So we're brand-new at live-blogging, but since we spend most political events texting, this shouldn't be too mind-bending for us. We've decided to favor CNN with our presence, since we wanted to go main-stream and as much as I love PBS, CNN is more main-stream-y.
I can't wait to see which ties the gentlemen are rocking and whether Romney will be his Univision-shade of orange tonight.
Oh, and for those who get bored easily by policy, Maddow has a Lingo Bingo game up (preview below, real-size at link)...
Follow the debate below the fold....
7:52pm -Mandi Ahhh, liveblogging is nice! *kicks off shoes, gets comfy on the couch* I can't wait for this debate, it's always interesting to see people being forced to speak off-the-cuff. This should be fun. My husband is insisting we watch the debate through the X-Box. Apparently you can gain achievement points. I don't even want to know how that's supposed to work...
8:10-Mandi I guess we should list the debate rules:
HOW MANY QUESTIONS WILL THERE BE, AND WHO CHOOSES THEM?
In this first, 1-1/2-hour debate, there will be just six questions, all focused on domestic issues.
Moderator Jim Lehrer, of PBS Newshour, has already outlined what their basic thrust will be: three questions on the economy, one on health care, one on governing, and one on the role of government. Mr. Lehrer chooses the questions.
This is a change from past years, in which debates have typically had more questions and shorter discussion times. Lehrer, in part, advocated for the new format, and pushed to reduce the number of questions from nine to six, in the hopes that it would encourage more of a television talk-show approach, in which the candidates engage in discussion rather than just deliver talking points.
WHAT ARE THE RULES OF THE DEBATE?
Each question will have a 15-minute period devoted to it. After Lehrer asks the question, each candidate will get two minutes to respond. After that initial response, Lehrer can ask follow-up questions to provoke discussion between the two. The candidates will also have two minutes for closing statements.
The candidates cannot ask each other questions.
I think the longer format format works better for Obama, he struggles to make good sound bites.
9:02 - Emily I think you're right, the open discussion and longer format favors Obama. Lehrer is pretty fair, pretty unbiased, but he also is not known for tough follow-ups.
Fashion: Lehrer has a tie I think my Dad had in the 80s. Blue and red ties. Stereotypical. Obama with the hard, manly grasp there.
9:03 Mandi Did Romney roll his eyes when Obama wished Michelle a happy anniversary?
9:04 - Emily - "This is a tender topic"??? And hello, My name is Mitt Romney, and I was talking to women. I like women. Hey women, Mitt Romney is compassionately compassionate.
Trickle Down Government?
P.S. The CNN approval dials below are distracting and promote people paying attention to other people's opinion instead of what they hear.
9:10 Mandi I totally agree about the dials. I am enthralled. Obama seems to be doing much better with women than men. Romney is trying to seem forceful, without being a dick. Also "Message: I Care". I think I got it.
9:13 Mandi "I like coal"? Helloooo Ohio!
9:15 Emily - The taxes thing is not working, Barack, move on. We all know he doesn't pay taxes.
He should be responding to the charges Romney leveled.
Romney's doing well.
"Studies? We don't need no stinking studies."
Romney is completely looking smug.
Man, Obama is not doing very well, He's getting lost in his own speech, and he has the facts on his side here.
9:23 Mandi - Good appeal directly to the people. Finally! Sigh.
9:25 - Emily - There we go. The Bush versus Clinton stuff is gold.
Whoa, there, Romney. Too aggressive.
9:28 Mandi I agree on the agression thing. Did someone tell Romney to keep smiling? It's kinda creeping me out. I just wish Obama was just a tad more forceful, though I know that's not his way.
9:31 - Emily - Now Romney looks like he's trying to keep his eyes wide open. Too much practice, he looks smarmy and wide-eyed.
There you go, Obama: talk about what the cuts mean.
Simpson Bowles - Ryan helped kill it, dude.
Too aggressive, Mitt.
Why DO you want to raise taxes on people, Mitt?
9:34 Mandi Wow Romney admits absolutely no tax raises. People really hate that coporate welfare, according to those dastardly dials. Obama seems to be finding his footing now, or Mitt seems to be off his game, I'm not sure which. Also, why the hatred of green energy?
9:37 - Emily What exactly does Romney think closing deductions will do, if not raising taxes?
Obama hasn't defended himself well, but he's attacking well.
Romney is a jerk. That was whiny "he covered so many subjects!"
Good break in, Obama.
What? What is Romney talking about? Oh, he's trying to get to Solyndra. Green energy is good, why would tax breaks for it be bad? It needs the start-up funds to help bring the costs down far enough for it to compete with fossil fuels.
Uh Oh, Obama just admitted his Grandma was a taker.
9:45 Mandi Obama finally brings up vouchers. Romney tries to point out they don't want to throw current old people under the bus, just *future* old people. Well, ok, that's fine then, I guess. Obama loves his dead grandma, I guess. And he finally OWNS Obamacare!!!!
9:47 Emily Finish him, Mr. President - Medicare lies from the big R. Obama is not taking money out of Medicare in any meaningful way for seniors.
Romney looks in pain.
Wow. "I don't think vouchers are the right way to go" from Obama sent all the dials straight up into Happyville.
And women love Obamacare.
Romney wants vouchers.
Excellent job on Medicare being better than private insurance.
Vouchers, vouchers, vouchers. Did I mention AARP hates Romney?
9:53 - Emily "Would you repeal Dodd-Frank?" "Well, Repeal and Replace - you've got to have regulation." Ha. Sure, Mitt.
Yay tough reforms! Here is Obama's happy place.
Romney's listening face is painful. Why does he make that face, Mandi??
9:55 Mandi So Romney is blaming the bank failures on too much regulation? Huh.
Regulations is definitely in Obama's wheelhouse. People are angry about the lack of regulations on the banks, so the point will definitely be in Obama's court. Romney breaks in, and hey, by the way, it's the fault of all the poor people.
Why the face? Romney is trying hard to not look smug, and it hurts him. lol.
9:57 Emily Hey, did I mention that I, Mitt Romney, speak to women?
The cost of health care is prohibitive. So let's reduce the coverage. That will bring costs down.
"Expensive things hurt families." Things like car elevators. And I should know.
Wow. That's a misread by Romney. Of COURSE he spent time trying to lower the costs of health care.
10:01 Mandi That's more than 5 seconds Obama. Obama did well to emphasize pre-existing conditions and insurance cut-offs that don't exist under Obamacare.
Romney did a bad move bringing the Republican Congress into it. Obama is going to pounce on that.
10:01 Emily Yes, explain Obamacare. Women love Obamacare - look at those dials.
There we go, Massachusetts. Bringing down costs.
Obama has a good smile.
Romney: Obama = Pelosi and Reid.
Wait, they don't have Medicare in Massachusetts?
Ha! "American people don't want Medicare." Awesomely Freudian Gaffe, there, Romney.
10:06 Mandi Obama is trouncing him on health care. I love how Romney slips by without offering any details about his plan, except fo the popular things that poll well. But no details on how he would implement it. Will Obama let him get away with that?
10:07 Emily Every time Obama explains Obamacare, the dials go up.
Wow, Romney has a zinger he wants to deliver, you can tell because he looks like he has to pee.
Ooh, Romney wants to talk about the Death Board. Free enterprise. The hubby just laughed at calling health insurance companies "small."
Every time Obama has something to say he looks away from Romney, I think he's looking at Lehrer, but it looks like he's looking away from Romney (which I can hardly blame him for, dude is awkward with a capital AW).
10:11 Mandi "Is the reason he doesn't want to share details from his plans because they are too good?" I knew Obama wouldn't let him get away with that.
Romney: I have plans, I just dont want to share them with you.
10:12 - Emily Dude, Romney, you can't credibly say Obama hasn't gotten a lot done.
He ended the war in iraq, he passed health care, he lowered taxes and passed stimulus that worked, while it lasted. That's a lot, considering the crappy House Republican Leadership he's had to deal with.
Romney "You obviously studied my plan": well yes, because he's smart, Romney.
Obama is back in his happy place. Good job, Government is Good. Let's hire teachers! Woohoo!
Yeah, the secret plans are lame.
The key to great schools: great teachers, who don't have unions.
10:18 -Mandi One of my friends posted on fb "Look at Romney... He's talking to President Obama... President Obama is talking to THE AMERICAN PEOPLE! Mark the difference!" That does seem to be the key difference in this debate.
What is going on with Romney's smile, it's creeping me out?
I'm glad Obama is teasing out the implications of the Romney budget.
10:18 Emily Message: I care. Just not with government funds.
Pursuit of Happiness. People should be able to pursue their dreams. If they are rich enough. Or if their parents can give them a loan.
There's Trickle Down Government again. That's a really dumb line.
School choice deadlined on the approval chart.
Budgets reflect choices. Yes.
Lehrer has done a crappy job controlling the flow of this debate.
I'm not going to cut education funding.... okay, so where are you going to cut?
$90 billion is chump change in governmental terms, come off it. Was that supposed to be an attack?
Still waiting for the zingers...
10:26 Mandi Obama definitely gave Romney a crane kick on Romney on the "borrow college funds from your parents" line. If done coreectly, no defense #karatekid.
I agree, Lehrer has been terrible at reigning the candidates in. Obama, in particular, has been running roughshod all over him.
10:27 Emily Wow, Romney met ONCE A WEEK with Democrats. That's AMAZING.
I will take ideas from anybody, and you should know, Mitt, I took Obamacare from Romneycare.
Nice, getting in Bin Laden.
Nice, being able to describe exactly what it is you want to do.
Occasionally you have to say no. Nice work, Mr. President.
What was up with the tissue there, Mittens?
Hey, CARS, people.
10:30 Mandi Unless Romney speaks for six minutes Obama has definitely beat Romney on speaking time.
Ahh, Romney is doing the bogeyman closing argument. Nice. "Obama will eat your babies, and sleep with your wife."
10:31 Emily Yes, let's look at the record. How will you get incomes up again? HOW will you create 12 million new jobs?
Romney doesn't actually want to repeal Obamacare, does he?
WTF? How on Earth do you argue that Obama would cut the military? Crazy.
And no perceivable zingers, were there?
Advantage: Obama, because no zingers, no clear explanations of plans from Romney.
Mandi: I think in a debate with an incumbent, you have to make a clear case as to why people should switch. Romney didn't really make the case. Romney was very vague, and a little creepy,. He also had an odd fixation against green energy, which I'm not certain about. Does being against green energy play well with the undecided voters? Obama seemed irritated at times, and he ran all over the moderator, but he did draw sharp lines on the differences between the two candidates. In the end, I don't think it will much of a difference. There were no gotcha moments, no zingers (except perhaps Obama's "if your plan is so great line), just people talking. I don't think many people will be swayed one way or the other.
Emily: Boy did CNN see it differently than I did. Yes, at the beginning, Obama definitely rambled. But he got way better as he went on. And when it comes to actual plans, Obama has far more attractive plans.
I thought Romney was creepy, he had no zingers after talking about practicing them for months, and I think more than anything I am sick of Romney evading specifics. He keeps saying, for example, that he will produce 12 million jobs with no justification of how. Portman just said 7 million will come from tax cuts - come on, seriously? 7 million from tax cuts? Bush created more, larger tax cuts than just about anybody in history, and he had negative job growth.
I agree with you, Mandi - I don't think this changes any minds. I think it will be interesting to see whether people felt the way that we did about Romney's manner.
P.S. Mandi The consensus amongst the punditry is that Romney told bald faced lies, but won the debate on stylistic points. And there you have it.