What did you think of the debate?

For my part, I missed it. Rehearsal.

But I recorded it, and hope to watch it tomorrow. (Actually, I’m watching the first few minutes now. It certainly starts out civilly enough…)

But in the meantime, I thought I’d provide a place for a discussion. What did y’all think?

36 thoughts on “What did you think of the debate?

  1. Doug Ross

    I watched the whole debate and then switched to MSNBC to see how they would spin an obvious Romney victory. But when Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews, and Lawrence O’Donnell all said Romney won easily, I think the results were pretty obvious.

    Stylistically, Obama was a horrow show. Spent way too much time writing notes and ignoring Romney.

    The only performance worse than Obama’s was Jim Lehrer’s. Time for him to be put out to pasture.

    Two tweets from Bill Maher speak volumes:

    “Obama made a lot of great points tonight. Unfortunately most of them were for Romney”


    “I can’t believe I’m saying this but Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter”

    It was a blowout.

  2. Jesse S.

    It was horrible. An 8th grade debate team could have wiped the floor with both of them. Romney couldn’t get past basic logic. Meanwhile, Obama was too busy looking presidential, nodding and agreeing with Romney until Romney brought up a random fact that fell apart the second you ran the percentage in your head.

    By the end Romney won via the face race by being defensive, speaking with a loud voice and contradicting his entire career so that he could be a state’s rights hero. His two responses beyond that were “not increasing revenue” and “It’s in my plan”*, applied to taste. This would be fine and dandy if he were running for the Atlantic Confederation of Governors, but it kind of spoils all of the “real leadership from business experience” talk from earlier in the campaign.

    The real loser of the night was Jim Lehrer, who was not only a weak moderator, but had to listen as neither candidate felt his day job was much more than another drop of water in the boat, waiting to be bailed out into the sea.

    Meanwhile PACs for both candidates are frantically editing debate footage, splicing it with black and white images of factory workers and abandoned buildings.

    *We are at X minus 34 days, why do non-incumbents always pulls this?

  3. Steve Gordy

    I didn’t hear much of substance that was new and different. I think Romney more than held his own, but neither candidate committed a major gaffe. I didn’t even hear any decent zingers.

  4. Karen McLeod

    Obama did not call Romney on some misstatements (eg. Obamacare will take away free market insurance). Romney was specific on what parts of Obama’s plans he would keep re: Obamacare and race to the top. He keeps the parts that everyone knows they like. He was not specific on what he’d get rid of or replace it with. Apparently both Obama and Romney are using different arithmetical bases, neither of which agree with the one we were taught in primary school.

  5. Steven Davis II

    Two things that hurt Obama, all of the stuttering and stammering that made him appear like he walked in unprepared. Secondly, his constant nodding in agreement whenever Romney dressed him down on everything.

  6. Steven Davis II

    It was bad enough for Obama that I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for him to pull the guaranteed successful Ron White debate technique out of his hat.

  7. Brad

    In those few minutes I watched last night on CNN, before going to sleep, I really didn’t like the divided screen thing, which invited the viewer to look as much at the person not speaking as the person speaking. Maybe it’s my own experience onstage, which I’m reliving now. The hardest thing is to figure out how to look, or what to do, when others are speaking. It’s really awkward, and the idea that millions were staring into every pore on my face on HD would make it worse.

    I saw the Obama nodding thing. I also saw the rather sickly grin/grimace Romney wears when he’s trying to exhibit polite attention. And I felt bad for both of them.

    It reminded me of a debate in which I was on the panel of questioners, in 1984. It was Al Gore’s first election to the Senate. There was no divided-screen thing at this, so only those of us in the convention center could see what Gore was doing when his opponent (Victor Ashe) was speaking: Studiously, obviously, pointedly ignoring him.

    I wrote a column about it, because I knew folks watching at home had missed this whole dissing act. During Ashe’s concluding statement, Al very, very slowly gathered his papers together, straightening them meticulously. Then he took his pen and peering carefully down into his coat to sight his shirt pocket, slowly inserted the pen into the pocket. And when I say slow, I mean it was like a docking maneuver in space. He moved as deliberately and carefully as a drunk trying to look sober.

    One assumes the point was to unnerve his opponent with his utter disregard.

    If they had had the split-screen thing then, he would have looked like a total jerk to the folks at home. In that case, he would have deserved it. But candidates who are trying to look appropriately attentive and respectful, yet not deferential (after all, they are alpha males running for king of the jungle), have a tough row to hoe, and have my sympathy.

  8. Steven Davis II

    That thud you heard last night:

    – We thought it was Obama’s spin doctors hitting the floor when they realized the task ahead of them when the debate was over.

    – The sound of Romney’s other ball dropping.

    – Drunk Biden

    – That was Michelle punching a hole in the wall.

    – Sounded like a champagne cork to me.

  9. Phillip

    @Steven: you left a couple out sources of that thudding sound…

    The sound of a huge chest filled with gold bars dropped at Romney’s feet, the latest payoff from Sheldon Adelson for doing so well at the debate and advancing the cause of millionaires everywhere…


    the hearts of hard-working Americans who don’t happen to be fortunate enough to make six-figure incomes, and maybe have some health issues to deal with, sinking through the floor as they ponder the possibility of a President who not only doesn’t care about them, but who feels that they are intrinsically worthless to society.

  10. Steven Davis II

    @Phillip – Maybe it was the sound of Obama’s mother-in-law bringing packing boxes down from the White House attic.

    As if Obama doesn’t have gold bars being tossed his way from the left-wing folks.

    You don’t need to make six-figures to have health insurance. For most people all it requires is a willingness to work.

    It’s time for America to put on it’s big-boy pants.

    Maybe someone can Tweet this out to all of those who are using free Obamaphones.

  11. Steve Gordy

    The glee from our own SD II speaks volumes about GOP thinking. Actually, I WATCHED very little of the debate; mostly I listened while my eyes were somewhere else. I did hear one howler this morning on the radio: Mitt saying you can’t balance the budget by raising taxes. Huh?

  12. Doug Ross


    Romney explained that view. When you raise taxes, there are consequences on the economy, even when you raise them on the nasty rich people. Raising taxes slows growth. Romney’s take was that you have to cut spending and promote broad based economic growth. That’s what generates the revenue to create a balanced budget.

    Raising taxes may have a temporary effect but it won’t work longterm unless you combine it with spending cuts.

  13. Doug Ross


    Obama will raise more and spend more than Romney.

    From the Federal Election Commission July 2012 numbers:

    Barack Obama

    Money Raised: $49,167,908.64 Money Spent: $58,956,970.12 Cash on Hand: $87,747,677.61

    Mitt Romney

    Money Raised: $40,329,413.16
    Money Spent: $32,653,870.28 Cash on Hand: $30,181,372.86

    Adelson spent millions on Newt Gingrich. It didn’t help a bit. Money doesn’t win elections.

  14. Brad

    Of course, spending cuts ALSO slow down growth. Public sector cutbacks have been a drag on recovery. Private sector growth is actually higher than the aggregate, but government cutbacks have pulled down on that number.

    But do we think it’s wise to keep cutting taxes and increasing spending, with deficits growing ever larger? I don’t.

    The point here is that it is as ridiculous to take tax increases off the table as it is to take spending cuts off the table. A rational person considers both.

  15. Brad

    It’s also foolish for anyone to pretend that the answers are easy.

    While this nation was increasing spending AND extending tax cuts a couple of years back, Britain was increasing taxes and cutting spending. Which I thought took a lot of guts. But it hasn’t produced wonderful economic results, as one might expect with such a growth-inhibiting one-two. Yesterday, the business secretary said the UK economy is “in a very deep crisis.”

  16. Silence

    “It’s time for America to put on its big-boy pants.” – SDII


    @ Brad – what if the growth ain’t coming, spending or no spending? What if the future is 1% growth+population growth?

    It seems like we’ve passed the point of diminishing returns when it comes to governmental spending, but that’s just my opinion.

  17. Mark Stewart

    All sitting Presidents need a debate coach who in the month before the first debate has a priority call over 3 hours per day. Non negotiable. They all get creamed as they have been a leader for years, not a verbal sparing competitor. Bet that changed this am in the Obama inner circle.

    Time to wake up and relearn old lessons.

    There are no incumbents on a debate stage. It’s hunger that counts.

  18. Juan Caruso

    Here was Obama without a teleprompter, doing his usual spiels and being unusually professional about it. He sticks to his unannounced but obvious priorities for the economy:

    Concentrating on growth of union jobs he refers to as “middle class” (e.g. 200,000 more teachers, green and not mentioning by name green manufacturing…e.g. Solyndra, GM’s Volt).

    Here was Romney as most had not seen him televised, able to speak with to whatever the point with ample facts and obvious conviction.

    Obama forfeited.

    Biden:Ryan promises to be more entertaining because: 1) Biden cannot be as professional as Obama; 2) Biden, if he remembers them well, will have newer spiels, and; 3) the topic (Foreign and domestic policy) is potentially more treacherous.

    Plan to watch all debates; not only great TV, but better than the lawyerly spectacles presented since JFK.

  19. Steve Gordy

    Doug, I quite agree that we need to do both tax increases and spending cuts. I’m also not trying to pick on rich people, but one simple question: Mitt Romney has over five years since he stepped down as governor of MA to demonstrate his expertise in job-creating business management. He HAS created jobs for campaign staffers, I admit.

  20. Phillip

    Ah, Doug, you’re forgetting this is a new world, thanks to our friends at SCOTUS. Your FEC figures do not reflect the Pacs that do not have to register with the FEC, and the vast majority of that money is siding with Romney, which is completely understandable and logical in its own way.

    You’re right that money doesn’t win elections…not yet…but they’re certainly working on that and getting closer all the time. Remember, the “Citizens United” decision is only two years old. Give it time.

  21. Doug Ross


    What does all that money buy? There is no evidence that shows more money makes a difference when you get beyond a certain point. Both Obama and Romney and their associated PACS will far outspend what is necessary.

  22. Silence

    @ Mark Stewart- You are correct about it being the hunger that counts.

    Remember in Rocky III when Rocky fights Clubber Lang (Mr. T) for the first time? That’s what this election is like.

    Obama hasn’t been hungry since he got elected POTUS. In 2008 Obama had the eye of the tiger, but now he’s lost it. To get it back he’ll have to lose the election, go back to Chicago and get hungry again. He’ll also need Carl Weathers to train him for the 2016 rematch.

    Like Clubber Lang said: “My Prediction….Pain!”

  23. Juan Caruso

    “Mitt Romney has over five years since he stepped down as governor of MA to demonstrate his expertise in job-creating business management.” -SG

    That would be an excellent question under usual circumstances.

    The time Romney has spent campaigning has been comparable to what Obama has spent campaigning (in office to retain office). Romney also managed a tour to promote a new book in 2010, and defeat a field of Republican challengers Obama did not have to confront 2012, as we may recall.

    Perhaps the most onerous allotment of Romney’s time, however has been personal:

    In 2009, the Romneys sold their primary residence and moved to an oceanfront home in California. San Diego’s location and climate are better suited for Ann Romney’s multiple sclerosis therapy. Ann Romney had also been diagnosed with carcinoma in 2008.

    Those of us who have not had to deal with such family medical issues may consider ourselves fortunate indeed.

  24. Steven Davis II

    Doug, don’t you realize throwing money around fixes everything? If we’d spend more money in the Corridor of Shame they’d be producing classrooms full of future Ivy League graduates.

  25. Mark Stewart

    No, Steven, but there might be one or two Ivy Leaguers per year. Certainly there are many intelligent children in those communities that have no path forward. That costs us all; every year from now until our demise. Consider that next time you feel the urge to vent your stunted anger at the poor.

  26. Mark Stewart

    Silence, welcome back.

    Hopefully the Obama campaign will correct that train wreck before the next debate. There is still plenty of time for the salts to work their magic.

    But also, it was interesting that Romney still can’t control those facial smirks; that had to have been his handlers’ first priority.

  27. Scout

    “You don’t need to make six-figures to have health insurance. For most people all it requires is a willingness to work.”

    There are a lot of working people without health insurance who would disagree with you on that.

    “Those of us who have not had to deal with such family medical issues may consider ourselves fortunate indeed.”

    It’s true. Now compare the fortunes of those who do deal with such family medical issues but are independently wealthy and/or have health insurance vs. the working poor who deal with such family medical issues but have no health insurance.

  28. Herb

    Romney created a hole as big as a barnyard at one point, yet the President didn’t run through it. I’d have to go back to it and listen again to get the exact quote, but the gist of it was that the economy had tanked at the beginning of Obama’s administration. Hello–I mean, whose fault was that supposed to be?

  29. Herb

    The NBC commentators were falling all over each other pointing out how much more substance there was in this debate as over against previous election years. Huh?

    I miss a good ‘ol German round table discussion about issues–now there’s substance–at least as much as can be had with the medium of TV. Of course it’s a lot more interesting in a multi-party system, too.


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