Category Archives: Second Debate

Post-Debate Breakdance

Who won?

  • On the surface, it was a slight Obama edge: 43.7% – 39.7% in an average of the snap polls (CBS, CNN, PPP)
  • In the details, Romney won handily: Stronger leader, 49-46 Romney; CBS Economy, 64-34 Romney; CNN Economy, 54-40 Romney; Healthcare 49-46 Romney; Taxes, 51-44 Romney…
  • The focus groups of Fox and MSNBC both swung towards Romney.

Substance

  • Neither offered much of it.
  • Romney, no clear vision besides “I can fix the economy.”
  • Obama, no second term agenda; no defense of the past four years.

Questions

  • Very few “good” questions. A lot of softballs towards Obama – “I voted for you in 2008, persuade me to vote for you now;” the illegal immigration question; the fair pay question for women; the Bush question. Crowley approved these ones for a reason.
  • Most of them seem planted into an audience that barely registered a damn pulse.

Moderator

  • Crowley was awful. She interrupted, she fact-checked WHILE moderating and got that wrong. Romney was right on Libya and she had to come out and say so after the debate.

Best lines – Romney

  • “When we’re talking about math that doesn’t add up, how about $5 trillion of deficits over the last four years. That’s math that doesn’t add up.”
  • “You shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer to figure out how to get into this country legally.”

Best lines – Obama

  • “When he said behind closed doors that 47 percent of the country considers themselves victims who refuse personal responsibility, think about who he was talking about: folks on social security who have worked all their lives; veterans, who sacrificed for this country; students, who are out there trying to hopefully advance their own dreams but also this country’s dreams; soldiers, who are overseas fighting for us right now; people who are working hard every day.”
  • “Gov. Romney was a very successful investor. If somebody came to you, governor, with a plan that said, ‘Here, I want to spend $7 or $8 trillion and we’re going to pay for it but we can’t tell you until maybe after the election how we’re going to do it.’ You wouldn’t have taken such a sketchy deal and neither would you, the American people.”

Other

  • Big Bird, “my pension isn’t as big as yours,” binder full of women are distractions. “Look, a squirrel!” moments for the Dems to distract from the fact that hey, Romney won on substance, especially the economy.

Call it a draw. The needle isn’t moving from this one.

Women who looked like Ruth Bader Gisburg at the focus group.

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Post Debate Spin

It was AWFUL.

Disrespectful, unprofessional, devoid of substance, facts, and just awful.

Obama lied. Romney distorted. Crowley was awful.

The American people lost.

More in the morning. Until then:

Tonight’s Debate Prep

Don’t expect a gamechange. (God, is anyone else sick of that word yet?) Here’s why:

  1. The format does not lend itself to a gamechange type of performance. A townhall setting, Romney and Obama must focus more on the audience and less on each other. That means less digs, less attacks, and more emotional appeals. Very little chance to grab momentum early and hang on.
  2. Both candidates are awful in this format. Obama tends to ramble in these types of settings and off-the-cuff remarks tend to hurt him the most, leading to his gaffes. As for Romney, it was in a townhall format he said he likes to fire people. Both these candidates are subpar on the fly and this creates a lot of room for error and discomfort. Neither will dominate.
  3. The middle debate tends to matter the least. The first debate was dominated by domestic policy and the last debate will be foreign policy. This is going to be a mostly campaign message/stump speech type of “debate” talking to undecided, likely voters, selected by an independent organization. Everyone remembers the first debate and the last debate.

The candidates differ greatly in preparation for this debate. Obama put himself in seclusion at a resort to do prep for the past few days; Romney has been doing townhall style campaign events to prepare. Obama will be better prepped than last time, but so will Romney. There will be no winner in this debate.

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