Who Won the Presidential Debate: Romney is Dominated Even Though He Did Not Say Anything Remotely Truthful

ByEric Gardner

I’m probably the classic liberal “who felt betrayed because Obama didn’t do things I projected on him” and more or less checked out of politics for 3 years. That was until about a month ago when I decided that I should probably be at least relatively informed about the situation I would be voting for. A few weeks back I interviewed Jake, and he invited me to the PolicyMic debate party. I got there a little late, and ended up sitting at the bar, but I kept a running diary of the night.

Consider it a slightly informed and moderately entertaining response to the night’s events.

8:58: Finally made it to the bar. Was running late. The downside is that the bar is packed. The upside is that I got to see a guy pee in a newspaper container at 14th and 7th. The twist? He wasn’t homeless. I think this is the New York that Jay-Z raps about.

9:00: Found a seat just in time to see the opening sequence on CBS. Waiting for a beer. They haven’t switched the sound on yet so rap is playing in the background. Quick cuts, guys walking out of planes, dramatic fonts, this is more Monday Night Football than a debate to elect the President. The only way this could be better would be if Pink sang a mash up of the national anthem.

9:04: The sound is on and it’s time for the first question. Lehrer leads with a stumper, “What are the major differences between the two of you about how you would go about creating new jobs?” Seeing it in print is worse than hearing it. It’s the type of question a four year old would ask.

9:06: Obama just finished off a long-winded critique of supply side economics with the phrase “economic patriotism.” Who wants to bet that they spent a million dollars focus testing that in Ohio?

9:07: Romney just landed a joke about Obama’s wedding anniversary, “I'm sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine, here — here with me.” It landed relatively well and I’m not surprised. There was so much press about Romney practicing jokes that I can’t help but imagine he spent the last 3 hours in a dark bathroom slapping himself in the face reciting a recent Leno monologue.

9:09: Romney drops the phrase “trickle-down government” (it tested off the charts in Louisiana) which prompts a starry eyed Jim Lehrer to ask Obama, “Please respond directly to what the governor just said about trickle-down — his trick-down approach, as he said yours is.” Am I the only one who thought Lehrer delivered that line like he was asking two 21 year old prostitutes to fold his laundry while he watched? He makes the replacement refs look competent.

9:10: My beer is delivered. Does anyone else notice the fact that Mitt Romney and Obama coordinated their patriotic ties? It’s the little things that show the country is committed to the future.

9:14: Romney states that, “Under the president's policies, middle-income Americans have been buried.” This results in Obama delivering one of the best fake smiles I’ve ever seen. Only a college boyfriend meeting his girlfriend’s extended family for the first time is less genuine.

9:20: It’s 9:20 and Obama just made the first direct Clinton reference of the night. This would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. Outside of Marisa Tomei, I can’t think of anyone who aged better than Bill Clinton.

9:23: I get the feeling that Romney is dominating this debate. He seems much more in control, while Obama mumbles and stutters like a guy who forgot to bring a PowerPoint to a presentation. I’d consider voting for Romney if it wasn’t painfully clear Matt Damon’s character in “The Talented Mr. Ripley” was based on him.

9:24: Obama just pulled off one of the all time classic moves. “You may want to move onto another topic,” he tells Lehrer, “but I — I would just say this to the American people…” Que 35 minute dissertation on the old topic.  

9:24: Was that a second Clinton reference by Obama? Yes, yes it was.

9:25: Anyone else notice this blue backdrop with the Declaration of Independence on it? It’s subtle but at the same time cheesy. Basically the perfect backdrop, but this begs the question: Does England debate in front of a stylized Magna Carta?

9:30: Just heard a positive Eisenhower reference. In case you are keeping track here’s the tally of direct President references: Clinton 2, Ike 1, Bush −10000.

9:33: Taking questions about entitlement reform. Hoping Obama pulls out a 47% reference since you know, Romney more or less said everyone on entitlements is a leper. This could very well be the finishing move.

9:36: Obama talks about education funding and references meeting a teacher with 32 kids in her class. I had 13 in my first grade class, so I don’t like their odds. 2 were pregnant before 18, and 3 went to jail. Combine those and you equal the number of kids that graduated college. USA, USA, USA.

9:40: Back onto entitlements, and Obama leads off. I’d love to hear Lehrer channel his inner Mortal Kombat and yell “Finish Him!”, but instead Obama tells a meandering story about nothing. Remember all those puff pieces about Obama being a “closer” on the basketball court? I’m going to go ahead and call BS.

9:43: The bartender just pulled a bottle opener out of her pocket, and she brings up a good point: Why can’t candidates use props? How awesome would it be if Obama busted out Romney’s 47 percent video or Romney started reading from one of those insane Obama conspiracy books? If we are going to introduce the debates like they are NFL we might as well introduce a dusting of Carrot Top.

9:45: It’s been 45 minutes and the bartender hasn’t taken my money yet. It’s a seven dollar beer, and there’s ten dollars on the table. If she honestly thinks she’s getting a $3 tip for delivering me a beer 10 minutes after I asked, we really need to have a new discussion about entitlements in this country.

9:49: Romney just dropped his own Bill Clinton reference. It’s official. Clinton is the new Reagan.

10:09: This is painful. Romney is dominating even though he’s not saying anything remotely truthful, but I just noticed the other television and ESPN is showing a stat for the most games behind to win a pennant with the credit to Elias Sports Bureau. Do we really need a sports bureau on this one? Really, I’ll trust Wikipedia when it comes to baseball information from 1910.

10:16: Bartender just gave me a free drink. Looks like someone earned those three dollars.

10:27: Lehrer just announced that they had a coin toss earlier to determine the closing order. Well it’s official, this is the NFL. Tune in next week and maybe Faith Hill will sing “God Bless America.”