Howdy y’all – I’m back from a pseudo-vacation for a live-blog of the debate tonight. Grab your popcorn but keep this caveat in mind: studies show post-debate spin is more important than the actual debates themselves!
My drinking game words are “Bain” and “exceptionalism”.
As such, I’ll be crowd-sourcing spell-checking duties on the night.
9:03 – Ignored the rules, which I’m sure the candidates will also do. CNN has a speaking-time clock running. No surprise: Barack’s first mention is of his wife, Michelle, with whom he’s celebrating his 20th anniversary today.
9:06 – Obama runs a seamless two-minute drill: a summary of his stump speech, laying out where we’ve been, how far we’ve come and the work that’s still to be done.
9:08 – CNN Colorado undecided voters seem to be responding more to Obama’s opening plea than Romney’s — particularly women — and especially when Romney attacked Obama’s record as President.
9:09 – Obama pushes investments in K-12 and community college education, tax breaks for domestic manufacturers (as mentioned earlier in ITES: Manufacturing) and investments in alternative energy sources as key points to improving economic recovery.
9:11 – Jim Lehrer asks for specificity. Let’s see how far this gets…
9:13 – Mitt Romney once again repeats lies on overhead in federal programs. This after saying he doesn’t have a $5 trillion dollar tax cut, claims that it is revenue-neutral. Lie count for the night: two.
9:14 – Women don’t respond to “drill, baby, drill” line. Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio polls reflect this.
9:15 – The face-to-face fight for the middle class has officially begun.
9:16 – Obama unravels Romney’s tax plan myths, hits him hard on which loopholes he’d close. Average middle class family would pay $2000 or more under Romney’s tax plan. Let’s see how this response goes…
9:17 – Romney basically calls Obama a repetitive liar — talk about the pot calling the kettle black. DOES NOT MENTION WHICH LOOPHOLES HE’D CLOSE.
9:19 – It’s arithmetic! Was wondering when that zinger was going to appear…
9:20 – Speaking of zingers…still no signs of any from Romney, who’s reportedly been practicing them on aides for months.
9:20 – Donald Trump as a small-business owner one of those great dual purpose lines. Red meat for the base, and a great reference point for independents.
9:22 – Romney tries to take ownership of Bowles-Simpson. Must just be going for general name recognition, or forgetting that the Commission recommended raising revenues…
9:23 – Obama ends the first segment by making the choice not between Obama/Romney, but Clinton/Bush. Consistently, female undecideds have held more favorable opinions of Obama than males.
9:26 – Romney loves attacking the moderator and demanding attention. CNN shows undecideds don’t appreciate his pettiness.
9:28 – Romney has scored points attacking Obama on debt, but none on his own policies to reduce it. Americans don’t like debt, but they like your plans even less.
9:30 – Obama outlines specifics: $2.5 in cuts for every $1 in revenue. Retakes ownership of the Bowles-Simpson Commission. Also hits Romney hard on his refusal of a $10 to $1 mix of cuts to revenues during the Republican primaries. Right-wing extremism does him in again.
9:32 – Romney: small business owners, small business owners, you’re raising taxes, small business owners.
9:33 – Romney: absolutely I’ve ruled out more revenue. Someone find him that poll where 67% of Americans favor a millionaires’ tax…
9:34 – Obama gets to take advantage of the fact that the Republicans bow to the altar of Big Oil, pointing out subsidies still enjoyed and their incentives to outsource wells. That’s an easy well to sell tax increases on corporations (which are not people, my friends).
9:37 – Obama continuing to hammer Romney on Medicaid. That’s cornering the Florida vote, FYI.
9:38 – Romney associates himself with Oil and Obama with alternative energy. This might work as long as the only company people know is Solyndra, but it’s a fading, archaic viewpoint. I’ll take those characterizations all day long.
9:39 –Romney: people and states are brilliant, federal employees aren’t.
9:41 – Obama’s anecdote about his grandmother compelling, rebuts Romney’s dismissal of the 47%. Key point: She was able to be independent under the structure and benefits provided by the federal gov’t. Millions of Americans are just like her — and America is the land of opportunity partially because of these programs that give all a fighting chance.
9:43 – Big lie count: 3. Romney repeats the false claim that Obama is “raiding” Medicare.
9:44 – Obama hits Romney on premium support (voucher programs). If you’re Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty looks like a much safer running-mate now that you’ve been hog-tied to Paul Ryan’s draconian budget.
9:46 – Obama: If you repeal Obamacare, seniors fall into the doughnut hole. To repeat myself: Romney won’t push your grandma off the cliff, but he WILL toss her into the doughnut hole.
9:47 – Romney: what I support is no change to Medicare. Big Lie Count: 4.
9:49 – Obama (to my eternal joy) finally calls out Romney’s lies on Medicare’s supposed inefficiencies.
9:50 – Romney claims the private sector provides a better health-care plan at a lower cost. Big Lie Count: 5. I’ll link some charts from G20 countries that prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt…
9:51 – Romney would “repeal and replace” Dodd-Frank. Common theme: not fully ever revealing what “replace” entails.
9:54 – Obama: does anyone out there think that there was too much regulation and oversight on Wall Street? If you do, vote Romney.
9:55 – Romney: I want better regulation than Dodd-Frank. But I won’t say what it is.
9:56 – Romney favors a cost-only consideration of helping the healthcare market, and a cuts-only approach to dealing with the deficit. Key link: BUSINESS PROFITS!
9:57 – Romney: best approach for healthcare is to do what I did. Did anyone remind him that Romneycare and Obamacare are the same thing, for all intensive purposes?
9:59 – Obama: Healthcare is a key piece of middle-class security, just like jobs. Undecided women go wild – like 14 year old girls at a Justin Bieber show. Links his plan’s future success to the how well Romney’s plan worked in Massachusetts.
10:02 – Romney: claims Romneycare didn’t raise taxes in Massachusetts. Based on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the ACA, you’ve got Big Lie #6.
10:03 – After Romney champions “bipartisanism”, Obama reminds him that the ACA (particularly individual mandate) was a Republican idea which has origins in the Heritage Foundation.
10:05 – Obama highlights best practices in healthcare, shows need to apply these on a national level. Makes great case for higher standards, more federal involvement in the healthcare market. Key phrase: institutionalize best practices.
10:06 – Obama calls Romney out on punting solutions to the states and a failure to offer a replacement to Obamacare.
10:07 – Romney says his plan includes popular aspects of Obamacare (keeping children on their parents’ plans, covering pre-existing conditions). Does not mention any other details. Big Lie #7 is on IPAB’s ability to dictate your health treatments.
10:09 – Romney: private market and individual responsibility always work best. Ezra Klein has done a great series on why this just isn’t the case because of some unique characteristics that are peculiar to the healthcare market (i.e. everyone must use it at some point).
10:10 – Obama echoes my 10:07 comments on Romney. Obama: my choices are the ones that benefit middle-class families – the crux of the election.
10:11 – have yet to hear ANY specifics from Romney. Side note: think Jim Lehrer’s done an awful job keeping this debate on track.
10:12 – Romney: my plan includes covering pre-existing conditions. FOR THE FOURTH TIME, WE ALREADY KNOW.
10:13 – Best question has been asked: on the candidates’ fundamental differences in their vision of the American government.
10:14 – Obama: Abe Lincoln knew there were some things we do better together to provide gateways of opportunity for all Americans.
10:15 – Romney: I love great schools. That’s the kind of vague generality that’s dictated his presidential campaign.
10:17 – To stick with vulgarities, Romney has solely referenced the Declaration of Independence in his vision of government. Thomas Jefferson used lofty phrases for a purpose: defining and creating a free democratic nation. Mitt Romney has another purpose: becoming President.
10:18 – Romney affirms his plan to strap federal dollars to student’s backs and let their parents choose where they go. The problem: if you don’t improve schools, this has little to no effect on education standards, particularly in closing the racial gap that exists in education.
10:20 – Obama: Ryan Budget wasn’t very detailed, and this seems like a trend.
10:21 – Obama notes how he’s cut out the middleman on student loans, helping provide an opportunity for higher education to thousands more students. Key point: Obama cares about students, Romney about profits.
10:24 – Romney: I suggest we grade our schools. Here’s a thought – I suggest we IMPROVE our schools. You know, maybe fix the dilapidated ones and improve the student/teacher ratio.
10:25 – Romney: as President, I’ll sit down with Democratic leaders and talk about challenges and solutions. I just don’t believe that, especially after Mitch McConnell’s #1 goal is to stop Obama from being re-elected. There just really isn’t much common ground to find in Congress these days.
10:27 – Both candidates have struggled on the question on how to end partisan gridlock. Long term prognosis for the nation: not good. Best part- Obama: sometimes compromise means knowing when to say ‘no’. Romney doesn’t know how to say ‘no’ to his base.
10:28 – Obama’s closing statement: where we’ve been – worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. How we’ve recovered so far – ingenuity, perseverance and inherent generosity of American workers. What will we do to continue – focus on domestic manufacturing, balanced approach to deficit reduction and smart investments in alternative energy and education: this gives the American middle class the ability to continue to grow and thrive. I’ll continue to fight hard for you.
10:30 – Romney’s closing statement: I’ll fight chronic unemployment and create 12 million new jobs. Paints gloomy picture of next four years under Obama. Repeats Medicare lie. I will not cut commitment to our military.
I think that’s foreshadowing an attempt to fight on Obama’s turf in the near future since Romney’s economic policy doesn’t seem to be resonating.
John King seems to be handing this one to Romney. I don’t agree. CNN has an incentive to make this a “horse race.”
Obama didn’t really drill Romney on Bain & Bush enough for my and other progressive’s liking. Also preserved my sobriety. But he preserved his likability — and he’s the one in the lead. Let the ads hammer Romney, and let the President be the man above the fray.
Wolf Blitzer said Romney “held his own” tonight. But that’s simply not what he needed tonight. He didn’t do anything to win over new voters. It was a safe, gaffe-free debate — and all in all, that favors the leader.