Monday, October 22, 2012

Live-Blog 4.0: Foreigners!

So this last live presidential debate will be all about foreign policy, widely considered to be Obama's strength and Romney's weakness.  Romney has made a series of missteps in the foreign policy arena this year, including insulting the British and Palestinians.  Romney has been on the attack against Obama recently regarding his handling of the attack in Libya.  While Romney was roundly criticized for his own reaction to the attack as well, he has since decided that the best defense is a good offense.  The last debate, his line of attack did not go so well:

So I guess tonight we shall see how Romney handles this issue.
  Follow us below the fold to follow along with us tonight...

Here is the debate format:

Bob Schieffer, moderator of the third 2012 presidential debate, has selected the topics for that debate, which is on foreign policy. Mr. Schieffer stated:

Subject to possible changes because of news developments, here are the topics for the October 22 debate, not necessarily to be brought up in this order:

* America’s role in the world
* Our longest war – Afghanistan and Pakistan
* Red Lines – Israel and Iran
* The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – I
* The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – II
* The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World

The debate will be held on Monday, October 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL. The format calls for six 15-minute time segments, each of which will focus on one of the topics listed above. The moderator will open each segment with a question. Each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Following the candidates’ responses, the moderator will use the balance of the 15-minute segment to facilitate a discussion on the topic. All debates start at 9:00 p.m. ET and run for 90 minutes.

Pre-game Thoughts:

Emily:  Romney pretty much has to go on the offensive.  Obama has to stay cool and presidential.  Romney has to balance the attacks with seeming to have a clue on foreign policy, seeming not to be just copying Obama, and also seeming presidential.  Bob Schieffer will probably not be all that forceful.

Mandi:  Agreed that Romney has to on the offensive, but it is going to be difficult.  Obama is already doing most of the sane things, and the things which would be even saner are mostly to the left of Obama, where Romney does not want to go.  Romney (or at least that' what I got from the Biden/Ryan debate) seems to want to go to war with Iran, but can't state that out loud, as the American public no longer has the stomach for such things.  So it is going to be an interesting dance.  Obama mostly has to just defend his policies as succinctly as possible.  This will be interesting.

9:01 - Emily:  Bob S with the red white AND blue tie.  Very non-partisan.  "The audience has taken a vow of silence."  Hee.  Back to the correct-party-colored ties.

I'M SO NERVOUS.  My mom won't even watch this because she's so nervous.

I'm already confused by what constitutes a segment versus a question in Bob's eyes.

And the baby is awake.  Uh oh.  Romney is blathering on while my daughter is talking about her bad dream about an airport.

Ooh, if looks could kill, Prez would be killin the Romneyman.

I think Romney's smile muscles are broken.

Prez: I killed bin Laden.  With my bare hands.  RAHR.

9:08 - Mandi:  First up Libya, Romney has won the first coin toss every freaking time. Bleh. Romeny trying a red/blue striped tie this go around, while Obama goes back to the blue after flirting with red last debate. “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.” I see that Romney is trying to short circuit Obama’s Bin Ladin’s bragging.

Obama tries some oblique Bin Ladin bragging. And he refers to Romney’s egg on face moment from the last debate. Nice one!

Romney immediately reverses himself, and now says he wants to kill too.  Sigh.  It's going to be a long debate.

9:09 - Emily:  Romney is a tool.  Like he cares from gender equality.  Come on, chaos?  It was closer to chaos in Greece than in much of the middle east.

YES.  Romney said Russia.  Nice, the 1980s are calling for their policy back.  Ooh.  Social policies of the 1950s.  Hee.  And you were for it before you were against it.

Really good work by the President.

Romney: Prez said wrong stuff.  And stuff.  Effective move by Romney to talk about attacking being unhelpful.  But then he loses it when he goes back to Russia.

Don't let him walk all over you Prez.

9:14 - Mandi:  Obama already calling out Romney for his Russia is the greatest threat comments, and his other gaffes. “And every time that you offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong.” Damn Obama! He emphasizes his presidential position.

Now we are on to Syria.  Allows Obama to try to tout what efforts that he has done in that area.  But Obama makes sure that that he stakes out that he doesn't want to become embroiled in another Middle East war.  Now will Romney try to distinguish himself from Obama, or do more of a "me too!" position on this?

9:16 - Emily:  Nice come back on positive policy by the Prez - nice nation-building here at home point.

Syria.  Both men are smirking.  Sigh.

Prez: sanctions are his by-word.  I think that's a hit with women and isolationist men, not so much with some men who are more interested in appearing "strong" - which I'm assuming is why Romney keeps talking about backbone.

Seriously?  Romney, if Syria is democratic, they would probably hate us more.

And now he's copying Obama.

Romney just sounds like he memorized a whole bunch of crap.

Obama: Really nice point on Libya, nice bringing back the "Commander in Chief" hat.

9:21 - Mandi:  Obama also brings up that he killed Qadaffi.  Nice.

Romney just seems to be saying word salad.  He isn't saying anything different from the President.

...which the President then brings up.  ok.

Obama, in a naked play for the women's vote.  Bringing up women's rights in a question about the Egyptian revolution.  He sounds pretty relaxed and clear, at least on this question.

Romney stop smirking!

So now we know that Romney is not going to make much of a meaningful play to distinguish himself on thses issues.

9:23 - Emily:  How are you gonna make sure Assad is gone without troops.  He keeps saying "leadership" like he's tested that term well.  But Romney sounds like a lightweight when he makes suggestions.

Obama: He doesn't have different ideas because we're doing what we should be doing.



JFK.  He was a Democrat, y'all.

Women rule.  Emily feels so wanted.  This is the only election since I've been voting that I feel courted.  Too bad one guy is a ham-fisted spoiled brat and the other guy beat my girl Hillary.  At least he hired her, though :-)

Romney: what he said.  Let me change the subject to my talking points, now.  Hey, economy.  ECONOMY.

Strong allies.  We need friends.

DUDE.  How could American influence possibly grow?

I agree, Mand.  The smirk is killing me.

Role in the World.

I now dub Romney Talking Points Boy.

9:30 - Mandi: I wondered when they would pivot to domestic issues rather than that boring foreign policy stuff.  Lol.  Done in less than half an hour.  Sigh.

Now they are just bashing each other's economic policies.

Romney, smirking, says that he will get American jobs, doesn't really say how.

His five point plan is less a plan, than a 5 point objective statements.  But there really isn't any solid numbers behind his "points."

Obama on the attack, goes after Romney's small business policy.

9:32 - Emily:  Huh?  Energy?  Obama wandering off in the wilderness.

There we go: Romney = Bush/Cheney.

Awesome question, Bob : "Governor Romney, wrong and reckless policy?"


I hate this stuff.  BOB: take control, Man.

Latin America: we already signed those treaties you moron.  Romney is ill-prepared.

I'll get us on track to a balanced budget: by cutting 5 trillion in taxes.  Riiiiight.

Obama: oooh, Massachusetts.  Nice, point on small business definitions, Prez.


BOB?  Hello?

Romney: nope, you did that based on being a rich, very well-educated state - nice cut-in by the Prez to mention cutting education.  Good fact-checking, Prez.

Bob bringing us back to "foreign policy" by talking about budget?

Romney: I know you like Obamacare, but I'ma cut that b****.

Could he say "Medicaid" or "Poor" with more contempt, if he tried?

That's right: Prez explains the spending and taxes.

9:41 - Mandi:  So the foreign policy debate is not about foreigners, nor policy.  Discuss.

Bob has completely lost control, but he seems as if he was expecting this.

Obama is totally zinging Romney.  "We also have fewer horses and bayonets!"  LOL!  "Ships that go under water, we call them subamarines!"

Your budget just doesn't work.

What??!! Are we back to foreign policy?  Israel, no less?

Romney is going to be all over this....

9:42 - Emily:  Romney say: I'm a bidnessman.

Military budget - then tell your friends in the Tea Party to shut up, if you hate sequestration.  It's not like this was about trying to cut defense.  It was about holding some important parts to the fire.

Yes, Prez explains sequestration.

You mentioned the Navy.  OOOH fewer horses and bayonets.  Hee.  These things called aircraft carriers.  I sit down with the military guys, my man.  You play Battleship.

Aw.  Obama sunk Romney's Battleship.  Meme alert.


Ha, Romney trying not to cry about the Battleship line.

Prez: I lurve Israel.  Shalom, baby.  Iran is in the stone age because of my Super Sanctions.  You WISH you had sanctions like my sanctions.

Romney: I lurve Israel more.  I love your sanctions, but I would make them even tougher.  Uber Super Sanctions.

9:50 - Mandi:  Obama is in full professor mode.  He is basically schooling Romney on how this whole thing works. 

"Say what my administration is saying, only louder", that about sums it up Obama.

Ahh, now Romney is saying that Obama is weak, and that he would show strength.  Which means more sanctions, I guess.

Obama is calling a Romney a liar to his face.  Romney smirks.

"You wanna sanction, when you were working with Iran?"

Yeah, Emily, I also predict the Battleship meme take off.  But knowing how these things work, it will probably be bayonets or something.

9:50 - Emily: Obama says you don't know from sanctions, B****.  If you only UNDERSTOOD sanctions, Romney, you would understand how awesomely Super my sanctions are.

Uh oh, the clock is ticking.  But where would you draw the red line on the cartoon bomb, Mr. Prez?  Because Bibi put it way up here.

Romney: Iran thinks you are a b****, b****.  Such language.  Iran walks all over your Battleship.

It's essential for the president to show strength...  Like, say, killing bin Laden?

NICE Nothing Gov Romney said is true.  Biggest whopper ever.  With onions.  And cheese.

This series of debates has used all manner of ways of calling someone a liar without saying the words: Lie, Lying, or Liar.

Iran is so weak.  How weak is it, Mr. Prez?

Four years closer to a nuclear Iran?  What would you have done, Romney?  Bombed them?

"By the way" is Romney's "Look"

Bob doesn't exist anymore.

Oooh, I didn't take donors to Israel.

Romney sees dead people.

10:00 - Mandi:  Romney completely sidesteps the Israel bombing question, slides over to North Korea.

Obama calling Romney out for all his consistencies. 

Obama dances another jig over killing Bin Laden.  "Are you calling me weak?"  "Who killed Obama?"

Bob finally asserts some authority over the proceedings.

Romney sets out a withdrawal date, apparently he agrees with the President.  Again.

10:02 - Emily: Nobody gets to claim bipartisanship when saying "Democrat Senators" instead of the dramatically-correct "Democratic Senators."

NICE Prez.  You have no solid viewpoints.  We killed bin Laden.  Bin Laden.  What??  Peyton, we care about you.

Bob Schieffer has left the building.

Oh wait, there he is.

Mitt Romney is whiny.

Afghanistan.  Our Longest War.

Emily note: what a sad war to be our longest war.

Ha.  Romney would do exactly what Obama has done.  That's hilarious.  I've studied Obama's plans.  These are his plans.  I can memorize the things Obama does, reiterate them, and agree with them.  See?  Presidential.

Obama would like you to remember: let's nation-build at home.

Oh good, it's good that Obama was the one to finally mention veterans.  And he has lunch with them.  That's nice.  Hey, did you mention the fact that Rs just blocked a veterans jobs bill?  Nope.  Missed opportunity by Prez.

10:09 - Mandi:  "Getting bin Laden was the right thing to do."  Well ok, Romney.  Romney can also name many ethnic groups.

Romney also supports drone strikes.

So why should we hire you Romney, if you are going to do all the same things as Obama?  What would be the point of switching?

Obama going down his list of accomplishments again.

Romney smirks.

10:10 - Emily: I think Romney thinks he is losing.  He's sort of lost his pep.  I, for one, think the feeling in the room changed at Battleship.

Romney has heard of Pashtuns.  That's nice.

Does the President dye his eyebrows grayer, Mand?

Bob, coming back - adds a Drone Question for Beadgirl.

And Romney agrees with the president.  Only he would do the same thing, a little bit harder.  Shocking.

DUDE Romney, YOU SAID there is NO WAY we will get peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  You said the job of the president was to kick the can down the road.  This guy has no consistency on anything.

Obama: Prez ignores drones.  Sorry, Beadgirl.  Tunisia loves me.  We stood with the people.  They still hate us.  But they hate us way less.  I swear.

Greatest Threat?

Obama: Terrorists.  And China, sort of.  Hey, did you know I sued the pants off of China?  And did you know that Romney disagreed with me?

Romney: Government sucks.  So elect me the head of the government.  Iran is the scariest.  China doesn't want war.  That's good, Mittens, because they could crush us on the sheer numbers of people front.  Wait, you said you were going to be TOUGHER than Obama on China, now you want them to want to work with us?

10:19 - Mandi:  China sucks!  But they are our friends!  Holy whiplash batman.

I love that Obama is just letting Romney drone on.

Romney is just kinda flailing right now.  I agree Emily, he seems to have lost his pep.

Obama makes sure to emphasize that Romney ships jobs overseas.

Obama also slips in that he saved the auto industry, while Romney would have let it fail.

Obama is just really good at speaking in specifics about his policies, especially in regards to China.

Romney tries to defend letting Detroit go bankrupt.  He should probably just stay away from that.

10:21 - Emily:  Ooh, we sell them THIS much stuff.  Nice use of visuals, Romney.  My, he has lovely hands.

Valves.  How dare China suck.  We want them to be our friend.

Obama: I bet on American workers.  CARS, B****.  Nice point on research.  US Exports have doubled.  I agree, Obama is doing better on speaking about specifics today.

Romney either has a good point to make or he finds weird things funny.

America is a pacific power?

Bob doesn't exist.

Romney: I'm a son of Detroit.  There wouldn't BE a US auto industry if you had been president.  Nobody buys this, Romney.  Good, Prez.

Of course not, I wouldn't liquidate the industry - I just did that to most of the companies I bought at Bain.

Obama: Romney = Bush/Cheney.

10:28 - Mandi:  Both candidates seem to be making their closing statements without actual making their closing statements yet.

"We all love teachers!"  Thanks Bob!

Obama closing argument:  I've got good plans.  Middle- class, education, energy of the future.  I will reduce deficits.  I will rebuild the nation here at home.  "I will fight for your family!"

Romney closing argument:  I'm optimistic.  Leadership, safer, confident, economy. Debt, out of work, jobs, food stamps, jobs (again), work across the aisle, freedom.

10:28 - Emily:  Romney manages to get the last word on economy instead of foreign policy.

Obama making sure he puts out his own plan today.  Pretty good job at it.

Romney: Hey, I heard optimism and peace sells.  And leadership.  This is just a closing of catch-words, no actual policy choices.  WHY IS THIS GUY TIED WITH THE PRESIDENT?  He has no actual policies.  He just says platitudes.  Bipartisan my ass.  Wait, you're going to take that torch, from a dude who is younger than you?  Strange.

Final Thoughts: 

Emily: Obama win.  Romney at his best when not talking about foreign policy.  Obama best when explaining what he has actually done.

Mandi:  Obama win.  Romney has always seemed weak on foreign policy, and this debate did nothing to erase that perception.  Romney just basically agreed with Obama on most of the foreign policy issues, and tried to pivot to the economy as much as possible.  A pretty wan debate. Bayonets!


  1. being a big foreign policy nerd, I'm most excited for this debate!

  2. I laught every time they say the candidates will have 2 minutes to respond... as if...

  3. Oh Kristen I'm so nervous! I know Prez should kill this. But still...

  4. And yes, Scooter, 2 million minutes.

  5. President is really zinging Romney pretty well right now. He just needs to keep it up.

  6. Romney: Obama sucks! But I agree with everything that he has done!

  7. I will vote for whoever states that they will increase the size of our Foreign Service. Not purely for selfish reasons, either. :)

    (Note: I already voted)

    1. It would be a nice point, especially about promoting diplomacy over war.

  8. They've abandoned the whole foreign policy thing. So whack.

    1. Bob, Obama, somebody please bring him back to the question. I think I would respect the pres more right now if he refused to respond to Mitt's off-topic statements. What the heck?

  9. Romney steers toward Education, did he not read the format?

  10. These guys SO do not want to talk about foreign policy. Why did they agree to the debate format?

  11. Who's got a binder full of foreign policy? Anyone?

  12. And right now there are memes on Battleship forming.

  13. 7 points? I'm not convinced he can even get through 5...

  14. My DVR is awesome, but it has allowed us to be distracted by a telephone call. I am no longer live, but I'm sure I'll still have some quips to interject; forgive me if they seem a bit delayed.

  15. I think Romney is taking notes on things to put into his speech tomorrow.

    1. He is definitely a little wan tonight.

  16. I hate the post-debate hugs and waves. So fake.

  17. Thanks everyone for their comments tonight! The foreign policy debate is typically the one with the least amount of fireworks, and this one was no exception.

  18. Thanks for joining us! We'll miss these get-togethers. I say more debates. Just not with these two guys, mkay? Maybe Tom Hanks versus Al Pacino.