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Debate Notes

October 17th, 2012

Neither candidate answered the student’s question about finding a job; they took it as an opportunity to lay down their base arguments.

This is much more like the Obama we should have seen last time. Minimal hemming and hawing, more organized, understandable answers. He sounds a bit too much like someone who is laying down the campaign talking points—but he’s got energy, and, more importantly, he’s answering Romney’s BS.

Obama finally came around to answering both questions: “That’s gonna get Jeremy a job, that’ll lower the price of gas.” I think that’s important; both were going too high about policy and attack points, Obama came down and remembered that the audience had actually asked a couple of questions and wanted more relevant answers.

Romney just lied about oil production—again!

Good, Obama at least mentioned it.

Obama, look at the guy sometimes.

Wow, Romney handed over the mic!

Hah—Obama is owning the stage, rolling over Mitt.

Ooohh. Mitt just used the gas price lie—the price fell because of the recession. Liar.

Good! Obama gives the right answer.

Romney steamrolling the moderator, stealing stage time. I hope they dock him for that—they probably won’t.

His 20% tax cut, and specifics on deductions—the question has come directly. What will Romney answer?

Romney: I want a middle class tax cut—ignore the fact that most of the money goes to the rich. He’s now sailing into the middle class crap. Deductions: I will limit deductions particularly for wealthy people (emphasis mine, a key weasel). Then he uses a bogus “rich will continue to pay 60% figure.”

THAT’s his dodge: he seems to be saying that he won’t lower taxes for the rich, what he’s ACTUALLY saying his he won’t reduce their SHARE. NOT the same thing—and probably a lie.

Then he lies by making it sound like he won’t hurt the middle class, and somehow the deficit won’t explode. Obama should start with: the math won’t work.

OK. Obama is not answering Romney’s tax lie up front, but he is making the point that he DID cut taxes, and contrasting how their approach to the rich will work. However, he should point out Romney’s BS which made him sound like he’s not going to lower taxes on the wealthy by 20%.

“I’m not looking to cut taxes for rich people.” Bull! He wants to cut their taxes by 20% AND keep all their previous cuts under the Bush tax cuts!

Obama HAS to point this out.

Crowley just threw Obama a softball—and he missed the main point! Romney WANTS TO GIVE THE RICH A 20% TAX CUT. He is not saying that directly. Gah, Obama, LEAD with that!

Crowley cut off Romney’s obvious BS line about how “six studies” support him. So, Romney is now evading answering the key questions: how will you pay for it, and how will you pay for it if it doesn’t add up.

Romney simply says “it adds up,” and then launches into an attack—no specifics.

Then he gets to deductions—and more BS. He gets cut off, thank god.

Obama gets the equal pay for women question. He starts with personal stories. I presume he’ll mention Ledbetter. Am interested in how he’ll go beyond that…

OK, there’s Ledbetter. … but it seems that he doesn’t have anyplace to go after Ledbetter, except for generalities—Pell Grants, for example. Well, that won’t equalize pay. His only saving grace here is that Romney has even less than that. Disappointing, I’d expect more.

Romney, as predicted, has less. He put more women on a board. Wow, that’s solved it. After that, platitudes, then using extremes of certain stats to attack Obama and make it sound like he’ll be doing something on the topic. Obama was not strong here, but Ledbetter trumps everything Romney has just said.

Obama brought health care into it, contraceptive coverage. Good move. OK, health care was a point, and child care credits. Small stuff, but at least that’s in there.

New question: Undecided unimpressed with lack of movement, knows however that Bush caused most problems and wants to know how Romney is different.

Romney complains, whines, looks like he doesn’t understand the rules. Weak.

Then he gets in a few words, a quick lie about the health care issue.

His differences with Bush: really, energy and cracking down on China? Seriously? Balanced Budget? Bush said he’d do that too. Romney’s plan will bust the budget from day one.

Then small businesses—how is that different from Bush? Now he has segued not into differences with Bush but differences with Obama. “Small businesses” were just as much a sham used by Bush; this is a place where Romney is identical. Using the mythical small businessman as a false front.

Obama did not address the small business sham. But he did point out that Romney is even more extreme.

Tough question from an African-American voter: things are tough, I’m disappointed.

Obama’s answer is excellent: he’s giving a list of the very real accomplishments he’s done. But he also recognizes that people are hurting and has a plan for helping the rest. Examples: using funds from ending wars to build infrastructure and jobs, gearing up clean power for better efficiency and growing good jobs.

Now he’s contrasting with Romney: he’s going to tear these things down, or just do the same, and help the rich.

Romney: “I think you know better.” Very cutting remark. Brings out the 5.4%. Good attack (even if it lacks specifics about how Republicans blocked that).

“Double the deficit” lie!! Obama better jump on that.

Granted that Romney’s list is very painful and effective—it’s also 80% BS.

Crowley is fairly good on cutting off the candidates; I think both Obama and Romney have been cut down in response time.

Romney on Immigration: have a good system, give green cards… to people with higher ed and top-level skills. I won’t give amnesty, will punish illegals, won’t grant driver licenses. Kids should have a pathway (but also points out that it might require something like military service—if that’s the best path, that’s a fail).

Obama: we need to fix immigration; I’ve done my best, asked Congress for the rest. Border patrol: really? You’re touting stopping illegals more? Next, tagging illegals who are criminals? I don’t think that’ll play well. He’s talking to whites, not Hispanics now. I guess he figures that’s the crowd he has to appease….

Wow: Romney said “no” to the moderator and went off on his own. He can’t bully Obama, so he goes back to bullying the moderator.

Romney is bearing down on the whole “filing papers” line. Don’t know about that. Was that a real thing, something that made a real difference?

I was wrong—Romney just pwned Obama. Spouted a lot of crap about Obama investing in the Caymans. Obama looked like he was squirming. Not good.

And now he’s riffing on high-hope rhetoric? No. He has to answer what was said. He should have come out immediately on how Republicans obstructed.

The Libyan security question.

Obama is taking the tough question—but is answering a different one, the aftermath, not the security request answer. Romney will probably eat this up and spend two minutes bashing Obama on a very weak and sensitive spot.

Sometimes the answer is, this stuff happens. Nobody is prescient, and sometimes the wrong decision is made at lower levels which the president cannot monitor. But Obama can’t say that.

Romney is almost visibly drooling at the prospect of taking Obama to task on this as if this were the biggest crisis in the world, so he can take even more political advantage of the tragedy. Acting like Obama was blasé in the face of it.

His attack is not as savage as I thought it could be, but Romney is scoring points.

“Apology tour,” and “Leading from behind.” Ass.

Crowley throws Obama a softball, noting Hillary’s “Janet Reno” statement. Obama picks it up and hits it hard. Faces Romney directly—

Wow. He’s hitting this hard taking Romney to task.

Romney lied: Crowley supported Obama’s true statement. Romney now looks like a loser.

He saves it a bit, but still does not come across well there. We’ll see what the post-game show says about who was more right on that.

The gun question. Nice. Obama: “I love guns” (paraphrase). But: guns bad. Personal story about gun crime victim. Conclusion: enforce laws we have; “share your belief” that military-grade weapons should not be available. Wants an assault weapons ban (really?), and other vague “interventions” behind the scenes. Nice, but way too soft. This is a weakness of Obama, not moving on real gun control legislation. Trying to straddle the fence.

Romney: I don’t support any new laws OR JACK BOOTED THUGS TAKING AWAY YOUR GUNS! Er, otherwise, I agree with Obama.

Both candidates go soft and run away from the topic. A wash.

Romney turns it into an attack using the “Fast and Furious” thing. Obama killed people! He’s hiding something! He’s arming drug lords!

More sparring on mud, more vague, high-minded rhetoric.

Oh, Romney is going to fix things with China, just by “labeling” them as a currency manipulator. As if nobody knows that now. Empty, vapid. Stupid. Might sound good, but people who know what’s what are laughing derisively now.

Segues into mythical over-regulation, how Obama has destroyed jobs by regulating people trying to hurt people.

Wow. Obama is not going after Romney on the childish naivety on his “I’ll label China” idiocy. He really should point out how weak that would make a president look.

Wait, here comes China: but Obama focuses more on outsourcing.

Currency: has improved because I have pushed. Did not call out Romney’s stpudity.

Apple gets a nod—for being an outsourcer. How do you get Apple to bring jobs back?

Romney: China’s a cheater! I’ll say so and fix everything!

Obama: Some jobs won’t come back. Instead, I want to chase better jobs coming back. Good answer.

Misperceptions about you? Romney attacks Obama for trying to say he doesn’t care, then tells everyone he’s a God-loving, caring man.

Obama: I believe in free enterprise. I believe in self-reliance, risk-takers, in fair shots. I believe in puppy dogs, and—oh, wait, sorry.

Both candidates are painting soft portraits of themselves, attacking the other.

Obama is closing on the 47%. Excellent. Great move. Good closing shot against Romney. I want to fight for true Americans, Romney thinks you’re a victim.

Here’s my final assessment.

Who won this debate? In one sense, I think Obama wins on points; not a clear knockout, or a TKO, but has made his points more clearly and has better answers the crowd wants. Romney fumbled at least twice.

But Obama will win more than just that because it is relative to his bad performance and subsequent free-fall. I suspect that his numbers will now jump.

Categories: Election 2012 Tags: by
  1. Kensensei
    October 17th, 2012 at 10:32 | #1

    Romney: “I have a policy to create more jobs….”
    Romney: “I have a policy to grow the economy…”
    Romney: “I have a policy to lower gas prices…”
    Romney: “I have a policy to lower taxes on everyone…”

    Basically, his 5-point “policy” is his answer to every possible problem.

    Do not ask for specifics because he doesn’t have any. His ideas defy logic and have been disproven time and again.

    (HINT: The policy is a huge tax-cut for the wealthy. Then just kick back and watch those jobs trickle down from the sky…)

    Romney makes a great snake-oil salesman. I am just surprised to see people are STILL buying this ass-backwards logic.


    P.S. “Small business” = “Multi-billionaire corporations”

  2. Troy
    October 17th, 2012 at 11:15 | #2

    Even the status quo of the 5% vs the 95% is hurting the middle class.

    The right cavils against Obama’s old “we gotta do a little redistribution (within reason)” quote, but it’s entirely true.

    It the conservative fiction, the 5% rain jobs on the American public, assisting us in creating wealth with their money and brains.

    The opposite is more the truth, in fact the 5% are often predatory wealth-confiscators, not creating new wealth, just profiting from the ownership of existing wealth — especially natural resources and land.

    Nobody can create land, yet we all must Pay The Man for using it, until an anti-gravity technology is created or we go live on boats or something.

    The top 5% do in fact pay ~60% of the income taxes:


    but they do this by collecting 1/3 the national income.

    One out of three dollars goes to one out of twenty people!

    Without redistribution, the system will simply lose more and more velocity as money flows ever upwards.

    Their was a TED talk (that was deleted) that got into this issue, that the rich simply cannot spend their immense wealth flows back into the economy.

    They can loan people their money instead, but that just means credit cycles and over time more and more money collects with the wealthy, because as the saying goes, interest never sleeps.

    Well, enough on this I guess.

  3. Kensensei
    October 17th, 2012 at 11:51 | #3

    Apple gets a nod for being an outsourcer. How do you get Apple to bring jobs back?
    Romney: China’s a cheater! I’ll say so and fix everything!
    Obama: Some jobs won’t come back. Instead, I want to chase better jobs coming back. Good answer.

    Obama really is the only adult in the room on this issue. (In fact, Obama asked Steve Jobs the same question.) His answer was realistic, and indicates a better understanding of the issue. “We don’t need more low-paying, low-skilled jobs; we need high-paying, high-skilled jobs.”

    Romney thinks Obama has never come out against China’s artificially low currency rate, but world events indicate the opposite is true. Maybe Romney has been living under a rock for the last two years.

    On the one hand, Romney is blatantly guilty of sending U.S. jobs to China. Meanwhile, he’s promising to call China out on “cheating”.

    Right…That will really happen…

  4. Kensensei
    October 17th, 2012 at 11:52 | #4

    First paragraph in above post should be in block quotes. Didn’t happen for some reason…

  5. Troy
    October 17th, 2012 at 12:02 | #5

    The funny thing is that the right is bitching about Bernanke printing $40B/mo of new money, but that is exactly what we have to do to depreciate the dollar.

    Everybody says they want a “strong dollar policy” but what that means is a weak yen, yuan, peso, and euro — and all our jobs going down south and overseas.

    A weak dollar policy ain’t so great either though, since it will result in more food exports for the same dollar income, which is inflationary for domestic food costs.

    One interesting thing is that Warren Buffett sees the future pretty well and bought that railroad during the crisis. Its distribution is from the midwest to Seattle and New Orleans — how we’re going to export food to China this century.


  6. Tim Kane
    October 17th, 2012 at 13:22 | #6

    The way I see it, Bernanke printing more money is the equivalent of a flat tax.

    Consider that stock represents a claim on the assets of a corporation. If the corporation issues new shares, then the existing claims on the corporations assets is diluted proportionately.

    Now consider that currency represents a claim on the assets of a country. If the central bank issues new currency, then the existing claims on the nations assets are all diluted proportionately – thus it is a flat tax.

    Republicans mistake is view money as a form of stored value, which it definitely is not. The value of money changes with every element of productivity coming out the nations factories, minus inflation, and so on.

    Republicans are constantly campaigning for a flat tax, and when Bernanke gives it to them, they still complain.

  7. Troy
    October 17th, 2012 at 13:33 | #7

    their main complaint is just the timing, they want Bernanke to do that kind of stuff after they win the White House, not right before the election!

  8. Troy
    October 18th, 2012 at 09:02 | #8

    This metafilter comment is very important to understand, I think.

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