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The left needs to stop making excuses for Obama's poor debate performance

Posted by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 12:53 PM
  • 37 Replies
1 mom liked this

Obama lost.  End of story.  The debate is overthe consensus is in.  Obama lost.  The media is abuzz with apologists trying to explain it away.  The only thing that needs to be said is: Obama lost

by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 12:53 PM
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Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 12:55 PM
6 moms liked this

yet, you've created another thread for people to do just that

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 12:55 PM
1 mom liked this

link #1


Posted at 08:50 AM ET, 10/04/2012

Obama lost the first debate, but he will still win the election

In case you had not heard yet, President Obama had a poor first debate on Wednesday night. From the start, the president looked tired, unfocused and unprepared. His answers were rambling, his personal anecdotes were few, and his effective punches were even fewer. He never mentioned the “47 percent” video, Bain Capital or any number of other attacks that have hurt Republican nominee Mitt Romney both across the country and in swing states. Aside from two sequences — Obama getting Romney to concede that his Medicare plan is essentially a voucher and asking if Romney was “keeping all [his] plans secret because they’re too good”— the president was certainly outclassed.

And yet, the president’s supporters would be wrong to wring their hands. Fundamentally, Obama’s loss will not matter. At most, Wednesday night was a case of “too little, too late” for Romney. Yes, the polls will probably move a point or two in Romney’s direction after the first debate. But all the evidence suggests that for Romney, whether or not you believe he should be president, closing the gap and beating Obama is a bridge too far.

Consider the task facing Romney going into Wednesday’s debate: Nationally, RealClearPolitics’s poll average had him down three points; Nate Silver’s model had him down four. He had held a lead in a major poll exactly once since the end of August. The electoral college looked even worse for him: RealClear’s map gave Obama 269 electoral votes safe or leaning to Romney’s 181 (with 88 in toss-up states); HuffPost Pollster gave Obama a 290-191 lead; and Nate Silver’s model had Obama winning an average of 319 electoral votes to Romney’s 218, a comfortable margin. Even Karl Rove had 277 votes safe or leaning to Obama, with another 70 as toss-ups.

“Ah,” you say, “that may be true, but surely the gap is small enough to close? And wouldn’t the first debate be enough to bring this race back to a dead heat?” In a word, no.

Let’s start with the second question. Incumbent presidents almost always have a poor first debate: George W. Bush lost to John Kerry in 2004, for example, and Walter Mondale beat Ronald Reagan so badly in 1984 that there was a spate of articles asking if the incumbent was too old for the presidency. Yet never has a challenger’s strong first debate performance closed as large a national polling gap as Romney faced going into last night’s debate. Furthermore, most post-debate polling bumps come from previously undecided voters, of which there is a historically small amount in this campaign, thus making it even less likely that Romney could exceed past norms. And Romney would need to outdo history by quite a distance — only Harry Truman has come back from a national deficit as large or larger than Romney’s at this point in the campaign.

If Romney would have to pull off a miracle to close the gap in national polling, he has no shot at matching the president in the electoral college. As mentioned above, forecasters commonly predict that Obama already has a big lead of safe and leaning states. If we assume Romney will improve in the polls, there would be around nine “swing states”: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. There’s one problem here for Romney: He is trailing, and has been consistently trailing, in all but two — North Carolina, where he’s held a small lead, and Florida, this election’s closest thing to a 50-50 state. Romney doesn’t need to win two out of those nine; in almost every scenario, he will need six or seven out of those nine to win, including at least two or three states where he is behind by several points more than he is nationally.

All of which brings me to the final point: Given the state of the race before last night’s debate, even most Romney backers would agree that a Romney victory would require a flawless campaign the rest of the way from Romney and a blunder or two from Obama. After six years of both these men running for and/or being president of the United States, is there really anyone out there who thinks Mitt Romney can go a month without making a single mistake? Who thinks Barack Obama, who has been playing it safe for at least several months now, will suddenly make a reckless error, as opposed to a merely lackluster performance? (Or, if you’re Sean Hannity and co., do you believe the lamestream media will suddenly forget their liberal bias and stop protecting the president while assaulting Mitt Romney?)

Seriously, does anyone believe that?

The fact is that, come October, presidential elections cannot permanently change course over a few days or hours (unlike, say, media narratives). The majority of voters have already made their decision, and the debates won’t provide enough of a boost to alter the contest’s trajectory. Sadly for Romney, the path the race is stuck on ends with his defeat.

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 12:56 PM

link #2 (mcafee suspicious)


According to much of the political punditry, President Obama lost last night’s presidential debate with Mitt Romney. Less than hour after the debate ended, major media outlets were releasing snap polls that showed debate viewers and voters agreed. Debate viewers declared Romney the winner in every major poll released last night, and most had Romney winning by a large margin. The big question now is whether Romney’s performance won him enough votes to make the presidential race competitive once again.

CNN/Opinion Research did a poll of 430 adults which was released a little more than an hour after the debate. According to their numbers 67% of viewers thought Romney won the debate, compared to 25% who thought Obama won.

A CBS News instant poll of 500 debate viewers found 46% of voters thought Romney won the debate, compared to just 22 percent who believed that Obama won. Another 32% viewed the debate as a tie.

Finally, a CNBC poll had 51% of viewers believing Romney was the winner, with just 38% believing Kerry was the winner.

The Romney camp was quick to celebrate the night’s victory, and conservative pundits claimed the debate may change the course of the election.

However, it is too early to tell what effect the debate may have on the support for both candidates. In 2004, CNN instant polls had Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) winning every debate against President Bush, but Kerry still lost the general election that year, proving that debates are not always decisive in determining votes. The debates had an audience of over 40 million, but that is still less than the one-fourth of the electorate. In addition, many people who thought Romney won the debate will probably still not vote for him. Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz of MSNBC conceded that Obama lost last night, but the Romney camp is probably not counting on their votes this November.

The Romney camp can take some encouragement from the CBS News poll, which showed 56% of voters viewed Romney in a better light after the debate. The CNN poll also found that 35% of debate viewers were more likely to vote for Romney after the debate, compared to just 18% who were more likely to vote for Obama.

The bad news for Romney is that the CNN poll found his favorability and unfavorability numbers relatively unchanged after the debate. In addition, polls showed over 80 percent of the voting public had made up their mind before the debate.

The night was certainly a good one for Romney, and on the opposite end a bad night for Obama. Still, it is best to wait a few days to see how the numbers move, or do not move, in the national and swing state polls before making any big conclusions about the impact of Romney’s debate victory.

radioheid
by Libertarian on Oct. 4, 2012 at 12:57 PM
4 moms liked this

Some of us would really like to understand *how* he lost, because we didn't see Romney provide anything of substance that would suggest he "won".

I'm part of the "social left", but I'm not an Obama supporter. I'm an outside critic, and I didn't see Obama losing so much as I saw a pointless debate with neither candidate offering any real meat & gravy.


"Roger that. Over."

R   A   D    I    O    H    E    I    D

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 12:57 PM

link #3


Mitt Romney dominated and Barack Obama stumbled in Denver Wednesday night. What went right for Romney and wrong for the president? These things:

Romney arrived with a strategic plan; Obama didn’t.
Romney was quick on his feet; Obama slow on his feet.
Romney showed EQ as well as IQ; Obama didn’t.

Let's take them in reverse order.

Emotional Intelligence vs. Plain Old Intelligence.

Romney, the multimillionaire, arrived in a suit, shirt and tie that looked like they’d been purchased at Macy’s. I doubt he’ll ever wear them again, but for one night, he looked the way most non-zillionaires look when they dress for business. His manner was warm, engaged, and respectful. He looked at the president when the president spoke, and his expression revealed no asperity or disdain. He jokingly expressed his sympathy to the president for having to spend his 20th wedding anniversary in Denver “with me” - and the joke worked.

Obama, by contrast, rarely looked at Romney. He looked down at his podium, which meant that the audience saw closed eyes and a frowning mouth. Again and again, Obama allowed himself to be dragged into a tangle of facts and figures - failing to realize that confusion is Romney’s friend. The Republican base saddled Romney with a hugely unpopular economic plan. The clearer and more specific the discussion gets, the more danger Romney is in. Unlike his supporters in the conservative media, Romney clearly understands this. The president must surely know it too, but he failed to act on that knowledge. He was professorial, elliptical, vague, abstract; Romney appeared plausible, concerned, compassionate, and energetic.

Obama’s performance was so disengaged that I was left to wonder: had that Daily Caller/Fox News tape got inside his head? Was he so determined not to look like an angry black man that he ended up looking ... kind of like a wimp?

Obama’s missed chances.

As the more aggressive debater on the stage, Romney opened himself up to a number of devastating counterpunches. Obama was never nimble enough to take advantage of them. Maybe the most potentially lethal occurred during a debate over Obama’s claim that there existed tax deductions to move American jobs overseas - a claim that (with a view to blue-collar Midwestern voters) Obama repeated at least twice. After one of those claims, Romney countered that in many years in business, he’d never noticed such a deduction in the tax code. Then he said, “Maybe I need a better accountant.”

That was the Dan Quayle moment of this debate. Reply: “Governor, your accountant is excellent. He’s got you paying a lower tax rate than the White House cleaning staff!”

When Obama began talking about Medicaid - a discussion that Bill Clinton used to devastating effect in his speech at the Democratic convention in Charlotte - he opened with the phrase, “This may not seem like a big deal.” OK, then I won’t listen.

And when finally Jim Lehrer invited the two candidates to discuss their differences on Social Security - a program that Romney’s running mate has derided as a “collectivist welfare transfer system” - Obama begged off, disclaiming any important difference at all.

Romney’s plan vs. Obama’s non-plan.

In Denver, Romney executed his long-awaited pivot to the center. Obama by contrast neither talked purposefully about his record nor effectively attacked Romney’s proposals.

He might have said: “I signed a law that guarantees that no American will ever again lose his or her health coverage because he or she lost a job. Governor Romney wants to remove that guarantee.”

He might have said: “Never again will a cancer patient be told, ‘Sorry, you’ve exhausted your coverage.’”

Instead he mentioned in passing the rebates some Americans have received on their healthcare premiums. He referenced changes in the rules governing pre-existing conventions. He utterly failed to drive home what any of this might mean for the viewers watching at home.

Eschewing a proud defense, Obama also failed to execute much of an offense.

Obama’s line of attack on Romney is obvious. “Bush, Bush, Bush, Bush. Did I mention the 47%? And oh by the way - Bush.”

Instead, Obama omitted to talk in any tangible way about Romney’s budget cuts would mean. (Romney, quite incredibly, disavowed any intent to cut education spending - even though his budget plan demands very large cuts in domestic discretionary spending, of which education of course is an important component piece. Obama let him get away with it.)

Nor did Obama pound home the implications of Romney’s tax plan.
Romney kept insisting that his tax plan would not raise taxes on the middle-class and would keep constant the amount paid by “high-income individuals.”

Obama insisted that Romney was not telling the truth and that taxes on the middle would go up. This plunged the debate into a “yes, you did; no, I didn’t” muddle.

Here’s the point Obama missed: Even on Romney’s own telling, his tax plan involves a huge downward shift within the universe of high-income taxpayers. The hedge-fund guys get a new 28% maximum rate; America’s orthodontists and high school principals lose 30% of their tax deductions.

The appropriate rebuttal to Romney’s tax plan is not, “You’re a big liar, and you will tax the middle class no matter what you say here tonight.”

The rebuttal is: “Governor, your own economists say that in order to cut taxes for people earning $10 million, you will raise them on people earning $100,000. I guess you could say they’re all ‘high-income.’ But basically you are going to cut your own taxes, and pay for it by raising the taxes of your house manager back in La Jolla - assuming you’re paying your house manager what he or she is worth. The Porsche customers get a tax cut; the Porsche sales force gets a tax increase. Is that fair?”

Speaking personally: Debate Romney is my kind of Republican. I much prefer Debate Romney to the other Romneys we’ve seen so far. If Debate Romney prefigures the kind of president a President Romney would be, then I think we’d all be in very good hands. If not ... well today’s not the day to think about that.

All in all: a very bad night for the president. Will it hurt him? Maybe not. But it sure didn’t help.

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 12:58 PM

link#4


If there was any doubt who the liberals thought won Wednesday night’s debate, Chris Matthews removed all of it with his post-debate blow-by-blow. The MSNBC host unloaded on the president for not being bold during the debate and engaging Mitt Romney. In fact, at one point he yelled passionately: “What was Romney doing? He was winning!”

 

RealClearPolitics has the transcript [emphasis added]:

“Tonight wasn’t an MSNBC debate tonight, was it?” Chris Matthews said after the first Obama-Romney presidential debate concluded on Wednesday night.

“I don’t know what he was doing out there. He had his head down, he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it. Romney, on the other hand, came in with a campaign. He had a plan, he was going to dominate the time, he was going to be aggressive, he was going to push the moderator around, which he did effectively, he was going to relish the evening, enjoying it,” Matthews said.

“Here’s my question for Obama: I know he likes saying he doesn’t watch cable television but maybe he should start. Maybe he should start. I don’t know how he let Romney get away with the crap he throughout tonight about Social Security,” Matthews complained.

Matthews then demanded that President Obama start watching cable news, specifically his program.

“Where was Obama tonight? He should watch — well, not just Hardball, Rachel, he should watch you, he should watch the Reverend Al [Sharpton], he should watch Lawrence. He would learn something about this debate. There’s a hot debate going on in this country. You know where it’s been held? Here on this network is where we’re having the debate,” Matthews said.

Click here to find out more!

“We have our knives out,” Matthews said, admitting his network is trying their best to defend Obama and his policies. “We go after the people and the facts. What was he doing tonight? He went in their disarmed.”

“He was like, ‘Oh an hour and half? I think I can get through this thing. And I don’t even look at this guy.’ Whereas Romney — I love the split-screen — staring at Obama, addressing him like prey. He did it just right. ‘I’m coming at an incumbent. I got to beat him. You‘ve got to beat the champ and I’m going to beat him tonight. And I don’t care what this guy, the moderator, whatever he thinks he is because I’m going to ignore him,” Matthews said.

“What was Romney doing?” Matthews asked. “He was winning.”

“If he does five more of these nights, forget it,” Matthews added. “Obama should watch MSNBC, my last point. He will learn something every night on this show and all these shows. This stuff we’re watching, it’s like first grade for most of us. We know all this stuff.”

redbutterfly666
by Bronze Member on Oct. 4, 2012 at 12:58 PM
2 moms liked this

id like to know how he lost? romney pussy footed around the entire time

Jesi_79
by Bronze Member on Oct. 4, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Likely you didn't see it because you didn't want to.  He did not clearly lay out the details of his plans (impossible in a time limited debate) but he did show he has plans and is knowledgeable of the details.

IMO this was a poor debate.  Romney tried to touch on too many points and couldn't get into specifics.  Obama just wasn't prepared to deal with facts, just his talking points which rang hollow.

Quoting radioheid:

Some of us would really like to understand *how* he lost, because we didn't see Romney provide anything of substance that would suggest he "won".

I'm part of the "social left", but I'm not an Obama supporter. I'm an outside critic, and I didn't see Obama losing so much as I saw a pointless debate with neither candidate offering any real meat & gravy.

 

radioheid
by Libertarian on Oct. 4, 2012 at 1:13 PM
2 moms liked this

I really think some of you simply do not understand that there are observers standing comfortably outside the two-party system. There is no "what I wanted to" or "didn't want to" see/hear. I sat down on the couch with pizza and Pepsi, and I watched and listened attentitively. 

Romney was given, and then stole every opportunity to explain his plans. He simply didn't deliver any details. I am a registered Republican, madam, even though I more closely identify as a Libertarian. I am not satisfied with Obama's performance over the past 4 years, and I have been unpopular in this group at times for expressing that. I *wanted* to hear Romney's grand scheme of remedy. He didn't present it. 

Quoting Jesi_79:

Likely you didn't see it because you didn't want to.  He did not clearly lay out the details of his plans (impossible in a time limited debate) but he did show he has plans and is knowledgeable of the details.

IMO this was a poor debate.  Romney tried to touch on too many points and couldn't get into specifics.  Obama just wasn't prepared to deal with facts, just his talking points which rang hollow.

Quoting radioheid:

Some of us would really like to understand *how* he lost, because we didn't see Romney provide anything of substance that would suggest he "won".

I'm part of the "social left", but I'm not an Obama supporter. I'm an outside critic, and I didn't see Obama losing so much as I saw a pointless debate with neither candidate offering any real meat & gravy.

 



"Roger that. Over."

R   A   D    I    O    H    E    I    D

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 1:17 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Jesi_79:

Likely you didn't see it because you didn't want to.  He did not clearly lay out the details of his plans (impossible in a time limited debate) but he did show he has plans and is knowledgeable of the details.

IMO this was a poor debate.  Romney tried to touch on too many points and couldn't get into specifics.  Obama just wasn't prepared to deal with facts, just his talking points which rang hollow.

Quoting radioheid:

Some of us would really like to understand *how* he lost, because we didn't see Romney provide anything of substance that would suggest he "won".

I'm part of the "social left", but I'm not an Obama supporter. I'm an outside critic, and I didn't see Obama losing so much as I saw a pointless debate with neither candidate offering any real meat & gravy.

 

Now you're making excuses. Romney made extra time for himself by interupting the moderator. He could have chosen to touch upon plans and details, yet he chose not to. He did find it worth repeating that he has no idea where Obama got the figure 7 trillion from.

I thought the debate was awful. I felt like Obama played it way too cool. I listened to every thing that Romney stated. He had stats on Obama, but couldn't manage to provide a little more info on his own plans? Really?

Romney debated well, he smiled often and he looked cool as a cucumber. That's all of the nice things I have to say.

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