Tuesday Reads: Horses and Bayonets

President Obama temporarily wipes the smirk off Mitt Romney’s face.

Good Morning!!

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?

64 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Horses and Bayonets”

  1. ecocatwoman says:

    Hooray, the debates are over. Obama kicked ass last night. His comments on both the modern military & his visit to Israel as a candidate were the high points of the debate for me.

    Thanks for sharing the story about Stephany Kern. It’s obvious that in Romney World, Mittens is & will always be the center of that universe. Those are the actions of a Boss, not a Commander-in-Chief. Once more the bully,

  2. bostonboomer says:

    I listened to some of Morning Joe–I’m a masochist, I guess. Tom Brokaw almost came out publicly as a Romney supporter, loudly defending “the governor” and claiming that “a lot of people think” private equity could have rescued the auto industry. Joe Scarborough was almost out of control and sounding incredibly defensive and angry. Then Scarborough and Brokaw joined forces to defend Romney. I shut it off when I heard that John McCain was coming on next.

    It was pretty clear from the anger in Scarborough’s voice that Obama won this one decisively. Of course I was only listening–I didn’t see their facial expressions.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Yep, BB, there were more than a few “Not to happy campers” on Morning Joe. Brokaw, Scarborough and McCain were a little overly defensive of Mitt. McCain even called the Horses and Bayonets comment a cheap shot, which spoke volumes about the despondency of the right this morning over MItt’s performance.

      When Romney made the statement last evening about the lowest number of ships in a century, it was apparent he was aiming that message at Virginia voters and was on it’s face a cheap political trick. Obama called him on it, and reiterated that our military was already larger then the next 10 nations combined, plus Obama emphasized that military spending was going to remain at the current levels, but prioritized to keep our military strong using the best technology has to offer,

      Before these debates began many of us said all Obama had to do to defeat Romney was to watch/listen to Romney’s GOP Primary Debate performances. Romney saber rattled over Iran in Primaries and during his convention speech, Obama called him on it. Romney said we shouldn’t have withdrawn troops from Iraq, Obama called him on it. Romney criticized Obama’s leadership in Libya during the revolution implying that we needed to do more, implying boots-on-the ground, Obama called him on it. The list of Romney’s foreign policy walk backs and back downs goes on and on.

      Obama reminded the audience that Mitt has campaigned as a warhawk willing to use whatever means necessary to force our will on the world. Last night Obama pulled the curtain on Mitt, by using Mitt’s own positions, and proved that he’s nothing more than a phony wizard behind the curtain.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      I actually woke up to that show – fell asleep with MSNBC on. I quickly turned it off & turned on NPR. I keep hoping that there are a couple of reasonable Rethugs out there, but both Schmidt & Steele last night were still in the Denial Camp. Major ick factor for these folks. And I wish Brokaw would go back into his non-partisan closet.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Good one Beata!!!! Mitt Romney, the Great Curtain Wizard.

    • Fannie says:

      You are 100% correct BB. He had all the old white men backing him up.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    LA Times: “Romney endorses Obama”

    Monday’s presidential debate, the third and last between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney, featured a forceful and articulate defense of Obama’s foreign policy. That was no surprise. What was surprising was that it came from Romney.

    That seemed to annoy the president — who was prepared to rebut his opponent’s previous, more bellicose pronouncements. But the ever-shifting Republican nominee tacked even closer to the moderate middle than he did in the debate devoted to economic policy.

    Once Romney intimated that he might keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan past NATO’s 2014 deadline. No more. Now he agrees with Obama that it is feasible to transfer combat responsibilities to the Afghans by that point. On Iran, Romney emphasized economic sanctions rather than the threat of a military attack, effectively endorsing Obama’s approach. On Syria, Romney disappointed some of his neoconservative supporters by forswearing direct U.S. military intervention or the establishment of a no-fly zone. There was no call for returning U.S. forces to Iraq, though Romney continued to accuse Obama of bungling negotiations aimed at keeping a small residual force there.

    • There is a good resource for keeping track of endorsements: Introducing the Presidential Endorsement Tracker – Politics – The Atlantic Wire

      Aside from local races, most voters say newspaper endorsements don’t change their minds. And some papers seem to always endorse one party or the other. So why keep track of newspaper endorsements? They reflect local opinion. As you can see from the chart, in 2008 Obama won a few newspaper endorsements that had traditionally endorsed Republicans. This year, a few papers who backed Obama in 2008 are switching back to the Republican ticket and backing Romney. And the way the newspapers explain their endorsements are interesting, too, because you can see which campaign messages are resonating.

  4. Ron4Hills says:

    If anyone is waiting for the Repugs to give an honest critique of Mittens at this stage of the game, I think you wait in vain. Early on they would give criticism that they hoped would be taken to heart and improve on Mitt’s weaknesses but now it is crunch time. Any criticism this close to the election would be too risky. IMO.

    I think that last night Romney made the same mistkae Obama made in the first debate. He was playing not to lose and got his clock cleaned. It was a complete role reversal. An excess an caution reads as a lack of confidence and resolve on television. Romney looked out of his depth and afraid to fight.

    Repug spinners are scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to salvage something good out of last night. .

  5. NW Luna says:

    The Italian court decision condemning scientists for not predicting earthquakes down to the day and hour is appalling.

    • Delphyne says:

      I liked this comment from the article:

      I hope they put a few priests and the pope on trial for the same thing, since they claim to speak for “god”, and should’ve known what was going to happen before the seismologists would have, right?

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Well, if he hadn’t been so busy encouraging the likes of Bachmann and Perry to run for office he may have had time to alert that country of possible seismic threats.

        Give the Big Guy a break!

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I have one word for the Italian court, Galileo.

    • Well, I think the people who should be held accountable, being the architects builders and gov officials (the have a glass of wine dude) must have the mafia backing, so there is no way that they would get investigated.

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    It appears as though the Romney handlers told him to “tone down” that so called “aggression” last night hoping to run out the clock two weeks before the election. What we saw was someone unable to get his point across without listing his talking points and defending his former multiple positions unchecked.

    He could only “filibuster” his answers by talking and talking to the point that I had to mute the tv as he rambled on.

    Obama kept his responses short and sweet delivered in a more measured manner and looked his opponent in the eye when calling him a “flip flopper” in a more civil way.

    Romney sounded more like Sarah Palin, rushing to get words out that made it appear he knew what he was talking about with a lot of blah, blah, blah mixed in.

    More telling was that he allowed to Bob Shieffer to essentially tell him to sit down and shut up which is something that Candy Crowley tried to do but failed.

    Whether this will have any effect on the voters only time will tell. But Romney was lost in a “word stew” of his own making and showed that his knowledge of the mideast is lacking.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I can’t believe there was no discussion of the European economic crisis! Bob Shieffer never said a word about Europe.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        One reason may be that 90 minutes is nowhere near enough to cover every single policy and issue that we face.

        Even the Lincoln/Douglas debates went on for hours and this was long before t.v. was in use.

        Today everything is so “scripted” that only minutes were given over to the issue of women in this campaign which really sticks in my craw.

      • mablue2 says:

        Can we now let women moderate the debates? Seriously! How many debates have these old bags ruined for the rest of us? Sheesh!

      • BB, That was a great link up top, the one regarding Efraim Halevy. Thanks for finding it…

      • roofingbird says:

        There were a lot places we could have discussed. North Korea? oh, under control. South America? oh, HRC went there. South Asia? oh HRC went there and is setting up NAFTA type agreements, as well as helping Burma move forward.

        Amazing how we aren’t even discussing the value of NAFTAs.

        Wars in Somilia? oh poor people. Death of gorillas in the Congo? oh we need cell phones.

        To me the entire debate on foreign relations was set around Republican talking points.

        • dakinikat says:

          Gwen I from PBS was talking about that on Charlie Rose last night. All the journalists on the panel felt that they continual drift back to talking points on the US economy by Romney degraded the debate quality. That’s why I kept watching it even though I was dying to sleep. It was like they were coming clean about how this election is being driven by stupidity.

      • roofingbird says:

        Wish I’d stayed up for that.

    • peggysue22 says:

      Romney boiled himself in his own stew, Pat. I mean unless voters have been blind and deaf for the last year, that performance was shameless. He shape-shifted himself into a pretzel, literally endorsed Obama on major points and looked completely out of his league. Which, of course, he is.

      The King of Leveraged Buyouts showed himself for what he truly is: The quick sell artist, willing to say anything to get his foot in the WH. I have no love for Barack Obama but the Mittster was disgraceful last night. All the spinning in the world ain’t gone to change that one iota and Obama won hands down.

      I loved the pander of: I love teachers.

      And then, Schieffer’s smack down: We all love teachers, Governor.

      LOL. What a mismatch!

  7. NW Luna says:

    Compounding pharmacies are not required to report when their medications have harmed patients. It might interfere with profits.

    Trade group told compounding pharmacies how to skirt the FDA

    A spokesman for the trade group said the instructions were intended to guard against unauthorized release of samples to corporate competitors and not to hinder the FDA investigation. But the memo is emblematic of the industry’s frequent and often successful attempts to fend off regulators at a time when concerns are growing about the quality of compounded drugs and the uncertain provenance of their ingredients, some of which originate in China and flow through various repackagers and middlemen with little extra scrutiny, according to interviews with health experts and government records.

    Drugs made by compounders — who mix or alter ingredients to create customized medicine for a specific patient — are rarely tested, unless someone is harmed or a complaint is filed. In Texas, a hub of compounding pharmacies and one of only two states that randomly test compounded drugs, random tests by the state’s pharmacy board over the last several years found that as many as one in four compounded drugs was either too weak or too strong. The testing results are just slightly better in Missouri, the other state that randomly tests. Potency varied by as much as 300 percent in the Missouri tests.

  8. Pat Johnson says:

    The pundits are discussing the “body language” of the challengers.

    But this is what I saw in Obama’s face as he looked into the eyes of that clueless twit:

    “You sir are an idiot. You have no idea what you are talking about. You are a shameless moron who will say and do anything to get what you want and the public is getting a taste of your ignorance as you ramble from topic to topic denying your own words. I can’t believe that I am running “neck to neck” in the polls with this dimwit!”

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I agree Pat, I saw the same things in Obama’s body language and facial expressions. Romney is a shameless, arrogant man that will say anything, to anyone, to win. Last nights debate demonstrated that his debate rhetoric is in stark contrast to his primary and stump rhetoric. In short, Romney is a liar.

  9. RalphB says:

    While I think he’s already done it, Obama is releasing an official 2nd term agenda today. Nice TV ad is also at the link.

    National Journal: Obama Lays Out Second-Term Agenda in Booklet, Ad

    After weeks of being challenged by Democrats and Republicans to lay out his second-term agenda, President Obama’s campaign is releasing a 20-page booklet called “Blueprint for America’s Future” on Tuesday and airing a new television ad to support it.

    • Beata says:

      Here’s the new ad out today. FORWARD!!!

      • bostonboomer says:

        I missed you last night, Beata. Hope all is well with you and your mom.

      • Beata says:

        Sorry I wasn’t here last night, BB. I didn’t even watch the debate. I haven’t been well and I am dealing with my mother’s continued decline, too. Also bracing for possible GOP wins in the state and presidential races. Very depressing. I’m finding it hard to keep from tearing up and I’m not a person who cries much.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        You didn’t really miss anything with the debate Beata because you already knew what was going to happen. Romney lied and Obama called him on it. Take care of yourself.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Ann Coulter, frequent panelist on ABC’s This Week, refers to President Obama as “the retard.”


    • peggysue22 says:

      Coulter should be institutionalized. The quicker the better. These mouthpieces are simply spinning wheels–they don’t even like Romney. They just can’t face losing the election, again.

      • bostonboomer says:

        She certainly shouldn’t be invited on supposedly serious political discussion shows. But she is. Proof that they aren’t even close to serious.

      • Fannie says:

        I’d like to see her fired then institutionalized.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      And has Ms. Palin rushed forward to rail against the use of the word as she did when Rahm Emanuel used it?

      Didn’t think so.

    • Beata says:

      Coulter is a case of arrested development to put it mildly. Those are the kind of insults I recall hearing from middle-school mean girls. I don’t think she’s mentally stable. Really pathetic.

      • Fannie says:

        She’s turned it into a national passtime for girls. Bummer because we know what happen as they grow up, and I agree, it’s pathetic.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Ann Coulter: All neck, no brains!!!

    • roofingbird says:

      Another case of projection?

    • peregrine says:

      Before I stopped wasting time with Ann Coulter interviews or guest spots, I read up on her. She has smartly worked the “kick-ass” folks to buy thousands of her books and wait in long lines for her to sign them. They love for her to sock it to the liberals and they wait for her off the wall zingers. She’s Limbaugh in print. She’s a darling of the extreme, radical far right who votes the white (racist), misogynist, war-mongering, 1%-loving republican party. She’s able to express in print and interviews what they feel and think(?). They find it hilarious for someone to be publicly validating their instincts. She and Limbaugh play to lizard-brain (no mind there) people who have reached critical mass this election cycle. Thereby, putting the U.S. on the brink of becoming the greatest threat to world peace, imo, regardless of the peace loving words spoken now by tough Romney.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Scarecrow from FDL is in the hospital with melanoma that has spread to his brain. I sure hope he can recover.


  12. Pat Johnson says:

    In his defense, MIttens showed that indeed there are two sides to every argument.

    He’s used them all.

    • Good one…Pat. Are you feeling a little more at ease with the possible election results? I must admit, that I have a slightly better gut feeling this morning than I did yesterday.

  13. RalphB says:

    Dan Savage has a caption contest going for a picture of Ann and Mitt post debate. As you might expect, it’s not for the faintest of heart but it is funny.


    • ANonOMouse says:

      Ann: Mitt, where’s my whip????

      Mitt: Ann, this is why I bought you the $1,000,000 dollar pony.

    • janicen says:

      I really wanted to come up with a clever caption for that but for a change, I’m speechless. 😀

  14. RalphB says:

    John Cole: The Funniest Thing I Heard Post Debate

    Was sitting here with my friend and said “Let’s check out the hive mind.” So we switched to Fox, and caught Sean Hannity talking to Ed Gillespie, and Hannity was apparently doing push back on the devastating Obama zinger about horses and bayonets, and said, and I am not fucking making this up:

    “Some of our troops rode horses in Afghanistan and the Marines still carry bayonets. Maybe someone should tell the President how the military actually works.”

    Yes, Petunia. A couple hundred special forces guys rode horses in Afghanistan, basically because you can’t take an M1A2 or Hummer up the Khyber pass. Likewise, the Marines do still do carry bayonets (as does the Army!), but I don’t recall the last bayonet charge. The number of combat troops carrying bayonets is a small fraction than the 3.5 million grunts we had in WW1 wearing pith helmets and dying in bayonet charges and mustard gas. Likewise, there were tens of thousands of horses in WW1 in combat, there were a few in Afhanistan.

    These people are just insane.

    Cole has a good point there.

    • Obama did say “fewer” which I think means that they still do have horses and bayonets. 😉 It is like the reaction to the act of terror phrase. These people are nuts.