Romney-Reality debate

And hoping that Barack Obama decides to give Reality some help.

10:27 Q to Romney: offshoring jobs.

“We’ve made it more attractive to move jobs offshore.” Chinese cheating on currency. “On day 1, I will label China a currency manipulator.” [$10,000 the WSJ has no objection to protectionism in this particular case.] “The rate of regulations has quadrupled.” Obamacare is a deterrent to hiring.

Obama: change the tax code; no breaks for offshoring, no tax breaks for overseas earnings. Romney is against that. “That will create 800,000 new jobs, but not here.”

Romney repeats himself. “The President’s charming erization of my tax plan is not true.”

O has the nerve to say that some low-wage, low-skill jobs are not coming back.

Romney interrupts again.

Final question to R: what do people misunderstand about you?

R: Obama has been mean to me. I care about 100%. I believe in God. I served as a missionary. I was a pastor. When I was governor, I got people health insurance. “We don’t have to settle.” Preserve Medicare and Social Security.

O: I don’t believe government creates jobs. Free enterprise engine of prosperity. But everyone has to play by the same rules. I believe Gov. Romney is a good man. Forty-seven percent, behind closed doors. Those are hard-working people. I want to fight for them. That’s why I ask for your vote.

Huge win for Obama, I think. But what matter is still what the Village Idiots think.

10:19 Q to Obama: AK47s and gun control. Ans: Enforce the law we have respect for gun rights, but “Weapons that were meant for soldiers don’t belong on the street.” Would like to restore assault weapons ban. “What can we do to intervene?”

Romney is against gun control and premarital sex. Fast and Furious. Pretends not to understand what a sting operation is, but of course everyone has been pretending the same thing.

Moderator points out that R signed an assault-weapons ban in Mass. Why did he change his mind. “Mutually agreed-on legislation.” Bipartisanship. Obama is laughing again.

“Gov. Romney was for an assault-weapons ban before he was against it.” Yes, I’m partisan, but it looks to me as if O is wiping the floor with R.

10:11 Q. to Obama can on Benghazi, somewhat hostile. Obama: investigation, accountability, revenge. Romney is trying to use this for partisan gain.

Romney responds by continuing to use this for partisan gain. Why did O go to a fundraiser? “Apology tour* Leading from behind*

Will Obama come back and thank R for making his point? Yes he does: “the suggestion is offensive.” Romney challenges Obama on “act of terror,” and the moderator steps in to point out that Romney is wrong. Big win for O. Maybe a crucial moment. He looked coldly furious, and Romney looked just a tad abashed.

10pm finally an immigration question. Romney*: “We’re a nation of immigrants. He loves “legal immigation” and wants to give green cards to people with engineering degrees. You shouldn’t need a lawyer to get a visa. Employer sanctions. No amnesty. No driver’s licenses. Endorses, more or less, the Dream Act, without mentioning he opposed it. Why did Obama fail to keep his promise to introduce an immigration bill?

Obama: I streamlined processes. We deported people. Focus on gangbangers, don’t worry about people who come to work. Reminds Romney that he promised that veto the DREAM Act, loves the Arizona law. Hits him on self-deportation. Says again of a Romney statement, “That just isn’t true.”

Romney says he didn’t support the “your papers, please” part of Arizona; just the employer verification part. Cheats by going back to the investment-in-China question: “Have you looked at your pension?”

Obama comes back hard on immigration: R’s adviser is the guy who wrote the Arizona law: “the whole thing, not just e-verify.”

9:51 AA questioner wants to know what Obama has done to earn getting his vote again. Good recitition of his record. Hits Romney with his “me toos” to Republican Congress.

R tells the 5.4%* again, keeps pointing out that things aren’t great. Another * about O not having a plan to control Medicare. President is a good speaker, but “We have a record to look at.”

9:46 Questioner wants to know why Romney isn’t Bush. Romney cheats again, tells another * about access to contraception: “I don’t want bureaucrats in Washington deciding whether women have contraceptiive care, or business owners.”

Finally gets to the question: energy, Latin America, small business, deficit, small business, small business, small business.

O: “Keep in mind that Gov. Romney pioneered outsourcing jobs to China.” Ties R to B tax cuts. Finally hits on the social issues. “There are difference between Gov. Romney and George Bush,” but they’re not about economics. Another round to Obama.

9:41 Romney brags about affirmative action for women in his Massachusetts cabinet. Keeps reciting attacks on Obama’s economic record, promises that his Brave New Economy employers are going to be begging for women to work for them. Obama responds that Romney never backed the Lily Ledbetter act. Branches out to women’s health care, specifically contraception. Says Romney wants employers to decide about contraception. Finally hits Planned Parenthood. Round to Obama.

9:15 If questioner #2 is an undecided voter, I’m for Queen of Hearts.

Asks a question about gas prices borrowed from Fox News. Obama mostly ignores the

question, attacks Romney for unbalanced energy plan. Romney accuses Obama of tyring to criminalize oil production and wanting to make it impossible to burn coal. Attacks Obama on pipeline.

Crowley comes back on price of oil. Is $4 the new normal? Obama calls Romney a *er instead, recites a story about Romney calling a coal plant (accurately) a killer, and (properly) shutting it down. Romney attacks Obama directly, Obama comes back with a strong answer about making oil companies drill rather than sitting on the leases.

Romney says if the President’s policies were working, gas prices wouldn’t be higher than when he took office. Obama responds that Romney could indeed bring gasoline prices down, by plunging us back into a deep recession. Romney flat-out defies the moderator by taking an extra answer, and she lets him get away with it. No doubt the Village Idiots will say he was forceful.

Tought Q to Romney about eliminating deductions, which he ducks. *I-lost-count says he won’t change the revenue share from the top, then talk about a cap on total deductions, and a promise to eliminate all capital taxation on those below $250,000. Quotes another invented “study.”

Obama talks about his “vision” but doesn’t come back at Romney on ducking the question about deductions. “Governor Romney’s allies in Congress are holding tax cuts for the 98% hostage because they want cuts for the top 2%.” Quotes Romney’s promise to cut taxes for the top 1%. Romney responds by ignoring the point.

Obama laughs as Romney threatens to “crack down on China when they cheat.” Hits back hard on the math that doesn’t add up. Romney says “Of course they add up; I ran a business.” Obama laughs when Romney says his description of Romney’s plan is false.

Romney keeps interrupting.

Next Q is a softball to Obama: reducing inequality between men’s and women’s incomes. Obama tells the story about his grandmother hitting the glass ceiling, switches smoothly to the Lily Ledbetter story. But he doesn’t make it a partisan issue.

8:30 And hoping that Barack Obama decides to give Reality some help.
I’ll be watching with a group of UVa Batten School students.

If you’re planning to take a drink every Slinky tells a lie, please consider the risks of alcohol poisoning.

Pre-debate: I’d thought that the CNN crew was as bad as possible, but that’s before I heard Sam Donaldson pretending to be the Village Idiot, channelling what the rest of the idiots in the Media Village are saying. He expressed gratitude for what the fact-checkers did after the first debate without mentioning any of the facts. Even Jeff Greenfield, who ought to know better, is praising Romney’s “very good performance” rather than criticizing his mendacity. Somehow it’s “objective” to talk about performance but wouldn’t be “impartial” to talk about substance.

Nobody is allowed to say that Romney’s willingness to lie is his key advantage, and that Obama’s problem is how to call him out on his lies without seeming mean.

Starting up. I don’t want to wear out the “L” key on my borrowed laptop, so I’ll just use an asterisk for each Romney lie, and keep count by fives.

Q1 to Romney: what can the candidates tell a college graduate about his prospects of finding a job. *1: Slinky talks about a scholarship program in Massachusetts and promises to maintain Pell grants, without mentioning that the Ryan budget would slash Pell grants.

Obama gives an answer about manufacturing jobs: pretty effective, but I doubt the kid wants a job on the GM line. Ignores Romney. Draws no distinction. Mistake?

Follow-up from moderator on long-term unemployment. Romney hits Obama. *2 “Twelve million new jobs.” *3 Romney tries to explain that when he said he wanted to take the auto industry bankrupt, he didn’t mean he wanted to put them out of business. Obama hits back: “That just isn’t true.” “Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point-plan; he has a one-point plan: to make sure the people at the top play by a different set of rules.” Very strong response, and Romney does himself no favor trying to defy the moderator to get an extra response.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

60 thoughts on “Romney-Reality debate”

  1. If Romney wins the election, it’ll mean our representative democracy is broken. Lies and plutocrat money will have fooled the electorate and stolen government.

    1. Unfortunately, our representative democracy is already broken; it’s been broken for years. Lies and plutocrat money *has already* fooled the electorate and stolen government.
      If it were not so, then who would be against Obamacare, who would be against support for renewable, sustainable, energy with infrastructure investments to switch off of fossil fuels? If it were not so, who would be against supporting higher education with tax money?

      We’re supposed to have a legislature “dependent upon the people (voters) alone.” Instead, we have a legislature dependent upon their campaign funders, the selling of congressional committee chairmanships and memberships to those with the highest financial support to their party, which corrupts even the minority of legislators who *want* to represent the interests of the powerless, apolitical, ignorant majority of voters. We have politics by contesting marketing campaign, which dare not even open some hard issues (martial law removal of civil liberties via the patriot act/NDAA, global warming, accelerating economic inequality, destruction and/or privatization of the water, air, and agricultural ecosystems.) And other issues are too complex to be discussed productively instead of in oversimplified sound-bites; immigration policy, health care, bank fraud and the foreclosure epidemic, tax policy, scientific education, energy policy, role of government.

      Despite this fact, our elections matter: there are social issues that separate the major parties; mainly women’s and minority’s rights, supreme court nominations, the mere recognition of EPA environmental reality.

  2. …and Obama whiffs on an easy one. The GOP has been trying to screw students financially for the past 4 years, and he says nothing in reply to Romney owning Pell Grants?

  3. First question. Bleah to both of them; What was the kid’s major??? Enormously relevant, but neither of them asked. “College degrees” aren’t remotely interchangeable.

  4. …and he fouls one off on the auto industry. Doesn’t remind people that the companies would have folded because of the financial crisis he inherited.

  5. Danger here: Romney is rattling off fact-ish stuff. This is where Obama failed badly last time.

      1. Why isn’t it politically useful? The pipeline would be a disaster to the entire ecosystem from Canada to the Gulf, and shouldn’t be built. If we continue to ignore the current accelerating environmental disaster, how are we going to save civilization from collapsing?

  6. Well, Obama isn’t exactly factual, bragging about all the new energy everywhere he wasn’t positioned to block production. Which Romney appropriately nailed him on.

    1. Brett, you do realize this is a lie, right? Oil production on public lands is up 10% on 2008, even after the 14% drop on last year that Romney disingenuously harps on. That drop is largely the result of BP blowing up the Gulf Of Mexico, and the response – an event that occurred the week after Obama announced he was opening more federal waters to drilling.

      I trust you will not be spreading the debunked lie that Mitt fed you further.

      1. “And the response”; You’re talking about Obama’s illegal drilling moratorium, perhaps? Which I guess he has no responsibility for…

        Here are the stats for production on federal lands, which I guess don’t look too bad… Until you look at the details.

        But the real contrast is between what’s been happening on federal land, and what’s been happening on state and private land. That is to say, between the relative stasis on land Obama has the say over, vs the huge boom in production on land Obama doesn’t have any say over.

        In shot, yes, he was bragging about all the energy produced in places where he had no way to obstruct it.

  7. Yeah– a palpable hit! The economy WAS on the verge of collapse, and RMoney stepped into it.

  8. Romney still thinks it’s his right to speak whenever he wants. But he’s looking bad doing it, because Obama was willing to talk over him when he interrupted..

  9. Being “on the verge of collapse” doesn’t cause low energy prices. BEING collapsed might lower them. By that reasoning, the energy prices should be low now, not back during the Bush administration. Obama is positing backwards causality, collapses lowering prices before they happen.

    One thing is sure: My debate scheme for lexan boxes, and microphones turned off and on by mechanical timers, is looking better all the time.

    1. Brett, have you ever looked at gas prices, week by week, over the last five years? Gas prices tumbled by half between the collapse of Lehman Brothers and their nadir later in 2008, and mostly recovered with similar speed. The collapse of the world conomy genuinely did briefly make gas cheap. It happened, it’s not some theory or fantasy. Your comment saying “the theory dictates gas should be cheap because the economy is anemic, therefore the theory is wrong” just shows you understand neither the state of the economy nor its relation to gas prices.

  10. Obama channeling the Big Dog now, doin’ the ‘rithmatic, and throwing some elbows (“Big Bird and Planned Parenthood”)

    1. Mitt’s whole answe to the Women question was about how Boss Men could better employ women. It was nuts, and Obama hit him on it in the next exchange with your boss dictating your contraception coverage.

  11. Obama’s on a roll now, talking about how he’s going to give women other people’s money. You can tell, he’s really passionate about giving people other people’s money.

  12. Obama is certainly doing better this time around, for all that his answers on energy were a load of BS. Must have been persuaded he’d have to debate the Romney in front of him, instead of the one in his head. Too bad he’s bragging about the record in his head, instead of the one in front of everybody else.

  13. Romney: “You called it an act of terror the next day– why did it take you two weeks to call it an act of terror?”

    The most important thing in choosing a President is who can say “terror” quicker.

  14. I thought Crowley was a Rethuglican mouthpiece… why is she calling Rmoney on Massachusetts’ assault weapons ban?

  15. When Rmoney points to the low unemployment in MA at the end of his term Obama should point out how he got there. Self-deportation: it’s not just for Mexicans.

  16. “Trickle-down has never worked anywhere”–Romney 7.0. Expect Romney 8.0 on October 17th, 2012!

    1. Sullivan at 10:40:

      Game, set and match to Obama. He got it; he fought back; he gave us all more than ample reason to carry on the fight.

      Dang. He beat me…

  17. Given a contest between an on-his-game Fred Astaire and any version of Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire will win every time. Did you notice how svelte and elegant Obama looked, and how gracefully he moved? Did he have that million-dollar suit tailor-made for tonight? If you watched the debate with the sound off, which I didn’t, I’m sure there would be no doubt that Fred won. We’ve heard Obama channel Al Greene; could he please do “Night and Day” for us?

  18. Ok, my perception was correct: Romney was permitted 3 closing remarks to Obama’s 8, and got 8% less time to speak than Obama.

    Please, no more moderators. Just timers, and relays on the mikes.

    Or at least kill the debate commission, and bring back the League of Women Voters, who did a much better job running the debates.

  19. I thought nothing was accomplished by this debate. You can pick and choose whatever you want to make yourself feel better about “your future president”.

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