Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Round Two - Decision, Romney

Well , the second debate is history. If I were scoring this round as a prize fight, I'd call it 10-7 Romney, even though President Obama was a bit more animated this time.

While each side is going to claim victory, in fact this was a classic example of ObamaFail. To check Romney's momentum, the president needed to take out Mitt Romney, and he simply failed to do so, even with moderator Candy Crowley's active assistance and a number of questions that were very likely plants.

On the other hand, what Mitt Romney needed to do was build on his knockout performance last time out, score some decent shots on Obama and appear confident,poised and presidential. He succeeded.

Candy Crowley was slightly better than Marsha Raddatz, but only slightly, which is to say that her bias was readily apparent. That's apparently the new normal for 'moderators' now. She actually bailed the president out of two important issues he obviously didn't want to discuss much, Libya and Fast and Furious. She allowed the president to get away with not answering at least two questions directly without challenging him (why he didn't push immigration reform during his first two years when he had a Democrat majority in congress, and what he wanted voters to know about him that was different than how he'd been portrayed).

Even worse, she aided and abetted the president in an outright lie.

President Obama said that he appeared in the Rose Garden the day after the attack and called the killing a terror attack. When Romney argued that it was not true, moderator Candy Crowley stepped in pipe up than yes, the president did say that.

Except he didn't.

Within seconds, ABC Reporter Jake Tapper tweeted a link to the actual transcript of President Obama's remarks and nowhere did he refer to what happened in Benghazi in that fashion.

He referred to it as 'an outrageous attack' and 'senseless violence' along with the expected remarks about how ' the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others', a reference to the original nonsense about how this was all about some video, but nothing there about a terrorist attack.

To quote a pungent old Yiddish saying, 'Ein liegt an die andere schwören' or 'One lies and the other swears to it.'

Even Mike Allen from the left leaning Politico caught this one.

Candy Crowley herself admitted that Governor Romney was 'mostly right' - after the debate,

The good part, of course, is that this little bit of bias by Crowley is going to lead to a lot more discussion about Libya...not something I imagine the president wanted.

Crowley also did her best to allow the president to go overtime while cutting Romney off. The president ended up with over 4 minutes more speaking time than Mitt Romney, a difference of 9%.

President Obama's actual performance was more animated than last time (I doubt it could be less) but he was laboring, like an actor trying to remember a script he hadn't memorized. I expected a few new tricks after all that expensive debate prep in a five star resort at the taxpayer's expense. It didn't happen.

President Obama stuck to the same tired talking points - class warfare, blame Bush. eat 'the rich'. In short, hey, better the devil you know this scary Mormon Republican guy! He also finally threw the 47% line in at the end of his closing statement, when Romney was unable to respond.

Among his more spectacular gaffes was insisting that gas prices were so much lower when he took office as opposed to today because we were in a recession back then! What does he call today, good times?

Another was this gem, in response to one of the questions that was likely planted, one on gun control: "Weapons designed for soldiers in war do not belong on our streets."

Obviously, they belong on Mexico's streets according to this president, but when Romney segued nicely into a mention of Fast and Furious, Crowley cut him off.

Romney kept punching at Obama's failed record on the economy, and the president frankly didn't have much of a defense besides the class warfare drum and a few obvious falsehoods. Particularly poignant was Romney's response to a young college student who was worried about whether he was actually going to have a job when he graduated. The president responded with the usual platitudes. Romney explained to him how growing the economy was going to result in a better future for everyone and ended by asking him when he was going to graduate. When the young man responded 2014, Mitt Romney looked at him, smiled and said 'when I'm president, you come see me and I'll see you have a job.'

And you know what? I bet he would.And even more, I think the young student, who maintained eye contact with Romney for an instant believes it too.

Romney also scored heavily on energy, on the Keystone pipeline, on trade, and on his understanding of how to build an economy and how government can facilitate job growth. And his close was particularly good:

In the nature of a campaign, it seems that some campaigns are focused on attacking a person rather than prescribing their own future and the things they’d like to do. In the course of that, I think the president’s campaign has tried to characterize me as — as someone who’s very different than who I am.

I care about 100 percent of the American people. I want 100 percent of the American people to have a bright and prosperous future. I care about our kids. I understand what it takes to make a bright and prosperous future for America again. I spent my life in the private sector, not in government. I’m a guy who wants to help with the experience I have, the American people.

My — my passion probably flows from the fact that I believe in God. And I believe we’re all children of the same God. I believe we have a responsibility to care for one another. I — I served as a missionary for my church. I served as a pastor in my congregation for about 10 years. I’ve sat across the table from people who were out of work and worked with them to try and find new work or to help them through tough times.

I went to the Olympics when they were in trouble to try and get them on track. And as governor of my state, I was able to get 100 percent of my people insured, all my kids, about 98 percent of the adults. I was able also to get our schools ranked number one in the nation, so 100 percent of our kids would have a bright opportunity for a future.

I understand that I can get this country on track again. We don’t have to settle for what we’re going through. We don’t have to settle for gasoline at four bucks. We don’t have to settle for unemployment at a chronically high level. We don’t have to settle for 47 million people on food stamps. We don’t have to settle for 50 percent of kids coming out of college not able to get work. We don’t have to settle for 23 million people struggling to find a good job.

If I become president, I’ll get America working again. I will get us on track to a balanced budget. The president hasn’t. I will. I’ll make sure we can reform Medicare and Social Security to preserve them for coming generations. The president said he would. He didn’t.

President Obama's essential problem was that he tried, and he had help, but he didn't really lay a glove on Mitt Romney tonight. The left will love it that he was more aggressive, petulant and animated, and they'll write it up as a draw or even an Obama win.

It will be to those who are convinced and motivated Obama voters. But to the undecideds, independents and people with soft support for this president, it was anything but that.

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