After a lackluster start and an intense intermission, the clash between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama wages on this Tuesday, as the two Presidential hopefuls meet for the second of three debates.
It's been a seesaw battle thus far. Romney took the momentum early with a dominant performance in the opening round. However, Mitt's young protégé, Paul Ryan, suffered a crushing defeat as he attempted to step up in competition by facing off with the unpredictable and aggresive "Diamond" Joe Biden, effectively halting team Romney's momentum. Now, Mitt looks to lead by example once again as he attempts to regain his standing among the nation's observers in another dominant performance. Meanwhile, Obama's had plenty of time to refocus. He's learned from his mistakes in round one, and he's gonna look to implement a fresh gameplan this time around.
Will Obama manage to slip and counter Romney's attacks? Or will Romney prove to be too powerful for Obama to overcome? Only one thing is certain: Candy Crowley won't have jack on Martha Raddatz. This is round two of the presidential debates, people. Join us live on PolicyMic for the most comprehensive play-by-play on the web, or your uninformed vote will plunge America to unfathomable depths of suffering and despair.
So don't #*@& up, America. Stay informed. Stay here. (And send your friends links while you're at it.) You're welcome.
Here are the Oct. 16 debate details:
Topic: Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy
The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates each will have 2 minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.
PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
Game over, the debate has ended. I'll post my thoughts here soon enough.
Gov't Doesn't Create Jobs?
Mitt Romney refutes the accusation that he doesn't care about 100% of the American people. Another flip flop! Goes on about God and stuff. Am I the only one who doesn't care what a politician does in his or her personal life? I'm tuning out for the next minute.
Obama says he agrees that government doesn't create jobs. Dumb. Dumb pandering. Gets back to how he and Romney have different visions of America, references the "47%" comment. Again, familiar ground here.
How do you convince companies to invest in labor in America? Romney says to make China play by the rules, and to make America attractive to entrepeneurs. Obama says there are some jobs that won't come back, low wage, low skills jobs. Wants high skill, high wage jobs, with good education, research skills and manufacturing ability. Talks about the race to lead the world economy.
Finally. Romney claims China has taken US jobs, and he'll make America more attractive for workers. Says China doesn't play by the rules, by lowering their currency. He's dodging the question of outsourcing - it's not a matter of China's appeal but of companies willing to invest in cheap employment elsewhere without consequence. Meanders on about China.
Obama says that he'll close loopholes that allow companies to deduct expenses when they move to China or move offshore to take advantage of taxes. Claims Romney wants to expand those tax breaks. Says the jobs Romney promises to create will be elsewhere because of this. Zing.
Crowley asks why Romney no longer supports his assault weapons ban from Massachusetts. He says that he would still, if he could get bipartisan support. Uhhhh... Obama points out Romney went against it because he wanted the endorsement of the NRA. Zing. Gets back on education. Criticizes Romney for being against hiring more teachers. He's getting off topic.
Nina asks what Obama has done to limit the availability of assault weapons. Obama says he supports the second amendment. Talks about Aurora and meeting a woman there. That story didn't really go anywhere. Says we need to enforce the laws that already exist, and the need to enforce background checks. Says weapons designed for soldiers don't belong on the streets. Says we need to "look at the other sources of violence", citing Chicago's violence. Says education and social work can stop the problem before it begins.
Romney agrees, says changing the "culture of violence" is fundamental. Emphasizes education and parental responsibility. Somehow this got turned into promoting normal, nuclear families. Huh? Recovers by bringing up Fast & Furious. Belabors the point, though.
Romney claims that Obama never called it an act of terror for two weeks. Crowley corrects him. Zing.
Did the State Department refuse to provide security prior to the attack? Obama says that he cares about the individual members of the consulates and embassies. Goes through his methodology after the attacks, trying to find who is responsible, while he claims Romney was trying to make political points. All of which is true, but he's avoiding the question. Now touting his accomplishments in Iraq, with Bin Laden and his plans for Afghanistan. Says he is ultimately responsible for what took place, and he will try to find out who is responsible. Nice recovery.
Romney agrees with Obama, but criticizes the slow reveal of information. Doesn't really attack substantially further, possibly fearing political recrimination. Conservative, but perhaps the smart play.
About that whole "Mitt tried to hire as many women as possible" thing...
Romney touts "self-deportation." Which is like saying you support banks regulating themselves. Oh wait, Romney wants to do that. Nevermind.
Lorraine, with the hilarious Long Island accent, asks about immigration. Romney wants the legal system to be streamlined - no one should have to hire a lawyer to come to the US. The US should provide green cards to people with high educations. But Romney also opposes illegal immigration, and wants to put in place an employment registration system. Sounds vaguely Orwellian. Says Obama failed to pass legislation that could have stopped illegal immigration.
Obama begins by touting the benefits of legal immigration, and he wants to fix the illegal immigration system. Says that he streamlined the immigration system. So far, they're saying the same things. Claims he put more patrolmen on the border, and now the tide of illegals is the lowest in 40 years. Says the US should target illegals who commit crimes, instead of wasting resources on those who are students or people who contribute to society. But emphasizes that these should be steps to legal citizenship. Mentions that Romney wanted to veto the DREAM Act back when he was in the Republican primaries, and supported the Arizona law. "I don't want to empower someone" who sees "my daughter, or your's" as someone who isn't American. Nice line.
Obama hasn't done a good job of articulating what he'll do in his next term, should he win, aside from claiming he'll avoid the missteps Romney would make. So, I'd like to see more of that.
Obama is just summing up all of his accomplishments right now. Romney will probably just counter them. Nothing new in this question. So let's discuss this debate so far: I think Obama has a slight edge, but it's not because he's coming across better than Romney necessarily. Both candidates have been solid, assertive an articulate throughout this debate. Neither have given any ground. But given that Romney continues to refuse to discuss the details of his tax plan, the cornerstone of his economic argument, the product of the economic expertise that he has run on, it's impossible to take what he claims as seriously as he requires to win a debate against a sitting President, whose own legislation is - literally - substantial.
Is Romney The Next Bush?
Susan asks this odd, yet pertinent question. Romney goes back to contraception, saying "eployers shouldn't be able to decide whether employees can have access to birth control." Ummm... isn't that what Obama's plan does? Anyway, Romney claims that he'll crack down on China, which Bush didn't, and he'll get a balanced budget. Hits Obama on the deficit raises. Says Republicans are too focused on big businesses, while he'll focus on small businesses. Wants regulators to help small businesses, not crush them. Says Obamacare hurts hiring, without explaining how.
Obama admits he began during "tough times," but says he's dug the coutnry, slowly, out of policies that saw the "top" do very well, and everyone else suffer. Says Romney's economic plans include tax cuts - which Bush used - and his cracking down on China is a ruse. Romney invests in companies that provide China with surveillance cameras. Obama says he's brought twice as many unfair trade process lawsuits as the previous administration. But concedes that Romney is different than Bush - Bush didn't want to turn Social Security into a voucher system, was in favor of a nuanced immigration reform, and didn't want to destroy planned parenthood.
Katherine asks what the candidates will do about income inequality, specifically regarding women. Obama talks about how he signed the Lily Ledbetter equal pay act. Wants to make education more available to young women through loans, taking out banks and other middlemen in the process.
Romney talks about staffing his cabinet with women. Talks about how women require more flexibility, because they raise children. Hmmmm. I can see how many women would like this, but feminists might not be too keen on it. Romney goes back to improving the economy in general. Obama counters that Romney didn't support Lily Ledbetter, and that there are smaller issues than just the economy that ensure whether women get work. Touts how his healthcare provides birth control to women, and rips Romney for trying to get rid of Planned Parenthood.
Crowley asks Romney what he'll do if his math doesn't add up. Romney says "of course the math adds up." The math that hasn't actually been articulated adds up. OK. Says Obama leads America "on the road to Greece." If only Obama countered with a "THIS IS SPARTA" kick to the sternum.
Romney claims he wants to bring rates down so companies can hire more people. Drops facts about unemployment - including one about 3.5 million women in poverty - to hit Obama. Nice play for women voters, there. Now talking up small businesses. "I know why jobs come and why they go." Doesn't mention he's the reason why jobs went, but oh well.
Obama says that lowering tax rates by 20% and the rest of his plan will cost $5 trillion. Claims Romney also wants to spend $2 trillion on the military and leaving the Bush tax cuts will cost another $1 trillion, leading to a grand total of $8 trillion that Romney has not explained how he will pay for this. Drops a Big Bird line. Smooth. "The math doesn't add up." Either this blows up the deficit, or it raises taxes on the middle class.
Mary asks about the deductions Romney will remove in his tax plan, wondering if he'll remove deductions important to the middle class, including education deductions. Romney claims the middle class is extraordinarily important to him, and they've been crushed. Says he'll bring rates down for everyone, but eliminate deductions from the top 5% of tax payers - who will still pay the same amount of overall taxes. Um, if that's the case, why cut their taxes to begin with? Romney claims that the middle class will see a tax raise of $4,000 from Obama's borrowing policies.
Obama says he's cut taxes for middle class fmailies and small businesses. He wants to continue these tax cuts, but he wants to up taxes on the wealthy in order to help with the deficit. Anyone making under $250,000 a year won't have tax increases. Brings up Romney's failure to pay taxes on the same level as someone who makes a fraction of what he does. Obama's definitely been on the offensive tonight. He's been more concise, more active, more pointed. Romney hasn't floundered either, though. It's been close.
Romney continues, attacking Obama for gas prices. Obama counters that gas prices were low because the country was on the edge of a recession, and that Romney could restore those prices, because his policies would bring the country back to another recession. Zing. Romney says he appreciates the jobs the President has created in coal, oil, gas and wind, but now we're moving on to taxes.
Obama claims Romney stood in front of a coal plant and claimed it killed, and proudly shut it down. Obama touting his support of clean coal technology. Sorry, Mr. President, but "clean coal" is bullshit. Obama's been more aggressive so far, but he's also said things that his base can't be pleased with.
Romney claims Obama has cut permits on federal lands and waters. Obama denies this. Romney pressures him for an answer. Obama says that he was not tolerant of companies sitting on public lands without using it, so he cut their permits. Romney says that it results in coal production and jobs are now down. Romney -
Obama claims oil and nautral gas production are the highest they've been in decades. But maintains that "we need to look to the future" with renewable energy. America has lowered its oil consumption as a result. Emphasizes energy efficiency as a means to keep gas prices low. Attacks Romney's plan as "letting the oil companies write the energy policies." Points out that China and Germany are making these investments in the future.
Romney contrasts policies and rhetoric. Claims the production of natural energy is up on private land, implying it's not Obama's policies which are responsible. Obama is "not Mr. Gas, Mr. Oil, Mr. Coal." Um, did Romney just provide an endorsement for Obama to all environmentalists?
Romney touting his jobs plan. Refers to Jeremy as "Jerry." Oops. Says letting Detroit go bankrupt was a good economic strategy for Detroit. Obama refutes this, claims it's bull. Claims Romney's 5 point plan is a "one point plan." Criticizes Romney's philosophy as stripping down America to make a profit for the upper class, and an extension of the Bush policies.
The candidates enter and woah, woah, woah! Obama's wearing a red tie? Romney's wearing a blue one? How can I identify who is part of what party now!? I demand my politics be color-coded!
First question comes from Jeremy, concerning job prospects for graduates and student loans. Romney opens with an anecdote from some grad he met once. Maybe. He continues that he wants to maintain certain loan programs, but his greater concern is the economy that grads enter into. Says he has the ability to create jobs. Promises Jeremy he'll have a job when he graduates.
Obama insists that jobs are important, but especially good paying jobs. Obama wants to build manufacturing jobs in the US - brings up Romney's "Detroit" line. Already on the attack. Wants every American to get a "great" education through a robust loan program. Touts renewable energy sources as a source for new jobs, and finally says America needs to "take the money we've been spending on war to rebuild" itself.
Obama Has Not Taken the Stage
Candy Crowley makes her way to the podium, and tells everyone to turn their electronics off. Everyone pretends to oblige. Then her mic stops working. Then it goes back to working. Alright then.
Why isn't it 9 yet!?
This debate needs to start already. Watching the Yankees' offense choke away their playoff hopes is too painful.
Nevermind, Obama and Romney are not Cowards
Romney Learning How to Sit on a Barstool
You couldn't make this up.
Are Obama and Romney Cowards?
That's what Gawker contends. Both campaigns drafted an understanding with the Commission of Presidential Debates about how the debates themselves should be conducted, which raises the question how effective the moderator of each debate - or even the debates themselves - can be if there are established limitations on the lines of questioning or the interactions between the candidates. Some of the restrictions include:
"The candidates may not ask each other direct questions during any of the four debates." "The candidates shall not address each other with proposed pledges."
Some of these make sense. Candidates shouldn't be allowed to call on plants. And sure, having them stay in one spot is fine. But preventing the moderator of the debate from asking follow-up questions? That's preposterous. Romney and Obama aren't cowards - they're doing this because it's good political strategy. But good political strategy doesn't necesarily translate into productive political discourse. And agreements like this ensure that the former will continue to prevail.
Romney Releases Tax Plan
Check the details here.
Presidential Debate Drin- Err, Eating Game
This sounds painful. Delicious, but painful.
Obama's Debate Prep
Meanwhile, At Fox...
According to Elizabeth Ames, it appears that Barack Obama and Joe Biden lack "civility and common courtesy" and are "dismissive" and "sour". They lack "manners," which they would have had they spent time in the private sector, where apparently people are instructed to be polite. Where corporations are not "greedy," but rather build empathy through teamwork and comraderie. She considers Paul Ryan's debate "successful," and claims that "Big Government" is responsible for the divides this country faces; "old and young, rich and poor." She just wants a leader who will "unite" us.
Of course, by "manners", Ames may as well have meant "lying through your teeth." And evidently, it's a far more egregious offense to actually acknowledge dishonesty than it is to engage in it. The "teamwork" she refers to actually refers to a group of people working together to beat another group of people. Capitalism, in case she forgot, is about competition. There's nothing necesarily wrong with that - politics is the same way, to a degree - but to pretend otherwise is simply the height of ignorance or stupidity. (As an employee of Fox, I hesistate to assume which.)
Moreover, the divides she mentions - again, "old and young, rich and poor" - are not the products of "Big Government," as she claims. The first divide is the product of, well, reality. Somehow the fact that some people are much older than others as a result of having lived longer has escaped her. As for the second divide, it's not a product of government action so much as inaction. It's a product of what she defends - unmitigated capitalism, which has allowed the wealthiest Americans to become richer, and the poor to become poorer. The infamous 1% has received 93% of the income growth as the gap between the rich and the poor has widened. That gap - that divide - is not the product of "Big Government." It's the product of big business.
Women Who Vote For Mitt Romney
Damn you, Sheltering Suburban Mom!
Romney Tied With Obama Among Women Voters
Obama's campaign is contesting the results of the polls, which claims that Obama is tied with Romney among women voters in battleground states, splitting them 48% to 48%. As shocking as this poll is - and, of course, given the margin of error, it could be inaccurate - it's still lowbrow for a campaign to dismiss the findings of a poll for the simple reason that it doesn't fit along with the campaign's narrative. Republicans have been abusing this tactic lately, and there's no need for Democrats to adopt it as well.
Does it make sense that women would vote Republican? No. But I don't get why people watch Honey Boo Boo, either. Just because it's irrational or inconvenient doesn't mean it's not the truth. And the Obama campaign ought to accept that and make a larger effort to ensure that by the end of this debate, that poll will be ancient history.
CNN's John King: "Debate stakes are enormous"
Is he right? Sort of. A debate win for either candidate is, obviously, advantageous. And that advantage is something that each candidate could certainly use in the run up to election day. But at the same time, I doubt that these stakes will translate into anys serious swing for either candidate; most voters have already made up their minds about who they are going to vote for. For those remaining few, it's unlikely either candidate will come out head and shoulders above the other this time around, leaving their decision to rest with each candidate's policies. Which may be for the best.
Obama on debate day: "I feel fabulous"
He's obviously pandering to the LGBT community. Shameful, really.