Debate Live Blog

Join us here for group snarking of the first presidential debate. I’m making no predictions. The expectations game being what it is, if Romney manages to speak in complete sentences and not drool, at least some pundits will call it a win. And President Obama is not as strong a debater as he is a speaker. So fingers crossed. But it may be that nothing that will happen tonight will make any difference …

* While we’re waiting, what questions would you ask? I want someone to pin Mittens down on what tax “loopholes” he would cut.

* Here we go. Interesting that they’re the same height. Oh, cool, Mittens has a red tie and the President has a blue tie.

* Republicans did not have a plan. They had a stack of paper.


POTUS: Worst financial collapse since the Great Depression. Things are better, but we need to do more.

* Economic patriotism.

MITTENS: Mittens is wearing his empathy face. Mittens is repeating his five-point economic plan that doesn’t say shit.

*Back to POTUS. Both candidates say that improving education is important to economy. POTUS is explaining what he would do.

*POTUS is talking about tax code.

*Now Romney is lying about his tax plans. He hasn’t proposed tax cuts for upper income?

*OK, on Mitt’s web page he says he is proposing a 20 percent across-the-board tax cuts on marginal tax rates. Now he’s saying he is not going to cut taxes for the wealthy? When did he change his mind?

*Romney is now saying he is not going to reduce the tax share for high income individuals. This is a complete flip for what he has been saying all along. See Think Progress.

*So, basically, Mitt’s debate strategy is to lie his ass off about what he has promised in the past.

* Richard Adams: “So far from Mitt Romney there’s been more waffle than zinger. But when you have a “no details tax plan” that’s what happens I guess.”


* Mittens: Debt is immoral.

* Mittens says that raising taxes slows economic growth. Not during the Clinton Administration.

* Mittens plans to grow jobs by laying off government employees.

Some facts on Romney’s proposals.

Bill Clinton balanced the budget by raising taxes.
Bill Clinton balanced the budget by raising taxes.
Bill Clinton balanced the budget by raising taxes.
Bill Clinton balanced the budget by raising taxes.
Bill Clinton balanced the budget by raising taxes.
Bill Clinton balanced the budget by raising taxes.
Bill Clinton balanced the budget by raising taxes.
Bill Clinton balanced the budget by raising taxes.
Bill Clinton balanced the budget by raising taxes.


* Frankly, someone watching this without a pretty solid background in current events might feel Mittens is winning. Mittens is lying his ass off, but if you didn’t know that, he might seem persuasive. What do you think?

* Oh, Medicare Advantage is doing fine, Mittens. People aren’t about to lose it.

* Yep, Mittens is smirking.

* The simple fact is that the private sector insurance has increased faster than Medicare.


* Mittens is talking about Dodd Frank, POTUS looks very happy.


WTF is Mittens talking about Obamacare insurance costing more? That doesn’t even make sense.


There is no board that will tell people what treatment they will have.

* Mittens promises goodies without saying how they will be paid for.

* Mittens won’t tell us how he could keep his promises because he wants to wait until he hears from Congress.

* Isn’t this debate going over schedule?


Mission of the federal government.

POTUS: Keep people safe. Government has the capacity to open opportunity and create frameworks where people can succeed.

Willard: FREEDOM! He wants people to have the freedom to be taken care of by charity. Wow.

Well, I have to say Willard isn’t coming across as warm and human. He’s coming across as Willard.

POTUS: Making college affordable. Student loan crisis. Cut out the middleman.

Well, I’m going to have to say that people are probably going to say Mitt came out ahead, and he’s likely to get a bump, but I don’t see that Mitt is getting a knockout punch, and that’s what he needed.

* It’s also the case that the fact-checkers are going to have a field day with a lot of what Mitt says.

I missed this, but Moveon is saying that Mitt called the President “bro.”

* Well, the Guardian liveblog and my Facebook friends are trashing Mittens right and left. Maybe it’s a draw.

* Mitt is not being likeable, I have to say. He’s kind of harsh.

OK, it’s over. I’m watching MSNBC because I want Rachel Maddow to reassure me. But if you’re watching something else let us know what is being said.

* Steve Schmidt is saying this was a great night for Mitt Romney, and I don’t doubt Republicans really liked Mitt’s performance. But the question is, will this move the needle? Is this going to make much difference?

Chris Matthews is furious at the President for letting Romney dominate the debate. Where was Obama tonight? he says.

One more thing — people are griping that the President wasn’t more aggressive. I’m not sure that would have worked for him, because if he comes across as angry, he loses. I blame Jim Lehrer for being much too passive. We needed questioners to keep the format in control, and Jim Lehrer just plain failed. That worked in Romney’s favor.

Well, I’m tired and need to go to bed, but do keep commenting.

48 thoughts on “Debate Live Blog

  1. I wish i could read lips i would love to know what they said to each other when they shook hands

  2. Someone should fire the sound guy. They should have adjusted the pickup so that it didn’t pick up the room echo so strongly.

    Now Mitt is trying to convince us that HE’s the one concerned with the middle class. Riight. AAAh, there it is – he slips in the “when you account for growth” as the way of explaining how its revenue neutral to cut taxes as he proposed while eliminating deductions.

    No tax cut that adds to the deficit, he promises. Let’s see how that flies.

    Oh, now Barack’s turn.

  3. Mittens face is certainly wearing an expression. It is wearing, not genuine. This guy is such a farce. It all reminds me of the recent Zack GAlifinakis movie “The Campaign”.

    Gotta give Romney credit for the same silly “clean coal” line Obama uses. So far, there is no clean coal that i’ve seen. But the idea that we should sacrifice all federal parks, etc. to drilling is silly.

    That fake Rmoney grin/smile = grile? expression is just so sad. And he quite evidently thinks it communicates something that works for him.

  4. Barack veered pretty hard into the wonk-trap there for a bit, describing who and what counts as a “small business” under the tax code. And it looks like he set Mitt up for a quick comeback on how heavily they are taxed.

  5. Let’s hope they get to some substance.I find that I always do better in presenting an argument when I know what I’m talking about.I don’t generally engage in agruments about the experience of childbirth or women’s issues..So let’s see how Mitt does with the economic situation that’s facing our nation.. accusations of failed leadership and the empty promise of jobs just ain’t gonna cut it. We’re facing a systemic problem that magic can’t cure.

    Merlin Romney?..I’m not buying.

  6. Teevee’s off at my house. Sounds like I’m not missing much.

    have they mentioned valdemort I mean bush yet

    If Mittens really said, “Debt is immoral,” then yes, he did.

  7. So … everything Mitt is saying is BS and Obama is flustered? Therefore Mitt wins the debate?

    Awesome country.

    The Guardian liveblog mostly finds Mitt annoying.

  8. Frankly, someone watching this without a pretty solid background in current events might feel Mittens is winning. Mittens is lying his ass off, but if you didn’t know that, he might seem persuasive. What do you think?

    Well, the people watching on Xbox Live strongly favor Obama.

  9. Mitt’s doing pretty well, if you don’t know the facts and why what he’s saying so convincingly is nonsense, when it isn’t a sudden redefinition of the proposals he’s been making for 18 months.

    Obama is showing his limitations as a debater, and keeps getting into the wonky weeds, instead of spearing Romney with the sharp needle of key facts at just the right time.

    Mitt is smirking, which I hope will bother some people. Otherwise, he’s coming across very convincingly to Republicans who are predisposed to believe his bull.

  10. If this were a football game, we’d continually see figures on Time of Possession. Does anyone not think that Romney is well ahead in that statistic? An ability to grab the floor and talk down everyone including the polite moderator is definitely a valuable debating skill, and Obama’s lesser ability here will prove he’s losing. Right? At this moment he butts in and interrupts on regulation and all.

    Next debate, the moderator will be Barney Frank, right?

  11. Argh, my wireless connection, c’est crap. Also, this thing started too late… stupid Mountain Time Zone!

    Night, all. I’ll read your summaries in the morning.

  12. Obama just emitted a sort of sigh (starting his answer on why not repearl ACA). He has just lost the debate, of course.

  13. Maybe he hasn’t lost. He just overrode the moderator. Still hope for his debating skills.

  14. I have a preexisting condition I was born now the only way to get of rid of this condition is thru the compassionate auspices of republican policy see you on the ice flow

  15. Obama is doing a terrible job of making his points, and it’s hard to keep following when he wanders around in that halting style of his. Mitt’s speaking style is much more organized and forceful sounding.

    If you didn’t know, you’d think Mitt knew what he was talking about, and Obama was making stuff up as he goes along.

    This is making me sad.

    • If you didn’t know, you’d think Mitt knew what he was talking about, and Obama was making stuff up as he goes along.

      This is my impression also. If you’re already well informed you see the holes in Mitt’s arguments, but I think a lot of people watching this might think Mitt is scoring points.

  16. Mitt is charging too hard. People see it. He’s not interesting in speaking to the American people, he’s only interested in attacking Obama.. I apprieciate your concern for my welfare, Mitt.

  17. Jeez, Chris Matthews is screaming at the President for screwing up so badly and missing so many opportunities.

    I wish I didn’t agree with him.

  18. Mitt dodged the voucher bullet.. It’s a shame that Jim Lehrer didn’t pin him down on a yes or no answer before he let him run his prepared script.

  19. Ok Ok I see a SNL skit here…romney is back stage pre debate, sniffing lines like a race horse..he comes out on stage smirking with his hair and face lookin all greasy- where he will yell out”No! I didn’t say that” when ever the moderator or the SNL Obama says anything, arguing about everything including what we hear him say he wanted to drink only seconds before” No , NO I didn’t say I wanted water” like a aggressive crack head – then smirking like he had pooped his pants thinking he had gotten away with it. Winning!

  20. I was moved to tears when Mitt recited the Declaration of Independence. Endowed by our “creator”.

  21. Mitt looked at times like his circuit board overheaded. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger, Will Robinson.

  22. I can’t believe he never asked Mitt about the 47% comment.

    Talking heads are saying Obama was to ‘professorial’ when he ‘lectured’ Romney that the numbers in the budget plan – DON’T ADD UP!

    Is the journalistic profession occupied entirely by humans afraid of numbers? Ronmey’s budget is a hoax! A Fraud! Fiction! Fantasy! Do the math!

    It wasn’t Obama’s best night but JEEZ – Romney’s pledge on jobs is built on an economic plan that’s bovine excretion. (fooled ‘ya, twit filter) That was Obama’s main argument and if any media people will just look at the facts…

  23. CNN has already called it for Romney.

    Wolf Blitzer, the man with the most awesome name in news, declared Obama looked “bored” and “irritated.”

  24. If you didn’t know, you’d think Mitt knew what he was talking about, and Obama was making stuff up as he goes along.

    Not my impression at all. Some people use aggresive/ overly assertive speaking as a defense mechanism to mask their insecurities. I saw it as Mitt talking down/ almost buffeting Obama. And it replused me. Maybe I just see it through spiritual eyes, but I’m reminded of these lines from Desiderata.

    Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit.

    Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.

    I see Mitt as making a sales pitch and he’ll say anything to make the sale.There is no truth in him. We are of opposite spirits and I wouldn’t trust in any capacity.
    If you trust him …you’ll be making a big mistake.

  25. Re: upper income, I’m pretty sure that Romney has claimed that he intends to keep the share paid by upper income the same – somehow, by cutting loopholes and deductions, you’ll change 28% without deductions into 35% with. Unless he’s going to change the carried interest loophole – which I simply can’t believe, if you tell me that, you might as well tell me about the tooth fairy in the same sentence – I don’t think it’s possible.

    Did Mitt Romney really say that small business owners might not think America is the right place to start a small business? What does he think a small business *is*?

  26. Here’s a little nightcap. Sweet dreams my fellow Americans. Just suck it up and sleep tight. We’re second to none!

  27. Romney suddenly pretends he is a reasonable moderate – WTF??? All this debate did was solidify my feelings about both candidates. Namely, that Obama is spineless and rolls over too easy for right-wing vermin who deserve to have their teeth kicked down their throat and that Willard Romney is a rich, spoiled bully who has a grossly overinflated ego and who would say or do anything to be president!

  28. I quit watching right after I made my comment far, far above. It was just what I expected, with Romney lying and Obama being polite and letting Romney hang himself for the fact checkers next day. I suspect there will be some talking heads going over the “truth” tomorrow, which can only help Obama. The low information voters will still know nothing, and they sure don’t watch MSNBC.

  29. I pretty much agree, Bill B.
    CNN polls show Romney as the winner. Sadly, I think they are right.
    I fell asleep about 1/4 way through, and felt at that point that Obama was way too agreeable, nodding at many of Romney’s talking points.
    My prediction of Obama mopping the floor with Romney did not come true.

  30. I watched the debate with my 80 year old Obama lovin’ Mama, so I could follow everyone’s comments here. And we were both very depressed at the end.

    The President got his butt handed to him.
    Sure, he was more detailed, and Mitt looked like he’d snorted an 8-Ball of coke – and his eyes looked like the eyes of a madman.

    Yes, Obama couldn’t afford to look angry, but he ended up looking passive. His kept his head down – and then the kept nodding while Romney was lying as if he agreed with the BS. He looked like a kid being lectured by the Principal for doing something wrong. His body language was horrible.
    He didn’t really challenge that $716 billion BS. I kept screaming at the TV for him to stop nodding, and to tell the audience that Mitt’s $716 billion claim was BS – and here’s why…
    And Mitt lied, and lied, and lied, and lied. He ran on things for 6 years, and now, he’s completely changed his platform.
    Obama missed opportunity after opportunity:
    Mitt bitched about Wall Street and the bankers? Mitt Romney?!?! What say you, Mr. President? *Crickets*
    Mitt claimed he didn’t know about the tax deduction for corporate jets? Mr. President, he just threw a hanging curveball over the middle – AND YOU DIDN’T EVEN SWING AT IT! He could have taken him down completely by bringing up that that must have been the ONLY tax deduction that Mitt and his CPA’s had ever missed. *Crickets*

    President Obama hurt himself badly, I think.
    The “morans” in the MSM needed a reason to do their damnedest to make this a close race, and now, they have reason to push the narrative that the President got beat in this debate. Jesus, the feckin’ idjits in the MSM will have as big a rocket in their pockets as they can muster FOR WEEKS! I expect Cup O’ Schmoe to come back after every commercial this morning, looking disheveled, and smoking a cigarette.

    What it means in the end I don’t know. But the President didn’t help himself last night, and he sure as hell didn’t help Democrats down-ticket.

    Oh, and I love Jim Lehrer, and had high hopes for him, but he SUCKED!!! He let Romney roll over him like a tsuname. Jim, baby, he’s the CHALLANGER!


  31. As of this morning, Nate Silver still forecasts Obama with an 86.1% chance of winning the election. We’ll see how much that changes in the next few days.

    I got the feeling Obama laid off some important anti-Romney points because his teevee ads are hammering those same points. If that’s the case, bad idea imo. Teevee ads are shallow.

    C’mon Barack, bring the fire next time.

  32. Cundgulag, I think you nailed it. I kept waiting for Obama to catch fire, but he seemed so bland and ineffectual. We didn’t have to see An Angry Black Man, but c’mon, give us something!

    Romney set a land speed record for lying and one hopes that fact checkers will take time to assess the line of bullcrap he was throwing out there. He managed to toss Solyndra and China and fifty other outright lies into the debate, lobbing them past Obama like tennis shots, and Obama ducked them all.

    I trust the Obama team, and I know there are constraints on what a sitting President needs to do, but that was a real let-down for me.

  33. My take was that Romney is by far a better liar than President Obama, in fact I’m not sure Obama lied once. Well how can you win a debate without lying?

  34. Lehrer SUCKED!
    Obama SUCKED!
    And Obama’s performance last night SUCKED the air out of every Liberal-leaning person’s hopes for the next 4 years.

    Obama didn’t talk about a single Liberal/Progressive issue!
    Women and choice? NOT ONE mention of women!
    Unions? Not one mention of unions.
    Uhm, Mr. President, who exactly do you think is giving you the lead you had going into last night? Confidence Fairies?

    After the Democrats spent 3 days talking about Democratic creation of, and support, of Liberal/Progressive polices for 80 years, all he mentioned was some tepid support for SS, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    And as for Simpson-Bowles:
    That’s not Liberal/Progressive!
    Not in English. No even in the original Austrian.

    Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!
    If the President loses, he has no one but himself and his performance to blame.
    Not only did he let Mitt get back in the game, he gave the MSM 4+ weeks of horse race bullshit to jircle-cerk one another off to.

    Jayzoos H. Keerist in remedial Aramaic class, did you learn NOTHING from Clinton’s speech in Charlotte?

    Maybe for the next debate, Obama should say he’s lost his voice, and have Bill Clinton take his place.

  35. I’d like to consider myself a realist. I hope for more from him, particularly in the way of verve and affectation. I love Obama dearly, voted for him and sent money.
    It’s great to be right but let’s get real, winning takes that and more. Smugness will not help a bit here. We’re living in an age of style not substance so the righteousness needs a bright, shiny fun wrapper.

    There’s something primal that causes people to line up behind a fighter. Justin Frank in “Obama on the Couch” (his matching bookend to “Bush on the couch” and a meticulous exercise in forensic psychiatry) probes both deeper and wider, citing first hand anecdotal accounts and supporting well what he calls a conflict-avoidance style. He writes:

    “suppressed anger undermines one’s ability to recognize animosity in others…this he is blind to the scale and peril of opposition so extreme…He is afraid to admit the nature of the Republican threat–describing it to [MSNBC correpondent] Richard Wolffe when reflecting on Republican efforts to derail his health care reform bill as something to evoke appreciation rather than rage.”

    Wolffe quoting Obama:

    “You have to give the Republicans credit, just from a purely political perspective, that they use every instrument available to them in the Senate to prolong the process in such a way that helped drive down support nationally, that gave everybody a sense that somehow Washington was broken.”

    And Franks conclusion:

    “One way to evade recognition of genuine murderousness is to turn the jousting between them into a…sporting event, or in this case into just a matter of skilled legislative process. For someone who campaigned on restoring voter’s faith in government, to give anyone credit for convincing the populace that Washington was broken reveals a surprising willingness to see politics as a game, reflecting a remarkable aversion to acknowledging either his opponents’ hatred or his own anger. As a result, he fails too often to stand up to the opposition–at once depriving himself of the opportunity to give his anger healthy expression and facilitating the expansion of their hatred.”

    Maybe it’s a stretch but to some extent humans are pack animals. Ever notice how dogs, as has been documented also in wolf packs, will all turn on a weak one?

    Overall Frank seems fair-minded enough. He also claims that Obama is fairly well-balanced in most areas including his morals but he does not spare him his inconsistencies.

    Psychobabble? You decide.

    Maybe the blame can be laid at the feet of those preparing Obama. It was said that he was coached to be Presidential and not aggressive. People CAN step out of their comfort zone. That is remediable. I’m fine with “one step backwards and two steps forward”…no reason to curl into fetal position.

    There is no joy in mudville over being right, only winning. The costs to progressive interests over not electing Obama are incalculable but it’s entirely possible to be accurate and factual yet have your ass handed to you. So was it Obama or bad preparatory advice? I hope the latter because Obama is smart enough to come out of his comfort zone to remedy this false start. From the looks of Obama’s day after speaking he gets it. Let’s just hope he can keep on campaigning after being elected to a second term.

  36. File this under l’esprit de l’escalier.

    Upon hearing Mitt’s story about his boys telling him stories over and over in hopes he’ll believe them, it would have been great if Obama could have injected something along the lines of apples not falling far from the tree.

Comments are closed.