that President Obama was normally about 2 minutes up on talk time relative to Mr. Romney.

    Okay, thanks. I guess it just seemed to me that Romney used more time, because he was just so much more unpleasant to listen to than Obama was.

  45. John Hinkle says

    Funny, Romney claimed not one republican voted for Obamacare because Obama didn’t reach across the aisle. Obama weakly mentioned it was a republican idea to start with.

    What he could’ve said was something like, “I didn’t reach across the aisle? Governor, the idea CAME from across the aisle, but republicans refused to vote for their own idea because their number one priority was to make me a one term president. Not jobs. Not health care. Not ending 2 wars. But to prevent progress, the people of this country be damned.”

    Of course, it’s easy for me to come up with a snappier response* when it’s 14 hours later and I’m not worried about the reaction of millions of viewers.
     
    * If I don’t mind my own saying.

  46. says

    Here’s another problem with the “Romney took the fight to Obama” meme: it’s basically a vague and untestable claim that the Republicans can parrot, regardless of what either candidate said in the debate. All Romney had to do was accuse Obama of something, and elicit a response to said accusation — and lo and behold, that, by definition, is “putting Obama on the defensive” and “forcing Obama to respond to him” and “establishing himself as Obama’s equal.”

    It’s what creationists do: pick a fight with an actual scientist, then go back and say he “put those arrogant scientists on the defensive,” etc. — which he’ll be able to claim regardless of how the argument actually went.

    In reality, Obama also put Romney on the defensive, and forced him to respond to him — and, in fact, sometimes got Romney visibly flustered. But is anyone in the media acknowleding that?

  47. laurentweppe says

    Perhaps this is the Republicans’ “October surprise:” a Gish Gallop in the debates, followed by carefully-orchestrated spin and pure BS after.

    Wait a minute: are telling me that you were expecting something else?

  48. says

    1) Mitt Romney repeatedly flogged the dead horse that “Obama took $716 billion from Medicare.” When Obama pointed out that it was actually a decrease in costs and not benefits, Romney spun that by saying it meant we weren’t paying hospitals a fair price (IOW, price fixing, which Obama -regrettably – didn’t challenge).

    And magically, we’re going to save money by outsourcing to private insurance companies that won’t make the mistake of underpaying doctors and hospitals.

    The Republican War on Math continues apace.

  49. says

    Wait a minute: are telling me that you were expecting something else?

    What can I say, I’m just a dreamy-eyed liberal idealist. With some vague memories of our mass media behaving better in the distant past when the radical right weren’t in power…

  50. says

    With all due respect, Obama is wrong: the smirking waffler who changes his deeply-held beliefs at a second’s notice to accomodate his current audience IS the real Mitt Romney.

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