Andrew Sullivan is Freaking Out.

Someone please remove all sharp object from Andrew Sullivan’s reach. I’m concerned about him. He’s spiraling.

The last 10 minutes of his liveblog are downright hysterical.

No, Andrew, President Obama didn’t just lose the election. Yes, Romney outperformed him, but it’s easy to appear confident when you’re lying through your teeth.

Now go make yourself a martini and sleep it off.

You’re panicking.

[read full post at ABLC]

153 replies
  1. 1
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    Romney wins by denying that the tax cut that’s been his campaign centerpiece for 2 years will ever happen?


    Andrew must be high.

  2. 2

    Looking like it’s time to say goodbye to my 15 and a half year old spaniel. I fear we’re coming up on some hard times.

  3. 3
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (Mumphrey, et al.):

    I’m sorry. Hugs to you both.

  4. 4

    “Andrew Sullivan is freaking out”.

    So what? Emo is pretty much his middle name.

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    Not linking to Sully. And you can’t make me. So neener.

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (Mumphrey, et al.): Poor puppeh. But good on you to recognize s/he knows it’s time and trusts you enough to say so.

  6. 6
    TexasMango says:


    Andrew needs to chill. The president had an off night because he was distracted. If Turkey gets into it with Syria that involves us because they are NATO allies. Romney did a very good job lying his way during a debate. It was one debate for goodness sake. Two more debates and 30 more days for Romney to make a fool of himself some more.

  7. 7

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (Mumphrey, et al.): Sorry to hear that, I know what it’s like, from a couple of cats.

  8. 8
    Glyph_2112 says:

    OK, Obama lost the debate because he didnt call Romney a liar on every rebuttal? I wonder if some of that was to avoid the ZINGERS that Mitt had in stored for him. I mean other than MSM saying Mitt won, is there anything that can truly be used against Obama? I think Obama was playing the prevent defense.

  9. 9
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (Mumphrey, et al.):

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences for you both. We’re all here for you.

  10. 10
    Hunter Gathers says:

    I remember the day when Drama Queen Sully acted more Emo than usual and demanded to see Obama’s long form birth certificate. Sullivan is so fucking manic that he makes David Tennant’s 10th Doctor seem almost subdued.

    Charlie Pierce is also currently having a conniption fit, claiming that the election has been turned on it’s head. Just like he said Romney’s convention speech, the Chicago teacher’s strike and the Lybia attacks would do, but never did.

    Am I the only person who thinks that every paid pundit these days is, well, a fucking idiot? Does cashing a check in exchange for opinions about politics make you retarded? The entire press corp, left, right and center, is filled to the brim with useless hacks. You’ll learn more by watching SpongeBob SquarePants for 24 hours strait than you would watching cable news for 15 minutes or reading the New York Fucking Times.

  11. 11
    Jake Nelson says:

    See, this is what happens… after the past incidents, I’m thinking ordering a hit on someone is Obama’s pre-speech calming down ritual. After life-or-death decisions, public speaking seems minor, and he relaxes and does great. Pity he must not have had good intel on Zawahiri tonight, or things could’ve gone better.

    Though it wasn’t as bad as some make it out- Mitt didn’t score the hit he needed, and I think his total lack of arguing against the “voucher” label will cost him dearly.

  12. 12
    freelancer says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    Am I the only person who thinks that every paid pundit these days is, well, a fucking idiot? Does cashing a check in exchange for opinions about politics make you retarded? The entire press corp, left, right and center, is filled to the brim with useless hacks.

    It doesn’t drive traffic or clicks if you continually post, “Meh, it prolly amounts to a hill of beans” over and over again. If you incentivize opinions, opinionaters suddenly have opinions on anything and everything.

  13. 13
    jonas says:

    This is along the same lines as an emailed reax that Sully posted: Romney came off so well because he was scrambling to the center on almost everything. I think Obama may have been counting on him continuing to parrot Tea Party talking points and was put off his stride when Romney just vigorously Etch-a-Sketched his way through the debate. The wingosphere is delirious over Romney’s performance, but nobody over there seems to have noticed that Romney came off so well because he spent the evening throwing everything he said during the primary under the bus.

  14. 14
    TexasMango says:

    @Hunter Gathers: Things that pundits lose their minds over when it comes to Obama, never pan out.

    I’m over it. I can’t believe these people thought this one debate would be the election. If Obama losses because of one bad debate performance then this country is too stupid to continue.

    I’m over it. FORWARD!

  15. 15
    Carolinus says:

    Did anyone look at the cross-tabs on that CNN post-debate flash poll? They’re the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen:

    Northest, Mid-West, West: N/A
    Liberal: N/A
    Under 50: N/A
    Non-White: N/A
    No College: N/A
    Rural: N/A

    The PDF says less than 1% is denoted with an asterisk so I guess all respondents were 50+ southern whites?…

  16. 16
    TexasMango says:

    @jonas: Nor have they considered the Obama ads showing that Willard was lying his whole way through. If those aren’t coming it would be political malpractice.

  17. 17
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Hunter Gathers: Every lament I hear about the death of old media gives me a little thrill.

  18. 18
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @freelancer: Nothing drives page clicks like a good old-fashioned bout of hair on fire disease. Or drones. Or having your hair set on fire by a drone. Or having said drone be given a stern talking to by Conor Friedersdorf and Freddie DeBoer, who were then promptly killed by that drone, a scenario that I totally endorse. Wait, what were we talking about again? British douchebags?

  19. 19
    CaliCat says:

    I thought Mitt looked like shit – manic, twitchy, under-eye bags and rambling speech. If winning a political debate in America nowadays means looking like you’re on day three of a week long meth bender then Romney wins hands down.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    Alison says:

    Sully, Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz can go have their White Man Circle Jerk of Whining and shut the hell up. God damn.

    And if Obama had been more aggressive and had been all YOU LIE, MITT then the pundit gallery would be clutching their fucking pearls about how UNCIVIL he was and how MAD he sounded and how UNPRESIDENTIAL he behaved and blah blah fucking blah. The media needs there to be controversy because that’s what feeds their fucking bottom lines. That everyone is declaring this a “win” for Romney when all he did was LIE HIS DAMN FACE OFF the whole time…it disgusts me. Their job should NOT be to play kindergarten games of saying who won and lost, their job should be to say “Person A said this and it was true and here’s proof” and “Person B said this and it wasn’t true and here’s why”.

    But yeah, I know. Wanting my media to behave like fucking adults and do their jobs? Satan will be skiing first.

  22. 22
    TexasMango says:

    Good night everybody and seriously, stay away from cable news for a while. If the next swing state polls come out showing the president still up, it’s all good.

  23. 23
    TexasMango says:

    And remember Obama’s still at an 86.1% chance of winning.

    Do what the President will do and shake it off. All of it.

  24. 24
    Jewish Steel says:

    via GOS:

    More on empathy: Poll shows 69% say Pres Obama cares about their needs and problems – up from 53% before debate.
    — @markknoller

    Hmm. Maybe not such a bad idea to not go all aggro and attacky after all.

  25. 25
    CaliCat says:


    Sully, Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz can go have their White Man Circle Jerk of Whining and shut the hell up. God damn.

    Amen! I call it the white male wimp syndrome. Mitt’s the “bully” so they project their own “wimpiness” on to the president. President Obama was not bullied tonight and he did not lose the debate but the depraved media says different.

  26. 26

    Fuck Sullivan sideways with a fork. Fucking Drama Empress.

  27. 27
    Irony Abounds says:

    Sorry, but you guys are whistling past the graveyard. When all the commentators think Obama got whupped, the low information voters who are undecided are going to think Obama got whupped. More importantly, the fact that Romney lied through his fucking teeth doesn’t matter. The low information voter is clueless in that regard. And guess what, low information voters are what decide elections.

    This was not a good night. It may not be a complete disaster, but anyone who thinks it won’t matter is just being blind to reality. We better hope Biden, who will be coming in with low expectations, whips Ryan’s ass and changes the momentum back to the good guys.

  28. 28
    Alison says:

    @CaliCat: Yeah, Mitt acts like a total asshole and the media sees that as being “tough” and whatever. Sorry, but I don’t actually want a president who behaves like an arrogant bastard. I prefer the guy who stays calm and, y’know, give half a fuck about me.

    Because whatever people want to say, nothing Romney said tonight should make anyone with two brain cells to rub together think he actually cares about them or their lives. If they *do* think that, they were never going to vote for Obama anyway, so fuck them.

  29. 29
    Geoduck says:

    @Irony Abounds:

    And guess what, low information voters are what decide elections.

    But how many of them watch presidential debates?

  30. 30
    Alison says:

    @Irony Abounds: But how many of those “low information” voters who, until tonight, were undecided about who to vote for actually exist? I mean…we’re talking about a pretty tiny portion of the electorate. The vast majority of voters already know for sure who they will vote for, and none of them changed their minds tonight, or maybe a few dumbfucks, but certainly nothing statistically important. This myth of some giant horde of “undecideds” is another media toy to play with.

  31. 31
    Irony Abounds says:

    @TexasMango: “And remember Obama’s still at an 86.1% chance of winning.”

    Prediction: By a week from Friday it will be down below 70%. Sorry, but Obama was that bad tonight. The guys on MSNBC were pissed because Obama just let Romney get away with his lies. It pissed me off too. I sat there screaming at the tv calling Mitt a liar, why the hell didn’t Obama call Mitt out on his flat out lies?

  32. 32
    Valdivia says:

    maybe it’s a blessing after all not to have access to twitter, otherwise I would be drowned in the freak out right now.

    My body is still so confused about whether it is night or day, even if I can see it is only early afternoon. Oh and it turns out that walking around in Shanghai you not only have to look for unexpected incoming traffic but also incoming food particles being spit all over the place. Not a good idea to wear sandals. Just sayin’.

  33. 33
    Glyph_2112 says:

    Exactly. If they actually changed their vote on this shiny boring debate, then I am sure they will flip for the next game changing sound bite.

  34. 34
    Irony Abounds says:

    @Alison: Debates are one of the few things low information voters watch. They have basically ignored the election until now so as far as they know, what they saw tonight represented reality. It may be a relatively small portion of the electorate, but a two point drop in Obama’s vote and a two point increase in Mitt’s and we’re on the precipice of a Romney win that will be a disaster for the 99%.

  35. 35
    amk says:

    @Irony Abounds:


    Wow, we’re already in death panels stage because of LIV’s ? Because of one friggin’ debate ?

  36. 36
    gene108 says:

    Romney did better than expected.

    Given how poorly his campaign has been run the bar was pretty low.

    I don’t think Romney did enough to wipe out the last 1 year of campaigning.



    I don’t know how much of a post-debate bounce Romney will have. The Obama campaign has done a good job in highlghting how bad Romney will be for most people. I don’t think this debate changed the fundamentals regarding Romney and Obama’s likeability and the perception of who really cares about the 99%.

  37. 37
    Alison says:

    @Irony Abounds: I don’t know, I *did* see Obama counter a lot of Romney’s statements, on taxes, on Medicare, etc. Maybe he didn’t specifically say “U R A LIAR LOLZ” but that’s because he’s 1) an adult and 2) smart enough to know that he will always be treated 10x worse no matter what he does. He pointed out things Romney said that were belied by his past statements, analysis by think tanks or whatnot, and so on. But he also had to spend time explaining why he, Obama, is Good and could not just sit there railing about why Romney is Bad. You don’t win by solely shitting all over your opponent, you have to also make the case for why you don’t suck.

  38. 38
    gene108 says:

    @Irony Abounds:

    Obama just let Romney get away with his lies

    Obama made a judgement call to tout his accomplishments, rather than take on Romney’s lies directly or reframe talking points like why 50% of college grads can’t find work, i.e. after effects of Wall Street gone wild and a government austerity program.

    Also, too I don’t think it’s Obama’s personality to be dickish like Romney was tonight and just flat out try to treat an opponent with contempt.

    I think Obama’s weakness is his belief in other people’s better selves, when it’s pretty clear his opponents – Romney, McConnell, etc. – are primarily self-serving twits.

  39. 39
    MikeJ says:

    @Carolinus: They have nothing with a margin of error over 8.5%, which is about 130 people. If the group didn’t get to 130 people, they simply didn’t report it in the breakouts.

    Which means that there probably weren’t “none” in the categories with N/A, just too few to use in a breakout.

    When reading the crosstabs, look at the margin of error. if the moe is X, the sample size was Y

    moe size
    8.5 ~130
    8 ~150
    7.5 ~170
    6.5 ~225
    6 ~265
    5.5 ~310

    All calculations done assuming 95% confidence level. The lowest MOE for any group seems to be 50 and older (which makes sense, since it is combining groups) and the 5.5 moe works out to ~310 of the 430 sampled.

  40. 40
    Hill Dweller says:

    Did Willard really say he was in favor of breaking up the banks? I read that somewhere, but don’t remember him saying it during the debate.

  41. 41
    jonas says:


    But how many of them watch presidential debates?

    Not many — that’s the problem. What they will watch is what Fox and Friends or CNN has to say about it the next morning.

  42. 42
    Joey Maloney says:

    Someone please remove all sharp object from Andrew Sullivan’s reach.


    Either he gets over it and we continue to have him to mock, or he climbs into a warm tub and opens a vein and we get to mock him for that.

    I’m not seeing a downside here.

  43. 43
    TS says:

    I stopped reading Sully when he said Bill Clinton won the convention.

    The President won by a mile on taxes, medicare and Obamacare – everything else Romney lied so he looked to agree with the President. How do you argue with someone who agrees with you.

    The media calls out the President because he didn’t highlight Romney lies – yet they don’t call out Romney for lying.

    I’m sick of the sh_t that says the media supports the President – they don’t – most of them are part of the super rich and they support Romney.

  44. 44
    Hill Dweller says:

    @TS: You’re right. Romney’s lies should be the story, not Obama’s reaction to said lies.

  45. 45
    Bruce S says:

    On his video with Michael Tomasky Sullivan more sensibly interjects: “I’m a drama queen, so take it with a grain of salt, I’ve had a horrible day and I’ve been wrong before.”

  46. 46
    TexasMango says:

    @Irony Abounds: You’re absolutely right it’s over. Mitt won the election tonight. I’ll call the Obama campaign and tell them I won’t be doing anymore phone calls to swing states because that would just be me whistling past the graveyard.

    Thanks for making me see the error of my ways.

  47. 47
    Hill Dweller says:

    I’m hoping Willard trying to outflank Obama from the left forces him to strongly defend Democratic policies, and stop the mushy middle talking points.

  48. 48
    freelancer says:

    @Irony Abounds:

    Dude, you live for panic. Here’s you from 6 weeks ago:

    I dunno, I’m looking at the polls, and while Obama would probably win if the election were held today, I just have a nasty feeling that he’s going to get edged out in Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa and Virginia, and that will make it difficult to win. The thought of Hollow Man and the Boy Plunderer, and their congressional henchmen(and women) gaining control of the country is enough to cause a deep depression (both psychologically speaking and financially speaking. I don’t think people truly recognize the huge shift back into the 19th century a Romney win will cause. Just need some good economic numbers coming out in September and October.

    I get that it can be troubling. I understand that I really do. But from an electoral arithmetic POV, do me a favor.

    Go to 270 to win and look at the results of 2008. Then, transpose the map onto the 2012 map. Romney has to win every state that McCain won. Romney is probably/maybe going to flip Indiana.

    With the swing states that are in play for 2012, assume Romney gets the McCain States plus Indiana. That puts him at 191 EV’s. Leaving the rest of the swing states neutral and charitably giving him all the key states of OH, VA, and FL, that still only puts him at 266.

    Think about it like this. You can go to 270 and give Romney every swing state except OH, VA, and FL and he still hasn’t won.

    He still has to get 2 out of the 3 to win. That’s already giving Romney Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and New Hampshire. That Assumes a sweep.

    Chill the fuck out. Look at the math, not Obama’s “uhms”.

  49. 49
    Irony Abounds says:

    @TexasMango: Oh, for God’s sake, who’s being a drama queen now. I never said Mitt won the election tonight. My point is that Romney won the debate by a clear enough margin that the election, which should have been an easy Obama win, will suddenly become much more of a dogfight. And Obama is to blame because he was flat out shitty tonight. He had all the passion of an accountant reviewing a tax return, and he let that smarmy lying asshole just make his pitch with very little rebuttal.

    Sorry if anyone is offended, but I have been watching elections for a very long time and if you think a beat down in a debate like this doesn’t matter, well, you might be a bit naive. John Kerry, who wasn’t exactly a top notch candidate, beat Bush by a much smaller margin in the debates and it almost was enough for Kerry to win.

  50. 50
    TheHalfrican says:

    We really shouldn’t kid ourselves about Obama’s performance but Sully’s freakout was lulzy. I love the guy, but this was the can’t-see-the-trees Sully that swore Obama’s re-election hinged on him embracing Simpson-Bowles 100%.

    Like I said over at the Great Orange Satan….Obama woulda had to punch a white baby, onstage, to the horrified gasps of audience members, in order to reverse those leads in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

  51. 51
    Joel says:

    I have to say that this is my first night of politics-induced sleep deprivation this year, not a good sign. That said, Sullivan needs to chill the fuck out. Anyways, this is the best summary of the debate that I’ve read so far:

    I think a lot of the “ZOMG what happened to Obama he just got his clock cleaned” came as a result of disappointment from lefty pundits who don’t like to see certain Romney claims go unchallenged and for whom letting those things go unchallenged is a weakness. This is the kneejerk reaction of an amateur chattering class that has learned how to argue about politics on the messageboards of the internet. In the long run, I think Obama’s strategy of shrugging off the big Romney lies may be an error, but I don’t think it plays as bad in the middle as it does among the highly committed partisan class.

    The real danger is dampened enthusiasm, with big impacts for house races. Let’s not let that happen.

  52. 52
    Susanne says:

    What I saw in this debate was the president behaving in the cautious restrained manner he most always does. His apparent lack of energy and passion were criticized in 2008 much in the same way as I am seeing now.

    Romney was more energized and animated in demeanor, but contradicted himself almost continuously. He says that he will cut spending to decrease the size of government. In almost the next breath he says that will not cut military spending, but will cut programs like PBS. Anyone with a brain will recognize that military spending is a very large amount of GDP, where PBS is inconsequential. He can’t balance the budget on cutting nothing expenses like PBS, it just doesn’t make sense. He will have to cut safety net programs to balance the budget, and that is the goal of the GOP. No?

    On taxes for example, he says that he is going to cut 20% across the board and close loopholes, which I assume are deductions, to make his tax plan revenue neutral. Yet he refuses to detail which loopholes. Could he be referring to the child tax credit or any number of credits that affect the middle class? It seems to me a deduction of 1,000.00 per child makes for a larger cut than 20%for most middle calls families; If not that deduction, then which one?

    I believe that the American public is not as stupid as some believe them to be, and Romney will need to offer details before the election. Even the Fox News creatures know this.

    I am not immersed in politics like some here; so if I misunderstand any of this please point that out to me.

  53. 53
    magurakurin says:

    @Irony Abounds:

    Debates are one of the few things low information voters watch.

    Any proof of that statement other than you believe it to be so? On the face of it that such a statement would be true seems rather counter intuitive. The people who can’t be bothered about politics will, in their numbers, take the time and effort to sit through a 90 minute political debate. I’m a pretty hard core politics junkie, and watch lots of policy speeches, sift through news reports, and what not, but I find the debates to be exceeding boring and of little value. But the people who don’t watch the 7:00 news apparently just eat them up.

    Nothing changes. Rmoney still loses Ohio, Iowa, NV, Colorado, NH and most likely VA and FL. Even if for some strange reason the “debates” turn a few votes around, maybe Rmoney comes away with Florida. Anyway you slice it he loses. A lot of folks have already voted in Ohio. I, myself, have already voted in Oregon.

    But if anyone is so sure that these debates will turn it around for Rmoney, there is a ton of money to made then on Intrade. As they say, put your money where your mouth is.

  54. 54
    H. Dumpty says:

    Coupla things.

    1. Mitt won the debate if you look at it in isolation. Scored more “points”, which is how Sullivan et al. are seeing it. However, there are a few things that jump out when going back over it. His lines about where you put your money showing where your heart is (!) and needing a better accountant (!!) are tailor made for a couple of brutal ads. I don’t think it was a deliberate rope-a-dope on O’s part but it sure turned out that way.

    2. That CNN poll is unscientific – didn’t sample enough to adjust for demographics. That’s a function of snap polling, since they need the turnaround to be fast to put it on teevee. Something like 15% of the interviews were done on cell phones, while over 30% of all households are cell-only, and it skews towards the young and the poor. Who sits at home next to the land line during and immediately after a debate? Old people. In a larger, scientific poll they can correct for this effect (i’m not going off the “skewed polls!!!! deep end here) , but in a snap poll with a small sample it’s not really feasible. Expect more moderate numbers (55/45 or so?) if anyone bothers to do a scientific poll of debate reactions.

  55. 55
    Joel says:

    @magurakurin: The real risk is donwticket: dampened Democratic enthusiasm costs house seats, and maybe some Senate ones too.

    In modern politics, the President is a Prime Minister in a lot of respects.

  56. 56
    Hill Dweller says:

    There seems to be a consensus forming on the interwebs around Obama being disinterested and Willard beating expectations.

    Fallows seems clairvoyant now. He warned beforehand that sitting Presidents tend to lose their first debate because they haven’t done one in a while; their job gets in the way of debate prep and/or they don’t want to suffer the indignity of actually going through practice debates.

    Hopefully Obama will perform better in the next debate.

    ETA: Where does Willard go after this debate? He can’t bring up anymore of those lies again, especially if the Obama campaign dos its job in the several days. I suspect Obama will be more prepared going forward. Willard can’t go anywhere but down from here.

  57. 57
    Pavonis says:

    @Hill Dweller: One reason both Bush and Obama struggled: a modern U.S. President doesn’t get argued with to his face enough. A British Prime Minister has “question time” in which he/she responds to attacks from the opposition. I think we need something like this in the U.S. too, so that presidents don’t become like old-style emperors who never hear harsh words.

  58. 58
    Patricia Kayden says:

    President Obama appeared a little tired, his head was down a lot like he was reading something, and he was not swinging back at Romney. Romney looked energetic and aggressive.

    Is the election over based on this one debate? No. But President Obama should take heed and do better next time — be more aggressive and forceful and actually challenge Romney on his fabrications.

    Poor Sully, Schultz and Matthews. I understand how they feel. You always want your guy to demolish the other guy and when that doesn’t happen, you’re disappointed.

  59. 59
    amk says:

    Etch-A-Sketch debate notwithstanding, this is your real mittbot.

  60. 60
    hoodie says:

    This was round one, and maybe it goes to Romney. However, there were some style quirks for him there that may not have gone over well and will probably not wear well in future debates. Romney also had to blow through a lot of ammo, and now he’s on record as either renouncing his prior positions or lying through his teeth. You don’t really want to do that in the first debate to simply score a few points, but Romney was already behind. Sure, Obama would have liked to see Romney self-destruct, but that was not likely, and fully exposing Romney’s game plan may be worth more than answering every feint in the first debate. After last night, it’s clear that his plan is to lie through his teeth, as he all but conceded the “choice” election. Now there is no philosophical choice, just a choice between a lying dissembler and a thoughtful president who isn’t perfect but who is also not profoundly dishonest and actually is working hard to make things better.

    Romney is like an inferior team that runs a bunch of gadget plays in the first quarter and scores a couple touchdowns. He’s exposed now and has two more debates in which he’s likely to have to play defense as he has no ability to continue controlling the ball on offense. My guess is that Obama’s relative passivity did not play badly with the demo groups he’s targeting, and now Obama has the opportunity to nail Romney’s ass to the wall because of all the new, contradictory commitments he made in this debate. Granted, Obama has to execute on that. If Sullivan is hand-wringing, Obama probably did the right thing. In a couple of weeks, Sully will be saying “meep-meep.”

  61. 61
    Gypsy howell says:


    I might have an exceedingly low opinion of the intellectual ability of most Americans, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think there are plenty of low information voters out there who actually do believe that funding for PBS and the arts are as big as the military budget, just like they believe we can balance the budget just by cutting foreign aid. And most likely, these same people don’t define things like the mortgage deduction, child care tax credits and the charitable donations to their church that they deduct on their own taxes as “loopholes.” “Loopholes”, to them, are the complicated tax avoidance strategies only rich people with accountants take, and so when Mitt talks about eliminating loopholes, he’s not talking about anything that affects them. Don’t underestimate the ignorance and gullibility of the American public. If most people in this country could put 2+2 together and get anything close to 4, we wouldn’t have repeatedly voted for 30+ years of republican voodoo economics geared only to the top .0001%, let alone 8 years of Bush.

  62. 62
    kd bart says:

    This debate has a shelf life of 36 hours until the job numbers come out Friday morning. That will have more impact.

  63. 63
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Gypsy howell: I’m wondering if there was something going on behind the scenes.

    It’s one thing to be intentionally passive, but Obama’s body language was awful, and he looked tired. Hell, he looked like he didn’t even care.

    Did he have meetings all day due to Turkey launching missiles into Syria?

    As for the electorate, yes, they’re ignorant.

  64. 64
    Enhanced Voting techniques says:

    @Carolinus: and from the South, how is that “undecided”?

  65. 65
    MikeJ says:

    Sen. John McCain played offense against Sen. Barack Obama during much of the final presidential debate as he challenged his rival on his policies, judgment and character.


    Republican Sen. John McCain launched a heavy assault on Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s judgment and experience Wednesday night, making a last-ditch effort in the final presidential debate to change the course of a campaign moving decidedly in his opponent’s favor.


  66. 66
    Emma says:

    @Joel: Ye gods and little fishes. It’s all happened before people. Remember the debates with McCain? McCain went after Obama hammer and thongs. What happened? I don’t see President McCain anywhere.

    I’m going on vacation. To Canada. I will avoid cable news and blogs for five days. I hope by the time I’m back y’all have gotten your heads back in the game.

  67. 67
    hep kitty says:

    @Irony Abounds: I have to agree. And the optics were bad for Obama. You had Ward Cleaver dressing down the black guy with the big ears hanging his head as if he deserved the scolding.

    Of course, he was dutifully taking notes. But stupid people aren’t going to be able to figure that out. So I didn’t like that split screen thing. I’m not saying it was intentional but I’m just thinking about the good ole boys sitting around the bar with the sound turned down. They’re looking at that thinking, the President looks weak and the white guy is kicking his ass.

    No, substance, content and honesty has absolutely nothing to do with it since we are, as you say, talking about undecideds who, considering their status, have to be as low info as it gets.

    Optically, it was bad for Obama and the racist, rightwing pundits are going to be masturbating this for a while.

    Yes, I’m sorry if I sound paranoid, but this is, after all, where we are in “post racial” America.

    Also, I wish Obama had slowed down his delivery to give the important points more emphasis. He was trying to pack too much info into his responses instead of picking the best lines and delivering them with more gravitas.

  68. 68
    Emma says:

    @hep kitty:Optically, it was bad for Obama and the racist, rightwing pundits are going to be masturbating this for a while. And that worries you? You think their crowing is going to influence a lot of Democrats to switch sides? Or that independent, low-info voters will all of a sudden see the racist light and join the KKK?

  69. 69
    Alex S. says:

    I was a little underwhelmed with Obama, and Romney’s lies are just stunning. I thought that Romney spoke too fast and came across meandering through several subjects without actually saying anything. It was a bit like a child complaining to his parents. I thought that Obama had two or three moments of strength that exceeded everything Romney offered, but overall, Romney made a more ‘engaged’ impression. I am not sure how Romney’s flip-flops are going to affect his campaign, but at least for the next few days he can break out of his misery. I had wished for Obama to point out Romney’s reversals once or twice, but his calm approach was acceptable.

  70. 70
    Anya says:

    @MikeJ: 2008 was the first debate I’ve ever watched and guess what, I didn’t feel the same way I felt today. On 2008, when the debate ended I felt good about my candidate and felt the other guy was just a condescending, erratic and cranky, while my guy was elegant, focused and steady. Last night not so much. Mr. Etch a Sketch was outright lying or misleading on all issues and the president just let him get away with it. That sucked.

    Do I think this is a game changer? No, but it will set Team O back a little bit. Maybe the jobs report and the Turkey v. Syria shit will suck attention out of everything else. Let’s hope for a positive jobs report.

  71. 71
    hep kitty says:

    But Mitt did show he’s human.

    Cuz he met a guy who had a job. And he met a lady who didn’t have a job. Or something.

    And his heart bleeds for these people, it really does!

  72. 72
    Hill Dweller says:

    The Obama campaign is going to have to earn their money over the next week or so. Willard gave them enough ammo to ultimately turn the debate into a positive for Obama, but it won’t be easy.

    Moreover, Obama has to prepare better and/or change his tactics in the next debate. The openings were there, but he has to take them.

  73. 73
    Schlemizel says:

    @ (Mumphrey, et al.):

    Thats a lot of years for a pup, remember the happy times. I hope your heart heals quickly.

    The 17 YO cat I was sure was on her way out made a full recover as far as we can tell & the vet can’t tell us what was wrong. But I know that time is coming, shes still frail & slowing down. Its painful to realize you are going to lose a dear freind.

  74. 74
    hep kitty says:

    I was an overconfident idiot, I thought Obama was going to mop the floor with Mitt. Oh well, we’ve got 2 more.

  75. 75
    Enhanced Voting techniques says:

    So first I have noticed – evenyone who watched the debate on CSPAN or CBC came away with a “meh, this boring reaction”. Everyone who watched it on cable news came away with “OMG PRESIDENT ROMNEY WON THE FREAKING ELECTION!!!” And the poll CNN is rigged to for Romney.

    Gee, sounds like cable news stations were playing for the drama.

  76. 76
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Enhanced Voting techniques: I avoided the post-debate coverage like the plague, but I saw on the twitter machine where Maddow said there was no winner, but the big loser was Leher.

  77. 77
    hep kitty says:

    @Hill Dweller: Hell yes, that was part of my frustration! Mitt spewing lie and after lie. Hit that thing the second you get the mike back.

    This whole Mitt calling gov’t investment and assistance “trickle down” – Lehrer went right along with it.

    And I says to myself, I says, that is not the definition of trickle down, Mitt & his buddies believe in real trickle down and here’s why that’s bad for America.

    But Obama completely ignored that statement, which Lehrer repeated as the next question. It would have been an awesome segway into emphasizing the stark differences between their philosophies of governing and how it’s good/bad for America.

    Lots of lost opportunities for Obama.

    I finally just hadda go watch an old movie.

  78. 78
    Debbie(Aussie) says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (Mumphrey, et al.): So very sorry. My thoughts & best wishes for you both. Debs

  79. 79
    Anya says:

    @Enhanced Voting techniques: Watched it online on CSPAN and felt that Romney won by lying. Look, we don’t have to be in denial about this. It’s not a fatal wound but it’s a setback for our team.

  80. 80
    raven says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (Mumphrey, et al.): You are doing the second best thing you will ever do for your pup and you have done the first for all these years. Go easy on yourself and remember what Biden said:

    “There will come a day, I promise you, and your parents, as well, when the thought of your son or daughter or your husband or wife brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye,”

    This applies to our critters as well. I say that as I think of Raven, he’s been gone for almost 7 years.

  81. 81
    hep kitty says:

    @Hill Dweller: yes, the questions for the most part, sucked – did I sleep through discussion of job creation? Did I have a mini-stroke or something? It was a debate on the economy after all.

  82. 82
    Hill Dweller says:

    @hep kitty: I know the feeling. I’ve seen people in the comments section claiming Romney said he would go after the big banks, I don’t even remember him saying it. My blood pressure was so high at times, I think it compromised my cognition.

  83. 83
    hep kitty says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (Mumphrey, et al.) My mom always tells me to remember all you have done to make his life happy and full of love and feel good about those things you gave him throughout his life that he may not have otherwise had.

    It does help, at least for me. There are some things you have no control over, but you can look back on the things you were in control of and know you did right by him by giving him a wonderful home

  84. 84
    Enhanced Voting techniques says:


    Look, we don’t have to be in denial about this,

    We also don’t have to be patronizing aholes about this too Anya.

  85. 85
    Anya says:

    @Enhanced Voting techniques: Wasn’t trying to be. Really.

  86. 86
    amk says:

    @Anya: All I heard from mittster was blustery bs. Obama was his usual calm self. I will take nuance over bluster anytime.

  87. 87
    pattonbt says:

    @Irony Abounds: Sorry, this is just stupid. The Biden Ryan debate means less than nothing. No VP debate has ever impacted the presidential election, otherwise we’d be looking at ex-president Dukakis because the biggest debate moment in the last 40 years was Bentsons.

    Look at the history of debates and how they have never turned an election.

    How did Palin winning the debate with Biden turn out?

    How did McCain winning the debates with Obama turn out?

    I’ll easily concede Romney won tonight, but Obama came across fine but lackluster. No killer blows were landed by any stretch.

    Obamas numbers (in general by swing states) are higher at this point in the election than they were in 2008.

    If you want to panic and clutch those pearls tightly, go for it. But in six days when tings are as they have been (or even tightened by a point) we’ll be going, debate what?

  88. 88
    pattonbt says:

    @Irony Abounds: Oh noes, not the guys at MSNBC being pissed? Pass the smelling salts I have fainted while tightly clutching my pearls.

    And down to 70% winning chance? Sounds fine to me.

    Why so scared then?

  89. 89
    kd bart says:

    Thank God I’m going to Vegas for 4 days later on today and will be off the intertubes.

  90. 90
    kd bart says:


    I give it to Friday morning when the Jobs Report comes out.

  91. 91
    The Klown says:

    Please don’t get discouraged.

    Save it for election night.

    It’s more fun that way.

  92. 92
    4tehlulz says:

    Obama spent the evening mining for ads, and Mittens dutifully showed him where the best material was.

    Plus Mitt’s unexpected defense of government regulation and bipartisanship may have cost him with the base a tad.

  93. 93
    JPL says:

    @Hill Dweller: The problem with Dodd-Frank according to Mitt was that it rewarded the big banks. If they are to big to fail, they are to big. Let em fail. Not sure what MItt would do about the the FDIC
    Let us all lose our money, I guess?

  94. 94
    xian says:

    @freelancer: today is like a national concern troll holiday

  95. 95
    beltane says:

    @JPL: His money is in Switzerland. What the fuck does he care. The FDIC is part of that socialistic Franklin D. Roosevelt agenda to steal our freedoms.

  96. 96
    xian says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Obama is also hypercompetitive and will probably focus on sharpening his claws for next time.

  97. 97
    beltane says:

    The weirdest thing about last night’s site malfunction is that it was pulling up old posts from 2007-2010. That was strangely disturbing to me.

  98. 98
    pattonbt says:

    I just dont see what the big problem to accept Romney won, but Obama didnt get killed. I’ll admit I wanted Obama to curb stomp Romney, but I knew that wouldnt happen so I’ll take a meh debate where Romney “wins”, Obama comes through fine, and Romney gets two days on top.

    Given no debate has ever turned an election, consider me no concerned (beyond never being too overconfident).

  99. 99
    Chyron HR says:

    Counterpoint: I don’t think we got a visit from the kid who creams himself over any poll that shows Romney down by “only” one or two points, so the debate couldn’t have been that lopsided.

  100. 100
    amk says:

    @beltane: cole was drunk last night. Again.

  101. 101
    gene108 says:

    @Hill Dweller:


    Romney said Dodd-Frank codified into law “too big to fail” and that Dodd-Frank guaranteed the five largest banks a “too big to fail” status and rounds of government bailouts, if they ever went under.

    So many lie and contradictions. I can see an opponent get overwhelmed.

    On education, Mitt said he understood education is important, because as Massachusetts has the top ranked education system of any state.

    What’s needed on the Left, instead of handringing, is a determined effort to point out Mitt’s lies. To point out that Massachusetts has a good public education because of strong teachers unions, well paid teachers and high levels of funding per pupil.

    What gets me is that if this was a good debate performance by Obama, Fox News would’ve had counter-talking-points to anything President Obama said the second the debate ended and would be spending the next few days running those points in a continuous 24 hrs orgy of counter-propaganda.

    We know Romney lied.

    Point the lies out.

    Start with why Massachusetts has good public schools,especially if you are a Massachusetts resident.

  102. 102
    Falmouth says:

    @Irony Abounds: Low information voters don’t watch debates. And in a few days this will be forgotten except for the ads asking how Romney can give Chinese money to the big oil companies making record profits while firing Big Bird.

  103. 103
    Paul says:

    Results of who actually won a debate is usually not known until 48-72 hours after the debate. It is easy to “win” a debate right after if you lie as much as Romney did. It reminds me of Ryan’s convention speech when the village idiots thought it was so good of a speech right after. Well, 2-3 days later he became across as a big liar and the speech had become a flop.

    For example, Romney lied about people with pre-existing conditions being covered under his plan. This is simply not true. Or where he is coming up with $5 trillion for his tax cuts. If the village idiots won’t cover it, I expect we will see an onslaught of Obama ads pointing this out.

  104. 104
    JPL says:

    There were several comments about the Turkey/Syria situation that I agree with. The President appeared to be distracted.

  105. 105
    gene108 says:

    I think what Mitt probably did with this debate performance is make a certain group of independents, who lean Democratic most of the time, but are frustrated with certain Obama policies to think voting for Mitt won’t gut social programs or have Pat Robertson determine social policy.

    These are guys in banking, for example, who were on the fence. They usually vote for Democrats because they feel Republicans are redneck hicks, but I think Romney managed to Etch-a-Sketch his way away from the Southern domination of his Party tonight.

  106. 106
    amk says:

    @gene108: How many of them ? All of’em ?

  107. 107
    kay says:

    Well, I thought Obama did poorly, although I only watched 45 minutes, at our “campaign HQ” and everyone was talking and eating.
    I wonder if they made a decision to focus on more campaign appearances rather than debate prep? That’s a possible tactical decision. Obama does a lot of swing state campaigning. Anyway, he didn’t look prepared.
    I guess the big question is, can Romney completely discard all of his prior positions and sell himself as a moderate?
    Because that seems to be the plan. I don’t know if it will work, but this is yet another version of “Mitt Romney”.

  108. 108
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Paul: Willard’s campaign walked back the pre-existing lie immediately after the debate.

    This is a trick they pull quite often. Willard will say something moderate on camera, only to have the campaign walk it back.

  109. 109
    beltane says:

    @Hill Dweller: That’s why Obama has to confront him with his own quotes like Kennedy did. The way to approach Romney is as a prosecutor cross-examining an accused con artist. Romney is a born and raised liar and flim-flam man; he needs to be treated as such.

  110. 110
    David says:

    it’s easy to appear confident when you’re lying through your teeth.

    Psychopaths do it all the time.

  111. 111
    Linda Featheringill says:

    The CNN snap poll.

    According to the numbers on page 21 of the report, the respondents were male and female but were all white, 50+ in age, and living in the South.

    What the hey?

  112. 112
    Hill Dweller says:

    @kay: As I was saying up-thread, James Fallows was warning before the debate that sitting Presidents tend to lose the first debate because the job gets in the way of prep and they’re out of practice.

    I’m sure that was partly true with Obama, but I also think he seemed disinterested, distracted and tired. Maybe it was the Turkey-Syria situation earlier in the day that took all his time. I don’t know.

    Whatever the case, the President needs to improve in the next two debates. The campaign also needs to earn its money before the next debate.

  113. 113
    mk3872 says:

    I’m endlessly amused at the assertion that people cannot believe that Mitt Romney was more prepared for the debate than the Pres.

    1 of those 2 gentlemen last night has been planning for that night for over 4 years.

    The other has been rather busy running a country for those same 4 years.

  114. 114
    chopper says:

    to all those people pissed about the president’s lackluster performance last night, just remember how insanely frustrating it is debating someone with multiple personality disorder. obama literally doesn’t know which mitt romney he’s actually debating until about 2 minutes into the debate itself.

    so apparently mittens has decided to yet again ‘reinvent himself’. and his magic ‘bag of holding’ economic plan, which contains every beautiful thing in the world and no you can’t touch it! yet again makes a showing.

    all in all, i think it’s a wash. at first glance mitt came off strong and all that, but the guy had to about-face on literally everything. that doesn’t come off well the day after. and the month before the election is a piss-poor time to start tacking toward the middle.

  115. 115
    Kay says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    The over-all sample of people watching the debate could have skewed male, southern and white, which wouldn’t surprise me. In that sense the poll could be completely valid in terms of who was watching.

  116. 116
    Hill Dweller says:

    The twitter machine is telling me that Morning Joke is laying it on thick this morning. Halperin is apparently getting his digs in on the President.

  117. 117
    Felinious Wench says:

    @Linda Featheringill: that’s hilarious. We’ll be getting to point that out to wing nuts today.

    I posted on Facebook that if Mitt Romney holds the same positions he did in the debate as president, it might not be so bad. My winger relatives are flipping out, they know how liberal I am.

    Poke ’em with a stick, watch them blow!

  118. 118
    chopper says:

    i think mitt’s economic plan has taken a page from joseph smith’s “magic golden tablets that nobody’s seen but himself”.

  119. 119
    PeakVT says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I saw that at digby’s joint. It is just complete and utter journalistic malpractice for CNN to put that forward as useful poll. We’ve all come to expect that polls make some kind of effort at getting a random sample, and that was a highly selected sample. CNN owes its audience an lengthy and well-publicized apology. It also owes the President one, but that’s even less likely to happen.

  120. 120
    JPL says:

    This is from the Guardian
    BREAKING: 320 Turkish MPs cast YES vote against 129 NOs for the motion authorising military operation against Syria

  121. 121
    Kay says:


    That is a problem for Obama, but it was foreseeable. When Romney wins, that’s how he wins. He says whatever it takes to make the sale at the moment. It doesn’t always work (Senate) but it sometimes works (governor).

    Go back and listen to Romney on immigration during the primary. Compare that with Romney on immigration today. Obviously, he doesn’t give a shit what he says. This has been true his entire political career.

  122. 122
    beltane says:

    @chopper: Well, Mitt was a missionary peddling that very same garbage. There is a reason the LDS are extremely prominent in the field of multi-level marketing scams; deceit towards outsiders is encouraged.

  123. 123
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    Either he gets over it and we continue to have him to mock, or he climbs into a warm tub and opens a vein and we get to mock him for that. I’m not seeing a downside here.

    I wish we had a like button for comments like this one.

  124. 124
    Kay says:

    Also, Andrew Sullivan has bad political instincts.

    He thought “you didn’t build that” was game-changing, and he thought Palin had a future in elected office.

  125. 125
    Applejinx says:

    I’m pretty sure Obama tanked it on purpose (to the extent that he even did). He wanted Romney to do what he did and he wants the Republicans to charge madly in this direction. Think about it:

    Realistic policy stuff: Romney lied like a maniac and is completely treacherous

    Nice vs. alpha asshole: apparently being a complete jerk ‘wins’? More of that then…

    Overton Window: apparently NOW it’s okay to tack left, as Romney saw media success from attacking Obama from the left

    Pull quotes: Big Bird

    Resentful teabaggers: once they get over football cheering, they now have real evidence Romney will betray them and they might as well stay home- he’s to the left of Obama!

    Personality tone: Romney is disturbing

    Sentimental vote: apparently Romney doesn’t need sympathy in any way, as he’s an alpha bully. On the other hand, Obama was only trying to be nice and was kicked around mercilessly on his anniversary, including by the media!

    Trust Your Media: This is a useful time for the American public to begin questioning the media, if they haven’t already.

    GOTV: so it’s NOT actually a foregone conclusion that Obama will win, and it’s apparently down to individual people to get the word out that Romney’s a creepy lying bastard who’ll fire Big Bird? Because the media will not do it and is behaving like he can and should win? Imagine that.

    I think Obama did this on purpose. He did get awfully lucky with the Big Bird and with having Romney attack him from the left on stuff like banks.

  126. 126
    Kirbster says:

    I hate political candidate debates, and I didn’t watch this one. I hate the hype, the sports metaphors, and all the breathless bullshit that leads up to them. I resent that they are even called “debates”. The format favors glib liars and the moderators, usually celebrity “journalists” trying to maintain a certain image, are worse than useless.

    In this case, both candidates have law degrees, so let them spend 90 minutes cross examining one another exclusively. Or make the format simultaneous interviews by professional interrogators from the FBI or big city homicide detectives who aren’t concerned about their status in the Village.

    Mostly, I wish the so-called undecided voters would actually take the time to read each party’s platform document instead of basing votes on who “won” this or that “debate.”

  127. 127
    hueyplong says:

    It is mildly wearisome to see so many people act as though the current news cycle is always The Last One Ever (or its corollary, that Every News Cycle Going Forward Will Be Just Like This One). What it actually is, is the first news cycle in the last couple of months that didn’t go well. And Romney’s good cycle only holds if the things he said last night are allowed to stand, both in terms of the consistency of promises and the accuracy of his factual assertions. The story isn’t over on those points yet, is it?

    All the people running Rope A Dope analogies and wondering why Obama didn’t come off the ropes and hit Romney last night need to think about:

    (1) whether last night was the whole fight or just a round; and

    (2) how the announcers were really, really sure that Ali was waiting too long to do anything in the fight that has led to all the rope a dope analogies down through the years.

    Bottom line: Pantsh!tters gotta pantsh!t. The pantsh!tters don’t run campaigns, don’t fix campaigns, and are never accountable. They just pantsh!t and do their small and usually overrated part to contribute to the day’s narrative.

    Maybe we’ll look back and say Obama’s failure to engage was a horrible idea and that subsequent attempts to make Mitt Romney pay for his opening debate positions were ineffective. But it’s hard not to remember how each of the things we consider an accomplishment or a political success had moments during the process when everyone thought he was too passive and sure to fail.

  128. 128
    bemused says:

    Immediately after the debate, I heard Ed Schultz and Tweety having a cow and quit watching. This morning, it is all Obama drama on Morning Joe. They are more worked up about the candidates’ style than Mitt’s obvious guile. They act more like casting directors critiquing auditions for Who Wants to Be a Star.

    My husband said the pundits seem to want cable tv news show shouting matches instead of substance. I can’t watch this pundit insanity but wonder how much they are reporting on Romney surrogates immediately walking back Mitt’s statements like pre-existing conditions.

    Yes, I would like Obama to have gone harder at Mitt’s weasel lies but Mitt kept repeating them such as the $716 billion lie ignoring Obama countering Mitt’s lies with facts. Would some fireworks, Obama straight out saying to Mitt you are lying been effective or changed the debate at all? I wonder.

    When dogs in the manger
    pout and freak out,
    Run in circles.
    Scream and shout.

  129. 129
    chopper says:


    part of his problem here is that his evening-before firmware upgrade and debate performance just feeds into the preexisting notion most people have that he’s an opportunist. at least, with any luck obama’s upcoming ads and debate performance will solidify that.

    to me, the big question in the aftermath of this debate (and the next 2) will not be about obama’s performance or even romney’s. it’ll be about whether voters start actually trusting mitt romney or not. lying through his teeth and making it up as he goes along doesn’t really help in that regard, but who knows.

  130. 130
    jayboat says:

    One guy on the stage is a hack vulture capitalist with magic panties who thinks he deserves to be president because ni*clang.

    The other guy is actually the President.

    Of all the things going on in his day, the debate was probably not in the top 3.
    The opening comment about the anniversary was a clue. He sounded annoyed.

    Iran’s melting down, Turkey and Syria are lobbing ordinance at each other and he’s got to stand on a stage ‘debating’ a dick with ears spurting one lie after another.

    Nearly 4 years in and the firehose never lets up. If they aren’t willfully obstructing every step, they are creating or exacerbating problems abroad with incompetence or worse.

    I’d be cranky, too.

    Also, I think there is a self-perpetuating energy that comes from all the build-up, pre-analysis, post-analysis ad nauseum of our political process these days. It had become bad enough before the tubez, but now… watching pundits like Matthews, Sullivan et al just cream themselves bananas in instant over-analysis of EVERY FUCKING SYLLABLE is nuts. Then, the replay, chop-cut, youtube wurlitzer energy creates its own version of a bubble.


  131. 131
    brantl says:

    Mitt got to trot out his lies unanswered last night. Obama and his team will be taking notes and refuting them in all up-coming debates. Watch and see. And Mitt’s got no plan for anything, just a lot of airy “We’ll do this kind of thing.”, no actual things. Obama needs to press him hard on the details. Did anybody notice that when Obama was speaking, Mitt would get this strained look on his Face? Flushed, looking like he needed to take an urgent dump? I did. A bunch of times.

  132. 132
    chopper says:

    also remember this. obama has been running ads for a long time defining romney as a cold-blooded crazy rightie vulture. they made a calculation and found that ‘ending social security’ etc polled better than ‘flip flopper’, for the most part because mittens hadn’t yet tacked toward the middle; mitt was consistantly trying to woo RW crowds up until last week with all his trickle down warmed-over-W bullshit.

    now he’s decided to go full-on moderate. how mitt’s going to campaign after this point is anyone’s guess, i guess he’s leaving the gooper crowds behind cause if he spoke to them the same way he talked at the debate he’d get booed offstage. but now, if mittens is really going moderate, shifting gears into ‘flip-flopper’ is just fine for the obama campaign.

  133. 133
    Kay says:


    Yeah, he’s really cynical. Telling people with pre-existing conditions you will accommodate them, while having no intention of doing that, borders on cruel.

    I think a bright spot for Obama was he made the audience laugh at Romney several times, which is always good.

    I took it as Obama went in trying to turn a debate into a speech (which is not a bad strategy, a lot of them do that) but then was stymied because Romney became a completely different “Romney”, a centrist moderate independent, as DougJ might say :)

    I do think we have to be careful on conflating “the internet and cable tv” with “voters”. There were about 20 people there last night, all of them consider themselves very attentive to politics, not one had heard of yesterday’s Big Deal, which was Tucker Carlson’s race baiting. Not one. They had no idea what I was talking about.

    I said a while ago that I was not worried about “complacency” (I think that whole theory is nonsense) but I WAS worried about people thinking this was going to be easy and then being disappointed when it’s not. Getting too far up inevitably leads to a crash when there’s a real or perceived set-back. We’re not “done” until election day, and Romney isn’t going to collapse and take himself out of the race. We’re going to have to beat him.

  134. 134
    virginia says:

    @Applejinx: That’s my take on it also. And my fervent hope!

  135. 135
    hep kitty says:

    @Emma: Um, my point being that if you are still undecided about who you are going to vote for by now you are as low info as it gets. Those ppl do not care about facts and are more interested in delivery.

    And they won’t admit they’re racist or even be aware that they are. So there’s that.

    I hope people on here do not get to twisted out of shape because of some constructive criticism over the President’s performance or whether I or anyone else thinks whatever is a game changer. I have tried to make it clear that I put on my beer goggles, a different kind, the guys sitting around the bar who are just reacting to the visual, because, again, they are not interested in facts.

    That is not what I’m saying, but I have observations to share on a debate that I had been eagerly anticipating for a week.

    I dunno, I feel like I have been following this stuff for a long time so forgive me if I’m a bit “underwhelmed” by the intelligence of the average American voter, at least this time around. Undecideds at this point, it’s amazing they’re capable of even the most rudimentary functions in order to survive in life.

    That’s who we are talking about here. Not MY impression – I already know all the facts and how I’m going to vote.

  136. 136
    chopper says:


    i think romney is done with his right flank. he knows his only path to the election is through some major swing states, and the desperate hope that enough righties cling to him to keep nominally-red states. how that will hash out as to the already-unenthused right wing i have no idea, but the election is in a month so it’s not like they’re going to get excited or become true romney believers now anyways.

    expect romney to make a big push in ohio as the New Moderate Mitt(tm). also, expect obama’s ad machine to make a big push in ohio as the New Mendacious Mitt(tm). i assume now that mitt has revealed his final form obama’s people are going to crack open the can of ‘flip flopper’ ads they’ve been sitting on for 6 months.

    as to how well mitt pulls this off, i guess i’d have to take a look at the patch but i’d say the upgrade was likely flawed.

  137. 137
    hep kitty says:

    @The Klown:

    Please don’t get discouraged.

    I’m not. But I’m not joining some kind of cheering section just to get along. Constructive criticism as a blog commenter is not the same as some well-known journalist, writer or pundit writing and repeating hysterical responses (Not directed at you, btw)

  138. 138
    Hoodie says:

    Obama has more important things to do than catalog Romney’s lies point by point in a meaningless “debate” in which Romney incessantly walks over anything approaching reasonable conversation. Axe and Plouffe now have ammunition to roll out a new series of “Mitt Romney: does he ever tell the truth outside of secret meetings with millionaires?” ads in swing states:

    1) lied about pre-existing condition coverage;
    2) completely evaded Medicare voucherization;
    3) lied about tax plans;

    etc. Obama already has already prepared the ground for that with the Bain and 47% ads. Properly used, the lies from the debate could lock in Ohio, Florida and a few others.

    Another thing to consider is the Turkish/Syrian war that is simmering. Next Syrian misstep won’t have to be big to have Turkish tanks rolling into Aleppo to “stabilize” the area and prevent further attacks into Turkey. Probably the plan for quite a while, just waiting for the right pretext, which may be why Obama didn’t seem to give a shit about the debate (although I could sense his disgust with the asshole). Mitt’s glory may be short lived.

  139. 139
    max says:

    @The Klown: Please don’t get discouraged. Save it for election night. It’s more fun that way.

    {yawn} I shant. One thing I have learned through many years is that when the R trolls asspuppets start proclaiming victory, it’s right before it all goes bad for them.

    You’re right about one thing: this IS more good news from Iraq!

    [‘By the way, how did that 87 trillion dollar budget cut/Repeal the New Deal thing go for you? Digging those military sequesters yet? I’m sure I heard that Obama was unelected in 2010.’]

  140. 140
    Kay says:


    expect romney to make a big push in ohio as the New Moderate Mitt™. also, expect obama’s ad machine to make a big push in ohio as the New Mendacious Mitt™. i assume now that mitt has revealed his final form obama’s people are going to crack open the can of ‘flip flopper’ ads they’ve been sitting on for 6 months.

    Obama is running an Ohio-specific campaign in Ohio. That was also true in ’08, but it is more true this time. There is the national campaign and then there is the Ohio campaign. I sometimes think they are going to run county-specific campaigns in the final weeks. It couldn’t be more “targeted”.

    I think that’s why the super pac money hasn’t worked here. It’s generic. The ads suck. They could be running anywhere. They’re background noise.

  141. 141
    Kane says:

    It took about 10 minutes in before Andrew was comparing Romney to Reagan.

  142. 142
    RaflW says:

    A friend of mine is a former staffer for Sen Franken, and quite smart. Here’s his take on the CNN snap poll:

    From the pdf of the oft cited CNN snap poll from last night showing 67% of people giving the debate to Romney. Page 8 shows the crosstabs – with the following categories being listed as N/A: people under 50, people liberals, people living in the Northeast, Midwest, and West, and…wait for it…people who are “non-white.” That means that Mitt only got 67% of white Southern voters, which I’d say is a huge loss.

    ETA: I see it’s been covered above. But worth repeating.

  143. 143
    chopper says:


    well, one reason mitt’s superpac money hasn’t gone as far as everyone thought would is because the superpacs in question aren’t really pro-mitt. their ads have not been about presenting mitt romney to the country, they’ve been about attacking the president. because by and large conservatives don’t like mitt romney anyways.

    of course this strategy ended up helping the obama campaign in a way because it allowed them to run ad after ad defining romney as a vulture with little opposition. obama did a great job of defining mitt romney in places like ohio in spite of lots of superpac ads because of this effect.

    in the other thread, regarding the new mitt, i used the analogy of a lizard shedding its skin. thing is, a post-molting lizard is usually vulnerable. we’ll see if obama takes advantage of that. god, i hope so.

  144. 144
    RaflW says:


    But how many of those “low information” voters who, until tonight, were undecided about who to vote for actually exist?

    I guess at the “town hall” Pres debate, we’ll find out. Gallup will be populating the audience entirely with undecided voters.

    I hope the producers bring drool cups. Maybe a few flat screen TeeVees just off to the sides showing Cheers reruns will help keep the audience appearing to pay attention to Mitt and Barack, because a room full people who can still manage to be undecided on Oct 16th will be one clueless, dithering, hopeless gaggle of ninnies.

  145. 145
    Kay says:


    They’re just inundated with generic scary ads from conservatives. At some point you reach peak maximum “scared”, I guess, and then tune it out.

    Sherrod Brown ran a positive ad where he sits in a car and shows us where all the components are made (county by county). I thought it was hilarious. I like Sherrod Brown and the ad is indistinguishable from an auto advertisement. I had no idea if it would be successful but I was grateful for the laugh. You’re waiting for him to talk about no-money down financing!

    People here loved it. It’s local, and it stuck out.

  146. 146
    Kane says:

    Look, I’ve got five boys. I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it, and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it.

    Comparing the president to dishonest boys and questioning his honesty. I’m surprised that this Romney line hasn’t received much attention.

  147. 147
    RaflW says:

    @LanceMannion Oh, and the debate seems to have thrown @sullydish into something that looks very much like a sexual panic.

  148. 148

    @Hunter Gathers:

    Am I the only person who thinks that every paid pundit these days is, well, a fucking idiot?


    But it also seems as though at least half the country are, as well. So we get the MSM we deserve.

  149. 149
    Jerzy Russian says:


    I’m over it. I can’t believe these people thought this one debate would be the election. If Obama losses because of one bad debate performance then this country is too stupid to continue.


  150. 150
    Joel says:

    @JPL: This is bad news.

  151. 151
    Publius39 says:


    Wasn’t he just comparing Obama to Reagan a couple weeks ago? I’m confused.

  152. 152

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