Wiley Cash – A Land More Kind Than Home – Live Discussion


Tonight’s live chat is featuring author Wiley Cash, whose first book, A Land More Kind Than Home, was just released in paperback.

Wiley has been a friend of mine (and neighbor) for several years, and I am really excited about tonight’s discussion. Feel free to ask anything. For more information on Wiley, please visit his website.

For the record, we photoshopped that picture above a while back because he had the Angelina Jolie leg thrust pose. Little did I know that it would rocket to the top of google images and all his work friends would see it and laugh hysterically. Had I known that, I would have done it earlier.

Election Night Live Blog

Tonight’s live blog is being moderated by some brave volunteers so have a little patience. Please don’t refresh this page, it just slows everything down and costs us a click at CoverItLive. Click Here to open CoverItLive in its own window.

*** Update ***

John here- I’ve shut down the blog in anticipation of the crush. Comments on this post are disabled, please participate in the coveritlive event and do not, I beg you, visit old pages or comment on old threads. Once the election is called I will open things back up for everyone. I am doing this now because we are already hitting 7k page views an hour, so please just find something to do for the next thirty minutes while we wait for Coveritlive to take over. Once you are logged in to the coveritlive event, there is no need to refresh. That is what will kill the blog and I will end up with 9 bazillion whiny god damned emails.

For once, I am asking you to work with me.

Liveblogging — Joe

For comments—Go here

I’ll also be in the comments section at Cover it Live. It was very fast and furious in the comments last week.

Well we’ve come to the end of the presidential debate season. We’ve seen an unmoderated disaster, a fiesty, but focused VP debate, an episode of Jerry Springer masquerading as a “town hall” debate. What will tonight bring?

Bob Schieffer is closer to Jim Lehrer generationally, but he hosts a combative interview show and has no doubt followed the scorn heaped upon Lehrer since his Weekend at Bernie’s moderation of the first debate. There is actually a chance that this debate will demonstrate the promise of a debate format that encourages the moderator to interrogate the candidates. Or maybe we’ll just do shots of bourbon all night while cursing Matt Stafford’s failure to contribute to our fantasy football scores all night.

9:03 Opening with Libya is good for both campaigns. For Obama it gets a possible weak spot out of the way. For Romney it gets any reminder of the disaster from last week out of the way.

9:06 Romney is barely mentioning Libya. That comports with my guess that the campaign views it as a dangerous topic after the last debate.

9:08 Obama is recasting Libya as “what’s the alternative…Qadaffi?”

9:10 Romney is recognizing that Obama was silent on Syria and Mali and Iran and is trying to turn that into proof that Obama has no answers. Obama is going on the offensive instead by dissing the Russia statement.

9:12 “Sending mixed messages.” This comports with my guess for Obama’s strategy for the debate, which is to continually suggest that Romney is an untrustworthy opportunist. A strategy that spills over into domestic policy too.

9:14 I thought Romney was pulling away on some ticky-tack points until Obama shifted to “you have to be clear.” That sounded very presidential. He followed it up with the first real mention of Israel, which blunts a common attack on Obama.

9:16 Schieffer asks much better questions that Lehrer that’s for sure.

9:18 Romney just reaffirmed Obama’s strategy. Schieffer should declare this a non-unique issue and move on. If there’s no controversy it’s not worth wasting time on.

9:20 Romney raises the question of “leadership” a call back to the dumb “leading from behind” trope. And Obama is using it to own the Libyan issue. This is not a campaign afraid of Libya anymore.

9:22 Great follow-up from Schieffer on the no-fly zone. Romney had an opening to distinguish himself there…and deferred.

9:22 Romney thinks we should have taken steps to get opposition forces together. That’s just Obama’s plan exactly. Schieffer should call out agreements like that for the sake of clarity.

9:24 Another great question on Egypt. Obama did a good job taking it to the high road and, as always, reaffirming that he loves him some Israel to fend off the Fox News folks. Romney can fight back with some discussion of the Muslim Brotherhood. We’ll see…

9:26 Dear Gov. Romney: Saying, “I agree with everything Obama did but I wish it had worked better” is not actually an argument in your favor.

9:27 $5 Trillion tax cut in 5…4…3…2…

9:29 Romney answer: “To not apologize…whatever that means.”

9:30 POLAND!!!

9:33 Bush and Cheney were mentioned too. Multiple shots in quick succession.

9:34 If I were Obama I’d make a snide remark about the “5-point plan” as something Romney has memorized but doesn’t understand. The more it gets repeated the worse it sounds.

9:35 The Massachusetts record…not exactly Romney’s strong suit. As an aside from the debate, did anyone here ever believe we’d live to see someone run for president by saying, “please don’t look at my governing experience.”

9:38 Look at our website is his answer to the most pressing follow-up question of the debate? Romney needs a 5-point boilerplate to answer this question more specifically.

9:39 Ezra Klein points out that Romney’s website does not actually explain how to balance the budget.

9:42 This Romney argument that he can balance budgets should be hit with a concerted explanation of how Bain Capital became wealthy almost exclusively by driving up deficits.

9:44 This Navy answer demonstrates a lot of expertise. Fox will play it as though Obama just learned what those just came to his attention.

9:49 Entirely defensive answers from Romney — basically just, “I wouldn’t be much different than Obama on foreign policy.” A massive shift from his Libya comments leading into last week. Probably a smart strategy given that Americans generally trust the President on foreign policy. Given this, Obama needs to make sure the debate is riddled with references to Romney’s past aggressive statements.

9:52 Romney is finally going on the offensive.

9:54 “What Governor Romney just said is not true.” This is going to be a refrain we look back  on when we study this campaign years from now.

9:57 I think Obama should have been more precise in calling out the “we’re 4 years closer” by pointing out that Romney advocating the exact same policy means he can’t criticize the last 4 years. But the answer about the Israel trip is powerful. Still should defend the Arab world trip too though.

10:00 Romney is resorting to the Gish Gallop tactic. That was about 25 blippy swipes at the President in a 20 second span for the sole purpose of stopping Obama from answering all of them. Obama needs to go on offense instead.

10:02 WHOA! Obama decided to Gallop back listing a litany of Romney flip-flops to destroy his credibility. You know it’s working because the camera clicks are going off the charts.

10:04 Bob Schieffer does what no one else has yet — make Romney stop bitching about getting the last word.

10:07 Romney is just abandoning most of his foreign policy critique. Now the withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014 is a good thing? When did that happen? It’s like the first debate all over again…except Obama is not rattled this time and just keeps pushing back against these flip-flops.

10:15 OK China. This is Romney’s key subject because China bashing is his only hope of getting working class folks in Ohio. Obama has to win this subject and he probably keeps his key firewall state intact.

10:20 Finally back! Had some technical issues there. Romney doesn’t know the difference between a trade war and a trade deficit. Or at least he’s banking on the hope that the American voter doesn’t understand the difference.

10:22 The fact that Romney’s tax plan privileges overseas jobs is not getting enough play from the Obama campaign. Good move bringing it up here.

10:24 Obama got forceful. Romney said there could be federal guarantees, but only after the bankruptcy concluded…when they wouldn’t matter.

10:26 I fear this semantic issue about “federal guarantees” for the auto industry is going to be the Republican talking point that we get bludgeoned with for a week even though Obama and Romney

10:33 Obama delivered a strong statement. Delineates the stark choice. Romney rambled and basically said, “eh…things are pretty good all things considered, but I would be pretty good at this job too.”

10:34 Grandpa Bob tells us to vote.

CoverItLive Blog

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Liveblogging — Joe

For comments — Go here: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/10/16/debate-live-blog/

Town halls. They aren’t so much “debates” as very uncomfortable press conferences run by low information voters. If I manage not to pull my hair out I’ll be lucky.

I’ll also be in the comments section at Cover it Live and we can judge the questions/questioners from “Actually insightful” to “Please leave my country immediately”

8:43 — Ezra Klein just gave us a lesson in “uniqueness.” If Obama’s plan will add 12 million jobs in the next 4 years, and Romney — without criticizing that study says, “I will add 12 million jobs in the next 4 years.” Then that is “non-unique” and therefore not a justification for voting one way or the other.

8:48 — So in the town hall format, the candidates and the moderator are joined by another participant — the questioner. Psychologically the questioner occupies the space of the viewing audience. The level of satisfaction the in-person questioner receives impacts the audience at home for better or worse. This isn’t standard “debate” practice and helps make this whole thing a crazy hodgepodge of debate and press conference.

8:53 — MSNBC is explaining that the audience needed to rehearse their role for the town hall. That doesn’t bode well for their intellectual capacity of the audience.

9:02 — How do you get this many uncommitted voters in New York?

9:03 — Jeremy Epstien is a little nervous. His question is about how he’ll get a job. Not bad. If Obama’s on his game this becomes a student loan discussion.

9:05 — Romney “knows what it takes.” Won’t tell us though.

9:06 — Obama awkwardly shoved in “let Detroit go bankrupt.” Delivery rough but it’s the right answer.

9:07 — Obama is way easier to flow. Easy, distinct arguments marked by signposts.

9:09 — Romney trying to define bankruptcy. Now saying that Obama did it. Wow.

9:11 — Reiterating the “forward” theme

9:11 — Steven Chu question? Seriously? There are so many less clearly slanted ways to ask this question.

9:14 — Romney is much less organized this time. He is rambling instead of giving the crisp “1, 2, 3” answers from the first debate. Odd since this is the venue where clear and crisp answers are much more important.

9:17 — Romney said “coal kills.” Someone on the Obama opp research team is getting laid tonight

9:19 — Romney is having some problems keeping his shit together. Being aggressive is less powerful when it’s wrong.

9:21 — Obama is a much different speaker tonight. Getting in Romney’s face

9:23 — I wrote in my blog that Romney’s aggressive tone toward the moderator would play much worse when it’s a woman than whatever Jim Lehrer is. It’s perhaps chauvinistic but I think people will react that way. Romney trying to push her around is really a bad optic.

9:26 — What definition of “middle class” makes Romney think capital gains taxes are killing the “middle class”

9:29 — Here is the “etch-a-sketch” attack

9:31 — Romney has dropped the “Clinton proves this works” argument. That’s pretty damning empirical evidence and he needs an answer there

9:33 — Obama’s arithmetic lesson is compelling.

9:34 — The argument that Romney would never take this deal is powerful. If one believes Romney’s business experience has any value at all, this argument forces him to forfeit that credential to respond.

9:35 — “As much as any governor does?” Isn’t that saying he had no capacity to perform the only government job he ever had?

9:37 — Obama did tremendously on that last exchange

9:37 — Lily Ledbetter time!

9:38 — What strikes me as the biggest difference between this debate and the first is that Obama has a defined strategy. Every question is steered back toward the middle class and after every affirmative argument he shifts to calling Romney a liar in rebuttal no matter what the issue because it erodes that Romney ethos.

9:41 — The problem with this answer is that “Romney is a good employer” is not a defense to “Romney’s policies lead the private sector to screwing over women.”

9:43 —  Political rather than debate note: Planned Parenthood is being championed here because Obama camp clearly decided the only problem coming out of the first debate was undecided unmarried women.

9:45 — Romney is hanging himself with these attempts to get the last word. He’s jumbled and forfeiting valuable time on this question

9:49 — I thought Obama was weak there. It could have been more focused on Bush tax cuts. And he is giving himself no defense on the “deficit is big when I promised to cut it” argument

9:51 — Obama back on his game. Firing a number of accomplishments that Romney has no hope of answering. Can Romney put out there a more devastating offensive argument against Obama that can erase this? If it’s not Benghazi right now then Romney is dumb.

9:57 — This is Romney’s best answer. I was wrong, he had a deluge of offense to throw out there without hitting Benghazi

9:58 — The immigration answer is much better structured.

10:00 — Mitt Romney literally bashed Obama for failing to pass a law that Romney said would be bad. That’s called a double turn and such contradictions are no-nos.

10:04 — Jesus Obama you won this exchange just shut up

10:05 — This is very defensive out of Romney and is going to be a field day for fact checkers. I remember watching Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich school Romney on this point already and saying all that.

10:07 — What happened right there? Why was Romney going off on the pension. That was as close to Clint Eastwood I’ve seen in awhile

10:08 — Obama is still affable and forceful. Well done.

10:08 — Benghazi time!

10:09 — Obama taking responsibility for Benghazi. Not blame, but responsibility. This is exactly the right approach — it can allow him to go more bananas on Romney weaseling out of Bain issues.

10:10 — Obama needs to get back to the actual question

10:13 — Romney had such room to push the “Obama did not have enough security” and decided to go off on apologies and Israel. He could have done so much better there.

10:15 — Obama answer was chill inducing. Winner. This is the answer they were after.

10:17 — Gun control question. Good job because neither candidate is doing anything here.

10:21 — Divorce and contraception caused Aurora. Good to know.

10:22 — OK, Romney is getting into Fast and Furious. Finally an intelligent argument rather than ramble about divorce causing gun violence. Too bad for him it was so late that it won’t matter.

10:24 — Did Romney say we need leadership right after saying the only reason there was a gun ban in Mass. was because pro and anti gun folks decided to draft something without you.

10:27 — As a debate point, I’d be interested to hear how Frank Luntz came up with “trickle down government”

10:30 — For the last couple questions I just watched audience responses to the answers. It looks to me as though Obama is getting much better engagement than Romney is

10:33 — Obama’s “I want high skill high paying jobs” argument is fantastic. It not only directly responds to Romney’s argument and casts Romney’s China bashing as “wanting to turn us into the new China.”

10:36 — Romney became the person who reminded us that he said he didn’t care about 47% of the country. Bad move.

10:38 — Romney handed him 47%. He took it.

10:44 — Obama is the clear winner tonight. The only exchange I thought Romney won was the “wrong track” answer where Romney just listed economic statistics. It did not engage Obama’s answer but it was punchy and crisp and sound bite worthy.

Debate Live Blog

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Liveblogging — Joe

8:58 I’m chugging a Bourbon if Biden says “The Onion” at any point tonight

9:00 Steve Schmidt points out that debaters should have a strategy going into a debate. This is absolutely true. Even if the candidates think they can just answer their opponents, without understanding the overarching themes you want to get to you will get bowled over.

9:03 I expect this Benghazi question to be the biggest substantive deal in this debate

9:04 Not sure if I agree with Biden going off the Benghazi specific issue that quickly. Ryan can say he’s ducking the question.

9:08 Ryan shifting to sequestration early

9:09 “Be specific” — Martha is already better than Jim Lehrer

9:11 “In a crisis we pull together as a nation.” Solid play Biden

9:13 This Iran question is the first one where Ryan is really getting into his “here’s a bunch of out of context numbers” mode

9:14 Biden’s face was priceless there. I smell a meme.

9:16 Biden is very well-versed in the data on Iran. Ryan’s first salvo of random numbers seems to be falling flat according to my flowchart of the issue.

9:18 Uh oh. Ryan pushed a brink for this impact that swamps his solvency. That’s for any debaters reading :-)

9:19 “Bibi” Wow.

9:20 Here’s what happened in my view. Biden won on every level there. He had better numbers, higher credibility. Pushed Ryan into defensive on the sanctions, and used the same phrases and frameworks as Ryan and turned them.

9:23 BOOM! Romney changes his mind so often. One of the key strategies for Biden tonight is getting Romney’s credibility rattled. Well done.

9:24 Biden has memorized a LOT of numbers for tonight. He was ready for a debate with Ryan.

9:27 Ryan is not answering the “responsibility” claim. That’s going to be the boom on the return.

9:29 Has Paul Ryan followed the Palin lead and allowed Joe to talk about his personal loss? My god. Have they learned nothing?

9:31 The $90B figure is so debunked. Bad move.

9:33 Ryan cited a report that concludes in favor of the administration. His out of context numbers burned him

9:35 Biden just might be ready to debate these numbers. Ryan brought them all up in a prior meeting with Biden and Biden had no answers that day. Bet he does today.

9:37 Vouchers. Drink

9:38 The real test of Martha is if she lets this “is this a cut or not” debate reach a resolution

9:40 Ryan did a smart move trying to question the $6400 number. It is technically for the prior Ryan plan and not the current one. But he needed to go further. Sounded defensive.

9:42 Biden is conceding arguments for fun, telling Martha “aw forget it” for Ryan claims she was going to call out

9:45 @Daveweigel just tweeted “David Mamet wrote great dialogue for this debate

9:46 I hope I have this command of numbers when I’m 69

9:48 This is an “ethos” strategy for Biden — He is looking to undermine the credibility of the Romney-Ryan ticket both to kill their ability to sell any sort of message going forward and to bolster their defense of the first debate that “Obama was off his game because Romney was lying.” And it’s working so far

9:50 “Specifics”

9:51 Biden knows the studies Ryan is talking about…and that they all but one conclude for the administration. This is an astounding command of evidence out of Biden

9:53 The Kennedy and Reagan examples are both bogus — they resulted in short term growth, like a stimulus package, AND both of them were more progressively applied

9:54 Can’t “guarantee.” That was a smart gambit by Biden and it worked.

9:55 GREAT MOVE BY MARTHA. Both sides oppose the Defense sequesters and so she takes the topic off the table. Exactly what a good moderator should do. It’s a fake issue.

9:59 A friend just said “Obama + Biden divide by 2 = normal human levels of aggression”

10:01 Ryan flubbed the “problems growing abroad and jobs aren’t at home” line that was supposed to be a zinger.

10:04 Biden should use the line “these guys say, ‘trust the commanders’ right up until they tell us something they don’t like”

10:07 That was a great, spontaneous exchange. Biden knows much more about East Afghanistan was the takeaway

10:11 Ryan is sounding very neophyte on foreign policy

10:12 Ryan is now agreeing that the two sides agree. Good point. But he narrowed it to “we should cooperate with groups in Syria” which Biden already said is the status quo.

10:15 Abortion. Martha is literally the worst possible moderator for the Republicans

10:16 Ryan tries to turn this to contraception debate? Really?! That’s a bad move because it invites the idea that Romney-Ryan and Akin personhood are one in the same

10:18 Biden is such a master of tone. He can bring it into somber and personal on an abortion topic while just yelling over Syria and Afghanistan. This is one of those atmospherics that he really has mastered.

10:22 Veterans are 47%. Brilliant retie to the strategy. Remember my first comments. A strategy keeps you grounded.

10:24 Ryan’s line about Obama in 2008 is falling flat, but I see where it was supposed to go. It was supposed to allow him to parry attacks. Instead Biden (Martha) has flipped it by casting Romney as saying anything with no backup. Now they are the ones Ryan is really undermining by saying “you cast them as something to run from”

10:27 Martha with the first format (6 questions instead of 9) would have been epic.

10:30 Personal reference and a blue collar upbringing moment. CHUG!!!

10:31 “We want to earn your support.” A line that probably sounded better before having the moderator and opponent yell, “but do you have a specific answer 20 times

10:35 Matthews scoring is almost right. Ryan won the first question. Then Matthews sees the rest either a draw or Biden favored. I disagree. Biden won every other exchange based on my flow.

10:36 On the first question, Ryan got to explain Benghazi for a long time and Biden kept trying to shift the question. But after that Biden got under Ryan’s skin by knowing the conclusions to all the cites Ryan threw out there. Then Biden had his way.