Tuesday Reads: Horses and BayonetsPosted: October 23, 2012 | |
The reviews are in: President Obama clearly won the third presidential debate. Now we’ll see if that is reflected in the polls. I’m going to give you a few quick links with reactions to the debate. I’m writing this at 11:30 Monday, so I know there will be lots more in the morning.
Washington Post: Obama keeps Romney on his heels in last debate
President Obama seemed to use the authority of his office to put Republican challenger Mitt Romney on his heels in their final presidential debate Monday night, telling Romney he didn’t understand foreign-policy problems as well as he does.
That idea underlay some of the night’s harshest lines from Obama. He scoffed at Romney’s assertion that Russia remained the country’s chief geopolitical foe: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.”
And, when Romney asserted that the United States had fewer naval ships than decades ago, Obama retorted that his opponent didn’t understand the modern navy. There were fewer ships, he said, but also fewer “horses and bayonets.”
“We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on ‘em,” Obama said. ” “The question is not a game of battleship, where we’re counting ships.”
Romney: “Hey, no fair! You sank my battleship!”
Chris Cillizza names the winners and losers in the debate. According to Cillizza, Barack Obama and Bob Shieffer were winners. Mitt Romney was a loser.
The New York Times: Obama and Romney Bristle from Start
Talking Points Memo: In Foreign Policy Debate, Obama Uses Romney’s Past Positions Against Him
Throughout Monday night’s presidential debate on foreign policy, President Obama used past positions that Mitt Romney has taken over the course of the campaign to depict him as the wrong candidate to run U.S. foreign policy.
Obama used the tactic both to defend his own initiatives — particularly his Libya policy — and to characterize Romney as an untrained foreign policy hand who has been wobbly and inconsistent.
“I know you haven’t been in a position to execute foreign policy,” Obama said, in summarizing his theme of attack, “but every time you have offered an opinion, you have been wrong.”
Specifics at the link.
The Daily Beast reviewed Michelle Obama’s and Ann Romney’s dresses.
Perhaps it’s a symbol of the Recession: Michelle Obama didn’t wear a brand new designer dress. She didn’t wear a blinding pink suit either. No, at the fourth Presidential debate in Florida on Monday night, she recycled a dress.
Michelle Obama appeared in the crowd in the same black and grey Thom Browne dress that she had worn on the second night of the Democratic National Convention in early September. It was an interesting choice for debate night — a night when the candidates’ wives traditionally have chosen to stand out from the crowd in bright designs….
Ann Romney, on the other hand, wore a silk green top and cream and green silk skirt to the debate on Monday. Typically, it was not as fashion-forward as Obama’s choice, but it was adventurous for her, and it demonstrated the ease and facility with which she is now styled on the trail; a creative assembly of different items to acheive a polished look. But it was also throwback: a bell skirt and helmet of blonde hair defiantly recalled the look of a 1950s housewife. She has finally grown more confident with her style: she’s been told she has to dress like a First Lady, and maybe, just maybe, does she finally look the part.
In other news,
Efraim Halevy, a former Mossad chief discussed Iran and Mitt Romney with Laura Rozen at AL Monitor. He’s not a fan of the Mittster. Here’s a quote:
Obama has placed emphasis on negotiations. In this current election for the US presidency, his hands are tied. He cannot proceed, because he cannot appear soft on Israel’s security.
Negotiating with Iran is perceived as a sign of beginning to forsake Israel. That is where I think the basic difference is between Romney and Obama. What Romney is doing is mortally destroying any chance of a resolution without war. Therefore when [he recently] said, he doesn’t think there should be a war with Iran, this does not ring true. It is not consistent with other things he has said. […]
Obama does think there is still room for negotiations. It’s a very courageous thing to say in this atmosphere.
In the end, this is what I think: Making foreign policy on Iran a serious issue in the US elections — what Romney has done, in itself — is a heavy blow to the ultimate interests of the United States and Israel.
It is not as if, if he wins the election, and gets into the White House, he can back up. The Iranians are listening attentively to what he says. When he says, he would arm the opposition in Iran. They understand.
From the Boston Phoenix, a really creepy story about Romney’s sense of entitlement: Gold Star Mother: Romney Skipped Funeral, Left “Bullying” Messages.
Remember when Ann Romney claimed on The View that Mitt had attended every funeral of a soldier from Massachusetts who lost his or her life in Iraq or Afghanistan? Not according ot one grieving mother, Stephany Kern. She says that Romney, like other politicians called and left messages for her, but she was too broken up to respond. Kerry and Kennedy contacted other family members to find out when would be a good time to try again. But Romney called repeatedly, leaving insensitive messages indicating that he was insulted by the lack of a return call.
“I can’t believe you haven’t returned my call,” Romney said on one of the voice mail messages, according to Stephany Kern, speaking at her Westerly, Rhode Island home this past Saturday. “Here I am making a second call; I haven’t heard from you.” ….
Kern’s son, Marine Lance Corporal Nickolas Schiavoni, was killed by an IED explosion in Iraq on November 15, 2005. He was born and lived his entire life in the Haverhill, Massachusetts, area, and his funeral took place in Haverhill on November 26. His grandfather, David Swartz — Kern’s father — was a well-known attorney, prosecutor, and city councilor in that city.
Romney didn’t go to Schiavoni’s wake or funeral.
Mrs. Kern says that many officials, including Romney and Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, left messages for her the day after her son died. She felt unable to speak to anyone in those initial days. “I didn’t listen to any of the calls,” she says.
Only Romney, she says, complained in a second message that she had not called back.
“He was completely unable to understand that a mom was not going to return his phone call, and that it wasn’t a priority for me,” she says. “I wasn’t being disrespectful. I was being a mom who was greeting the casket of her son coming home from war.”
And Romney called a third time, even more annoyed:
Steve Kern, who has been married to Stephany Kern since prior to Schiavoni enlisting in 2002, says that he heard Romney’s second and third messages.
He recalls Romney saying in one: “I’m a busy man.” He describes Romney’s tone as “disrespectful,” “antagonistic,” and “absolutely inappropriate to use on a Gold Star mother.”
Some weeks later, Kern says, someone from Romney’s office called her to say that Romney intended to visit Sciavoni’s gravesite. Kern asked that he not do so if he intended to have his photograph taken there; she does not know whether Romney visited or not.
The Kerns didn’t save the answering machine tapes, but that sure sounds like Mitt Romney.
This is interesting. Although the media constantly reports that the military supports Romney, Open Secrets reports that in terms of donations: Armed Forces Show Overwhelming Support for Obama
Update, Oct. 21: Fundraising numbers for the month of September show Obama continuing to dominate when it comes to contributions from the military. The new data, which came in after the story below was published Oct. 15, show he raised $142,197, just a shade less than he collected in August, his strongest month with this set of donors. Romney brought in $111,015 for his best month ever with military donors, but that was still 22 percent less than Obama received.
The new numbers bring Obama’s total from military donors to $678,611, and Romney’s to $398,450.
The Italian judiciary system might be even worse than ours. Check this out: Italian experts convicted of manslaughter over deadly 2009 quake
Defying assertions that earthquakes cannot be predicted, an Italian court convicted seven scientists and experts of manslaughter Monday for failing to adequately warn residents before a temblor struck central Italy in 2009 and killed more than 300 people.
The court in L’Aquila also sentenced the defendants to six years each in prison. All are members of the national Great Risks Commission, and several are prominent scientists or geological and disaster experts.
Scientists had decried the trial as ridiculous, contending that science has no reliable way of predicting earthquakes. So news of the verdict shook the tightknit community of earthquake experts worldwide.
“It’s a sad day for science,” said seismologist Susan Hough, of the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena, Calif. “It’s unsettling.” That fellow seismic experts in Italy were singled out in the case “hits you in the gut,” Hough added.
The war on science is international, apparently.
That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about today?