Denver Debate Thread

(Mike Luckovitch via
Guardian liveblog here.

Aaaaaand Balloon Juice slows to a crawl…


Lehrer wants this debate to be very, very boring. Odds are he’ll get his wish.

President Obama notes it’s his twentieth anniversary. So he wins, no matter what the MSM says!
One thing all the prep has given him — Romney lies a lot faster now, way more LPM (lies per minute).

Can’t tell when the stuttering is the speakers (Obama not doing well on the uh, uh, uh tic, alas) and when it’s the servers sagging.
“Five months of campaigning and it turns out Romney’s big plan is “Never mind.” That’s gotta sting.
Starting around 9:45pm, seems to me like Obama stopped deferring to the moderator and took control. Partly because Romney (temporarily) ran out of lies to shove.

Lehrer’s really letting Romney cheat on every metric. There was discussion beforehand that Lehrer was too old & should’ve stayed on the sidelines; tonight’s performance will reinforce that.


I assume somene’s crunching the tape, because I swear Romney was permitted to take approximately 35% more talking time. Lehrer should be ashamed of himself, assuming he were capable of feeling shame.

338 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    Love me some Jim Lehrer.

    They don’t make them like him much anymore.

  2. 2
    Randy P says:

    Throw more hamsters on the wheel, John! Break out the Strategic Hamster Reserve if necessary!

  3. 3
    mikefromArlington says:

    He seems rushed. So, which twitter feeds should I be following?

  4. 4
    Linda Featheringill says:


    I understand Joe Biden is tweeting this debate.

  5. 5
    Violet says:

    Romney looks old. The President looks serious, sober.

  6. 6
    Peter says:

    How many times is he going to say “crushed”? Jesus christ.

  7. 7
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    How many times did Willard use the word “crush” in that answer? are there no time limits in this part? Willard was filibustering just now

  8. 8
    artem1s says:

    great, the clean coal unicorn has been evoked

  9. 9
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Romney sounds better than I expected now that he’s on the attack. Ow.

  10. 10
    redshirt says:

    Can I start a debate thread also too?

  11. 11
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I think Obama is off to a slow start. He seemed downright peeved when he made the anniversary comment. Is the most powerful man on earth not able to take his anniversary off and have the debate on another night?

  12. 12
    PeakVT says:

    Comment indicating desire… no, wait, let me try that again.

    MOAR threads plz.

    Also, Romney seems to be trying to “personalize” his external representation by putting speech unit into husky mode.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Romney starting to lie serially. Surprised that he isn’t stammering as much as he usually does when he starts prevaricating.

  15. 15
    Violet says:

    Romney looks and sounds like he’s lecturing. His hand movements for “lowering” are going to be a meme tomorrow.

  16. 16
    Gracie says:

    Romney looks smug, as usual.

  17. 17
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Did Romney just call his kids liars?

  18. 18
    RareSanity says:

    Who’s up for starting an IRC channel for some live action commenting?

  19. 19
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    “His big bold idea is “never mind””

    Willard didin’t like that

  20. 20
    hep kitty says:

    i toldja i toldja! he’s losing his cool! ok, it took 15 minutes longer than i thought

  21. 21
    KG says:

    I’m confused… Romney says he’s going to cut taxes, but that nobody is going to pay less in taxes. So, he’s going to just reconfigure some numbers that won’t do anything?

  22. 22
    Randy P says:

    All of a sudden he doesn’t want to lower taxes on rich people? “I never said that”?

    Here’s the big question of the debates that I’ve been wondering about. When he runs away from every idea in his stump speeches and claims he never said that, can he get away with it?

  23. 23
    hitchhiker says:


    Obama takes a shot at the Donald.

  24. 24
    Death Panel Truck says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It’s his oblique way of saying the president’s a lair.

  25. 25
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Whenever Romney speaks, all I here is a nervous, lying asshole.

  26. 26
    fleeting expletive says:

    Looks like Romney has a new dye job tonight.

  27. 27
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    “small business” has to be the most abused term in politics

  28. 28
    BGinCHI says:

    Small businesses are the new Jesus in the Church of America.

  29. 29
    Gracie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: No, I think he just called the president a child.

  30. 30
    PeakVT says:

    Is it me, or is Rmoney just flat out lying about his tax plan …. at the exact same time he’s accusing Obama of lying?

    Oh, wait. He’s projecting. NM.

  31. 31
    narcissus says:

    Honestly I think Romney is doing really well, even though he is bullshitting completely.

  32. 32
    dmsilev says:

    Heh. Obama brings up Clinton vs. Bush.

  33. 33
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Romney is coming across a little like a used car salesman.

  34. 34
    Violet says:

    Oh my gosh. Romney is lecturing Jim Lehrer about when he gets to talk. What an ass. And finally Obama smiles.

  35. 35
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @narcissus: that little moment of protesting/explaining the rules wasn’t good. That won’t fly.

  36. 36
    BGinCHI says:

    @narcissus: He’s got mad stats. We’ll see if lying is a drawback.

    Romney is a fucking bully.

    You can see it when he overrules Lehrer.

  37. 37

    @hep kitty:
    Romney was doing disturbingly well right up until he demanded the last word.

    Romney’s selling the Amiable Liar persona very well, though.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: A little?

  39. 39
    MrSnrub says:

    @narcissus: I was thinking the same thing.

    Romney is talking about people, Obama is talking about policy. This is frustrating.

  40. 40
    Anya says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That was one of the Zingers he practiced.

  41. 41
    smintheus says:

    Romney can’t help but behave like a jerk. He did a pretty good job initially in trying to muddy the water about his tax proposal, though Obama pushed back very efficiently. But Romney keeps undermining his fancy footwork by behaving obnoxiously.

  42. 42
    Tractarian says:

    Don’t look now, but Sully is having a Mitt-gasm.

  43. 43
    Joel says:

    Sullivan seems concerned. Not that I’m watching (baseball game)

  44. 44
    dmsilev says:

    Because the main driver of the federal deficit is Big Bird.

  45. 45
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    block grants and attrition and PBS…

  46. 46
    Dream On says:

    Mitt likes Big Bird & U2?

  47. 47
    Jay C says:

    Not overly impressed with either guy in the first half-hour: both Romney and Obama seem to have come pre-loaded with their stock stump cliches and slogans and are just using their time here to spout them off.

  48. 48
    Joel says:

    Sullivan seems concerned. Not that I’m watching (baseball game).

  49. 49
    JPL says:

    @narcissus: that was my opinion at first but now I think he is floundering..

  50. 50
    Keith G says:

    sorry to say this but Obama’s being passive and he’s getting killed

  51. 51
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Romney’s prickishness does not come off well on TV. I think that’s going to lose him some hearts and minds.

    I do wish that Obama would simply call Romney a liar and let that fucktard stammer and tear up.

  52. 52
    lgerard says:


    tell mitt to stop describing his plan and give the details instead

  53. 53
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    I hate to say it but R-money is kicking ass. It’s all lies, but still. Ugh.

  54. 54
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Okay it took a while but Romney is getting weird now. Wondered when that would happen. Fighting with the moderator, lecturing the President, flailing his arms around. I was almost afraid he’d seem sort of normal, at first.

  55. 55
    BGinCHI says:

    Once PBS is cut, Israel can get that new trampoline it’s had its eye on.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    khead says:

    Get a new fucking server. Damn.

  58. 58

    @Violet: His base, what there is of it, will see that as taking on the lamestream media I’m sure.

  59. 59
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I had Romney by a half point in the first round and so far leading this round. He’s landing a lot of jabs.

  60. 60
    The Other Chuck says:

    Wow, mitt sounds hurried and desperate.

  61. 61
    Anya says:

    I can’t watch this. The President seems very passive. He needs to shut the fucker up.

  62. 62
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God: I thought htat was a bad moment “Why didn’t he grab Simpson-Bowles!” “Do you support it?” “I have my own plan!”

    @FormerSwingVoter: He’s holding his own, but I don’t think he’s kicking ass.

  63. 63
    weaselone says:

    Romney is doing some seriously dissembling. His new tax plan is apparently to lower rates, but make them revenue neutral. In order to do that he has to cut loopholes which raise effective taxes paid. That’s a wash. Any tax decrease due to rate cuts will be offset by increases due to cuts in loopholes, exemptions, and credits. If he’s going to cut taxes for “small businesses” and keep the taxes paid by the wealthy, that’s got to be offset by higher effective taxes on the middle class.

  64. 64
    WaterGirl says:

    Did soonergrunt’s thread disappear?

  65. 65
    Triassic Sands says:

    So far, I’d say someone is winning and someone is losing (big time) and it’s not making me happy.

    Obama is coming across as weak. Talking about education and jobs for the future is great policy and won’t mean a thing to out of work blue collar workers.

  66. 66
    mai naem says:

    Listened to first part of debate on my way home. I thought Obama was getting his ass kicked. Watching it on teevee now. Still think he’s getting his ass kicked. Actually its worse on teevee. He better get his game on pretty quick.

  67. 67
    Paul W. says:

    Holy shit twitter is annoying, and Jim Lehrer sucks. To be somewhat fair Obama seems a bit shellshocked and is not doing quite as well as I would like.

    But honestly, Romney just comes up as a smarmy prick and Obama is giving him too much room so I’m just in a bitchy mood right now. This debate sucks.

  68. 68
    Poopyman says:

    It’s still early in the game. Romney is going to get over-confident and trip himself up.

    We hope.

  69. 69
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Is that the second or third time Obama has said “sorry”? He’s trying too hard to keep the likability advantage.

  70. 70
    muddy says:

    Mitt’s flag pin is bigger than Obama’s. Surely that counts for something.

  71. 71
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Have people considered that we’re not Obama’s primary audience, and what looks like passivity to us might like to calmness to them?

    I mean, I don’t know; I don’t have that mindset.

  72. 72
    RareSanity says:

    This is actually painful to watch…

  73. 73
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Oh lord. did Willard just say he needs to get a new accountant?

  74. 74
    lgerard says:

    Obama is playing the wrong game

    no business hires people because their profits go up…they hire people in response to demand for goods and services…demand generated by the middle class

    change the subject from the magical idea that tax breaks generate growth

  75. 75
    narcissus says:

    Lehrer has absolutely no control, either

  76. 76
    Mary G says:

    How I hate this man.

  77. 77
    Anne Laurie says:

    FYWP’s not letting me edit my own post any more — all I can do is apologize that you’re missing my brilliance. Well, I’m funnier than Willard, anyways…

  78. 78
    elftx says:

    think I heard a “zinger”…and rmoney did pull it off rather well..he does look relaxed..the asshole
    and why the red tie blue tie..jeeeesh
    POTUS does look tired, like his allergies are bothering him and the blue background is not favorable to his greying hair..which hurts my heart to see..I like this guy a lot

  79. 79
    Violet says:

    WTF? Obama says he and Romney have the same take on Social Security. UGH.

  80. 80
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    Romney wants to bring money back home from overseas. I can think of one way to do that, Mitt. You go first.

  81. 81
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: I agree.

    For lots of people, maybe even most, the details will seem like an impenetrable tangle. Mitt Romney is coming across like an awkward, angry, flailing weirdo who wants to fire Big Bird and that, they’ll notice.

  82. 82
    gnomedad says:

    I have to admit Willard is looking much better than I expected. Did he plan a rope-a-dope lying low until now?

  83. 83
    smintheus says:

    Why in heavens name did Obama say there’s no major disagreement between him and Romney on Social Security?!

  84. 84
    Cain says:

    name it and I’m on there.

  85. 85
    AxelFoley says:

    What the fuck debate are you all watching? Get the fuck outta here with that RMoney’s landing blows shit.

  86. 86
    Violet says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Yeah, the black man saying sorry to the rich white man isn’t the best look.

  87. 87
    The Other Chuck says:

    Ooh i think mitt just deployed a “zinger” with his sudden defense of medicare

  88. 88
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Here we go. Zinging his ass on Medicare.

  89. 89
    Paul W. says:

    Twitter has gone mental, Obama better beat the shit out of Romney on Medicare.

  90. 90
    Gracie says:

    “Your poor?” My labs are now running around the room.

  91. 91
    Brian R. says:

    “If you’re 54 or 55, you might want to listen.”

    Here comes the hammer.

  92. 92
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @gnomedad: Romney is actually very good at this. He eviscerated the frontrunner of the week during the Republican debates. He always looks right at his opponent and he’s merciless.

  93. 93
    Jay C says:

    The problem here (for me, anyway) is that I can’t really understand what Obama is proposing, and I don’t believe what Romney is proposing….

  94. 94
    BGinCHI says:

    If Obama doesn’t show some emotion I’m gonna get worried. Calm is fine, but it isn’t the end state we’re looking for here.

    Once Romney punches himself out I hope Obama starts pointing a finger at him. Make better arguments, but use rhetoric and tone, too, for fuck’s sake.

  95. 95
    Valdivia says:

    I am in china and I tried watching and had to turn it off because Romney drives me crazy and it’s too early in the morning here to stand that. Sully tells me Romney is the next coming of Reagan and devastating Obama and Kilgore sees something else. Who is right?

  96. 96
    Randy P says:

    We got the $700M medicare lie out there. And it just jumped to $700 BILLION.

  97. 97
    Anne Laurie says:

    Well, tonight’s proving the old theorem that “A lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on”. Romney’s become a MUCH more fluent liar, tragically for the low information voters just tuning in tonight.

  98. 98
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Hoo boy, feeling much better now that we’re on entitlements. Doing much better now.

  99. 99
    JPL says:


  100. 100
    Maude says:

    @Paul W.:
    You’re following the wrong people.

  101. 101
    Larkspur says:

    Shrill. Mitt seems shrill. Fucking shrill motherfucker.

  102. 102
    ThresherK says:

    I’m glad I haven’t agreed to take a drink every time POTUS should preface a comment with “I can’t believe I have to explain this background info to you, Jim.”

    Will Jim Lehrer ever shut up Mitt’s interruptions, or is he just gonna let the “angry black man” do it?

  103. 103
    Keith G says:

    when the topic of taxes comes back up, Obama needs to ask Romney which loopholes will he close. he needs to challenge Romney instead of just repeating the same things Obama has said before.

    Obama is getting a little more assertive. this is good, but he does need to display a little more muscle

  104. 104
    ChrisNYC says:

    Gore had the sigh. Romney has the smirk. He’s appalling and people will like him less after this. Less!

  105. 105
    RareSanity says:


    I wanna start one on freenode, but I know IRC is kinda intimidating to people. Although I’m sure you’re a fine gentleman, it wouldn’t be much fun if it were just you and me.

  106. 106
    Just Some Fuckhead says:


    Who is right?

    Me, obviously.

  107. 107
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Romney lies a lot faster now, way more LPM (lies per minute)

    Hey, I don’t like my initials being taken in vain like that.

  108. 108
    Dream On says:

    Dodd/Frank? Huh? Is it a hot dog?

  109. 109
    Emma says:

    what debate are you all watching? because I’m at the Guardian live blog and they think Romney is not exactly covering himself in glory.

  110. 110
    MikeJ says:

    Obama has failed to conduct this debate in the same manner that I, sitting in my basement, can tell is the one true way to debate. Fuck it, I’m staying home on election day.

    Of course we vote by mail here.

  111. 111
    Michael says:

    I don’t think Mitt is coming off well at all. Talking over the moderator, demanding the last word, clearly dissembling on vouchers and taxes. Not sure what debate other people are watching.

  112. 112
    auntieeminaz says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: I ‘m with you on this .

  113. 113
    BGinCHI says:

    Romney admits regulation is essential to markets and business function.

    Most honest thing the robot has ever said.

  114. 114
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Straight at the audience. Boom.

  115. 115
    gnomedad says:

    Fantasy: “Gov. Romney, you’re sounding like a Democrat saying you’re OK with regulation. When you’re talking to your donors you’ve never heard of a regulation you liked.”

  116. 116
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Round 2, Romney by a half point again.

  117. 117
    master c says:

    Leherer is terrible.

  118. 118
    dmsilev says:

    Romney is talking too fast; he sounds like a car salesman.

  119. 119
    ThresherK says:

    “I think we have another difference between the two (candidates).”

    Yes, Jim. One of them won’t be moderated. Where’s the mic cutoff switch?

  120. 120
    Death Panel Truck says:

    Database Error. Database Error. Database Error.

    What a weak-ass blog.

  121. 121
    PeakVT says:

    Lehrer is fucking awful. This is totally out of control.

    I know the issues so I know that Romney is lying, but I think that to an uninformed voter it probably sounds (I’m listening, not watching) about even.

  122. 122
    Randy P says:


  123. 123
    hep kitty says:

    With all due respect to the President. I believe he has gravely overestimated the intelligence of the American public.

    And Mitt Romney met a guy who had a job and a woman who didn’t have a job or something.

  124. 124
    currants says:

    Guardian liveblog gif. *GRIN*

  125. 125
    narcissus says:

    Lehrer might as well not be there, and Romney basically has scrapped his entire campaign and is adopting O’s positions. It’s complete bullshit, 100 percent, but he’s doing it very well. President seems flustered.

  126. 126
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Jim Lehrer needs to be put out to pasture. He’s like a lost old man who is a shadow of whatever he used to be.

    Romney’s a jerk. I think, if anything, if people do not like Romney before, this is going to reinforce the negative impressions people already have of him.

  127. 127
    Larkspur says:

    @Death Panel Truck: Oh, that’s helpful.

  128. 128
    Valdivia says:

    so are things as dire as Sully makes them sound? In china I have no access to the twitter and it now seems Romney is romping Obama to the ground?

  129. 129
    gnomedad says:

    Obama is telling too many stories. He needs to say “Gov. Romney, that’s not true!”

  130. 130
    Violet says:

    Ugh. Now the president talks down to the moderator. I HATE that. I wish they’d cut off mics when they go over time.

  131. 131

    @PeakVT: I’m wondering if the uninformed voters tuned out at the 15 min mark, it was beyond painful at that point for both of debaters.

  132. 132
    The Other Chuck says:

    Good god, Jim Lehrer is the most feckless moderator ever.

  133. 133
    Larkspur says:

    Okay, this is fucking useless. Romney lies like the rest of us breathe.

  134. 134
    dmsilev says:

    @Valdivia: Sullivan is overexcitable. About everything.

  135. 135
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Valdivia: Romney is coming across as a smirking bully. Of course, I am biased and 2/3 of the way through a bottle of cab.

  136. 136
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @Valdivia: No. But it’s close.

  137. 137
    currants says:

    @Valdivia: No, he’s a bully and Lehrer is ineffectual. Can you get to the Guardian live blog? They’re pretty good.

  138. 138
    amk says:

    lehrer is horrible in ‘moderating’.

  139. 139
    cathyx says:

    I’m not watching it but what I’m reading about this debate is Romney is walking all over Obama. Is this true?

  140. 140
    TheHalfrican says:

    You weren’t kidding about a boring debate. This is the first debate in my life that I’ve seriously considered just turning off bcuz its so damn boring. By that measure then: Romney loses by default. If you’ve got a political junkie like me dying to turn it off for Sons of Anarchy, the average American turned this shit off for Dancing With the Stars or whatever 50 minutes ago.

  141. 141
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    I don’t think the people Obama wants to appeal to are looking for calmness — I’d guess they want decisive leadership — Obama isn’t coming across as decisive.

    Substance doesn’t matter in these debates. I despise Romney, but if he and Obama were saying exactly the same things, I’d vote for Romney over Obama in a second based on their performances so far. (That’s assuming I don’t know Romney is a lying POS.)

    If this continues, and there is no reason to expect a change at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised by a shift in the polls.

    I just hope no one is watching (outside of BJ).

  142. 142
    smith says:

    Romney is lying his ass off and personally I think he’s doing terrible. However low-information voters probably think Romney sounds reasonable. Obama looks bored as hell and he needs to put his foot on Romney’s neck.

  143. 143
    LE says:

    Thank god I’m not watching this, so I can watch everyone be stupid about it after.

  144. 144
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:


    so are things as dire as Sully makes them sound?

    I’m not reading him, But this is the man who talked about decadent enclaves of fifth columnists, and that Obama would never recover from “You didn’t build that.”

    @narcissus: yeah, I had the same thought, he’s just started a new campaign from scratch, and he lies with absolute confidnce.

  145. 145
    BGinCHI says:

    @gnomedad: Agreed. Time to punch back. This is not inspiring, but then again we maybe aren’t the ones Obama is trying to convince.

    Mitt is fucking lying about “the Board.” Nail his ass on that!

  146. 146
    Anya says:

    I stopped watching. Really hard to watch. Fuck!

  147. 147
    Jay C says:

    The “Romney romping” meme sounds like wishful thinking: personally, I think he’s full of BS: the problem is Obama hasn’t articulated his principles (assuming he has any, of course) in a concise and clearly differentiated way – simple language for a simple audience. At best a draw….

  148. 148
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    Going to bed. I’ll read teh recaps in the morning. Cheers.

  149. 149
    Tripod says:

    Snap couch poll:

    ….that white guy’s a bitch….

  150. 150
  151. 151
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Valdivia: Good grief hasn’t anyone learned not to read anything by Andrew Sullivan?

    Romney wants to fire Big Bird, is being arrogant and bossy to Jim Lehrer the moderator, and otherwise vacillating between smirking and being extremely awkward and sort of angry.

    Sullivan was sort of the same when I saw him on Bill Maher once, come to think of it.

    Edit: Sullivan posts this, from a reader who wrote to him:

    “I’m sitting in a room with six other people. These aren’t all ravenous Democrats. No one is having the reaction you are. Not. One.”

  152. 152
    LD50 says:

    Sully’s always looking for a new Reagan or Thatcher, so sometimes he gets a little overexcited.

  153. 153
    Dream On says:

    Data Base Error. A lot.

  154. 154
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    Republican congressmen need lessons in working together. Heh.

  155. 155
    LE says:

    Wait, do any of you people think the fucking stupid “undecided” voters actually pay attention the debates?

  156. 156
    Randy P says:

    Can’t take the lying anymore and the thought that it’s going to work for him. Turning it off.

  157. 157
    Death Panel Truck says:

    Eek! Eek! The sky is falling! Romney is winning! Romney is winning! Obama’s gonna lose the election!

    Typical liberal panic. Reality: Romney’s coming off like an angry, dissembling asshole. He’s gaining no votes with this performance.

    @Valdivia: It’s Sully the Tory. What did you expect?

  158. 158
    Mike Lamb says:

    Lehrer: Romney, describe what you’d replace Obamacare with.

    Rmoney: It’s a very lengthy description. 1. Pre-existing conditions are covered 2. young people can stay on their parents’ plans. Which they can do already. You don’t need to the gov’t to mandate that (but my plan does that anyway). And then I’m going to pivot to nonsense…

  159. 159
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @TheHalfrican: Or Honey Boo Boo if is on.

  160. 160
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    Ooh, did POTUS almost call Romney’s “Obamacare board” bullshit?

  161. 161
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @cathyx: no, but Romney 1) is not the complete jibbering idiot his campaign has suggested over the last month 2) lies repeatedly and shamelessly. HE has totally reinvented his tax position tonight, and it’s hard to nail jello to the wall

  162. 162
    Mary G says:

    This is bad. I want to stop watching.

  163. 163
    Valdivia says:

    Thank you all! Feeling a bit better.

    I hope things aren’t that terrible. Will check the blog at the Guardian. TPM is also saying Obama is letting it all slide by! Gah I hate not being inside the info loop when this is going down, maybe better for my health though.

  164. 164
    smith says:

    Romney is horrible. Obama looks bored and/or pissed. The media will declare Romney the winner because he is lying with enthusiasm. Hopefully most people left the debate because this is a colssal bore. I have no idea why I’m still watching.

  165. 165
    RareSanity says:

    I’m sorry guys, unless you already know that Romney is lying through his teeth (which people here do), Romney is winning this debate.

  166. 166
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Romney: I have no plan.

  167. 167
    Dream On says:

    All these two do is dance around the edges of the same blade. So far only Big Bird has elevated the discussion.

    God damn this Database Server Connection.

  168. 168
    smith says:

    Romney is horrible. Obama looks bored and/or pissed. The media will declare Romney the winner because he is lying with enthusiasm. Hopefully most people left the debate because this is a colssal bore. I have no idea why I’m still watching.

    Obama needs to get his shit together for the next two debates.

  169. 169
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Round 3, Obama by a half point. Obama should have been able to run away with this round but he’s hesitant, disorganized and picking the wrong arguments to have (like the stupid medicare “board”, which he hit twice.)

    Also, he should prolly stop grinning whenever Romney lies. A studious and perplexed look might be more appropriate.

    I think the taking over thing at the end of each round is starting to hurt Romney.

  170. 170
    Keith G says:

    I just wish Obama would loosen up to come more assertive, pretend he is on the basketball court talking some smack. I know it sounds juvenile but it’s what the general public eat up.

  171. 171
    Joel says:

    Glad I watched a baseball game. You guys are not inspiring confidence.

  172. 172
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: “but Andrew Sullivan” = “by Andrew Sullivan”.

    Sorry couldn’t edit. When the going gets tough, Balloon-Juice folds like a wet tamale.

    I checked in with Sullivan by the way, he posts this from a reader who wrote to him:

    “I’m sitting in a room with six other people. These aren’t all ravenous Democrats. No one is having the reaction you are. Not. One.”

    I think Sullivan really is just such an obnoxious irritating weirdo that he judges everything by how closely others come to that style.

  173. 173
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Eh, life goes on.

  174. 174
    pattonbt says:

    Sully’s crying himself silly over Obamas performance. Must mean Obama is doing good.

  175. 175
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    What is funny is that Cole was tweeting complaints that twitter couldn’t handle the load.

  176. 176
    Dream On says:

    Personally, I love bad schools.

  177. 177
    John O says:

    Romney is kicking Obama’s ass. All he needed was a draw.

    You’ll see tomorrow.

  178. 178
    fleeting expletive says:

    I fucking love teachers! They’re the right height! Pursuit of happiness!!

  179. 179
    SatanicPanic says:

    All Obama needs to do is run out the clock, which is apparently what he’s trying do. Boooring

  180. 180
    Tripod says:


    make up a number..

    Yea sure, why not.

  181. 181
    kindness says:

    Oh my God! Throw those chipmunks running the servers a few extra peanuts, will ya?

    I couldn’t get through till now. Stuck with the live blogging between DKos & Sullivan.

    Romney is more alpha male on display but he’s also lying his ass off. I don’t know that the low info voters will know that. The bonus? The low info voters aren’t watching the debate.

  182. 182
    Ms. D. Ranged in AZ says:

    Why the fuck does Romney always get the last word?

  183. 183
    MikeJ says:

    @Keith G:

    I know it sounds juvenile but it’s what the general public eat up.

    It’s what Democrats eat up when Obama does it. It’s what Republicans eat up when Romney does it.

    Obama has always been cool. Anybody who expects him to become a firebreather to make them feel better is deluded.

  184. 184
    Dream On says:

    Can we bring Clint Eastwood back to harangue the wooden chair? This ’tis boring.

  185. 185
    Violet says:

    @kindness: Low info voters are probably watching Honey Boo Boo.

  186. 186
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Obama is starting to land some punches.

  187. 187
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ: Because Lehrer sucks as a moderator. His fucking job is to enforce the rules.

  188. 188
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @kindness: Peter Beinart had a good tweet: Romney is presenting himself as the moderate Dems always feared.” I still think Romney’s bucket is gonna bite him in the ass. Also too “let the foreclosure process run its course, then the investors move in”. And has the number 47 come up tonight?

  189. 189
    smith says:


    I will be interested to see the ratings for tonight.

  190. 190
    Dream On says:

    “Mr. President, you have your own airplane” zingers?

  191. 191
    clayton says:

    @John O: Winning with his huffing and puffing? Really? Oh, and conseeding?

  192. 192
    master c says:

    Obama has come to life a bit in the last 30 minutes, but Romney has run roughshod over Lehrer, and looked very smooth doing it. Obama is probably fine, he is composed. Romney seems to be more on the defensive now and the smacking has returned.

  193. 193
    Davis X. Machina says:

    What Romney needs, the debate can’t do for him.

    He should be bathing lepers someplace, while Pernell Roberts does a voice-over.

  194. 194
    Brian R. says:

    I like how Lehrer spends two minutes telling them they’re running out of time. Jesus.

  195. 195
    notoriousJRT says:

    You’re kidding, no?

  196. 196
    RareSanity says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ:

    Because he’s taking the last word…he refuses to allow Lehrer to stop him from talking. So it’s only after he finishes, that they can move on to the next subject.

  197. 197
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    When Joe Biden debates Paul Ryan, I want it to end with the VP, walking away whistling while carrying the Zombie Eyed Granny Starver’s head. Perhaps Alec Baldwin can send the Brass Balls from Glengarry Glen Ross, to the President to inspire him in the next debate.

  198. 198
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Round 4, tie. Obama was gracious, lobbied for Romney to have a rebuttal that he didn’t merit and then got punked for it. Who couldn’t see that one coming a mile away?

  199. 199
    max says:

    Obama subtext: this Wall Street douchebag sure does know how to annoy a motherfucker.

    [‘Mitt Romney: I can’t believe you people don’t want flying monkeys to run the country!’]

  200. 200
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Dream On: The empty chair would have made a better moderator.

  201. 201
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Dream On: did i miss a zinger?

    Obama just called Willard a captive of Michelle Bachmann.

  202. 202
    muddy says:

    Lehrer was always awful. I remember the individual interviews he did with Bush and Gore in 2000, he was all mean girl mocking and pushing hard on nitpicky shit on Gore, and then with Bush he was all thrilled and tongue-bathing him.

    I used to watch the PBSNewsHour but after a while I just could not take it anymore. He’s always slanted, but expects that people think he’s fair because he’s on PBS. When they showed the pictures of the fallen at the end of the show, I used to yell, “How do you like Bush now, bitch? You had a hand in all those deaths!”

    By his behavior tonight I guess he still likes it just fine. He interrupted the President, not for time, but right in the middle of a comment, trying to swing back and ask Mitt about that detail.

  203. 203
    Kadzimiel says:

    Romney is gibbering, contradicting himself like crazy and refusing to supply any details whatsoever.

    Rather predictably, Andrew Sullivan is crapping his pants and apparently watching a different debate altogether.

  204. 204
    Dream On says:



  205. 205
    MikeJ says:

    @notoriousJRT: Purple Dots was a pretty good yarn. He should go to novels full time.

  206. 206
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Round 5, Obama by a half point. He got to hit the leadership theme, mention killing Osama and pointed out Romney can’t even stand up to the nutjobs in his own party.

  207. 207
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @master c:

    Romney has run roughshod over Lehrer, and looked very smooth doing it.

    I don’t agree with the last part. Why he thinks that being this aggressive and bullying the moderator is a winning stance is a mystery, but it’s not. Romney has no heart and wants to fire the peons, was the image he had to avoid, and now he wants to fire Big Bird?

  208. 208
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Did Romney just thank the President for tuning this evening?

  209. 209
    SenyorDave says:

    Obama was awful tonight. Actually, worse than awful, totally uninspring.

  210. 210
    Keith G says:

    @Mary G: I stopped watching a while ago. A passive debater is a dead debater.. Obama is in the process of committing in own goal Theatrics count for an awful lot. I can’t believe Obama and his team is letting this happen.

  211. 211
    Violet says:

    From Sully:

    10.29 pm. How is Obama’s closing statement so fucking sad, confused and lame? He choked. He lost. He may even have lost the election tonight.

    Drama queen.

  212. 212
    👽 Martin says:

    This is how first debates often go – its hard for the incumbent to get their feel in these things. Relax. There are two more. Obama will get his head in it next debate. We’ve been down this road before.

  213. 213
    Laura says:


    Electorate: Is a new episode of Top Chef All-Stars on tonight?

  214. 214
    👽 Martin says:

    This is how first debates often go – its hard for the incumbent to get their feel in these things. Relax. There are two more. Obama will get his head in it next debate. We’ve been down this road before.

  215. 215
    Keith G says:

    @MikeJ: What I expect is for him to do whatever it takes not to be an ex president.

  216. 216
    max says:

    Mitt Romney: I will cut taxes, raise spending, keep everything the same and balance the budget!

    [‘I’m from Wall Street and I’m here to help.’]

  217. 217
    Dream On says:

    The winner tonight was No-Doze, coffee & amphetamines.

  218. 218
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    The idiot woman on CNN is saying that this is a different Mitt Romney than the one we saw in the primaries, because he was combative and angry in those.

    What in the world?

    It’s pretty clear to me that everyone sees something based on some little play going on in their own heads.

  219. 219
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Why bother having a political blog if when major political events happen it just shuts down?

  220. 220
    Emma says:

    Could you all pull up your big boys and girls pants now? It was a meh debate. And it won’t change the vote one damn bit.

  221. 221
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    I wonder how much Turkey was distracting Obama early in the debate.

  222. 222
    Cain says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:
    Iti s perfectly winning for his base. He roused his base tonight.

  223. 223
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Rachel Maddow: No discussion of immigration, no discussion of women’s rights, no discussion of abortion, no discussion of the 47%, no discussion of Bain…

    Ed Schultz and Tweety very disappointed. Maybe that’s a good thing if Obama gets goosed.

    My pro-Obama spin: The pre-game spin was that Obama would look smug and arrogant. No one’s going to be looking for Obama to be smug, arrogant or overconfident in the next round.

    Tweety. Is. Pissed.

  224. 224
    kindness says:

    @Violet: Yea…that statement stuck in my craw. Sully is acting somewhat over the top tonight. Lost the election indeed.

  225. 225
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Sully just blogged that he thinks Obama’s performance may have lost him the election.

  226. 226
    Anya says:

    @Violet: Chris Matthews is also losing it.

    I know these two guys are drama queens, but to be honest the President let Romney lie and lie and lie. WTF happened?

  227. 227
    Cacti says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Why bother having a political blog if when major political events happen it just shuts down


  228. 228
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Violet: The man is a moron. Obama did himself no favors tonight, but Romney, IMHO, came across as a hectoring used car salesman. Not someone I would trust.

  229. 229
    Cain says:

    The lesson is not to have a debate on Obama’s wedding anniversary. I think he that has fucked things up for him. Goddam it.

  230. 230
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    So I had it a tie round by round but you have to give the nod to Romney for somehow having a debate that didn’t touch on all of his incredible weaknesses that have him running behind in the polls.

  231. 231
    John O says:

    Romney kicked Obama’s ass, politically speaking. It wasn’t close. Lehrer was pathetic. But Romney could have won tonight, as Andrew pointed out.

    It was horrible.

  232. 232
    jwb says:

    @👽 Martin: This should knock the complacency out of the campaign. They’ve been satisfied to allow Romney to stumble about for the past couple of weeks—and given the damage Romney has done to himself who can blame them—but the Obama campaign hasn’t really been taking the fight to Romney. Romney left himself vulnerable on many issues in the debate, so there are definitely points to be scored.

  233. 233
    The Other Chuck says:

    Miserable performance by POTUS. Let Mitt walk all over him and the moderator.

    And oh yeah, lemme pull out my neuralyzer and put on my shades:

    Put your blog on a reliable platform and host. Pay MORE than a dollar.

  234. 234
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Emma: Concur.

    I don’t see why a country that more or less decided five months ago that it doesn’t want another utter dick as president so soon after the last one left office is going to suddenly change its mind.

  235. 235
    Original Lee says:

    Obama has to stay calm. He can’t seem to lose his cool without getting Angry Black Man label and scaring the flighty independents. He may have dialed it back too much, though. What I think is fascinating is that I think Romney is coming off as bullying, but Original Spouse thinks he’s being unusually aggressive. The independent voter reaction thing was very interesting, because Obama tended to get very high positive reaction, Romney’s averaged lower, and every time Romney told a really obvious lie, the women’s reaction line dipped into the negative. The more aggressive Romney got, though, the more the men’s line went positive.

    Romney’s challenge was to avoid being condescending and smug. He was bullying and lying, but smooth, so maybe he did well enough.

  236. 236
    YellowJournalism says:

    Ugh. CNN: “Now we have a horse race!”

    It says my comment was too short, so let me say all the gleeful faces on CNN make me sick. They set up low expectations for Romney and high ones for Obama, and here we are at “Romney killed it! Bravo! Bravo!”

  237. 237
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Sully just blogged that he thinks Obama’s performance may have lost him the election.

    I hope he has a fainting couch near, because he calls upon it an awful lot.

  238. 238
    SatanicPanic says:

    @👽 Martin: Obama was pretty weak against McCain too. And he’s up against a more shameless liar. I wasn’t impressed, but I don’t think it will matter.

  239. 239
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    On the bright side, we’ve turned a real corner when trying to paint your opponent as an irresponsible tax cutter is a good attack and the Republican runs madly away from appearing to want to cut taxes.

  240. 240
    Violet says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yeah, maybe this was the plan. Did the President take a dive so expectations for his performance would be low for the next two debates?

    I thought the president looked tired and like he didn’t want to be there. And the looking down all the time was not good body language. He also said “Sorry” at least three times, which from a ‘black man saying ‘sorry’ to a rich, white man’ standpoint just didn’t look good.

  241. 241
    Ben Franklin says:

    I think I said it this AM. Two cautious souls who wear both suspenders and belts to hold up their britches, looking both ways on a one-way street; meet. End of fucking story.

  242. 242
    NR says:

    Obama agrees with Romney on Social Security. Looks like the 99% just got thrown under the bus.

  243. 243
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Howard Beale IV: I wonder if it will take until tomorrow before people remember that “mean spirited” and “bossing underlings around” was actually not the impression Romney needed to create but the one he needed to dispel.

    Sarah Palin’s mean, nasty, and aggressive acceptance speech at the Republican convention was widely celebrated as “a home run!” and “out of the park!” by not only Republican politicians and their flacks but no small number of others. And we all know how that worked out.

  244. 244
    Cain says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I have to agree, and this is important that we have to agree that Romney won this debate. Obama allowed him to lie. The president was weak in this. Obama needs to get his shit together and work for it.

  245. 245
    The Dangerman says:

    Obama had a bad night, clearly…

    …but did he lose the election? Please. Romney had to have a good night – and he did…

    …but I don’t think he “won” the debate as much as Obama “lost” it.

    Also, Lehrer had better be done. What a joke.

  246. 246
    LanceThruster says:

    Heard most of it in the car. Rmoney sounded better than I would have expected but kept repeating his mantra of “Jaahhhhbs” like emphasizing the word means he can pull it off. Liked how Obama said this concept didn’t work when Shrubya was tanking the economy either.

    They terk errrh jerrrrrbs!

  247. 247
    Mayur says:

    This was fucking horrendous.

    WTF is wrong with Obama anyway?

  248. 248
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    We have to step back and remember we are the fringe. Very few people follow this shit as closely (unhealthily obsessively) as we do. As Al Sharpton said, Romney gave good testimony, but he will be indicted for perjury over the next week.

    Ed Schutlz is furious about social security. What has Romney said about social security that Obama could punch against? I’m absolutely sure Romney wants to privatize, but has he said it? Again, it’s hard to nail down jello. The 47% didn’t come up, Bain didn’t come up, self-deportation didn’t come up… but those issues, those ads, are not going away.

  249. 249
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @👽 Martin:

    This is how first debates often go – its hard for the incumbent to get their feel in these things.

    This is also the crammer debate, where the aim is to dump out all the shit you’ve been prepping for, regardless of what the questions are, because you’ve spent so much time working on it. If Mittens is going to play Mormon door-knocker / used car salesman for the rest of October, it’s going to get fucking old fucking fast.

  250. 250
    Quincy says:

    Romney easily won the debate but it wont change the election. All the poll experts agreed that debates don’t have enough impact to make up the ground he’s behind.

  251. 251
    jheartney says:

    Luckily debates don’t mean much, because O was going for the “cure for insomnia” style. Even when counterpunching, he managed to be as boring as possible. However, for the most part he just sat there and watched lie after lie after lie go past him unchallenged.

    I’m not sure it would have been a good thing for Obama to challenge the lies, as he seemed utterly clueless about how to sound like he meant what he was saying. I guess this is the downside of the famously calm demeanor; I was too bored to listen, and I’m as rabid a Democrat as you’re likely find.

    Maybe part of it is because I’ve spent so much time in the blogosphere, I know all the devastating takedowns that could have been used against Romney’s dissembling, but I didn’t hear any of them from the President’s mouth. Discouraging.

  252. 252
    MikeJ says:

    When Obama went on stage without a tire iron in his hand with which to club Romney I knew it was over. Roseanne Barr is our only hope.

  253. 253
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Original Lee: The men will think Romney won. Women will either call it a draw or prefer Obamas style. If that is the case, not much changes.

  254. 254
    PeakVT says:

    I turned it off right after my last comment at 10PM. That was just awful moderation. Judge Ito could have done a better job than Lehrer.

  255. 255
    kindness says:

    @John O: C’mon. If Obama had treated Romney like Romney treated Obama and Leher the machine would be up in arms tomorrow about what a thug Obama is. It was set up by Romney for exactly that. Obama took the correct path even though he looked bumbling. Reinforcing the right’s perception that Obama is a crazy nig-CLANG would have been worse election wise.

  256. 256
    SIA says:

    Balloon Juice WHAT THE FUCK. You let me down tonight.

  257. 257
    EriktheRed says:

    This may not really change anything, but the Prez let Mittens get away with way too much tonight. He had some good blows himself, but Rmoney shouldn’t have been able to throw out so many debunked talking points unchallaenged.

    This is really disappointing. I think I’m gonna give watching this campaign a short break after tonight.

  258. 258
    Anya says:

    Fuck the Angry Black Man bullshit. The President let Mittenz dominate the debate and get away with endless lies. Also, his whole body language was wrong. He didn’t seem motivated or had fire in the belly. He was just there. God, the whole thing sucked!

  259. 259
    jshooper says:

    So after watching all of the Media Post Game and comments on the blogs…I’ve learned that being rude, lying your ass off and refusing to answer questions = winning a “debate”…Apparently all of the media talking heads are going crazy because Obama (the fucking President) didn’t behave like a political talk show host during the “debate”…I don’t know what in Obama’s history would make these clowns believe that he would come out and act a fool they way they do on their shows

  260. 260

    The only good thing about Twitter is it’s tailor-made for live-blogging things like tonight’s debate much moreso than blogs themselves. So I’ve already put up a dozen of my most retweeted dispatches in 140 Characters in Search of a Decent Candidate.

  261. 261
    Political Observer says:

    Obama just lost the election tonight.

    Romney dominated from start to finish–even MSNBC agrees.

    Game. Set. Match.

  262. 262
    Keith G says:

    I mentioned a few weeks ago that I hoped that Obama would be debate prepping with Barney Frank to get used to and aggressive disruptive style. they should have listened to me. Well it’s not too late and I’m sure Barney doesn’t have much else going on.

  263. 263
    seaboogie says:

    Could Romney have ingested some verboten caffeine? Maybe he doesn’t know what’s really in Mountain Dew in his effort to connect with the “poor” (correction)”disadvantaged*” people.

    * I forget the alternative modifier for “those people”.

  264. 264
    seaboogie says:

    Could Romney have ingested some verboten caffeine? Maybe he doesn’t know what’s really in Mountain Dew in his effort to connect with the “poor” (correction)”disadvantaged*” people.

    *I forget the alternative modifier for “those people”.

  265. 265
    Regular Reader says:

    Don’t worry – if Sullivan follows his usual form, within several weeks to a few months, he will change his mind and realize what pretty much everyone else already has – Obama didn’t blow the election and initiate the end of all mankind tonight. And he will also wonder why he’s not being lauded for his remarkable independent thought.

  266. 266
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    And they send Marty O’Malley as a surrogate? he’s the perfect compliment to Obama’s decaf performance. Which is why he’s the worst choice. Where’s Granholm? Where’s Strickland? Somebody who can and will call out Willard’s lies?

  267. 267
    fleeting expletive says:

    If no one here is reading Gawker’s liveblog of the debate, you are missing just the best. Way more succinct, possibly more stoned, accurate coverage.

  268. 268
    Just Some Fuckhead says:


    Fuck the Angry Black Man bullshit. The President let Mittenz dominate the debate and get away with endless lies. Also, his whole body language was wrong. He didn’t seem motivated or had fire in the belly. He was just there. God, the whole thing sucked!

    That’s your president. He’s a genuinely nice person, genuinely interested in reaching accord. When Obama can say, “This is something me and my opponent agree on..” (which he did over and over), he considers that a win. The attacks and jabs, not so much. He considers it distasteful.

    For the record, his first couple debates with Hillary went the same way.

  269. 269
    RinaX says:

    So…does anyone care that President Obama won both the CNN instapoll and their focus group, and that so far CSPAN callers seemed to prefer the president’s approach? No? Continue panicking then.

  270. 270
    Kilkee says:

    I hate, hate, hate to say this, but Obama got his ass kicked tonight. If you were reasonably well informed you saw Mitt lie like a rug, but very convincingly. Unfortunately, Obama failed to effectively call him on a single one of these lies. (The $716 BILLION cut from Maedicare?”) Instead he looked like he was constantly looking at Lehrer, not his opponent, hemmed and hawed through some mostly listless responses, and let Romney look like he was the alpha male. I hope to hell it’s not enough to move many votes, but it wasn’t very impressive.

  271. 271
    plaindave says:

    Watch it again with no audio. Romney was desperate. His eyes betrayed him. The undecided are morons, susceptible to the irrelevant. They noticed. Big win for Obama.

  272. 272
    LanceThruster says:



  273. 273
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Couple OF…

    /In b4 eemom

  274. 274
    Surly Duff says:

    Uninformed voters don’t spend time watching debates.

    Obama allowed the media to fulfill its desired narrative of the opponent who is getting demolished in polls to “hit the reset button” and “now we have a race”. Ultimately it will make no difference.

  275. 275
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @RinaX: That actually does make me feel better. Thanks for the perspective.

  276. 276

    @Political Observer: Huh? Romney constantly interrupted Obama and Lehrer. I’m surprised that Romney didn’t have a couple of his staff hold down Obama so Romney could take his scissors to the President’s hair.

  277. 277
    Violet says:

    John Cole–fix your fucking blog! The hamsters need a union. Or are they on lockout and you’ve got replacement hamsters. Pay them what they ask. This is a travesty.

  278. 278
    Tone In DC says:


    Obama knows something way too many of us seem to have forgotten… the majority of this country is not ready for Angry Black Man. It has NEVER been ready for that. It will not be ready for that ANY TIME SOON.

    This country is not even ready for smart assed black man. Know that. How do I say these things with such certainty? I am a black man.

    That’s what he is up against. Be patient. There are two more debates.
    And if you must have drama, watch As The World Turns.

  279. 279
    Anya says:

    BS KN instant reaction poll: Big win for Romney. By 46-22 say think won, 56% have better opinion of Romney, Romney cares up from 30 to 63
    — @MysteryPollster via Tweetbot for Mac

  280. 280
    jshooper says:

    It seems as if the REAL outrage that I’m hearing from most people stems from the fact that the moderator didn’t ask a single fucking question about all of Romney’s most outrageous gaffes over the campaign…and yet people (who watch MSNBC every night) expected Obama to bring up every Rachel Maddow Show episode even when it had nothing to do with the topic…I hear Ed Shultz yelling like a damn fool…I wouldn’t be surprised if he tells people to vote for Jill Stein or Mickey Mouse…or whoever the Green Party is running these days

  281. 281
    Redleg says:

    I agree with jshooper’s comments above. If winning the debate means being more aggressive, more evasive, and more bitchy then Mitt certainly won the debate.

    I do have to say I thought the Pres. started off a bit slow and perhaps too low energy but her sparked up in the last half. He’ll get the Romneybot next time.

  282. 282
    👽 Martin says:

    @jwb: Yeah. Next one will be VP in a week. Biden will be a bulldog, and Obama will be in better form the following week. Romney will get a bounce off of this, but its the last debate that voters will remember, not the first. Obama needs some momentum in the next one and the final one, all foreign policy, he’ll be solid.

  283. 283
    General Stuck says:

    Christ, Obama is ahead, and is president. Everything Obama did tonight was fully polled and focus grouped. Calm, serious and presidential. The same old bullshit of liberals personalizing politics to satisfy the emo needs. Romney is so far out on the liars limb, there is not much need to saw it off for him. He is doing that himself. When will supporters realize this president knows what he is doing, and you don’t/ Especially on running elections. Romney sounded like Eddie Haskell on meth.

  284. 284
    Mike in NC says:

    Fucking drama queens like Andrew Sullivan.

  285. 285
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Keith G: heh, that’s actually a pretty good idea. I have to admit at more than one point tonight I was thinking, I bet John Kerry wasn’t like this.

  286. 286
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    On the bright side, we’ve turned a real corner when trying to paint your opponent as an irresponsible tax cutter is a good attack and the Republican runs madly away from appearing to want to cut taxes.

    Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.

    Look folks, stop griding your noses against the trees and look at the forest. The big story out of tonights debate is that Obama wasn’t able to land punches against Romney because Romney came out and presented himself as the liberal governor of Massachusetts, repeatedly and with emphasis. He didn’t just shake the etch-a-sketch, he threw that sucker into the chipper-shredder.

    He stated emphatically that he WILL NOT lower taxes on the rich. He stated emphatically that Wall St. needs govt regulation. He pledged to strengthen Social Security (with no mention of privitization at all). He stated that he would repeal Obamacare and then replace it with: Romneycare, from his days in MA. All of this is a big fat liberal cake with just a thin layer of frosting in the form of warmed over Reagan bromides and nostrums.

    If I was a Tea Party person, right now I’d either be having the mother of all conniption fits that Romeny is the RINO they’ve always feared, or else I’d be assuming that he was lying his ass off because the only way to get elected is to pretend to be a Democrat-lite. Wait till that last part sinks in, and then over the next few weeks Romney is going to have to explain how it is that he just threw 90% of what he’s campaigned on up to this point, and 90% of what the Republican base wants, craves and demands, under the bus.

    This is what it looks like when the Overton Window moves, and moves in a big lurch all at once. This is what you’ve been asking for.

  287. 287
    lless says:

    Sorry but your champ was brain dead tonight. He got beat over the head with 716B and never woke up to it. He let’s Romney get away with the line that you can tell where somebody’s priorities lie by where they put their money. Plans with no specifics (maybe they’re tucked under those tax returns). Brain dead.

  288. 288
    jwb says:

    @RinaX: I’m surprised, but happy to hear that. I hope it holds up after the spin room is done with it.

  289. 289
    Peter says:

    WHOOPS sorry Maddow, I love you but I’m not going to sit here and listen to Rudy Fucking Giuliani. I’m out.

    Honestly I don’t think either candidate really ‘won’ tonight. Romney definitely dominated the format, and Obama had a shaky start, but I also think Romney’s performance within the time he spoke was kinda bad, actually. Yes, he clearly threw Obama for a loop by out-and-out and repeatedly lying about his tax plan, but his demeanour, body language, and general assholery (both towards Obama and to the moderator, who was honestly useless) made him look…bad. Even when he spoke about people he’d met with and talked to during the campaign, the hurried way he just whipped through them made it look really artificial and perfunctory. Used Car Salesman-esque.

    I think the incredibly blatant lying about his tax plan is going to bite him in the ass, though. It gives a really strong hook for post-mortem coverage of the debate – “Romney lies repeatedly about tax plan!” it’s not like that’s a wonkish number he lied about, it’s incredibly easy to look up.

    Also he openly admitted that his deficit reduction plan would put Big Bird out to pasture. Totally unprompted too, a complete own goal. There’s absolutely no way that that’s a winner.

    So not the strong Obama knockout that I think we were all hoping for, but I don’t think Romney won it either. I’m calling it a draw. The pundits are proclaiming a Mittens victory, but they always do that towards whoever the more aggressive participant in a debate is. They tried to do that shit with McCain, too.

  290. 290
    RinaX says:

    And for more perspective: Politico 42 Obama, 40 Romney.
    CBS : 46% Romney, 22% Obama, 32% tied. So 54% either thought Obama won or thought they both did the same.

    I’m sorry, but I saw a similar freakouts back in 2008, and you can replace McCain with Romney with the way you all are reacting. Damn, it doesn’t take much to shake most of you. Indies are still calling Romney out on CSpan. Get a fucking grip.

  291. 291
    PGfan says:

    As I watched the impression I got was that Obama was prepared for an actual debate and wasn’t prepared to deal with a guy who would instantly sacrifice previously held positions in real time. On top of that Mitt is able to lie without blushing and without shame. You can’t really “debate” that — you have to do something else. But, while there will undoubtedly be some strokes for Mitt by some media, etc. I think Obama is likely to improve in the next outings. But he will need a different approach.

  292. 292
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Here’s the NYT headline:

    In Forceful Words of First Debate, a Blizzard of Statistics

    Only political junkies saw anything more than that. And political junkies already know who they’re voting for.

    Non-junkies might now hear from pundits that Romney “won” a debate (because it’s almost no one except pundits who score things that way) but so what? What’s that going to mean to them? Not much I suspect.

  293. 293
    Can't Be Bothered says:

    No more whistling past the graveyard. I’m despondent right now. All the President had to do was “pretty ok” tonight and he turned in, unequivocally, the worst debate performance I’ve seen in the past 24 years. He gave nothing. I nearly flipped my shit after the second (or third or fourth?) time he went in to the weeds rambling about “death panels.” WHAT IN THE FUCK WAS HE DOING!??? What was this shit? He was all over the place on EVERYTHING. ALWAYS on defense. No passion. No cohesion. No fight. No NOTHING. The whole (obvious) strategy of “rising above it” was cranked to 11 and he got his fucking ass kicked… badly. And don’t even get me started on Jim Lehrer. Jesus fucking christ, I need a drink. He could have put this fucker away tonight and now he’s going to need to close hard to even win. Kiss the fucking House goodbye. Godfuckingdammit.

  294. 294
    jwb says:

    @RinaX: Weird that CBS is quite a lot out of line compared to the others.

  295. 295
    Kool Earl says:

    I cant seem to find these snap polls. Would somebody link? Thanks

  296. 296
    NR says:


    And for more perspective: Politico 42 Obama, 40 Romney.

    That is an online poll. Non-scientific and useless.

  297. 297
    danielx says:

    Sometimes this shit just writes itself.

    Here’s the money line from Fox & Friends:

    We’ll break down the results from the crucial first presidential debate with Ann Coulter, Rick Santorum, Michelle Malkin and Larry the Cable Guy.

    What the fuck? Moe, Larry and Curly weren’t available, nor yet Larry, Daryl and Daryl?

  298. 298
    MikeJ says:

    Romney survived tonight. A good gaffe would have destroyed his candidacy. He’s alive to fight another day. But as ABQ pointed out, he’s now on record as wanting to be exactly like Obama, except for that icky part about being a knee-grow.

  299. 299
    smith says:


    Exactly. I know Romney is trying to run to the center to get votes. But it comes across as as desperate. His entire campaign has been the antithesis of everything he spoke in favor of tonight. How is he going to defend this in front of teabagger audiences? It should be clear that this douche will say anything to get votes. Hopefully the voters realize that.

  300. 300
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I can’t pretend I thought this was a win for Obama, but I’m not gonna panic, either. I don’t for a moment imagine Mr Plouffe’s bag of tricks and surprises is empty.

    Apparently CNN is fact checking Romney’s claim that he won’t cut taxes for the rich, by pointing that Wilalrd Romney now says he won’t cut taxes for the rich.

    Hit him with the mystery bucket, Barack

  301. 301
    Violet says:

    @Tone In DC:

    And if you must have drama, watch As The World Turns.

    Can’t. It was cancelled in 2010.

  302. 302
    The Other Chuck says:

    Totally didn’t expect Romney to lie so blatantly about his tax plan. The wingnuts should be howling in outrage, but they know he’s lying.

    Oh well, another reason debates don’t really move the needle.

  303. 303
    Ben Franklin says:

    Jeebus. Maybe y’all should take a break. It ain’t the end of the fucking world.

    But maybe some of the drunken partiers will gain some perspective. This race is gonna be titmouse tight. Gird yer goddamn loins.

  304. 304
  305. 305
    Regular Reader says:

    For all those breaking out the cyanide pills tonight, here’s some perspective: a presidential candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win. Obama, as of tonight, has at least a 7 point polling lead in enough states to account for exactly 270 votes. In order for Romney to win, he would not only have to win the remaining (again, as of tonight) toss-up state of North Carolina, but he would have to flip six Obama-leaning states: Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Virginia, Oregon, and one of the states where Obama has at least a 7 point lead. Does even the most pessimistic individual here think Obama had a bad enough performance tonight to permanently flip the leanings of six states?

  306. 306
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Hey, remember all the times Obama lost the election for sure in 2008?

  307. 307
    mai naem says:

    @Tone In DC: As The World Turns is gone. I think General Hospital’s still around.

    I think Obama was pretty bad. Not sure what was going on. Was he distracted about some foreign policy deal that was going on? Was it the wedding anniversary bit? Was he totally shocked that Mitt was a lying SOS and didn’t know how to deal with it? Was he overconfident and expecting the Mittster to be a moron? Did Chris Van Hollen do a crappy job prepping the prez? And BTW WTF was Van Hollen being Mitt’s replacement? He’s not even from Mass. Why wasn’t it somebody who dealt with Mitt in Mass. Why not Barney Frank?
    Oh, and Lehrer was godawful. Mitt probably just cost him his every four year moderator gig. Also Mitt Romney has the most punchable face evah. Except maybe for Rudy Giuliani and Paul Ryan.

  308. 308
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered: Oh for fuck’s sake, quit fucking whinging. Jesus fucking Christ, I bet you were looking for an excuse to panic. Well, now you have one. Panic the fuck away. The rest of us will recognize that this was not a win and move on. Catch up when you stop hyperventilating.

  309. 309
    psycholinguist says:

    I don’t know, my guess is Obama won this debate tonight. Here’s what I saw – Obama stunned (go back and look) when right off the bat, Mittens decides to claim he isn’t going to cut revenue a bit with his tax cut. So he’s disowned his central position 5 minutes into the thing. What I saw next was a series of nudges by Obama, pushing that fool to disavow pretty much every position he’s endorsed at one time or another, and to agree with Obama on lots of other stuff – more teachers, yep! Better schools, heck yeah! Preexisting conditions covered, alrighty!

    So, what exactly does fox news talk about for the next week or so? at some point one of those guys is going to notice that Mitt said he won’t cut taxes on the rich won’t they?

  310. 310
    jshooper says:

    The collective media reaction to this “debate” seems far too unanimous to be a coincidence…it seems like a coordinated effort by the “horse race media” to inject some drama into the race by declaring Romney the decisive winner…despite the fact that he looked like a sweaty, angry, desperate fool in my opinion…This was a very McCain 08 performance by Romney

    1) be aggressive
    2) repeat the same lies over again…even when your opponent calls them out
    3) work the refs…Romney tried to bully the moderator
    4)never give a direct answer

    I can tell right now that I’m not gunna be able to watch too much MSNBC over the next month…because these clowns are acting a damn fool…simply because President Obama didn’t give them a “Ronald Reagan” moment

  311. 311
    notoriousJRT says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    it’s hard to nail jello to the wall

    For the very short time I listened I thought this was Obama’s problem. That and a moderator did not know how to deal with it either (and – again for the short time I listened came up with truly nimrod questions).

  312. 312
    Tom Q says:

    I didn’t watch — I was following my team clincing the AL East — but the reaction strikes me as amazingly similar to the one after the first debate in 1984: “Reagan looked senile”…”Mondale wiped the floor with him”. Maybe people should use that as a guide to how significant debates are to presidential outcomes.

  313. 313
    LAC says:

    I see there’ is a run on the market on fainting couches and pearls. Thanks for being hysterics.

  314. 314
    The Klown says:

    I feel your pain, with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

  315. 315
    Foregone Conclusion says:

    Do you think this might possibly have something to do with the President appearing distracted?

  316. 316
    Keith G says:

    @fleeting expletive: Two of Gawkers entries:

    10:14 (John): I can’t figure out who gives less of a shit about this debate: Obama or Lehrer. “Do you guys agree of stuff, or maybe you don’t? I don’t know, talk amongst yourselves.”
    10:28 (John): Barack Obama just gave his wife the shittiest anniversary present anyone could conceive of.

  317. 317
    White Trash Liberal says:

    I thought Obama won. He had the best line. Simple.

    Romney will come out of this looking like a mendacious flip flopper.

  318. 318
    Can't Be Bothered says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Keep whistling. While the odds are definitely still in his favor, they just dropped precipitously. And it’s b/c he was all “strategy and handling”, and he fucking sucked. Period. Romney didn’t pull out a win. He beat his ass. If the rest of the debates go as badly as tonight, Obama will lose. End of story. And yeah, forget the dreams of running up the score and flipping the House. Not happening. Tonight was a fucking disaster.

  319. 319
    hueyplong says:

    Just for fun, I clicked on the FoxNews website for the first time in my life. Their headline:

    “No Knockout Punches, But Plenty of Jabs In First Debate.”

    FoxNews apparently sees things more favorably for Obama than do posters here.

    Not sure what to make of that.

    Disclaimer: I didn’t watch, so I can’t say one way or the other what my reaction would have been, and so I guess I’ll resist the temptation to call the lot of you pantsh!tters.

  320. 320
    psycholinguist says:

    Ha – looked over at TPM, and already Romney camp is out trying to explain just how someone with a preexisting condition might be covered – and it ain’t what Romney said. This thing is falling apart already.

  321. 321
    FuriousPhil says:

    Look at all the disappointment here.

    This debate was about reaffirming how the ‘undecideds’ were probably going to vote anyways. Obama makes the intellectual appeal, Romney the emotional. I don’t pretend to know what the typical ‘undecided’ voter is thinking, so I’m not going to get worked up about it. Obama is on pace to win re-election, and this first debate is not going to change that.

    Suddenly, the Governor of Massachusetts is now running for president, instead of ‘severely conservative’ CPAC Mitt. The smart liberals were already calling this for Romney to fit the media narrative for the MSM.

  322. 322
    John Arbuthnot Fisher says:

    Has everyone forgotten about our <24 hour news cycle? Even if Romney "won," it will be forgotten by virtually all (including my beloved denizens of this blog) in a matter of days, if not hours.

    90% of people have already made up their minds, most of the other 10% don't care about debates, and the rest who do care will have no memory of this debate, especially after Week 5 of the NFL. Priorities people.

  323. 323
    Mike in NC says:

    All you Debbie Downers should go fuck yourselves.

  324. 324
    Redleg says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    If acting deceitful, overly aggressive, and evasive means “beating ass” then yes, Romney beat his ass. That’s what the authoritarian followers in the Republican party like in their men. They like a good ass beating. Almost homoerotic in nature.

    Thinking people, however, believe that Romney’s fucking lies and lack of policy details will be his undoing. Yes, Obama at times appeared tired and low energy and he didn’t give his best performance but this sure as shit wasn’t his Waterloo nor was it Romney’s moment of ascendance. You should perhaps acquire some sense of perspective. You would sound a bit less insane.

  325. 325
    Original Lee says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: This. The minute Romney started talking about what his plan did, I told Original Spouse that the Teabaggers would be screaming in rage because he threw the Ryan plan out the window.

  326. 326
    notoriousJRT says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:
    Judas Priest. Get a grip. Or don’t. But, if you choose not to get a grip, keep your dopey blather to yourself.

  327. 327
    Original Lee says:

    @Suffern ACE: I don’t think much will change from this one debate, but I could be wrong. The Teabaggers might be enraged enough to vote for Gary Johnson instead, for instance. I have already seen a number of conservative FB friends announce that they are voting Libertarian this time around.

    My son had to watch the debate as part of a homework assignment. He had a grid with party positions on various domestic issues (based on the party conventions), and he had to put down what each candidate said about an issue and compare it to the party plank. I think we were about 15 minutes into the debate when he exclaimed, “Arrrgh! This assignment is impossible! Romney is saying totally different stuff!”

  328. 328
    pattonbt says:

    Considering the impacts of debates being minimal and there were no “Youre no John Kennedy” moments, then this will be mostly a “meh” outcome for the electorate as a whole.

    The reason for the despair on the left seems to be POTUS didnt get up in Rmoneys grill and beat him down with his mic (because I sure as would have loved to see that and revelled in it). But I knew that wasnt going to happen no mattrer how much I wished for it. Obama played it safe. Maybe too safe to “win” the debate. But Rmoney basically moved way over the center and disavowed, again, every position the base covets (and what his own freakin website has on it). Sure, the fact checkers will have fun noting all the lies (yes lies), but big picture, nothing much will move.

    So the media can reignite the “race is back on!” fapping. Barring a Rmoney collapse, they were going to do it anyway. But sounds to me this debate will do little to move the needle in any significant way one way or another.

    Obama has a EC lead that is pretty tough to surmount, and when you all wake up three days from now it will still be there. Just like it always has been after “meh” debates.

    Still, would have been nice if O crushed Rmoney. Oh well.

  329. 329
    xian says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered: yeah debates alwaya flip elections

  330. 330
    Chris says:


    Dude. EVERY election, including 2010, they promise to safeguard your Medicare, promise to be fiscally responsible, and promise that they’ll be scrupulously fair and not give the rich a special break. They do it for the margin they need in centrist, uninformed morons who actually believe they’re telling the truth. Then they get elected and prove that it was all a lie.

    This isn’t the Overtones Window shifting, it’s Republican SOP from the last forty years. The last Republican who openly ran on reversing the New Deal was Goldwater. They’ve learned since then that it’s important to lie your ass off in the general. That’s all that was.

  331. 331
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:


    Romney said this:

    Regulation is essential. You can’t have a free market work if you don’t have regulation. As a businessperson, I had to have—I need to know the regulations. I needed them there. You couldn’t have people opening up banks in their—in their garage and making loans. I mean, you have to have regulations so that you can have an economy work. Every free economy has good regulation.

    And not only did he say it, if you listened to his tone of voice he said it with conviction, as if he was thinking “well DUH, of course we have to regulate Wall St. What do you think I am, a moron or something?”

    He then went on to attack Obama from the left on the issue of protecting the big banks.

    Find me one Republican presidential nominee in the last 40 years who has spoken like that, and not in some obscure speech in front of a select audience, but during the debates in front of the biggest TV audience he’ll ever have apart from his nomination speech at the RNC.

    Sure they lie, and Romney lied like a rug, but at some point the lies become so thick that they aren’t even talking about movement conservative ideas any more. Reagan is rolling over in his grave tonight.

  332. 332
    Tone In DC says:


    Way to miss the point.
    Selective reading is an acquired skill. And acquire it you have.

  333. 333
    dms says:

    First, let me say that, for this election, I would vote for Obama over Christ. Howsomeever…

    That was a piss-poor and embarrassing performance by Obama, and anyone who says differently is a Bot. Mitt was much more poised, stronger, and much more telegenic. Forget about substance, which is never a concern during these debates. Obama looked and was weak.

    Pathetic…beyond belief pathetic. He’d better step up his game, a quantum level.

    And what was with that smile?

  334. 334

    Say Romney wins, and gets a GOP House and Senate.

    Who or what holds him to those words? Us? The Media?

  335. 335
    WaterGirl says:

    @dms: I have never seen Obama look less sure of himself than he did on the stage tonight. I think Obama was incredulous that Romney would just tell such obviously provable lies and he didn’t know how to handle it, so he went into passive mode. He tried to flash his smile now and again, but he really seemed to be floundering.

    But I agree that it’s not the end of the world and I think the Obama team will hit back at Romney and his lies, without mercy. It will be interesting to see what the world looks like a week from now.

  336. 336
    Harney says:

    From my stupid blog:

    Like everyone else, I thought that Drudge, Hannity and Tucker “I know this wasn’t reported because I reported it” Carlson bringing up the 2007 video of Obama appearing openly black smacked of desperation, and that it was at best a wasted effort. But maybe it was meant as a subtle, or not-so-subtle, reminder that Obama had better not come off as angry to Paragon of Whiteness Willard Mittimus Romney III in the debate tonight. That may be giving the likes of Drudge way too much credit, but it’s at least possible.

    And one thing Obama did not do tonight was get angry, or in fact go on the offense in any meaningful way. Mittens was up there lying from the get-go, and so brazenly that it appeared to knock the President back on his heels. If I had been playing the “drink every time Romney lies” game, I would’ve had to butt-chug a box of chablis before 9:30.

    The capacity of your modern Republican party for utter, head-spinning mendacity is bottomless. Yes, Mitt has been talking about a $5 trillion tax cut for a year and a half–it’s in the Ryan budget that he supports so much he picked its author as his running mate. Now all of a sudden it’s “not his plan.” When you add up all the tax cuts, which do in fact go mostly to the super-rich, over ten years, they add up to $4.8 trillion. The only way to do that, and balloon defense spending, and then make it revenue neutral would be through draconian cuts to everything. Eventually, every federal department but the Pentagon would have to be closed. Of course, that would never be allowed to happen, but that is what the plan is all about! And that’s just one lie. There were so many, it would break the internet to even list them all.

    The question is: what kind of strategy could Obama possibly use against a blizzard of lies like this? And the head-spinning part is that Romney then has the gall to compare Obama to one of his wayward, presumably prevaricating sons, and even to say that Obama is “not entitled to [his] own facts”!

    There’s projection, and then there’s “I know you are, but what am I?” and then there’s this. I don’t even know what to call it.

  337. 337
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God:

    Who or what holds him to those words? Us? The Media?

    Obviously nobody can in that case. But I don’t think the Republicans can win a sweeping victory like that by pretending to be Democrat-lite. The last Republican to pull that off was Dwight Eisenhower and even he didn’t get GOP majorities in both houses of Congress.

    We’ve been saying for years that it is electoral folly for the Blue Dog Dems to run as pretend Republicans, because given the choice people will vote for the real thing. It seems to me that this street goes both ways.

  338. 338
    Chris says:


    All that means is that Romney, not a man known for his sense of proportion, is counterpunching and running to the center more wildly than his predecessors. I don’t see this leading to anything more than that. I could be wrong, and if I’m proved to be by future events, I’d be happy.

    But as Judas said, no one’s going to hold him to those words if he wins.

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