Thursday Reads: The Morning After

Good Morning!!

OK, I don’t drink, but I still feel hung over. That debate last night was pathetic. Romney babbled incoherently, but sounded smooth. Obama made sense and gave specifics, but sounded hesitant and herky-jerky. We’ll have to wait and see what happens to the polls, but the consensus of the pundits and liberals on Twitter is that Romney won this one. I think Obama forgot he is the president and acted like a challenger. I simply cannot believe that neither Obama nor Jim Lehrer asked Romney about his “47 percent” remarks!

Anyway, I still have a nasty cold, I’m discouraged, and tired, so I’m just hoping this post will make sense. I’m going to link to some early reactions to the debate and leave it at that.

Jennifer Granholm has predicted a couple of times that Obama would lose the first debate. From Time’s Swampland:

You recently predicted that Obama would lose the first debate. Then you suggested that the media might assign him a loss whether he deserves a win or not. Can you explain that?

The first time, I mentioned two reasons why I think he’s going to lose. One is, he’s not in debate shape in the same way that Romney is. But more importantly, the media does not like a lopsided race, and it’s appearing to be lopsided at the moment. So in order to sustain the race, I think there will be a narrative of the comeback-kid Mitt Romney.

The candidates have been busy playing the low-expectations game. Are you just helping Obama be self-deprecating?

No, I’m just looking at it purely from who’s in practice and who’s not in practice … Part of that might be that the incumbent is confronted, on this national stage, in a way that he is not usually confronted … I don’t discount that he’s a good speaker, but he does speak in paragraphs, and debates are not the place to do that.

She was right. Now for some media reactions.

LA Times: Mitt Romney loves Big Bird, will kill funding for him anyway

No question, Mitt Romney’s extensive debate preparation is paying off. At least in the first half of the debate, he seemed more emotionally connected than President Obama with the material — making jokes and self-deprecating remarks and even invoking Big Bird in a discussion about the deficit and budget priorities….

Then, looking at moderator Lehrer, Romney said, “I’m sorry, Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS…. I like PBS, I love Big Bird — I actually like, you too — but I am not going to keep spending money on things [we have] to borrow money from China to pay for.”

IMO, Romney looked energetic, but he wasn’t funny. Frankly, the biggest problem for anyone debating Mitt Romney is that he is the most amazing liar ever. How do you debate someone who lies constantly and even tells conflicting lies? The only way it would be possible is if you had a moderator. Jim Lehrer was completely ineffectual. Just wait till we have to see Bob Schieffer try it. He’s around 80 isn’t he? I don’t think Lehrer is quite that old, and I think he lost consciousness a couple of times last night.

Ben Smith at Buzzfeed: How Mitt Romney Won The First Debate

Mitt Romney, trailing in the polls, needed to prove tonight that he could stand on stage with President Barack Obama as an equal and a plausible president of the United States.
He did that in the crucial first 40 minutes of Wednesday night’s debate, addressing Obama respectfully, even warmly — but then tangling with a sometimes hazy and professorial Obama on taxes and deficits.
“You don’t just pick the winners and losers — you pick the losers,” he told Obama of his energy investments, sliding time and time again into a second person singular address calculated to level the rhetorical playing field.

Romney departed dramatically from the hard conservatism of his primary campaign, downplaying the scope of his tax cuts.

“There will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit,” he said, without fully explaining how he’d accomplish that.

In other words, Romney lied and neither the moderator nor the incumbent president challenged him on his lies. Obama was incredibly passive.

Talking Points Memo: Obama Supporters: Which Obama Was That?

The early consensus on the debate among the pundit class: Mitt Romney helped himself a lot with a strong first debate performance, President Obama didn’t. And that included plenty of commentators supportive of Obama as well.

“It looked like Mitt Romney wanted to be there and President Obama didn’t want to be there,” Democratic strategist and CNN contributor James Carville said. He later added Obama did not bring his “A game.”

Alex Castellanos, a former Romney advisor who has often been critical of his campaign, said he was surprised by his “very effective” performance.

Many were surprised that Obama appeared reluctant to go on offense, never mentioning many of his own campaign’s attacks on Romney over Bain Capital or his recent leaked remarks dismissing 47 percent of Americas “victims.” In general, commentators suggested he appeared less comfortable than Romney onstage.

Josh Marshall wrote something I heard Al Sharpton say on MSNBC last night. Romney committed himself to a lot things that are going to get him in trouble in the next few days when the pundits get over his surface performance and look at what he actually said.

Two things happened in this debate. Romney had the energy and focus, a long series of arguments packed and tight to dish out in the debate. He didn’t get distracted. He had a game plan he stuck to. What struck me a lot of times through the debate was that Obama seemed pained. He didn’t seem happy. And people like seeing happy people….

Romney’s focus though came at the cost of a few key things.

He basically tossed aside his own tax plan or said he would if his numbers didn’t add up. But then he insisted that he could find enough loopholes to close to afford a $5 trillion tax cut for upper income earners. These are more numbers on the table. That’s really what most of the debate was about — budget numbers. Romney insisted with a straight face that up was down….

The numbers simply don’t add up. Over a few news cycles that can build up really fast. He says he’ll push massive upper income tax cuts and those have to come at the cost of much higher deficits or big tax hikes for middle income people. His campaign agenda is based on a massive deception.

That’s the vulnerability Romney brings out of this debate. And it may be bigger than people realize.

Greg Sargent: A good night for Mitt Romney, but was it really enough?

Mitt Romney had a very good debate tonight. Though debates often reinforce existing perceptions, Romney took steps towards reversing his image as an out of touch plutocrat. During the extended jousts of numbers crunching, he humanized himself in an unexpected way — by converting his boardroom aura from something cold and aloof into an aura of earnestness. He skillfully played the part of the technocratic centrist he used to be and whose balanced approach to policy and government he has completely abandoned. Romney also landed clear blows when indicting the Obama recovery. He seemed particularly on message in claiming that the proof that Obama’s government centric policies had failed could be found in the current state of the economy.

Obama missed key opportunities.When invoking Romney’s suggestion that kids should borrow money from their parents to pay for college, he was far too polite and discursive and didn’t make the moment stick. His defense of Obamacare took too long to make the point that Romney, in repealing the law, would take insurance away from millions without replacing it with anything.

That said, Obama won some understated victories. He won the battle over Medicare; Romney was effectively defined by that exchange as Mr. Voucher. Obama did a decent job in exposing Romney’s lack of specificity on many of the issues that were discussed tonight, and tied them together into a larger pattern of evasiveness on Romney’s part.

Ed Kilgore: Spin Room

I gather from brief glances at Twitter and initial reaction at NBC that Mitt won pretty big on style points.

A lot of progressives are beside themselves that Obama didn’t mention Bain Capital, didn’t mention the 47%, didn’t mention the Ryan Budget (except indirectly), didn’t mention inequality, didn’t mention abortion/contraception, didn’t mention immigration. Very heavy emphasis, as I noted, on Mitt’s “vagueness.” ….

You know, I’m often a bad judge of these things because I really don’t give much of a damn about “energy levels” or “aggressiveness,” and I tend to care a lot when I know a candidate is lying through his or her teeth. But if viewers thought Obama was phoning it in, that will matter, and it will matter a lot more if they are being told by every talking head in Christendom that Romney won big.

The $64,000 question is whether this will have an impact on actual candidate preferences, which have been amazingly stable.

Jonathan Chait: The Return of Massachusetts Mitt.

Tonight’s debate saw the return of the Mitt Romney who ran for office in Massachusetts in 1994 and 2002. He was obsessive about portraying himself as a moderate, using every possible opening or ambiguity – and, when necessary, making them up – to shove his way to the center. Why he did not attempt to restore this pose earlier, I cannot say. Maybe he can only do it in debates. Or maybe conservatives had to reach a point of absolute desperation over his prospects before they would give him the ideological space. In any case, he dodged almost every point in the right wing canon in a way that seemed to catch Obama off-guard.

Romney was able to take advantage of the fact that Obama has a record, and he does not. Obama has had to grapple with trade-offs, and Romney has not. So Romney is a candidate of a 20% cut in tax rates, a new plan to cover people with preexisting conditions, and higher defense spending, and he will accomplish it all by eliminating federal funding for PBS. He would not accept that his proposal would result in any tradeoffs at all – no lower funding for education, no reductions in Medicare for anybody currently retired. He insisted his plan would not cut taxes for the rich, which is false. He described his proposal to allow people with continuous health insurance to keep it – a right that, as Obama already noted, already exists, and is therefore a meaningless promise – as a plan to cover all people with preexisting conditions.

Romney did not waste a breath. Obama wasted many, with “uhs” and long, wonky discursions. He went on long, detailed riffs defending his policies, with attacks on Romney few and far between. Romney added little to his longstanding indictment of Obama, but defined himself far more effectively than he has before.
I do think the instantaneous, echo chamber reaction that is handing Romney an overwhelming victory is overstated. Romney made a huge error selling his Medicare plan, promising, “if you’re around 60, you don’t need to listen any further.” It was a moment he went from smooth to oily – when you urge voters to stop paying attention, and especially on an issue where they start off distrusting you, it heightens the distrust. Obama replied, “if you’re 54 or 55, you might want to listen, because this will affect you.”

Okay, that should be enough to get you started. I’m already not quite as upset as I was a little while ago, because I think it’s true that Romney is going to be confronted with all the lies and backtracks he pulled in this debate.

So what are you reading and blogging about today? This is an open thread–you don’t have to discuss the debate.

53 Comments on “Thursday Reads: The Morning After”

  1. Eric Pleim says:

    I was pretty sure Obama wasn’t going to try any 47% crack. He views himself as above that. But he sure could have challenged Romney on his tax arithmetic a lot more, And letting him get away that 700 billion dollar Medicare lie was unfathomable.

    For those who wanted a competitive election, we just may get one yet if this keeps up.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Jonathan Cohn: The Four Most Misleading Moments in Romney’s Debate Performance

    The pundits are unanimous. Mitt Romney had more energy, offered more specifics, and may even have come across as more empathetic. I agree and polls suggest voters saw it the same way.

    The debate may not change the dynamics of the election. But if I knew nothing about the candidates and this was my first exposure to the campaign, I’d think this Romney fellow has a detailed tax plan, wants to defend the middle class and poor, and will take care of people who can’t find health insurance.

    Problem is, this isn’t my first exposure to the campaign. I happen to know a lot about the candidates. And I know that those three things aren’t true. Romney has made promises about taxes that are mathematically incompatible with one another. He’s outlined a spending plan that would devastate the middle class and (particularly) the poor. And his health care plan would leave people with pre-existing conditions pretty much in the same perilous situation they were before the Affordable Care Act became law.

    My standard for candor in politics is whether candidates have offered the voters an accurate portrait of what they’ve done and what they are proposing. Tonight, Romney did precisely the opposite. And that really ought to be the story everybody is writing, although I doubt it will be.

  3. ANonOMouse says:

    Most voters are not sophisticated enough to know what is a lie and what is an honest answer from a debate candidate.If a candidate misrepresents his position and his debate opponent doesn’t call him out immediately and directly, the majority of the viewing audience has no reason to doubt the answer. And that is the problem with the Al Sharpton and the OFA campaign logic concerning last nights debate. Airing commercials later calling Romney’s debate responses LIES will not work! Voters will not believe that the POTUS allowed his opponent to lie without a direct and a blunt challenge. Obama listened to many of Romney’s lies either nodding yes or with his head down. Last night was a HUGE blunder that I don’t believe can be repaired in commercials and likely not in the next two debates. The only thing we can hope for is that most people had already made up their minds about how to cast their vote and that the pool of up-for-grabs was so small it’s irrelevant.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I disagree. Just look at the debates in 2004. Kerry crushed Bush in every one, and it made no difference. Romney’s 47 percent comments and his constant lying are well known at this point. The debate last night was not his introduction to most voters. Even the flash polls last night showed that Romney still is disliked by 60-70 percent of voters.

      I think what will hurt Obama most is his failure to wholeheartedly defend Social Security. Let’s hope he gets a little more charged up for the next debate, but frankly, that isn’t his style. He wasn’t a good debater in 2008. I thought he might improve after four years, but he hasn’t.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I should add, Obama also failed to mention women at all–as if women’s health is not an economic issue. Since women will be the reason he wins–if he does–he needs to remember that next time and confront Romney on his anti-women policies.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I hope the sentiment that it won’t move the needle is correct. That’s why I stated that I hoped most people have made up their mind. I don’t think people who are already supporting Obama will move to Romney, but I do think Romney may have persuaded some in the tiny slither of undecided. The flash polls of undecided indicated that it did.

        And I agree about Obama’s debate style. I didn’t think he was a good debater in 2008, but I did think he was a good defender of his own positions. I honestly don’t believe he was prepared last night, he certainly wasn’t prepared enough to recognize the glaring opportunities to call Romney a flip-flopping liar or to even defend his own policies. I think you or Dak or most of the commenters here could have countered Romney better than Obama did. He was simply, flat! He’d better step it up, not only for his own sense of command, but so the rest of us can sleep after the debates. 🙂

      • roofingbird says:



        People will remember the kurfluffle that created with the lone American manufacturer struggling to stay alive in 2008.

        Quick! Someone find out where Romney got his!!

    • Most voters are not sophisticated enough to know what is a lie and what is an honest answer from a debate candidate.If a candidate misrepresents his position and his debate opponent doesn’t call him out immediately and directly, the majority of the viewing audience has no reason to doubt the answer.

      I agree with you mouse…the response I saw from the average voter was along the lines of, “Romney’s American flag pin was bigger than Obama’s…so he is more American.” I kid you not!

      Romney has been getting away with lies all his life, no one calls him on it, and that is ridiculous. Last night was no exception. You are right about the head nods in agreement and Obama’s lame passiveness in not challenging these lies. I feel even more agitation about a Romney Presidency. Obama can loose this election.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Even Obama supporters think Romney won the debate–even with all the lies, but do you think any of those Obama supporters are actually going to vote for Romney now? Are women suddenly going to vote for Romney/Ryan? Are Latinos? The number of undecided voters is very small. We won’t know for a few days what the reaction is, but I’m betting Romney’s lies get a lot of coverage over the next few days.

      • I hope you are right BB.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I hope so too, but we aren’t going to know anything right away. The next debate is the VP’s. I don’t think Biden will be as reticent as Obama was.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Yeah, nothing indicates who will make the better POTUS than flag pin size. Whoever has the biggest one wins!!! 🙂

        Like you JJ, my interaction with people tells me that most of them are simply not as informed about the positions of the candidates politics or world events as those of us who are poltical rugrats. Just the fact that half the country doesn’t know that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 911 or that they confuse Saddam Hussein with Osama Bin Laden speaks volumes. The fact that people still think Obama is a radical Muslim or that he was born in Kenya is astounding.

        I’m just stunned that Obama performed so poorly!!!

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “I don’t think Biden will be as reticent as Obama was.”

        I agree. Biden is an attack dog and I hope he rips Ryan to shreds

      • Beata says:

        I predict Eddie Haskell will be caught without his rubbers during the debate with Biden.

  4. bostonboomer says:


    The thing is, if you’re going to play rope-a-dope, sooner or later, you have to come off the ropes and throw a punch. You bounce off the ropes and land the left and then the right over the top, and then the other guy goes out of the ring in a blanket. Otherwise, it’s just a way to get yourself punched in the stomach a lot. Along about the 48-minute mark of Wednesday night’s debate, it became clear to me that the president simply was not going to do that.

    And it wasn’t that the president lacked opportunities. However well-prepared he was, and however energized he was, Willard Romney spent a lot of the evening running away from everything he was forced to say and do to win the Republican primaries, running away from the critical elements of his own tax plan, and running towards, of all things, his record as governor of Massachusetts. (A good question to have asked him might have been, “Governor, if you did so much for education and health care and the economy in Massachusetts, how come I’m beating you there by 30 points and your approval rating up there has been in the crapper for six years?”) Romney trafficked in the most obvious of previously debunked lies — the Afforable Care Act is “a government takeover of health care,” he said, even death panels — and he fashioned out of himself a new populist image by baldly asserting at one point that he, Willard Romney, who needs a passport to visit most of his money, is going to break up the big banks and stand up for the embattled middle class. This would have been comical if anyone on the stage had cared to point that out.

    • Ron4Hills says:

      I had essentially the exact same thought. If Ali doesn’t throw the knock out punch in the eighth, then all rope-a-dope is basically just getting your ass kicked. One of my very staunch Obot friends told me this morning that ou can’t look at the first debate as a complete fight. this is just the opening rounds, the knock-out is coming….

      whatever, I am not an Obot. I have my doubts whether Obambam has the wherewithal to defend himself. I think he has always relied on someone else coming to save him, whether that was the DNC, or the MSM or whomever.

      Then again I thought the Hills beat Obama in every debate and here he is president. I thought Kerry beat Bush in every debate. Bush won easily. So who knows. My ability to judge these things sucks.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Hillary did beat Obama in every debate. He’s a crappy debater. Like you, I can’t really judge these things, because I know too much of the background. Lots of people watching don’t follow every bit of political news like we do.

      • janicen says:

        I was thinking about the ’08 debates as well. Clinton beat Obama every time but the media declared Obama the winner. The kool aid addled Obots knew that Obama won while the rest of us were scratching our heads. This is where the media and the Obots did Obama a disservice. Romney was clearly more prepared for last night’s debate.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    The first Obama ad should show Romney firing Big Bird and Jim Lehrer. That was the standout moment in the debate. Pretty pathetic.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      “The first Obama ad should show Romney firing Big Bird and Jim Lehrer.”

      During that dumb ass quip I kept waiting for him to say that “Bert & Ernie are gay and must be stopped!!!”

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    First, I wonder how many people, other than political junkies, watched last night. Most people I know simply aren’t following the candidates.

    Second, I think Obama prepped for the Mittens “we” know. The guy on the campaign trail. The guy in the Repug debates. Then shape shifter Mittens came on stage. I honestly wish Obama or Lehrer would have asked Mittens, which Mitt are you? Where is the REAL Mittens tonight. The policies & the persona were brand spanking new last night. How does one fight a will-o-the-wisp, an apparition, Jello-man? There was nothing of substance, at least the already known substance, to punch.

    I think anyone on the Left knows what Mittens stands for, what he plans to do. But that guy wasn’t on stage last night. I think the Mittens stand-in (who was obviously slipped a 5 hour energy drink without his knowledge) threw Obama off his game.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Good points. Even our knowledgeable commenters thought the debate was boring as hell. How many low info undecideds even watched the whole thing?

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “How many low info undecideds even watched the whole thing?”

        They probably didn’t even know there was a debate. 🙂

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Look at this regarding the snap polls:

    At the Daily Kos, the blogger who writes as The Silver Monkey took a look at the internals (PDF – page 15) of CNN’s snap poll, which found that 67 percent of those watching the debate declared Romney the winner — the highest percentage for a single candidate in any of their snap polling of previous debates. But look behind the curtain, and one finds the poll’s respondents to be nearly all white, Southern and over 50. Non-whites were so statistically insignificant as to register as “not applicable” when the numbers were assessed by race, as were samples of respondents from other regions of the country. Do they really believe that the numbers of northeasterners who watched the debate were next to nil — or do they have a bad poll?

    (In contrast, the CBS News snap poll of uncommitted voters showed 46 percent calling the debate for Romney, 32 percent calling it a tie, and 22 percent for Obama. The CNN poll did not specify its sample as uncommitted voters.)

    Perhaps CNN was simply seeking to counter the current right-wing conspiracy theory that nearly all national news media polls are skewed in favor of Democrats, the news media being in the tank for Obama and all.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      I wonder if the now famous guy will report on the CNN demographics. I doubt it. I also wonder if the CNN poll was targeted by Romney’s campaign staff to skew the poll their way. All it takes is a mass email to folks on their list. VOTE at CNN.

    • Yeah:

      We’re Trying To Figure This Out | TPM Editors Blog

      Getting a massive amount of coverage this morning is the CNN snap poll of the debate, which showed Romney winning the exchanged overwhelmingly.

      But the internals of the poll look really strange. If you look at the breakdown of the sample, it doesn’t appear to contain anyone (or doesn’t appear to contain any representative sample) under 50, anyone outside of the South or anyone who’s not white. (See page 8 of this pdf.)

      I doesn’t make sense to me that they’d do or release a poll like that. So really curious if anyone has an explanation.

      • Pg 8 below:

        CNN/ORC International Poll — October 3, 2012
        Question 102
        Did Barack Obama do a better or worse job than you expected?
        Base = Registered voters who watched debate
        Total Men Women White Non-White
        —– —– —– —– ———
        Better 21% 19% 24% 19% N/A
        Worse 61% 65% 56% 63% N/A
        Same 16% 15% 17% 16% N/A
        No opinion 2% 1% 3% 2% N/A
        Sampling Error +/-4.5 +/-6.5 +/-7.0 +/-5.0

        18- 35- 50- Under 50 and
        Total 34 49 64 65+ 50 Older
        —– —– —– —– —– —– ——
        Better 21% N/A N/A 21% 22% N/A 22%
        Worse 61% N/A N/A 63% 57% N/A 60%
        Same 16% N/A N/A 16% 17% N/A 16%
        No opinion 2% N/A N/A * 4% N/A 2%
        Sampling Error +/-4.5 +/-8.0 +/-7.0 +/-5.5

        No “non-whites” and no one under 50…

    • NW Luna says:

      Well, I too thought Romney “won” the debate and Obama had a miserable performance (I still think it’s because he had no Hillary to cheat from). But I’m sure not voting for Vulture.

  8. Hey, here in Georgia we have idiots in office who are closing the state archives. Now, this is the Secretary of State excuse: Brian Kemp links Georgia Archives closing to illegal immigration bill | Political Insider

    Because Georgia felt it necessary to seal off its borders from illegal immigrants, your access to state history will soon be sealed off, too.

    That’s not my conclusion.

    That was the connection drawn Wednesday by Secretary of State Brian Kemp as he explained why he decided to lay off seven archivists and close – except by Saturday appointment – the place where Georgia’s most treasured documents are kept.

    • Fannie says:

      In other words, you’re not allowed……….not in the archives, not in library, and not in the farming fields.

  9. ANonOMouse says:

    The only thing Obama needs to do to prepare himself for the next debate, is to watch EVERY SINGLE GOP PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY Debate. In those debates Romney states he’s against the dream act, against amnesty, supports a right to life amendment, an amendment banning gay marriage, he is against WS regulations, he wants to fix SS, which is code for privatization, wants to block grant medicaid and voucher medicare, etc.etc.etc. Those debates will provide all the ammunition against Romney that Obama needs.

    • RalphB says:

      That’s probably how he prepared for this debate! The problem is that Romney changed every one of those positions on the fly and sometimes more than once during the debate. Sorry but that just won’t work.

  10. Pat Johnson says:

    Distressed. Demoralized. Disappointed. I can’t think of any other way to accurately describe how I feel after witnessing that “debate” last night. What the hell was Obama thinking?

    It doesn’t matter what we think: we know what a lying fool Romney is from the beginning. It doesn’t matter that he lied and lied while the moderator let him get away with political murder and failed to stop his rehearsed speeches. It doesn’t matter that Obama stood there like a schoolboy answering for some transgression.

    It matters what the public perception boiled down to and that perception was a hyped up hypocrite who went unchallenged vs a sitting president who just essentially stood there.

    For those uninformed morons still “sitting on the fence” Romney looked and acted like a man in charge. Even though the pundits can and will break down the “facts” the overall impression came across is as a Romney who behaved like the one in charge.

    I can’t express it any better but watching Joe Scarborough peeing his pants in delight is what a lot of pundits are predicting will make this race a lot closer than it need be.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Steve Benen

    The men on the stage last night aren’t actors; they’re candidates for the nation’s highest office. Delivering lines well is a nice quality, but as the dust settles, it’s worth pausing to reflect on whether those lines were true and reflect reality in any meaningful way.

    Indeed, it seems to me Romney thrived in large part because he abandoned the pretense of honesty. And as it turns out, winning a debate is surprisingly easy when a candidate decides he can say anything and expect to get away with it.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      All well and good. But there are not as many people out there who follow this stuff as much and we do here and Romney probably looked far more engaged than Obama which gives him the edge in the end.

      Yes, Romney lied. Yes, Romney does this all the time. But the energy and animation he exuded was far better presented than that of the president who seemed to just be standing there.

      Obama failed to actively “engage”. He bowed to Lehrer where Romney just rode all over the moderator in refusing to shut up when requested. He dominated the stage, liar or not, and Obama kept looking down giving an impression of failure when his best bet was to look right into the camera and draw the audience in.

      Instead he looked like a chagrined schoolboy having to explain why he failed to do his homework while Romney exulted by going unchallenged for the lies, evasions, and flip flopping that is his standard form.

      Obama did not do his supporters any favors last night and for me this amounts to a mortal sin. Who the hell is standing up for us?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Obama was horrible. Frankly, I didn’t expect him to be good, but he was worse than I expected. He let us down.

        But that doesn’t mean Romney will win the election. He didn’t do anything last night to make anyone like him more. He smirked patronizingly through the whole debate, interrupted Obama and Lehrer and basically took over moderating from the real “moderator.” He was a boor. I don’t believe that will endear him to actual voters even if the media liked it.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    The “studies” Romney cited during the debate don’t say what he said they say, and one of them was paid for by Romney himself.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    This is interesting. Only 32 percent of undecided voters told pollsters they were interested in watching the debate. Obama and Romney supporters were more interested. But the people who need to be swayed are the undecideds.

  14. Pat Johnson says:

    Bear with me today because the dial on my “pessimism meter” is pointing upwards after last night.

    The “uninformed” public is marking a “win” for the Romney column based on that performance and though it may have been littered with the usual lies and evasions that performance is what counts in the perception game.

    You don’t win points for looking down. You don’t win points by admitting you “agree” on issues that are contorted. You don’t win points by appearing “fatigued, disinterested, disengaged”. You win points by getting in the ring and fighting back.

    What I saw was a president who allowed the moderator to interrupt him and backed down easily while the opponent was allowed all the time necessary to make his case the way he wanted to. Where Obama conceded to the moderator Romney ignored him. It gives the appearance of “taking charge”.

    This is what bothers me. That Obama just stood there. I can’t quite get my head around it.

  15. Fannie says:

    Thanks for the warning sign, I needed that chuckle. I woke up with the 90 billion green jobs Romney was talking about, and felt dirty for some reason.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Let me just add one more thing: Obama’s pitiful performance will have an effect on the voters who support him as much as the effect it will have on those who are still “undecided” or routinenly uninformed.

      Why? Very simple. By failing to actually stand up and plead his case on our behalf many of those supporters probably will just stay home. Why bother to stand behind a guy who essentially could not be bothered to make the case on our behalf when faced with a man who has no core principles, has dismissed the issues, and who has yet to be truthful in 18 months of campaigning?

      This election is critical to the future of this nation and a Romney/Ryan win would be a disaster. That point needs to be driven like a nail into the minds of the voters by someone who appears to give a damn. Obama failed that test which is the most distressing aspect of the entire campaign season.

      • RalphB says:

        Get hold of yourself. Obama failed us? WTF?

      • bostonboomer says:

        I agree that we are overreacting. I didn’t think Obama’s performance was “pitiful.” He had some problems, yes. He shouldn’t have kept looking down. He should have addressed Romney directly. But Obama did a hell of a lot better job of explaining his policies than Romney did.

        Frankly anyone would have been in shock the way Romney just threw all his previous policies out the window and lied with abandon.

      • peregrine says:

        Pat, I’m even more enboldened to vote on election day so as not to let Romney win. We will have to stand up and make the case by our support. IOW, we will have to make the case by voting and not staying home. Hold on, there are 33 more days in this campaign.

      • NW Luna says:

        ITA that Obama failed or half-heartedly supported us. He should be staunchly defending SS and Medicare. Reminding Romney of the outrage against Bush when he tried to get rid of SS.

        Yes, Romney is a flip-flopping vulture. But even if you’re debating someone who jelloes his positions, you can come back at him with the 47%, with Medicare being superiorly cost-efficient over private ins, with not letting wealthy corporate CEOs decide whether to cover your health needs or allow a mortgage on fair terms. Get some zingers of your own memorized. (All the SkyDancing commentators were coming up with snappy comebacks in real time last night.)

        Obama needs to at least act like he really cares and is fired up to do the right things for 99% of Americans.

  16. Fannie says:

    I didn’t know about the shooter in DC, shooting five people.

  17. peregrine says:

    When Romney began his closing arguments, I said, “O, SHUT UP!”, and left the room. Describing Romney’s responses in wrestling terms doesn’t work for me. Instead, I found his “punches” and “pounces” as disrespectful and desperate. Romney had the energy and control and then emerged as personality # 6, moderate Republican, with a dash of faux compassion for the poor to counter Obama’s positions. If elected he will continue W’s and the rights’ campaign to act nationally “entitled” to rule over the world because of some foolish idea that America is “exceptional.” Americans like Romney are arrogant and desirous of keeping 20th century notions that, with our military might and national will, we can win in any controversy. Romney remains every bit as scary in domestic affairs as in foreign ones. Also, the U.S. is not a corporation and can not be operated as one, especially by disregarding and writing off those who are non-productive, like the poor, disabled, sick, chronically ill, and elderly. Certainly Romney’s description of the “worthless” 47% is immoral. Lastly giving states control over such areas as education portends even greater standard gaps than exists now among the states.

  18. ecocatwoman says: has a good, lengthy explanation of the lies/exaggerations/misrepresentations from last night:

  19. RalphB says:

    Here’s an outlook I can agree with but a lot of Dems are not doing well with the gut check.

    TPM: Gut Check for Dems

    Looking at the reaction Democrats and the Obama campaign are having to the debate this morning, I sense some may be making a form of the mistake I said President Obama made last night.

    Are they coming to have a discussion or coming to make a point? Debates are seldom graded by the debates themselves. The verdict comes as people and the press pick apart what was said over a period of news cycles.

    The crux of the campaign for months has turned on what Romney’s actual policies are. Who do they benefit? He’s been consistently vague or misleading on those points. In this debate when pressed he simply lied on numerous points. On the issue of pre-existing conditions, he said his plan would cover those people. Minutes after the debate his top advisor admitted that wasn’t true.

    More significantly, his tax plan simply has now way to cover the costs of $5 trillion of upper income tax cuts without pushing through really massive tax increases on middle income voters. Romney said, don’t worry I can make it work. CNN said, he said you need to take his word for it. And as long as you do, he’s right and Obama’s wrong.

    But the numbers simply don’t add up. It really is simple math. The studies Romney cited aren’t even studies. A couple are just opeds by his advisors. Dems need to bring this back to the simple fact that Romney double-down on lying about what his plan does. It cuts taxes for wealthy Americans, raises them for middle class Americans. And called on that point, Romney just lied.

    The facts are straightforward and have been chronicled in endless reporting up to this point. Romney is much more vulnerable on these points than most now realize.