Open Thread

We all still freaking out? I’m not. Obama was a little flat, but let’s face it, when you are debating someone who just completely lies every time he opens his mouth, it can be difficult. Mitt Romney told so many whoppers and shifted his positions so many times last night that debating him had to be like parallel parking an 18 Wheeler in a moving parking space.

So every one calm down.

160 replies
  1. 1
    ericblair says:

    So every one calm down.

    Forget it, John. It’s Blogtown.

  2. 2
    Geoduck says:

    Aren’t you supposed to be making potato salad or something?

  3. 3
    me says:

    I agree, everyone is overreacting. I didn’t think the President was that bad and the quality campaign ads almost will write themselves.

  4. 4
    Napoleon says:

    debating him had to be like parallel parking an 18 Wheeler in a moving parking space.

    Actually since it is Mitt we are talking about I think you should have gone with Matthew 19:23-24:

    I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

  5. 5
    gogol's wife says:

    As usual, your analysis is the best. I really liked the Etch-a-Sketch metaphor in a previous thread, too. He fed it into the wood chipper. As I said earlier, my Independent husband thought Obama was presidential and Romney looked like a nervous loser. My stomach is still all in knots, though. All the e-mails I get from friends are doom and gloom. Have to try to ignore them.

  6. 6
    Maude says:

    I had asked some time ago, how could Obama debate someone who is so ignorant and stupid?
    Romney was like a spinning top.
    If I want a performance, I’ll go to a play.

  7. 7
    Violet says:

    amk linked this in a previous thread. Lots of folks calling Romney on his lies.

  8. 8
    Walker says:

    Until Nate Silver or the odds-makers tell me to panic, not going anywhere. Hell, if this eliminates public complacency, even better.

  9. 9
    Matt B. says:

    Too late. I just put my house up for sale and am looking for a job in British Columbia. Canada here I come!!

  10. 10
    different-church-lady says:

    My pop-psych read: we had ourselves convinced that Romney couldn’t do anything right. Last night disproved that, and it feels like a catastrophe. But it only feels like that when juxtaposed to the last few weeks of Romneyfail.

  11. 11
    Jennifer says:

    No freakout here. I didn’t think either one of them “won,” but I did think Obama did a credible job of explaining how his positions differ from Romney’s, and of calling out Romney on a number of lies (without calling them lies). It’s this last that has the liberals disappointed, and while I also harbor a not-so-secret yearning to see Obama bitch-slap Romney, not doing it doesn’t constitute losing.

    The pundits care nothing about the substance and focus entirely on the style, and since the RomneyTron was fully juiced up, interpret the hyperkinesis as “winning.” To me, he came across as a glib, fast-talking salesman and I suspect I’m not alone in that assessment. Most striking was his utter failure to rebut anything he was called out on – Obama points out that his plan for Medicare is to turn it into vouchers; his response is “nothing will change for you old people who are most likely to vote for me,” which is the same as saying “I’m planning on fucking everyone under the age of 55,” or in other words, the majority of the electorate. Pretty sure I’m not the only one who picked up on that. Also striking: in the back and forth on his tax plan, he never rebutted, he only retreated into repeating the same lines(lies) again and again. Most of us over the age of 35 have enough experience to know that if someone can’t actually provide facts & so forth to back something up and retreat to repeating the same talking points, it’s because they aren’t being honest. Again, I can’t be the only one who noticed.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    satby says:

    Yeah, I think people underestimate how well calm can play to an electorate that is very nervous about a lot of issues.
    And doesn’t like RMoney much to begin with.

    And the other thread got too long, but I loved the Dead stuff. And you’re a good guy John, to look beyond Spatula’s blog personna to see the artist underneath.

  14. 14
    Heliopause says:

    To restate the obvious, the closest historical parallel was the first 2004 debate, which moved the polling from roughly Bush +6 to roughly Bush +2. That kind of shift would move this race back to tossup status.

  15. 15
    Felanius Kootea says:

    I still think Obama will win. But I think he can do a better job of pointing out in his calm, rational way that Romney is lying and explaining to low-information voters the consequences of Romney’s policy proposals for them. The man is intelligent and I don’t expect to see a repeat of this debate performance.

    There’s got to be a strategy for more effectively dealing with someone who lies every time his mouth opens, without coming across as an asshole yourself, and Obama’s team will have to figure that out before the next debate.

  16. 16
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    I’m calm. It was disappointing to see in real-time, but I’m over it now.

    I thought the Prez was gonna put this thing away for sure last night. I was blindsided by Mitt’s decent imitation of a semi-competent human being. Obama is far enough ahead that it won’t make any difference, though.

    EDIT: @different-church-lady: What you said. At least that was the case for me – I can’t speak for anyone else ;)

  17. 17
    rea says:

    Obama’s performance was not worse than several GWB performances that were spun by the media into wins.

  18. 18
    beltane says:

    What got me most freaked out was the way this site kept churning up old posts from 2008. The psychedelic effect of this was quite unnerving.

    The reactivation of several sleeper trolls on DKos was also very weird. Those trolls were top notch though; I wouldn’t be surprised if Karl Rove himself was doing some trolling.

  19. 19
    Capt. Seaweed says:

    We’re Democrats. Unreasonable fear is part of our DNA. The is an “i” in panic.

  20. 20
    taylormattd says:

    Of course we are, don’t you know what’s happening???

    ZOMG, McCain has picked Sarah Palin! It’s a game changer! And what is Obama doing?? Nothing!! He NEEDS to come out and say [X] and say it loudly! Why are we hearing nothing?? His campaign is so terrible and slow and doesn’t yell enough! It’s over, McCain / Palin have won already.

  21. 21
    quannlace says:

    Tell that to Chris Mathews. Last night on MSNBC, I swear he was ready to burst into tears. (‘Where was the real Obama!’) And then going on about the split screen and admiring Romney’s ‘predatory’ stare. Really? I laughed everytime I saw Romney doing it. To me it almost looked adoring, like ‘Oh, Barry, I secretly have….these feelings for you.’

  22. 22
    Denny says:

    R-Money did the equivalent of what in the evo/creation debate circles is known as the “Gish Gallop” (named after Duane Gish of the Creation Research Inst. in San Diego) – you just throw out so many lies and half-truths so fast that your opponent cannot possibly stop to counter all of them and to explain how one is untrue leaves dozens of others unchallenged.

  23. 23
    Jewish Steel says:

    I have nailed one foot to the floor and in my haste to escape, arms out and flailing, I am running in circles.

    I am also making a woo-woo-woo-woo noise.


    And you’re a good guy John, to look beyond Spatula’s blog personna to see the artist underneath.

    I thought the same thing.

  24. 24
    danimal says:

    Perhaps Obama took care of the one issue that caused me the greatest concern: apathy. I don’t think that was the plan with the debate performance, but I’m quite sure that our side will stop measuring the drapes and get off their asses.

    The lies will be countered, the optics can be improved, the right-wing will freak out if Romney keeps tacking to the center, but the victory comes from everyone putting out the effort to GOTV and then GOTV some more.

  25. 25
    hildebrand says:

    OT (well – I guess you can’t go off topic in an open thread) – I am far more concerned about finally landing a tenure-track job, I have some applications out already, and more going out today. Wish me luck! I will need it. There are some decent opportunities, but good lord, it is such a crap shoot.

  26. 26
    Maude says:

    I answered in the downstairs thread.

  27. 27
    San says:

    How about putting the donate button on the front page now?

    If people feel as I do (angry about the blatant lying) the amount should go up really fast.

  28. 28
    Jason says:

    I woke up in the middle of the night here in Lleida, spain( here for a few days on a university teaching exchange) and had to read Sullivan’s live blog and it sounded like Obama was melting on stage, it made me sick to my stomach a stem had trouble sleeping again.

    By the way, there is talkof revolution in the air here in catalunia, wanting to break away from Spain. One of the professors I was talking to who has had two pay cuts in the last two years used the American Revolution as an example which worried me a little but the interesting thing was him talking about his state of Catalunia paying more in taxes to Madrid than they give back and it reminded me of how many blue states pay more than they get.

  29. 29
    Maude says:

    Mathews also likes flight suits.

  30. 30

    I’m enjoying the premature victory laps that my conservative friends, family and acquaintances are performing. They haven’t had much to cheer for lately so I understand.

  31. 31
    The Red Pen says:

    I, for one, am not freaking out.

    I have already stocked my woodland survival bunker with a generous supply of MREs, guns, ammo and fetish porn. I’ll be living large while you lot are slaughtered in Romney’s two-front land war against Canada and Mexico.

  32. 32
    Decrease Mather says:

    It doesn’t really matter what we think of the performance, the damage is done. The media is playing up the Romney Rebound story and it’s all we’ll hear about for a week. If the polls show any closing of the gap, that will be another round of good news for Romney.

  33. 33
    some guy says:

    the comforting thing is that here are 265 solid Blue electoral college votes. of the swing states Obama needs only one to win.

    win Ohio, game over.
    win Florida, game over.

    Mittens needs to win every single swing state to win. all of them.

  34. 34
    bobbo says:

    Goddamn I hate elections. There isn’t enough xanax in the world. Not to mention they last 18 fucking months. (elections, not xanax)

  35. 35
    Phoenix_rising says:

    The Pres didn’t do too badly, considering he was debating a shape-shifter who took the form of whatever “undecided” white Southerners over 50 wanted to hear.

    Needs to work on his ‘riddikulus’ spell, though, to make Romney less fearsome and visible.

  36. 36
    appleinaz says:

    @different-church-lady: That makes sense.

  37. 37
    appleinaz says:

    @different-church-lady: That makes sense.

  38. 38
    The Bobs says:

    I’m with you on this John. I thought Obama was fine. He was detailed and accurate as he could be. Romney just made up shit.

    And the questions were terrible. “What do you think is the purpose of government? You have two minutes.”

    Two minutes for their entire philosophy of government? WTF?

  39. 39
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Romney did not win, he reinforced the notion that he is a bully who likes to fire people, even Big Bird is not exempt.

  40. 40
    Pooh says:

    I wonder whether the debate was interesting enough to move the needle amongst “undecideds” in any direction. Romney may have won on points, but so what, the best sound bite was Obama’s – the “secret plans are TOO GOOD” one, and the rest of it was kind of an all over the place muddle, largely because if Lehrer.

  41. 41
    Charlie, Philomath OR says:

    Well that is the first time I’ve watched Rmoney speak, I couldn’t bear to watch any of the Republican primary events. So we watched, and we almost lost our new TV several times when I heard him lie through his teeth and I wanted to throw things.

    I guess I saw a different debate than other people. I saw a rude, arrogant man trying to conduct a debate with bluster and lies. I saw a President somewhat startled (bemused?) by the size of the lies, attempt to point that out. I thought Obama was a clear winner on style and substance. Obviously just more proof that my views are increasingly an outlier in today’s America.

  42. 42
    prufrock says:


    R-Money did the equivalent of what in the evo/creation debate circles is known as the “Gish Gallop”

    Wow, I’ve been waiting for someone to post this all day.

  43. 43
    Alison says:

    Fucking this, seriously. Thank you, John.

    Could we maybe get some pet pics as a nice soother? A little Tunch, Rosie and Lily to take our minds off the morons? :)

  44. 44
    Walker says:

    @some guy:

    I am just worried about down ticket effects. That is the only issue.

  45. 45

    I don’t understand why people watch these debates if they have already made up their mind. I had no intention of watching because it is much more entertaining to read reactions to it than actually watch it. Besides the Yankees-Red Sox game was on and my guys locked up the division championship and home field for the playoffs. Go ahead haters let me have it. But remember, the Yankees are still playing.

  46. 46
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I have been told that I am whistling past graveyards. This is weird; I didn’t know that I knew how to whistle

  47. 47
    Violet says:

    @Pooh: The debate was really boring. If there are any undecided voters watching, they may have been put to sleep by it.

    I think the “firing Big Bird” thing will have legs (and wings). We’ll be seeing more of that and it makes Romney look ridiculous. And mean and petty.

  48. 48
    slag says:

    Not freaking out. Annoyed.

    Every damn time, Obama! Every damn time! Can’t we have just one election in which you don’t leave anything on the table? (shakes head at President)

    That said, I agree that it’s hard to debate a compulsive liar. But Obama didn’t need to. He just needed to stay on his own goddamn message that he’s been running on for months now. He didn’t need to control Romney or Lehrer. He just needed to control himself. And he chose not to. Annoying.

  49. 49
    kuvasz says:

    “Never underestimate your fucking opponent.”
    loose translation of Sun Tzu

    The Obama team did, and look what happened.

  50. 50
    eric says:

    I am late to this, so let me explain what happened. POTUS knew that the real focus after the debate was gonna be from the fact checkers. How did he know this? Look back to the responses to the convention speeches. So, he did not rebut things directly so that he could not be extensively fact checked and left with a he said-he said narrative. I think you are starting to see that play out now in his favor. Stylistically, however, i do not think he knew how to engage without actually engaging on Romeny’s big lies. My gut tells me is that he was overthinking his responses to avoid the fact-checker both sides do it outcome. Now I think he will use Romney’s own words with the MEDIA’s rebuttals at the next debate so it wont be Obama versus Romney, but the Media versus Romney. Sure, that is music to the ears of conservatives who believe the media is in the tank for Obama, but it will not do Romney well with the mushy middle.

  51. 51
    Rasputin's Evil Twin says:

    @Capt. Seaweed: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – said by some level-headed, calm Democrat who refused to panic, about 80 years ago.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    hueyplong says:

    About Chris Matthews: We tend to forget (or repress) that the biggest tingles he ever got were over Bush in his flight suit on the aircraft carrier.

    He loves extra-aggressive male figures. Last night’s debate, whose most salient features seem to be Romney aggression and Obama passivity, are tailor made for a Chris Matthews meltdown (if he supports Obama) or embarrassing exercize in lickspittle hero worship (if he supports Romney).

    So I guess the “good” news is that meltdown mode means he hasn’t jumped ship.

    If you can’t stand to watch him in that mode, you might give his show a pass for a few days.

  54. 54
    ericblair says:


    Wish me luck! I will need it. There are some decent opportunities, but good lord, it is such a crap shoot.

    Absolutely, all the best. It’s all the waiting and the not knowing what’s going on and the lack of control that drives you nuts, especially with these formal academic applications. Best of luck, keep yourself engaged with other things to keep your sanity, and keep grimly chipping away at it.

  55. 55
    Ajabu says:

    I think I just fell in love with Alex Wagner. She alone — among MSNBC shows — opened with a beautiful video collage of Romney’s recent campaign statements juxtaposed with the bullshit he was spouting last night. And then, pointing out that he contradicted his entire campaign in his debate responses, called him out for the liar he is.
    I’m sure glad SOMEBODY over there gets it…

    ETA: If the President had been on the absolute top of his game last night it wouldn’t have made any difference. The MSM had already prepared their “Romney is back”/ “Horse Race” meme and reality doesn’t factor in.
    Perhaps we should get off our collective asses and GOTV?

  56. 56
    gogol's wife says:

    Okay, I feel as if I’m in Twilight Zone. Didn’t some frontpager (I thought it was John Cole) say that Romney didn’t just shake the Etch-a-Sketch, he fed it into the woodchipper? Now I can’t find it.

  57. 57
    ET says:

    I make it a policy not to watch debates or State of the Unions….

    Saying that do I wish Obama had come out stronger – yes. I’m I freaking – a little. But there is over a month of campaigning yet and Mitt is still a weak candidate and a weak campaigner.

  58. 58
    beltane says:

    @PeakVT: The day will come when these vulture capitalists mess with the wrong people. Can’t say I’ll be shedding any tears for them whenever that day comes.

  59. 59
    1badbaba3 says:

    You heard the man. Chill the fuck out. Don’t go all Wild Bill Paxton in Aliens on us. Like Apone said “stay frosty”. I believe in 11 dimensional chess, and no one does it better than Obama. Think long game, downticket.

    It’s still Mitt, after all.

  60. 60
    Chad says:

    My mindset following the debate:

  61. 61
    some guy says:


    true that, which is why running to the Right will be death to the down ticket candidates. reinforcing rightwing frames, promising to cut the deficit, doubling down on entitlement reform, all this is bullshit and very bad news for Dems running as Dems.

  62. 62
    Maude says:

    Read Barack Obama tweets. Ouch.
    Basically, the 5 trillion is tax cuts for wealthy.
    The stage Romney was running away from what the real Romney had said before.
    The tweets are sharp and the campaign is going to have fun with this.

  63. 63
    Kane says:

    Burger King just signed Romney to be their spokesperson for the Whopper.

  64. 64
    Elliecat says:

    One of Sully’s readers says something I’ve been thinking might have a lot to do with how Obama was:

    Turkey and Syria. Turkey responds to a Syrian attack that killed civilians by bombing Syria hours before the debate. NATO is holding emergency meetings. The specter of real regional war looms. You and I both know that US special ops are in Turkey. The President doesn’t exist in a bubble – I’d be a little distracted as well.

    Obama didn’t have the luxury of primping and preparing all day. He had a job to do and who knows what is going on behind the scenes? I’m surprised this hasn’t been mentioned more.

  65. 65
    Cassidy says:

    I think a lot of this is rooted in that we really wanted to see a beatdown and we didn’t get it. Maybe there is a long term strategy, maybe the man had an off day. Int the end, Mittens and Opey have cultivated too much hostility with the media and he has no sense of self-control. He will take last nights performance as a license to say and act as he pleases thinking that people like him and he’ll get hammerred for it. Probably today.

  66. 66


    I am just worried about down ticket effects. That is the only issue.

    If the innernets is to be believed, last night had one upside: Big-money donors who were ready to move their money downticket have apparently re-committed to Mitt.

    Less money for downticket GOPers.

  67. 67
    Culture of Truth says:

    Obama, today in Denver, CO: “I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney”

    But he says it couldn’t have been his Republican rival because he says Romney misrepresented his own position on taxes, education and the outsourcing of jobs.

    In tough comments, the president says Romney, quote, “does not want to be held accountable… because he knows full well that we don’t want what he’s selling.”

  68. 68
    LarsThorwald says:

    I just watched the live coverage of Obama rallying supporters in Denver. He was back on his game, in a setting he clearly thrives in.

    He also got off a pretty good couple of jokes.

    “Mitt Romney thinks we can defeat the deficit by canceling funding for Big Bird.” (Someone says something off camera, Obama turns and smiles). “Elmo, too?” (Big laughs)

    And I loved this one: “I don’t know who that guy was who showed up to play Mitt Romney last night (audience laughs), but what he told you isn’t what Mitt Romney has said for 18 months.”

    I suspect Obama knows he sucked donkey balls in the stage presence and snappy answers department. I suspect this will goose the campaign (which was, in my view, growing a wee bit complacent and cocky). And I think Obama will show up at the next debate a bit more alert and engaged.

    In January, when we are celebrating Obama’s second inaugural, we’ll all look back and say, “Wow, remember how Romney did in that first debate? Yeah.”

  69. 69
    beltane says:

    This is interesting. A focus group made up of weak Dems and Independents did not like Romney’s debate performance although he did beat their very low expectations for him, i.e. he did not poop his pants on stage.

  70. 70
    gogol's wife says:


    That’s what I thought of when I looked at his face.

  71. 71
    RP says:

    The Obama team did, and look what happened.

    That might be true (although I think it’s more likely that Obama was just tired/sick/distracted), but many on the left are just as guilty of that (maybe more so). A lot of the problem with the post-debate analysis is the expectations game. A lot of us expected Romney to be awful and trip over his own feet, and Obama to be some combination of Lincoln, Reagan, Kennedy, and Harrison Ford. Those expectations were unreasonable — Romney is a horrible campaigner, but he’s a pretty good debater.

  72. 72
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Listening to MSNBC in the car on and off as I ran errands this am (after telling myself that I was going to take the day off from politics while Tweety, Schultz et al calmed down), I hear multiple variations on “Mitt Romney was in control of the facts, even if those facts were BS” (Ed Rendell’s term). That’s the stupidity that Romney and Fernstrom figured out some time last spring.

    I also heard Obama, who apparently got a good night’s sleep, sounding like the guy who should have showed up last night. I am not rending garments, I just thought Obama looked tired last night, not “peevish” or “resentful” as I also just heard on EvenTheLiberalMSNBC. And I think he was thrown off by the sheer audacity of Romney’s lies.

    Also, too, David Axelrod, if you’re having interns read this: No more Martin O’Malley till Jennifer Granholm teaches him how to be a surrogate, and if that involves a couple of jars, so be it. I think he may have been part of a low-key, don’t rock the boat strategy that failed.

  73. 73
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I think you’re supposed to just put your lips together and blow. It helps when the lighting creates a very dark contrast between light and shadows. Also, you might want to have a female friend show you how.

  74. 74
    gbear says:

    Has anyone seen a breakdown of the amount of time each man spent talking? My Google-fu is failing me in trying to find the answer.

    I didn’t watch but I know Romney was hogging time that wasn’t his. From the live blog I read (Wonkette) it sounded like the president barely got a sentence out before he’d be interrupted by Romney or Lehrer.

  75. 75
    jaleh says:

    Obama today on CNN: When I got on stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney

  76. 76
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    The weird thing is that I’m not freaking out over the debate. I thought Obama won simply because Romney was a damned lying bully and petulantly insisted on the first and last word every time.

    My freakout is over the freakout. Meta-freakout as it is. I mean…what the fuck did everyone see that has everyone in the goddamn country ready to crown Romney the God-King of forever and treat Obama like some dumbass empty suit hack that needs to go back to Chicago? I mean…fuck. I feel like a goddamned alien. Maybe I’m just too concerned with substance, forgetting we live in post-Truth America, where all you need to do is look stern, resolute, and confident, and you win, because you wear the man-pants and everyone loves someone who wears the man-pants even if they’re a fucking charlatan.

  77. 77
    OC says:

    Mitt Romney told so many whoppers and shifted his positions so many times last night that debating him had to be like parallel parking an 18 Wheeler in a moving parking space.

    Agreed. Personally I prefer the phrase “trying to pick up mercury with a fork.” I think Obama was really flat but there’s no reason to panic. One debate will not sink Obama and elevate Romney to the Presidency (listen up Sullivan.) I’ll start to panic if he shits the bed in the foreign policy debate. I’m not so sure Mittens can tack to the center after five years of documented belligerence and ignorance on foreign policy. But what do I know?

  78. 78
    The Bobs says:

    @eric: My thoughts exactly Eric. This should be treated like Ryan’s convention speech.

  79. 79
    Alison says:

    @Elliecat: Seriously. I mean, as Romney himself made such a FUNNY JOKE about back in the primary campaign, his ass is “unemployed”. He has nothing else to worry about except his fucking car elevator getting built and running out of hair gel. Obama, meanwhile, has the weight of the damn world on his shoulders and the scorn and hatred of about half his damn country hitting him in the face every fucking day.

  80. 80
    beltane says:

    @Cassidy: We’ve been subjected to so many breathless posts (not here of course) along the lines of “Obama just eviscerated Romney!” or “Watch Biden skewer GOP talking point!” that we somehow overlooked the fact that Romney has not been literally eviscerated, nor has his head actually exploded, and that he’s alive and well spewing lies and acting like the asshole he is.

  81. 81
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I get the feeling that they read those advice columns that started coming out last week saying that the President had to appear to be humble and that appearing arrogant was his greatest weakness and didn’t recognize that those advisers in the punditry haven’t been hired by anybody for a reason.

  82. 82
    Tonal Crow says:

    Agreed. Calm down and go feed Obama’s kitty and the DCCC and the DSCC.

    Romney/Ryan: Bullshit lyin’.

  83. 83
    bfr says:


    Both of them presented numbers and plans that seem compelling for someone who doesn’t follow this stuff. Only one of them promised to fire Big Bird.

  84. 84
    some guy says:


    I read somewheer that actually Obama spoke for 4 more minutes that Mittens. WaPo story on Jim Lehrer, I think

  85. 85
    rachel says:

    @PeakVT: Wasn’t there a Monty Python skit about an insurance company that turns into a pirate ship? This reminds me of that.

  86. 86
    Heliopause says:

    @some guy:

    Bush permanently lost 3-4% in the polls after his first debate. Let’s say that were to happen again, and let’s say RCP averages (as of the last time I checked which was a day ago) are an accurate reflection of reality and voter movement would be the same in all the states.

    Obama would have 247 EVs in the bag.
    He would barely carry Nevada and Ohio, which brings him up to 266 EVs.
    New Hampshire, Iowa, and Virginia are basically tied.
    Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina barely go for Romney.

    You might have to wait up until Iowa is decided on election night. That’s all what-if, of course.

  87. 87
    me says:

    @gbear: The President apparently actually talked 4min longer then Romney. Romney just bowled over Lehrer early and that set the tone.

  88. 88
    Maude says:

    @gogol’s wife:
    I read the wood chipper sentence, but I don’t know where.

  89. 89
    Mike Lamb says:

    @1badbaba3: To get completely pedantic about it, it was actually Hicks that said that.

  90. 90
    Anya says:

    I am calmer today than I was last night. But I am still disappointed that the President didn’t draw a clear contrast between him and Romney. I think my disappointment was mostly because I had high expectations for the President and low expectations for Romeny. Besides, I didn’t expect Romney to present himself as a moderate republican.

    Anyway, I am hopeful about the town-hall because the president connects well with people.

  91. 91
    Political Observer says:

    Obama was lost last night. Stumbling. Tired. Bewildered without his trusty teleprompter. Tired, frustrated, lost , Carer-esque.

    OTOH, even MSNBC said this was the strongest debate performance by a Republican since none other than Ronald Reagan in 1980.

    This is the beginning of the end for Obama, and the start of the Great Romney Comeback of 2012.

    Get used to hearing “President-Elect Romney”.

  92. 92
    virginia says:

    Obama is already out there poking sharp fun at Romney’s multiple personalities — Mitt’s like Dorrie in “Finding Nemo,” except basically unlovable.

    What Eric said at number 44 is interesting. A good anti-freak-out pill.

    RomneyBot Firing Big Bird going viral — The guy really really gets off on firing people — Not a good look for him and seemingly his favorite outfit. Seems to be the ONLY point on which he remains consistent — the joy of termination!

    I’d be hammering that one home.

  93. 93
    Todd says:

    Nailing Rmoney’s position to the floor is like driving 10 penny nails through jello, which is why I didn’t watch the thing. I’m envisioning the ads already – he was against it before he was for it.

    Wingers are busy fist pumping because Romney acted executively, which means confidence without having a reason for it. I have serious doubts as to whether any votes actually switched.

  94. 94
    ericblair says:


    Turkey and Syria. Turkey responds to a Syrian attack that killed civilians by bombing Syria hours before the debate. NATO is holding emergency meetings. The specter of real regional war looms.

    Yes, and also that Turkey is a NATO member and can invoke mutual defense clauses. So yes, it was quite a busy day yesterday.

  95. 95
    beltane says:

    LOL, folks here’s your Romney bounce

  96. 96
    Violet says:

    @gbear: Obama talked 4 minutes more than Romney. But Romney fit in 500 words more than Obama, I think. Romney was talking fast.

  97. 97
    eric says:

    @The Bobs: and that is what the Dems should have said in their prepared spin. “we thought we were running against Mitt Romney, not this guy rejected every position taken by Romney over the last 18 months.” THAT is the fuck up by the pansy ass dems

  98. 98
    BGK says:


    Could we maybe get some pet pics as a nice soother?

    Not the proprietor’s pets, but seeing as how Angus was pretty calm as he watched the debate with me, maybe he can share his serenity with everyone?

    Also too, this is about as worked up as Rizzo saw fit to get.

  99. 99
    some guy says:

    @Political Observer:

    Breaking News: President Still Black

  100. 100
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:


    I think part of it too was Obama was slower and measured in speaking, where Romney was hurried every time he spoke and every time he chimed in to interrupt for the last word.

  101. 101

    debating him had to be like parallel parking an 18 Wheeler in a moving parking space

    You bet–a parking space that moves in three dimensions. Still, he looked too often as if he was biting his tongue because if he opened his mouth he might say something mean, is that just being presidential or does he really yearn to be Willard’s friend?

  102. 102
    Restrung says:

    offs, Obama has more money to advertise with. Letting Romney lie on bigtime TEEVEE like the shitwit he always has been is cheap copy. They can run that shit for a week with one volunteer editor.

    POW!! fucker.

  103. 103
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    It might have actually been a debate if the moderator wasn’t so afraid of offending either candidate.

    Worthless and weak, Jim Lehrer is.

  104. 104
    eric says:

    @eric: they should have AGHAST at the audacity of the deceit. They should have breathless at the dishonesty. They should have promised web videos showing each major Romeney whopper with side by sides of campaign romney and debate romney. again, they lost the spin war by being traditional dems and not sharks.

  105. 105

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    My freakout is over the freakout. Meta-freakout as it is. I mean…what the fuck did everyone see that has everyone in the goddamn country ready to crown Romney the God-King of forever and treat Obama like some dumbass empty suit hack that needs to go back to Chicago?

    Meta-freakout is a good term for it.

    What did it to me: I knew Romney was pursuing an ‘attrition of bullshit’ strategy. So did you. So did most people reading this.

    But I also knew less than 15 mins into it that the media would latch onto Romney’s style, not the substance, because that’s what they do. Once Andrew Sullivan (who, whether you like his stuff or not, is often useful as a sort of Canary for the Common Wisdom) went full sparkle-emo about Romney’s ‘Reaganesque’ performance, I knew the fix was in for last night.

    All the low-info conservatives on Facebook (that I could see) were very happy to be lied to, BTW.

    And suddenly they all hate PBS and Big Bird.

  106. 106
    Cassidy says:

    @Political Observer: Someone really played that drinking game for the debates? Jeebus, go rehydrate before your internal organs are completely pickled!

  107. 107
    Raven says:

    @hildebrand: Go get em. You know you can’t judge the competition so just do your best!

  108. 108
    Publius39 says:


    Romney is a horrible campaigner, but he’s a pretty good debater.

    If by being a good debater, you mean having the ability to lie so much that his opponent is caught off guard by the fact that he holds ALL positions on EVERY subject.

  109. 109
    GregB says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    This is reality show America my friend.

    The mushy middle that gets moved often doesn’t get moved by facts, data and evidence. They get moved by the media narrative.

    Sure Romney is a lying fucker, but that won him a governorship and a primary without much pushback against his daily stream of lies.

    Now the story of of the losing loser Romney takes a back shelf to the new narrative.

    President Obama is weak and feckless.

  110. 110
    Chyron HR says:

    @Political Observer:

    This is the beginning of the end

    This time really, truly, for real, not like the other 100 times you’ve said it was the beginning of the end.

  111. 111
    me says:

    @Political Observer:

    “President-Elect Romney”.

    President of the sociopaths.

  112. 112
    Short Bus Bully says:

    Not as much of a freakout as watching Russel Wilson throw 3 picks against the shitty ass Rams last sunday, but we’re Dems, we have no coping skills beside hysterical panic.

    That said, if the Obama campaign can pull some dick stomping ads out of the debate footage and flood swing states with them this will turn into hella win.

  113. 113
    kabiddle says:

    I’m with you John. This is round one and O did what he had to do — allow Mitt to display all of his mendacity full on even if it distracted from himself as president.

    What I love about the guy is that he knows that anything approaching progress in this very complicated world will be up to what citizens want and are willing to do, not what either candidate is going to give them in the magic oil of stagecraft. Romney made me want to get out my bootblack shoe polish. Obama made me want to think harder about stuff.

    Remember all the blather about diminishing expectations? It is the perfect set-up.

  114. 114
    4tehlulz says:

    @Political Observer: Whew! I’m glad you said that because I was starting to worry that Mitt will make a comeback.

    Tell us, are you really Dick Morris?

  115. 115
    eric says:

    @Short Bus Bully: I think that was always the plan. I just dont think Obama was used to keeping his powder dry and so came off as distracted.

  116. 116
    PeakVT says:

    @rachel: The Crimson Permanent Insurance. No vids on YouTubes that I can find.

  117. 117
  118. 118
    gbear says:

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

    If the innernets is to be believed, last night had one upside: Big-money donors who were ready to move their money downticket have apparently re-committed to Mitt. Less money for downticket GOPers.

    That would be a very good result of the debate. Those big money adds aren’t going to make Romney look any more attractive. It’ll be a plus if the low-budget downticket races don’t have to compete with that billionaire pocket change.

  119. 119
    RP says:

    @Publius39: With our media culture? Yes.

  120. 120
    VOR says:

    I have a theory as to how Romney can offer a 20% across the board tax cut and still claim it is revenue neutral. Remember, Paul Ryan claimed on the Sunday shows that the tax cut was revenue neutral. Mitt stated last night that he wouldn’t sign anything which would increase the deficit.

    Laffer Curve. I think they believe that giving a big tax cut to the 1%, lowering Mitt’s own tax rate to 0.82%, would spark the economy. The resulting economic growth would make up for the tax cuts, making it revenue neutral.

    Remember Romney also told the audience in the 47% video that the mere fact of his becoming President would spark the economy.

    So the question to ask Romney/Ryan is: what level of economic growth are you assuming in your plan? Because if they seriously think this battered, barely growing economy, with Europe still in recession, is going to suddenly start growing at 5+% percent then they would get laughed out of the room by any serious economists. Remember, the Reagan “Rosy Scenario” back in 1981 assumed an incredible growth rate to justify their tax cuts. Well, along with the magic asterisk of cuts to be named later. Deja vu all over again.

  121. 121
    1badbaba3 says:

    @Mike Lamb: Sorry, it’s been years. Nothing wrong with pedantry if you’re nice about it.

    Probably need to watch it again. I have a feeling it may come in handy for the upcoming battle.

  122. 122
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Publius39: I only watched about 47 of the 354 primary debates, but I do think that Willard’s TeeVee persona last night was less creepy and android-like than I have ever seen, he managed to look at Obama, not stare at him like when Snoopy pretended to be a vulture as he did with Perry, Santorum et al. I can’t be a non-partisan or lo-info voter, but I think if I were, I might say he came off as almost likable.

  123. 123
    Steeplejack says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Commenter ThatLeftTurnInABQ in Cole’s “Scoring the Debate” thread.

  124. 124
    SenyorDave says:

    @Political Observer: So is that a huge positive for you? Romney is now promising to cut all taxes by 20% with no:

    1. No Stated plan to pay for it
    2. No realistic way of paying for it

    Also, he now will somehow keep the “good” parts of Obamacare w/o any way to pay for them. For good measure, in the not-too-distant future, seniors will get the joy of buying their own insurance on the open market.

    And just for good measure, add huge increases to the defense budget.

    As a Democrat, it bothers me that both parties play kick the can with finances during good times (which is when you should fix them), but the GOP doesn’t even bother with that. They get in power, and as good old Dick Cheney says, suddenly deficits don’t matter.

    But I suspect that you thought GWB was a good president.

  125. 125
    Nina says:

    WoW players may be somewhat interested in this story:

  126. 126
    chopper says:

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

    and what’s up with debates all of a sudden being hot shit? since when do the debates move the needle at all?

    if they did we’d have had presidents mondale and kerry.

  127. 127
    chopper says:

    @Political Observer:

    reagan was lost last night. Stumbling. Tired. Bewildered without his trusty teleprompter. Tired, frustrated, lost , Carter-esque.

    This is the beginning of the end for reagan, and the start of the Great Mondale Comeback of 1984.

    Get used to hearing “President-Elect Mondale”.

  128. 128
    1badbaba3 says:

    @Political Observer: DougJ, it no longer works on AP, and it won’t work on us anymore either. So Good Day to you, Sir…

  129. 129
    alhutch says:

    @Charlie, Philomath OR: Not to mention, probably an outlier in Philomath too!

  130. 130
    bemused says:


    Tweety has a thing for hero worship. It seems to be more common in his age group of males. It kills me when he brags on how politically astute he is. He thinks he has a corner on the politics market.

  131. 131
    NR says:


    In January, when we are celebrating Obama’s second inaugural, we’ll all look back and say, “Wow, remember how Romney did in that first debate? Yeah.”

    Will we be talking about Obama’s Social Security cuts then, too?

  132. 132
    Tractarian says:

    I said this in one of the other threads but I’m gonna repeat it.

    Every single pundit believes that, to win a debate, you must be aggressive, forceful, confident, and relentlessly on message. Mitt was all of those things last night. So it’s no surprise that roughly 100% of the media thought he won handily.

    Problem for Mitt is, this isn’t how swing voters think. Swing voters are low-information voters. They are going to make their decision on who gives them a gut feeling that they would be a better President. That’s based on non-verbal cues, intangible things like body language and mannerisms.

    Surely, swing voters value confidence and competence, just like the Villagers. But that’s not the same thing as being aggressive and forceful. In fact, the two can be at odds. That explains why you don’t see every debater attacking non-stop and shouting down the moderator. Because there is a risk that comes with unbridled debate aggression: appearing to be a smug, condescending a$$hole. And no matter how competent you seem, no matter how many zingers you get across, if you appear to be an a$$hole, you will not get elected president.

    Just ask another debater who came armed with a blizzard of facts and figures and yet lost because he … sighed.

  133. 133
    wrb says:


    What surprised me was Obama didn’t bring up the 47% once

    I turned it off halfway through, and that was my impression, but apparently by the end Obama had talked 4 minutes longer.

  134. 134
    wasabi gasp says:

    Obama got rick-rolled.

  135. 135
    over_educated says:

    I’ve been getting a non stop stream of e-mails from my Republican relatives crowing about last night. i respond with this.

  136. 136
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Elliecat: It’s been mentioned several times before. I mentioned it at least once last night and again this morning.

  137. 137
    Anya says:

    @SenyorDave: Reasoning with PO is like trying to have an intellectual conversation with a 2 year old.

  138. 138
    1badbaba3 says:

    @over_educated: Damn, that’s cold. But they must be brought to heel.

  139. 139
    Steeplejack says:


    The Crimson Permanent Assurance. Great bit. Can’t remember which movie it’s from. I think The Meaning of Life.

    ETA: Late, as usual.

  140. 140
    Paula says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    There have been “commenters” who’ve used that phrase on repeat in the previous threads (and s/he is still showing up in today’s) and people keep telling them to calm down. You’d think people would stop feeding the more obvious trolls here.

    Also, one of them I only see during the latest Obot/Firebag skirmishes usually.

  141. 141
    KXB says:


    I think in winning campaigns, Romney won 1 – the MA governorship, which until last night, he refused to even admit took place.

    Obama only lost 1 election in his carreer, and then went on to Springfield, US Senate, and the White House. All the while, he knocked over the kingpins of the Democratic Party and a Republican war hero.

    I was disappointed last night, but I had no trouble sleeping.

  142. 142
    chopper says:


    indeed. i lose arguments with my 3-year-old all the time, mostly because she says all sorts of goofy stuff and throws a tantrum.

  143. 143
    nastybrutishntall says:

    As I said on TPM, classic Obama. Lose 1st debate in a Rope-A-Dope round, find out what your opponent’s tactics are, then come back and cut through them. Now that Obama is establishing that everything RMoney says is a lie, he can just smile and say, “Well, shucks, there you go again!” and then explain to America what Mitt is *really* gonna do. Mitt will get all flustered and desperate, repeat the same lies ad nauseum, and people will like Mitt less and Obama more.

  144. 144
    1badbaba3 says:

    @NR: No. Will you be talking about Bigfoot and ‘Nessie?

  145. 145
    scott says:

    Here’s a deal: I’ll calm down if Obama wakes up and does his job at the debates as a functioning politician and sitting president. That seems fair to me, and he has a greater ability at the top to still the troubled waters than I do by thinking calm thoughts or telling myself to put my frown upside down (or whatever the hell that thing the Frowny Bee? was about, wtf).

  146. 146


    and what’s up with debates all of a sudden being hot shit?

    Probably pulled from the same orifice that gave us the “Presidents don’t get re-elected with 8% unemployment” chestnut.

    You know, the same chestnut that propelled Walter Mondale and Wendell Wilkie to their landslide victories.

  147. 147
    chopper says:


    yes, because it’s all about you.

  148. 148


    Every single pundit believes that, to win a debate, you must be aggressive, forceful, confident, and relentlessly on message.


    And guess what skillset is pretty much obligatory to have a serious chance at a career as a pundit?

  149. 149
    NR says:

    @1badbaba3: Don’t know what you’re on about. Obama said flat-out last night that he and Romney are “pretty similar” on Social Security.

  150. 150
    Rich2506 says:

    Yeah, I agree. Our brave knight left the field with a broken sword and armor in tatters and the other guy left with the lady’s handkerchief and the flowers. But our guy didn’t get any wounds and armor and swords are replaceable. Obama just needs to spend some time at the blacksmith’s shop and he’ll be all ready next time.

  151. 151
    sharl says:


    R-Money did the equivalent of what in the evo/creation debate circles is known as the “Gish Gallop” (named after Duane Gish of the Creation Research Inst. in San Diego) – you just throw out so many lies and half-truths so fast that your opponent cannot possibly stop to counter all of them and to explain how one is untrue leaves dozens of others unchallenged.

    I didn’t watch the debate, but it sure sounds like that’s exactly what he did.
    There’s a description of the Gish Gallop at Rational Wiki.

  152. 152
    The Red Pen says:


    Our brave knight left the field with a broken sword and armor in tatters

    I used to be a debater like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

  153. 153
    gogol's wife says:


    Thank you! I thought I was nuts.


    Scottish Fold! Squee!

  154. 154
    MikeInSewickley says:

    I didn’t watch the debate – sorry. No stomach for it as I knew that the Robot would simply lie through the whole thing.

    My take is that Obama’s team felt saying “Pants on Fire” every third syllable wouldn’t look good.

    And given the fact that Jim Lehrer screwed the pooch meant that Romney had nothing to lose by talking longer, stepping on statement, over talking.

    Glad I missed it.

    Was I sad? Yes.

    Will the needle move? Some.

    But I felt better today when I heard some on-the-street interviewing done by KDKA which most certainly leans right.

    All the people said that Romney won the debate. None of the people said the debate changed their vote.

    Remember, Ryan was the untouchable policy wonk but even the lazy jackasses called the Media trashed his convention speech.
    Add Sununu’s race dog whistle today, and we’ll see these fools not only snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, they’ll make sure to throw their kids down the dragon’s mouth for good measure.

  155. 155
    LAC says:

    The ads are starting to come out. Maybe next time, Romney will learn that mouth moving, words spewing is not the best strategy.

  156. 156
    LAC says:

    @over_educated: LOL!!! Yeah, only I think that Limpfat would go through the floor with those moves, hannity couldn’t shake his ass at gunpoint (idea for a game show, btw) and Fox and Friends would end up elbowing each other.

    That celebration might be tempered once the third or fourth ad of Romney debate lying is up. Asshole, it’s what’s for dinner!

  157. 157
    LAC says:

    @Charlie, Philomath OR: I thnk your views are like a lot of folks. To avoid destroying our TV, I went back to watching the Yankees curb stomp the Red Sox. RIP, Valentine…

    Romney is liar and in his quest to show that he can spew words, he gave out bullets. A week from now, the genius pundits on cable will be sitting around wondering why their conventional wisdom didn’t do anything to change the polling.

    I got three things to do: stay positive, volunteer, and vote. So, I will leave the weeping ingenue act for others to do.

  158. 158
    rollSound says:

    As far as Romney “winning”: it’s easy to “win” when you cheat (lying your ass off).

    When you’re caught cheating, it doesn’t count as a win any longer.

  159. 159
    venice says:

    No-one will care next week, save the historians.

    What concerns me is that Obama did not once say to Romney:

    “You’ve been saying you’re going to cut everyone’s taxes by 20%, but now you say you’re not cutting revenue. Are you, or aren’t you? Are you misleading the people who think you’re going to cut their taxes, or the ones who think you’re going to balance the budget? You’re misleading someone…one of those people you’re talking to is going to be sorely disappointed.”

    It’s the math, but you have to explain to people why it’s the math.

  160. 160
    pattonbt says:

    @Political Observer: Oh noes! I’m sooooooo scared. Not the “Great Romney Comeback”!?

    Help us Obi-Wan Kenobi, youre our only hope!


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