Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Live Blogging the Live Bloggers
2nd Presidential Debate
Crowleytown Hall Edition

Welcome to the 2012 Election Edition - 2nd Presidential Debate in the continuing saga of "Live Blogging the Live Bloggers blogging the Debates!" 

The Dividist fondly recalls when he conceived this series to cover the first 2008 Republican debate, lo those many years ago, and first asked the question:
"There are plenty of live-bloggers covering the debate tonight, but who is covering the live bloggers? The Dividist rushes in where other, more sensible bloggers, fear to tread."
Actually I never said that. Although I am pretty sure I said something similar. Just don't want to be fact-checked on this.

Whew. It's the hump debate. As soon as it starts we are halfway through the final four debate schedule. So far, so good. The first debate was forfeited to  Romney when the President failed to show up due to a scheduling conflict.  The VP debate went to Biden on points, but he did not recover the momentum lost by the Democrats after the first. On to round three. This debate will be a Town Hall format, where the questions will be asked by semi-random voters (only God can make a truly random voter), and moderated by Candy Crowley.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the campaigns specified that the moderator will not coach or follow-up on the questions from the audience. Candy Crowley will be ignoring the MOU.

The debate will be held at Hofstra University in New York.  It will also be conpeting with the third game of the Amercan League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees are down in the series 0-2. Which is to say - the only people in the state of New York who will be watching the debate are people who are in the hall at Hofstra. And most of them will be tracking the game on their iPhones.

As always, we select a variety of bloggers from across the political spectrum,and attempt to live blog their live blog efforts. I don't know who we will include, in the past we've used used  Daily Kos from the left, VodkaPundit or HotAir from the right, look to either Reason or Cato for a libertarian point of view and the Moderate Voice, and/or Donklephant as a centrist blog.  Andrew Sullivan is  a reliable live-blogger, as is Chris Cillizza's Fix and CNBC will be tweeting.

If past is prologue we will likely guess wrong about which blogs to monitor and will be scrambling once things get started. Refresh your browsers for latest content once the debate is underway. Because of the derivative nature of this enterprise, I do run quite a bit behind the actual debate. Just setting expectations to lower the bar.

Ah yes. Expectations. The clearest indicator of the outcome for each of the first two debates was to simply bet against the prevailing conventional wisdom. In the first debate expectations were very high for Obama and he lost in a very big way. In the second debate, expectations were moderately higher for Ryan and by most observers, he lost in a closer contest. This time, Pew shows the President is again favored, but... and it is a big "but" - by a very narrow margin.



Chris Cillizza's Fix: "Given President Obama’s stinker of a performance the first time out — 71 percent of likely voters said Romney won in a new Washington post-ABC News poll — the pressure will be on the incumbent to show he has a pulse (and probably a bit more) tonight."

The Moderate Voice"Sullen isn’t presidential. Don’t look like you’re at the dentist’s while waiting to zing him as a toothless tiger. And no goofy Biden grins. Fascinated, slightly amused disbelief would be good. Show friendly but firm confusion about his flip-flops and evasions. Which Romney of the oh-so-many is answering a particular question? And slide in a capsule history of his U-turns on health care, gays or whatever. Stand tall and take charge as Commander-in-Chief while deploring politicizing of the American deaths in Benghazi and defending Hillary. Chivalry and subdued outrage are the ticket"

The Dish - Sullivan:"Allahpundit argues that the odds are stacked against the president...  Chait says the format means "opportunities to expose the omissions and outright falsehoods in Romney’s repositioning will be vastly more limited than they were in the first debate, and the risks of attacking them much greater... Ambers gives advice to both candidates."

Daily Kos - Hunter"If you are like most people, you are probably wondering how to best evaluate that debate that you are about to watch, but have not yet watched because it has not happened yet. Fear not: CNN will provide you with the Five things to watch for in Tuesday's debate."

Vodka Pundit :"This is where, by tradition, I get serious about the carboloading portion of the debate prep. I’ve got a sick kid in my bed, a two-year-old entrance by Santa Buddies (it’s part of a series of movies starring Golden pups — don’t ask), and my lovely bride is on the way home with fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  But before she does, I have to finish this plate of pasta."

Stinque: "If you could go back a month — heck, let’s make it two weeks — and do things the right way, you could forget the troubling thoughts of the train plane wreck that disrupted everybody’s lives without warning. So just imagine tonight’s Preznidential Debate Open Thread/Do Over as the first such event of the season, and everything will be fine."

Reason Hit and Run: "Mitt and Barry will likely chatter about the "fiscal cliff" tonight, but you're unlikely to hear much discussion about entitlements, which consumed $2.2 trillion of this year's $3.7 trillion federal budget, and are poised to swallow the whole works."

DIVIDIST - No friggin' idea how this is going to go. No score in Yankees - Tiger game in bottom of the 3rd. Yankees have yet to get a hit. 

We'll be updating when the debate starts in about 5 minutes. Drink.

We are off...

First Question - Getting a job is too damn hard!

Chris Cillizza's Fix: " The Fix 6:10 PM PDT "You took General Motors bankrupt." - Romney to Obama. " Aaron Blake - "Romney says Obama "took the auto industry bankrupt" -- just like Romney had advocated. Here's our first battle." The Fix - "What governor Romney said isn't true." -- Obama, channeling Biden.

The Moderate Voice: "First question from a 20 year old college student who asks about jobs, saying he is worried he won’t have any work when he graduates...  Romney... talks about how he has the business experience to build jobs and how it is wrong for students to graduate college and have both debt and no jobs. He says the last four years have crushed the middle class. He then asks student (Jeremy) when he will graduate (2014) and says that since he assumes he will be President in 2014 that he’ll make sure Jeremy has a job. Very smooth." Obama now speaks about how he wants to build good jobs for college students. Talks about building manufacturing industry and cites auto bailout (speaking to swing vote in Ohio and possibly Pennsylvania)."

The Dish - Sullivan:"9.07 pm. Obama's back on. I recognize this guy. Energy; focus; ability to relate. Did Romney just say he "presumes" he'll be president in 2014. Obama won the first exchange, although he got a little dull as his answer went on. 9.05 pm Did Romney just say he wanted to expand Pell Grants? Aren't they on his chopping block? How many bald-faced lies he is going to say tonight?"

Daily Kos: 6:05 PM PT: "Mitt Romney, right off the bat is promising to expand funding for higher education. Jesus, where was this guy up until October?" 6:07 PM PT: "Obama quick to remind people that we've created 5 million jobs since the recovery started. And he's also quick to take a shot at Romney over "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." 6:09 PM PT: "Romney is already defending himself on the Let Detroit Bankrupt thing."

Vodka Pundit: 6:06PM "Classy. Mitt said “the middle class has been crushed the last four years,” but didn’t dig it in that Biden said that first.  6:07PM WHOA! Do you want to talk to a college kid about manufacturing jobs in Detroit? Tell him about the professional work he’ll get if you’re reelected."

Stinque: chicago bureau 9:04 pm "4 years guaranteed? Pell Grants? This is a hanging curve. Come on, Barry." nojo 9:06 pm "Mitt’s running as a Democrat tonight. Surprise!"

Reason Hit and Run: Scott Shackford@SShackford "Mitt Romney is promising more jobs again. Oh wait. This is Barack Obama." Ed Krayewski@edkrayewski "Shorter Obama: You owe it to your country to take on student loan debt"

DIVIDIST - Meh. A lot of strutting on both sides with the same talking points.


Gas is too damn high!

Chris Cillizza's Fix:  "Aaron Blake  Romney's softball = gas prices. Equal pay =Obama's softball Aaron Blake Obama: Gas prices were low because the economy was on the verge of collapse The Fix  Question 2 is a toughy for Obama: is it the Administration's job to help lower gas prices"

The Moderate Voice: "A nice back and forth today but Obama responds to all of Romney’s statements about reduction in production on federal land by calling them lies. This could turn out to hurt Obama since drilling on federal land has gone down, but not sure how many will follow up with the fact checking. Romney points out that if the Obama policies are working, why are gas prices going up ? Obama says it’s because the economy was in the tank when he took office and improving economy is why prices are up. This could have been a bad question for Obama but it looks like he came out ok."

The Dish - Sullivan: 9.18 pm. "Obama calls Romney a liar to his face; and rebuts his entire point on oil drilling on public lands, by citing his record compared with Bush's. He's kicking Romney's ass right now. His point about efficiency and long-term investment works.  9.13 pm. Go defend your stellar record on domestic energy production, Barack, and the new standards for emissions. Obama corners Romney on his inability to support clean energy, while focusing on carbon energy. Romney's only response is to say we should drill in national parks. A meandering answer from Romney. And substantively weak. Because again, he's lying. He wants to gut investment in clean energy."

Daily Kos: " 6:21 PM PT: "Oh man, Obama whooping some ass here. 6:22 PM PT: Hahahahaha. Obama points out gas prices were low in late 2008 because of the economic crash. "It's conceivable Governor Romney could bring gas prices back to those levels, because some of his economic policies could lead to another crash." The crowd chuckles."

Vodka Pundit: 6:14PM “Oil production is DOWN 14% on federal lands, natural gas down 9% …  6:16PM Mitt’s using numbers again. Such an uncouth way to debate.  6:16PM “How we said no to that pipeline [Keystone XL] I will never know.”  6:17PM Aaaaand Candy nicely deflected from Romney’s rebuttal when turning it back over to Obama. Because she’s… The MODERATOR!"

Stinque:  Mistress Cynica 9:33 pm "Why does no one ever call Romney on saying he’s going to make “North America” energy independent”? That’s not the same thing as making the US energy independent because the country we import most of our oil from is Canada. Also, is it just verboten to mention environmental factors that make it a bad idea to do certain things, like drill in Alaska or offshore?"

Reason Hit and Run: Mike Riggs@MikeRiggs "Romney wishes we had done in Detroit exactly what Obama did? Scott Shackford@SShackford Oh and Obama talks renewable energy and efficient cars as an electric car battery manufacturer filed for bankruptcy today."

DIVIDIST - I dunno. I am seeing a lot of enthusiasm from the Dems for no other reason than Obama is calling Romney a liar. Is that really enough? I guess we'll see.  Detroit is beating New York 2-0 in the 6th.


Taxes are too damn high! 

Chris Cillizza's Fix: The Fix 6:36 PM PDT "I know what it takes to balance budgets. I have done so my entire life." -- Romney The Fix 6:35 PM PDT Very good answer here by Romney. VERY GOOD.  The Fix 6:35 PM PDT  Interesting tact by Obama: paint Romney as a dishonest salesman on taxes."

The Moderate Voice: "Sums up by talking about reducing taxes on the middle class and make the overall system simpler.  Obama talks about tax cuts for middle class taxpayers and small businesses but also raising them on the rich to cut deficit.  Says that his increases would not apply to 98% of taxpayers but that the other 2% should have taxes raised. Suggests that higher taxes under Clinton helped to improve economy (wonder if Romney will point out that the economy was tech bubble not taxes). Then talks about how Romney thinks it’s fair for him to pay less taxes than the middle class. Says that Romney promised to give tax cuts to the rich during GOP primary. Romney hits back by saying that many small businesses are taxed as individuals so they would be hurt by tax increases. Talks about how we badly the economy has performed the last 4 years. Cites more women and children in poverty (must be reading the polls showing he is doing better with women)."

The Dish - Sullivan: "9.57 pm. Romney is blaming the recession on Obama, who inherited it. Romney - who said that Bush was in a different era and couldn't be compared with him today and then uses Reagan's Keynesian recovery with much less debt and far more fiscal lee-way to indict Obama. Any argument at hand. 9.50 pm. Obama flunks the opportunity. It's easy: Bush wanted tax cuts as the magic bullet; so does Romney; Bush wanted to invade Iraq; Romney wants to attack Iran. And yet Obama does not bash Bush - perhaps very cannily; he pivots to pointing out how Romney is to the right of Bush. And then he makes his key pitch in defense of his record. He's on. Romney, meanwhile, looks flushed and uncomfortable."

Daily Kos:  6:34 PM PT: "Obama brings up the 14 percent tax rate. Feels like a warm up to the 47 percent. "We haven't heard from the Governor any specifics beyond Big Bird and eliminating Planned Parenthood how he plans" to pay for his $8 trillion tax cut and spending plan. 6:35 PM PT: Obama: "You can't buy this sales pitch. Nobody who has looked at it who is serious believes it adds up." 6:35 PM PT: Romney: "Of course they add up." Wow, great argument dude. Now he says ran businesses and the Salt Lake Olympics so believe him."

Vodka Pundit: 6:27PM "I’m drooling at that no cap gains for middle class income investments. I think I’ve decided not to vote for Obama after all. 6:28PM Finally, we’re hearing details on Mitt’s tax plan. I like them. Obama’s presentation is… Bush and Clinton screwed you. He’s also bragging about cutting middle class taxes — by which he means payroll taxes, by which he means he’s accelerating the bankruptcy of SS and Medicare for the very middle class he claims to be helping."

Stinque:  Targa 9:48 pm Romney’s 5 point plan: 1, 2, 3. Charles Koch 4, 5. David Koch?"  nojo
9:49 pm Let’s hear more about Mitt’s small business.

Reason Hit and Run: Peter Suderman@petersuderman "Unless something changes, this will be widely but not universally scored as a win for Obama." Peter Suderman@petersuderman RT @philipaklein: "The truth is that neither Obama nor Romney's tax plans add up."

DIVIDIST - Running behind. Skipping ahead. Drinking faster. 


The buck stops too damn high! 

Chris Cillizza's Fix: The Fix 7:13 PM PDT "Romney hammers away at Obama...saying he flew to Vegas to raise money day after Libya attacks. Gut punch."  Aaron Blake 7:13 PM PDT "Romney hits Obama for doing political fundraiser day after Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed." Sean Sullivan
7:16 PM PDT  "Obama says any suggestion that he and admin would play politics with Libya issue is offensive." Aaron Blake 7:23 PM PDT "I said that Libya threatened to be THE story for Obama; now his team may actually want it to be."

The Moderate Voice: "Crowley says that Clinton took responsibility, asks where the buck stops and Obama agrees he is responsible and that he is working to find out what happened and stop and catch those who did it. They go back and forth even bringing in Crowley who pretty much gives a little to both of them, which serves to demonstrate my view that most of these hot topic issues can be viewed either way depending on how you read the facts."

The Dish - Sullivan: "He did not even mention the inflammatory video. Romney was wrong. Crowley was right to call him on it. 10.16 pm. Wow. President Obama just eviscerated Romney. As an alpha male. It's hard to convey genuine offense without seeming aggressive. But Obama made Romney look cheap and political over a tragedy like Benghazi. But I'm not sure what the Rose Garden transcript actually says. We'll find out. 10.12 pm. I thought that was a terrific response from Obama on the Benghazi clusterfuck - especially reminding us that Romney tried to politicize the issue. And Romney is now saying that Obama should have suspended his campaign, as McCain did, because of the Benghazi error."

Daily Kos: 7:15 PM PT: "Obama kicks Romney's ass again." 7:16 PM PT: "Romney just imploded."7:17 PM PT: "Here's what Obama said: No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done" 7:18 PM PT: "So yes, Governor Romney, he did say the attack was an act of terror."

Vodka Pundit: 7: 15 PM "Thank you, Mitt, for finally pulling the trigger on the Las Vegas trip. 7:16 PM ”I’m always responsible,” says the man who won’t release his Vegas party list from the day after the Benghazi attack by al Qaeda. 7: 17 PM Since when does the moderator correct one of the debaters? 7:19 PM Dang.  Deftly played — Benghazi should have been Mitt’s best moment of the night.  Instead, it turned into a something like a fumble.  People unfamiliar with the ins and outs will think the White House did a great job. So, I have to give Mitt a big demerit on that one.  And my hat’s off to Candy Crowley for turning things around for Obama with a perfectly-timed and rule-breaking interruption. Because Candy Crowley is…The MODERATOR!"

Stinque:   Beggars Biscuit @nojo: Mitt getting called out by both Barry and Candy on the Day After Benghazi declaration may tip it in Barry’s favor.  nojo 10:24 pm @Beggars Biscuit: If so, that’s a win on points. Doesn't count.

Reason Hit and Run: Ed Krayewski@edkrayewski "no acts of terror" not a specific mention. two weeks of focus went to a movie on youtube not a terrorist cell in Benghazi "Katherine Mangu-Ward@kmanguward "Find the folks who did this and hunt them down." Was that a subtle "I killed Osama" reference? 

DIVIDIST -  When I see a lot of one side complaining about the moderator, that is a pretty clear indicator the other side is winning. Republicans are complaining a lot about the moderator Candy Crowley.  A lot.  They really don't like Candy.

I do think that Obama was seriously disingenuous on the Benghazi question. When you don't have a good answer, studied righteous indignation is a good sales technique.  Obama went there, but he needs to work on his indignant sincerity.

Yankess still losing 2-0 in the 7th. I need to take a break and eat something.... and... watch the end of the game... and focus on my drinking. The live-blog is moving into semi-live blog mode. We'll get there eventually.


Ok. I'm back. Yankees lost 2-1. Is the debate still over? Thank God. I was afraid they might start it up again in the parking lot.  Only one more of these to get through.  I might be able to pull it off. Let's wrap this up.

The debate is too damn long!

Immigration, Binders of Women, Not George Bush, 47% vs. 100%, Please don't let me be misunderstood, China Cheaters, Closing Comments, Whatev

Chris Cillizza's Fix: "Neither candidate scored the clear victory that Romney racked up in the first presidential debate 13 days ago and both sides will be pleased with how their candidate did in the 90-minute debate.  Partisans will love the red meat the two men threw around; undecideds and independents will balk at the bickering. It’s hard to imagine the debate changing any minds — to the extent there are minds to be changed.But, this is life. And in life, there are winners and there are losers...  WINNERS - President Obama: It was a near-certainty that the incumbent would improve on his mystifying bad first debate performance. And, he did...  LOSERS - Mitt Romney: The Republican nominee absolutely had his moments in this debate. He was excellent when laying out the case for why we aren’t better off than we were four years ago and for why his record as a jobs creator was far superior to President Obama’s. But, as we noted above, these debates are about moments..." 

The Moderate Voice: "Last question is on what is the biggest misperception people have of you ? Romney says that he is a guy who cares about everyone, that he is a simple family guy not the rich guy that Obama says he is. Obama says he is not the big government guy, hits Romney on the 47% comment. Pretty much closing statements here, nothing you haven’t heard before though interesting that Romney used his time to talk about himself while Obama used it to attack Romney (in fairness Romney likely would have done same if he went last)"

The Dish - Sullivan: "10.40 pm. To my mind, Obama dominated Romney tonight in every single way: in substance, manner, style, and personal appeal. He came back like a lethal, but restrained predator. He was able to defend his own record, think swiftly on his feet, and his Benghazi answer was superb. He behaved luke a president. He owned the presidency. And Romney? Well, he has no answers on the math question and was exposed. He was vulnerable on every social issue, especially immigration. And he had no real answer to the question of how he'd be different than George W Bush.  I'm excitable - but sometimes politics is about emotion as well as reason. And my view is that Obama halted Romney's momentum in its tracks and his performance will bring women voters in particular flooding back. He's just more persuasive."

Daily Kos: 7:38 PM PT: "And now, closing the debate, Obama hammers Romney on the 47 percent thing — that Romney himself made relevant." 7:40 PM PT: "The debate is over. Romney awkward. Obama shaking hands with audience, Romney immediately goes straight to Candy Crowley, and then his wife." 7:40 PM PT: "Obama mobbed by audience. Romney mobbed by his sons."

Vodka Pundit: "If you missed the first debate, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about watching tonight’s debate.  If you watched the first one, it’s a new Obama and the same Romney. Romney didn’t need to step up his game.  Obama did — and he did.  OK, he did it with a nice assist from Candy Crowley — The MODERATOR! — but mostly it was Obama getting back into form. So did Obama blunt Romney’s surge? My first thought is: No. Before the Denver debate, people had been looking for permission, for lack of a better word, to vote for the new guy.  Because they knew the old guy, and they’d settle for him if they had to, but they weren't really looking forward to FORE MOAR YEERZ.  And Romney stepped up gave them that permission. Obama’s job was tougher:  To win back people he lost in Denver.  He might have gotten some of them back.  And it’s for sure he energized the base tonight. But when someone is looking for a reason to leave, finally finds that reason — how do you win them back? I don’t know.  And I’m not sure Obama knows, either."

Stinque: Benedick -"Well well well. So someone finally wiped that smirk off Romney’s face. The president made him look old and irrelevant. Didn’t Candy C do well? The president got in some very good points despite being ashen-faced with fatigue. Very good when Romney denounced him over Benghazi but had his facts wrong and Obama slammed it home. Fine close ups of Romney lost in the fog of conceit aware that something had gone wrong. As ever, the president sported perfectly judged tie/collar/suit combo. You know my secret dream? The one that doesn't involve Johnny Earle? I hope Romney calls in sick next Monday. I hope he declares he’s done enough debating and declines to do any more. That’s my secret hope."

Reason Hit and Run: Lucy Steigerwald@LucyStag "I believe Romney's a good man. He loves his family. But he kills people at night." -H&R comments  / Ed Krayewski@edkrayewski
that was a win-win-win for no one / Scott Shackford@SShackford "Repeating their closing statements from their last debate is hardly addressing "misperceptions." / Garrett Quinn@GarrettQuinn "A very slight edge to Obama in that debate, Romney stumbled on Libya and that hurt him."  / shikha sood dalmia@shikhadalmia "Romney's China-bashing is among his least attractive and worrisome features. Maybe more than his Iran bashing even." 

DIVIDIST -  Obama wins. The Pew "expectations poll" at the top of the post got it right. A narrow but clear victory for the President.  Romney got in some points but he also missed opportunities, and he took more than a few body blows.

My sense is that Obama did exactly what the people who are already going to vote for him wanted him to do.  So they are happy. Delirious really. That's important, but it certainly does not change votes.  OTOH - he still holds a narrow lead in the polls that count (Ohio). So perhaps that is all Obama needed to do tonight.

So... was it enough to dramatically move the polls? I think not, but I didn't think Romney would get the bump he did after the first debate. So what do I know? We'll wait and see. 

EDITORS NOTE: I'll fix the formatting eventually.

1 comment:

Tully said...

Candy Crowley made an excellent replacement ref. The Seahwaks thank her. :)