Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Live-Blog 3.0: This Debate is Town-Hall-icious!

I love me some town hall action.  Nothing brings out the super-awkward in politicians like a town hall.

So in that vein, let's hope this debate is less boring than the first presidential debate.  And less lie-y.  And that the president stays awake.

Follow us below, where the action starts in...

10, 9...

Rules and Info:

It's a town hall format.  Questions will be asked by voters - the voters will be selected by Gallup, and they will submit their questions.

Candy Crowley will moderate.  Crowley is CNN's Chief Political Correspondent - and the first woman to moderate a presidential debate since Carole Simpson in 1992.  Both campaigns are allegedly worried about Crowley and whether she will abide by the "rules" set up by the campaigns (rules she never accepted - and neither did the other moderators).  Those rules include a prohibition on follow-up questions (and you wonder why this is the debate they gave to a woman?).

It's in Long Island.

Please feel free to hit the comments, this is an open conversation!

Emily:  Man, do I hope this doesn't suck.  Either that, or I hope Bubba is on hand and Obama can tag-team him in to take over.

Mandi:  If the moderator or the audience member are not allowed to ask any follow-up questions, then it's less of a debate, and more just a bunch of speeches strung together for a few hour.  That should be pretty stultifying if true.  I'm rooting for everyone to go off script...

Emily: The one problem with choosing ABC is the part where my warm-up is Dancing with the Stars... and the result feels like a good sign.

9:02 pm Mandi - "Audience has agreed to be polite..."  What fun is that? 

Romney with the blue tie, and Obama with the red tie, that's a change.

Boy is that kid really nervous.

9:03 - Emily:  Ooh, Candy, not a good color choice.

To make sure your questions get answered - good!  Go Candy!

Aw, look at that cute college boy.

Hey, Pennsylvania!  First swing state shout-out.  Ha, he now wants to grow Pell Grants??

"I presume I'm going to be president."  

Hey, the President is in  the House tonight!  Hey, plans and bragging!  YAY!

9:07 - Mandi:  Obama rambles a bit too much, and pivots to energy

Uh-oh, Candy asks follow-up questions!

Obama is smiling, but hasn't gone full-on Biden  yet.

Mitt admits that he wanted Detroit to go bankrupt, and then tries to blame the President!

Getting pretty raw in here!  "One point plan!"

9:10 - Emily:  Really solid start for the President.  I especially liked how he got in the war ending part.

Romney: specifics?  I got nothing.  Have you noticed that Obama sucks?

Gov Romney has a one point plan: awesome.

NICE.  Vampire economics.

Look at the camera, Mr. President.

Pretty good pivot on gas prices, but he needs to smile on occasion.

9:14- Mandi:  "Mr. Oil, Mr. Gas, Mr. Coal"?  Is that really what we would want our President known as? 

Obama has a good "you're full of crap" smile tonight, cribbed from Biden

Candy has another follow-up question

Obama doing well on hammering that Romney is a liar.

"This plant kills!"  Obama is being smartly confrontational, much better than the last debate.

9:15 - Emily: Nice, I'm not going to cede those new jobs to Germany and China.

Romney - hey, let's talk about Obama.  I got nothing.  Birds?  He has nothing on actual policy.

Does anybody really want to be Mr. Coal, Mr. Oil, or Mr. Gas?

I'm going to get us energy independent, in 8 years... by MAGIC.

Hey, Candy's still there.

Nice, when you were Gov of Mass you said "this plant kills"

YES, Mr. Prez: "I try to be consistent."

YES, Mr. Prez is fighting back.  He learned from Big Joe.

Oh that is COMPLETE BS, the price of gas has CRAP to do with our federal policy.

9:20 Mandi- It's getting really confrontational in here.

Obama gets in a good zinger about Romney's policies ruining the economy to bring down gas prices.

No one is sitting in their seats.

Romney is just ignoring the hell out of Candy.  Is she going to be worse than Leher?

9:23 - Emily: I agree - CANDY, control that Romney man.

Oh good, taxes.

Rates down, simplify, lower taxes for middle income.

Middle income taxes HAVE GONE DOWN YOU MORON.

Tax Magic!

Ha, he's moved from 17k to 25k in a deduction cap.


ARG.  He is just lying.

Mr. President: call him on it.  Those were all lies.

9:29- Mandi:  "Gov. Romney I'm sure you have a reply"  Lol

Romney actually seems a little too amped tonight.  Interesting.

Romney's 5 point plan always makes Obama crack a smile.

Romney doesn't believe in taking a seat.

The camera angles, at least from the ABC feed, are a little funky.  They have Romney head on, but Obama at an angle.

Obama hitting Romney on his lack of specifics.  Hitting Big Bird and Planned Parenthood.  Liked Obama calling Romney's plan a "sketchy deal".

9:31 - Emily:  Hey, did I mention I LURVE women?

Nice, Mandi: Romney doesn't believe in taking a seat.  Ha :-)

All five points are just ridiculously vague.  "I know business.  Trust me."

Ooh, math.  Keep it simple, Mr. Prez.

Romney looks like he has to pee.  Pained.

OOH.  Gove. Romney was a very successful investor.  That was a great line.  Really strong answer.  It's like he was listening to Rachel Maddow yesterday.

Nobody who's serious who looked at it thinks it adds up.

Ooh, bad choice to interrupt.

Romney only ran one business  Unless we're now saying being on the board counts, in which case the out-sourcing they did counts.   

Mr. Prez: I was born a poor black child.  - I can't help it.  The Jerk is a great movie.

Women can bring home the bacon, dammit.

There we go, take some credit for the student loans program and the good stuff you've done.

9:39 Mandi:  Romney immediately launches into a story about how he had to go out and track down women, and they weren't already there.  "Binder full of women"  yuck! He's full of anecdote, but not a lot of policy.

Romney pivots to job loss, but he fails to talk about any policy he would initiate.  He just talks about what he hopes the private market would do.

Obama talks about Romney's lack of leadership on the Ledbetter bill.

Obama pivots to healthcare, specifically women's healthcare.  Obama really delineates the differences between he and Romney on this issue.  Good red meat.

9:40 - Emily:  Ha.  Gov Romney knows about pay equity.  Staffing with women is not the same thing as pay equity.

I know what it takes to make an economy work: what?  Tax cuts?  Because that's all I'm hearing from you about making any impact on the economy.

There we go: equity.  Nice.

And health care!  Obamacare saves women a boatload of money, and birth control is important.  It is a friggin economic issue, that's right, Mr. Prez.

This is good.  He's talking about actual issues that people understand.  And I appreciate that he's reframing them as family issues.

Awesome girly answer by the President.

Oooh, what is the diff between you and W?

Awesome question.

LIES.  He supports the Blunt Amendment.

What?  Energy?  Trade?  Ha.  Balanced Budget?  Ha.  This is ludicrous.  How on EARTH is Romney going to reduce the deficit with massive tax cuts, massive spending increases, and no actual reductions in anything spending or increases in taxing?

That's actually true, The Obama Admin has done a far better job than W at actually enforcing trade with China.

NICE George Bush was better on Medicare and Immigration.

9:51 - Mandi:  Good question to the President.  Allows him to list his accomplishments, goes through the entire list of promises kept.  And touts Bin Ladin, auto industry, jobs, etc.

Now Obama pivots to the promises that Romney wants to keep.  Good list of things that Romney wants to accomplish.

Romney rebuttal.  Criticizing Obama on failure to keep his promises.  Romney has finally calmed down a bit.  Still no specifics.

9:51 - Emily:  Candy is being way too apologetic to Romney.

Softball Question!  What have you accomplished?

And he's knocking it out of the park.

I really like the line about using the savings from ending wars to invest in America.  Really nice, memorable, compact.

NICE, whose promises are going to help you.

Dude, everything Prez O said was true, liar-man.

Romney has done a good job at using good lines on this one.  He's patronizing as hell.  But they are effective lines.

Come on, Prez.

That was not good.  The Prez should have fought to respond.

Immigration.  This should be interesting.

10:00- Mandi:  Obama goes down the list in specifics about what he has done in the immigration field.  Targeted deportation, streamlining the immigration process, and touts the DREAM Act, especially Romney's  opposition to it.  Also highlights the Arizona "you look like an immigrant" law.

"No, screw you Candy, I'll talk about what I want".  Nice one, Romney.  "Licking his wounds from beaten by John McCain", do you really want to remind people about that.

Romney finally gets back to self-deportation, but barely  touches.

"No, I don't look at my pension, it isn't as big as yours."  Nice off-the-cuff zinger Obama!

President is looking a little more invigorated again.

10:05 - Emily:  I know, seriously rude to Candy, there, Mitt.  (This is how he really feels about the ladies: shut up.)

Now Prez Obama should say: I didn't say YOU were the standard-bearer, Mitt.

Self-deportation = exactly what Obama said.  He's got nothing.

NICE, Mr. Prez to break in to the total topic change.

Stand Up, Mr. Prez.

NICE, Candy had to tell Romney to sit down.  He seemed too aggressive to me.

And Obama is doing better, good job.

Ooh, you don't turn national security into a political issue.

NICE, I say what I mean.  Did I mention I got Osama?  And ended the Iraq war?  These are my folks, and I actually greet the coffins, unlike W.

10:13- Mandi:  Is Romney really criticizing Obama doing political things at the same time he has to lead, because if Romney wins, he'll have to do the same thing.

Obama is doing a good job of looking righteously pissed.  He is making Romney look petty and small on this issue.  "Can you say that a little louder Candy!?"

2nd Amendment question?  Sigh.  Now we get to watch both candidates dance around this one.

10:14 - Emily:  Apology tour?  That's just stupid.

Ooh.  Prez is PISSED.

Really strong by the Prez.

Candy corrects Romney.  EXCELLENT.

Ooh, Prez is still way pissed.

Wow, guns.  Surprising.  Crap, Romney's going to mention that stupid DOJ scandal.

This is a completely stupid answer by the Prez.

Romney, not it's not.  Ha, I agree with the Prez.  And parents are good.  Huh?  WTF?  That has nothing to do with the question, Romney.  And there it is, Fast and Furious.  It was started under Bush, Romney.  Conjecture, conjecture, insinuation, insinuation.

Neither of them has anything good to say.  Stupid NRA.

Ooh, Candy, tough follow-up.

10:24- Mandi:  Romney totally flubbed the 2nd Amendment question.

Outsourcing question for Romney.  Romney likes talking about job loss.  Romney says he will make it more attractive to move jobs here, but he doesn't say how...again.

Now he's talking about China's currency manipulation.  He promises to raise tariffs on Chinese products.  I'm not sure thats a great idea.

Romney also talks about bringing down the tax rate...again.

Obama once again highlights the differences between the two candidates.

10:26 - Emily:  Huh?  hey really, really don't want to talk about guns.  I'm going to talk about education now.

Outsourcing.  Fun.

It used to be America, in the 1970s and 1980s.  People think it's more attractive?  Right, I'll take us to the bottom.  Trickle-Down Government is without question the Dumbest catch-phrase I've ever heard.  Because it doesn't mean what he wants it to mean.  If it's trickle-down, it would be about government giving money to rich people and that getting to poor people.

On day one you will do no such thing.  There is NO WAY he will impose tariffs on China.  It's an outright lie.

This is crap.  You'd like us to make American workers make less?  And that's your big plan?


I cannot believe anybody would fall for this.

Nice by the Prez, but he needs to talk about how Romney's whole theory of economics is about undermining workers.

The playing field is not level because of crappy trade and labor laws, Romney, not regulations and China hacking us.  

"I want high wage, high skill jobs."  Excellent.

10:35- Mandi:  Romney is trying to seem empathetic, but this would be a good time for Obama to bring up Romney's 47% comments.

Romney brags about Romneycare, and yet criticizes Obamacare.

Obama talks about self-reliance and free enterprise.  And he pivots to the idea of the social contract.

47% comment!!  Thank you Obama!  He goes down the list of exactly who the 47% ar, and made sure that it includes a list of so many people.  Excellent summation.

10:36 - Emily:  Hilarious.  The president isn't the one who said 47%.  Nobody put a gun to your head to say that.  We're all children of my Mormon god.

I fixed the Olympics.

I got people insured... how was that, Romney?

Gas was higher under W.

I am so tired of Romney.  I cannot handle this dude winning.  He seriously needs to lose.

Nice, everybody should play by the same rules.  Hey people: you are the 47%.  GI Bill.  NOT a handout.  Really good close by the Prez.

Closing Thoughts:  

Emily:  Obama wins.  Romney gets in a few good lines.  Romney was strongest when he talked about the state of the economy.  Obama was strongest when he spoke about the differences between what the two men want to do.  Candy had a few good moments, was stymied by the format and Romney's attitude problem.

Mandi:  The moderator struggled for control, especially in the beginning.  By the end she stiffened her backbone and managed to get them together.  Obama was very good at speaking to the American people, and I liked his righteous indignation on the foreign policy issues.  Romney was good on getting the phrase "jobs, jobs, jobs" out there, but I'm not sure if it helped him.  Overall, I think Obama wins, by a lot on this one.  Romney looked like a bully in this debate.  Or as my family would put it, Romney ws loud and wrong, especially on Libya, where he was directly contradicted by both Obama, but also the moderator as well.


  1. We will be booing and hissing, however...

  2. Romney mentions jobs, but hates specifics...once again.

  3. Booing and hissing can be fun.

  4. Why are all these questioners virgins? lol

  5. Good job on the first answer, Obama. However, you spent all of the follow up question digging back at Romney, instead of answering the question. No, please no! that's what got you in trouble in the first round.

    However, you are doing a great job not "umm-ing" this time around :)

  6. Seriously, Romney!?! Don't talk over the moderator! Bad!

  7. I reallyreallyreally wish the 'comment verification' could be turned off on these live-blogs. It makes it hard to stay 'live' when I am swearing at my computer and losing the comments I've typed. I'd rather scream at the TV.

  8. Wow, it's about to come to fisticuffs!

  9. That's right, Gov. Romney; stop harping on what Obama didn't do, and tell us what you are actually GOING to do. You hid behind this last time, and people let you get away with it.

  10. It's a bit crazy how little Romney talks about what he wants to do. And how much he gets away with that crap. And Abby, I don't think I can turn it off, but I'll check.

  11. Oh Romney, I am sure the gas companies that are driving your campaign are happy to make sure that gas prices are nice and low for you.
    (Perhaps this is an ignorant comment, since I don't know much about the oil industry, but it does seem there is a connection between Rep's and oil...)

  12. Romny, I don't have a policy of stopping wind jobs... is he calling Obama a wind job?

  13. Romney; being a bully and talking over people doesn't make you look forceful while making the Prez look weak. It just makes you look like a boar!
    I can almost hear the leaders of other countries groaning that they don't want to have to negotiate with him.

  14. Oh, awesome, I can't wait to not pay any taxes on my capital gains!

  15. They both say "wanna" and "gonna." I'm glad neither of them sound like a good 'ol boy (Clinton, Bush), but I find the wanna's and gonna's make them both come across as less articulate (though I'm sure they say it on purpose to endear them to the common folk).

    Romney always talks in terms of what he wanna do, not what he is going to do. I find that irksome.

  16. I think Abby is hearing me groaning, maybe. I do sound like a world leader.

  17. I know, Kristen, it will be AWESOME.

    Yeah, Scooter, it's definitely a "I'm folksy" choice.

  18. The Daily Texan (UT student paper) put out stats on the student population, and there are dramatically fewer middle class people attending UT than upper and lower.

  19. Finally a woman orientated question!

  20. Great follow up (especially for not having follow up questions). Romney still talks about his real plan but offers no details of this plan. Use your words, man! I like that Obama sits down when Romney is speaking rather than hovering and banging his mic like Romney.

  21. That's interesting, Scooter, but it does make sense. There's parents at the top, grants at the bottom. Staffords do not cover it all, so you have to get private loans in the middle.

  22. 5 point plan, 5 point plan, 5 point plan. What exactly is your 5 point plan? I'll tell you later.

  23. Is hiring more women and paying them less one of the 5 points?

  24. The world may never know Scooter, the world may never know....

  25. He needs to use the "Rs get out of the way" line that Biden used.

  26. Obama would have been better off stopping at 2 minutes, Romney would have been better off to let the fact checkers handle Obama's statements rather than diving back into the last question again.

  27. She just told gov Romney to sit down...

  28. I know, that made me very happy. He was getting overly aggressive. Though it would be awesome to see the Secret Service tackle him.

  29. Dude, I cannot see how this Libya thing could possibly pay off for Mitt. It's so attenuated and weird that he's picking at this.

  30. Two parent families as gun control policy?

  31. WTF!!! How did the 2nd amendment question turn into this? I expected a little dance, not a full-on seizure, Romney. It's just a word salad slaughter out there right now.

  32. Romney is coming across as a complete heterosexist right now. Not that I am surprised, but a two parent home does not mean the parents have to be married, and more gay couples are adopting but not allowed to be wed. And where the heck did that come from?

  33. Romney did the service for the Mormon church in France. Why not the US?

  34. So who did you think came off best?

  35. Great live blog. You two crack me up, and make me think. See you next debate!

  36. I think Obama came off best. I think this is mainly because Romney came off worst. Maybe Romney will shock us all in the next 3 weeks by actually taking a stand and saying what his 5 point plan entails, but I will not be holding my breath.

  37. Thanks everyone for your comments! It was great watching the debate with you all!