Presidential Debate Winner: President Obama Rebounds


Tonight, Tuesday, October 16th, at 9 p.m. EST, President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney will meet for a second time, debating at Hofstra University in New York in a town-hall style forum.

Obama is under a lot of pressure tonight due to his lackluster performance at the previous debate and Vice President Joe Biden’s fiery showing last Thursday. Obama needs to fire up his base, but also appeal to any remaining undecided voters out there. The president has to make sure he’s not veering into ‘boring law professor’ territory even while he makes sure he’s calling Romney on any falsehoods. He can’t be, as C.J. Cregg says, “Uncle Fluffy.”

As for Romney, after the first debate Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine said that “Romney won the debate in no small part because he adopted a policy of simply lying about his policies." Romney suddenly veered away from claims he’d been making on the campaign trail and presented himself as 2002-era Mitt Romney: the kinder, gentler, more moderate guy. He needs to continue on this trajectory to have a successful debate.

Keep an eye out for moderator Candy Crowley, the first woman in over 20 years to moderate a presidential debate. She’s said that despite the town hall format, she will be presenting follow-up questions.

If it’s not obvious by now, I’ll be liveblogging this debate from a progressive standpoint, with a little Midwestern twinge thrown in. I’ll try to be neutral when I can, but won’t hesitate to interject my own opinions and try and call the candidates (OK, mostly Romney) out on any outright lies.

PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.

UPDATE: 10:39 PM THE END. Yes, I think Obama rebounded well and won this. Romney had some good answers, but a lot were just very incoherent. The 2 parent household comment was...not a good idea. I'll have some more reactions coming up soon, in another post!

UPDATE: 10:38 PM Romney stupidly teed up that 47% comment, and the President swung. 

Lots of keywords (words where you yell DRINK!!) in these closing statements: God, World War II, pastor, etc.

UPDATE: 10:35 PM Oooooh, SOME campaigns are attacking the person, not the issues, says Mitt Romney. Hmm. I wonder which campaign he's talking about? So many to choose from. Such a subtle comment.

UPDATE: 10:31 PM Running long. 

Also, someone already created this on Facebook? Exxxxcellent /Mr. Burns voice

UPDATE: 10:28 PM Nice: 

On the topic of outsourcing, I think Romney is doing well on this question (I mean, in answering it in a Republican sort of way). It could have been a trap for talking about his Bain years, and POTUS may still do that, but this is OK. I mean, I don't agree with his plan, but the answer is good.

UPDATE: 10:25 PM Interesting comment from Twitter. Do you all agree with this assessment? 

UPDATE: 10:24 PM To echo my friend Ted, it would be nice if this also included a discussion on the state of mental health care. But these guys don't have a lot of time.

OK. Romney's right about parental involvement and good schools...but then he got into the two parent household thing and it went a little crazy. 


Someone find me a .gif of Mario's shot, please.

UPDATE: 10:18 PM Oooh, assault weapons question. 

UPDATE: 10:16 PM Oh goody, the apology tour mention. What a lot of bull.

OMG Candy Crowley just fact-checked DURING the debate. I love it.

UPDATE: 10:10 PM No, enhanced security was requested for the embassy in Tripoli, not Benghazi. 

Mr. President, please answer the question.

UPDATE: 10:08 PM Wait. Was Romney the first one to bring up the word 'Caymans' in this debate? Or did I miss the President saying it first?

Oh BOOM, Kris Kobach mention!

UPDATE: 10:05 PM Nonpartisan nitpick (seriously): the President himself (or herself!) can't file legislation. They get actual Members of Congress to file legislation for them.

Picky picky picky, I know.

Oooh, fight fight fight fight.

UPDATE: 10:03 PM Immigration reform is difficult. That's simplistic, but it's true. President Bush couldn't make it happen, even with a somewhat friendly House and Senate.

Arizona law as a model for the nation? Eek. That law was written by current Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. I am not his biggest fan.

BTW, do you remember how the Governor said POTUS doubled the deficit? Politifact says that's not true.

UPDATE: 9:57 PM I take Romney's point about food stamps, I do. I just think a lot of this is post hoc ergo propter hoc (thanks, Noah!) - after it, therefore because of it. 

By the way, Paul Ryan's plan would gut safety nets like food stamps. So...yeah. Just saying.

UPDATE: 9:53 PM I feel like a lot of people seemed to think in 2008 that with Obama's election, everything would be puppies and rainbows forever, and now they're upset that that's not true. That's just so unrealistic. Not saying that the President's done a perfect job, but I think imagining that one man will suddenly make it rain unicorns and sunshine is a little...over the top.

UPDATE2: 9:46 PM Hey Governor Romney, you are not the rulemaker here.

Also, this is a great question - how are Romney and Bush different? Would love to see a straightforward answer.

UPDATE: 9:45 PM Oh, here we go with women's health. This is MY AREA, guys - it's what I want to go into as a lawyer. Did you know health care reform really helps women? It eliminates gender rating, which is the practice of insurance companies to charge women more for insurance simply because they're women. 

Did you know 90% of what Planned Parenthood provides is preventive, primary care?

Wait. Why did we move on? WHY?!?!

UPDATE: 9:41 PM OMG OMG OMG PAYCHECK FAIRNESS QUESTION! EQUAL PAY QUESTION!! I'm kvelling here, guys. This is not just a women's issue: this is a family issue. This is an economic issue. THIS IS A FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE.

Want to learn about the gender pay gap? AAUW has a GREAT guide!

I'm a little afraid that Romney's about to answer, "There's a pay gap because women take care of the household." Or wait, maybe he's just going to avoid the question ALTOGETHER.

UPDATE: 9:36 PM Reactions from some friends of mine:

And from Facebook (won't reveal his name): 

UPDATE: 9:31 PM Did you know that Romney's tax plan just doesn't add up? Yup. His advisor isn't even sure if it's workable. The 6 studies he usually cites? Not...really studies. Also, in what world are capital gains cuts middle class tax cuts?

The President is doing a great job of rebuttal. 

And whoa, whoa, whoa Mitt Romney. You talking about women - I'm sorry, Governor, but no. 

UPDATE: 9:23 PM Yeah. Here's a Politifact fact check on the oil production stuff.

And oh my gosh, Governor. SHHHH. Stop whining.

Here, have a gif, everyone!

UPDATE: 9:18 PM For our environment's sake, I'm pretty glad President Obama hasn't been Mr. Coal, Mr. Gas, or Mr. Oil. 

Hey, guess what? According to some economists, those 12 million jobs Romney promises to create? Yeah, that's actually how many jobs the economy is already projected to produce. Plus, his math just doesn't add up!

Huh. I haven't even tried to be neutral. Sorry.

UPDATE: 9:11 PM That was a bizarre answer by Romney on the auto bailout. Great response by the President, including a subtle swipe at Bain.

And HAH! Candy Crowley shooting down Romney. Governor, there are rules. You can't just ignore them.

UPDATE: 9:07 PM Hey, remember how great job growth has been under this President? Because it has.



UPDATE: 9:05 Romney says he wants to preserve Pell Grants, but his running mate's budget DRASTICALLY cuts Pell Grants. So I already don't believe him. There you go. Pell Grants and the candidates


Hahaha, yeah, Candy Crowley, they are not so great with the conciseness.

UPDATE: 8:56 PM Way to talk about what the wives are wearing, pundits. *sigh*


UPDATE: 8:51 PM FLOTUS!! And Ann Romney! Time to get excited, y'all.

UPDATE: 8:49 PM Aw, the Hofstra President just gave up his seat in the debate hall so another student can sit in and watch. That's pretty great. I don't know if the WashU Chancellor did that. I am

UPDATE: 8:45 PM President of Hofstra speaking now. He's right in stating that the debate is a huge undertaking - my undergrad university, WashU in St. Louis, hosted the 2008 VP debate, and it was NUTS.

I was assigned to Fox News for that debate. It was a trip.

UPDATE: 8:25 PM Before this starts, I want to give you a few sites that I like to read, for debate as well as general election/political coverage. These are sites you should go to AFTER going to PolicyMic, of course!

First, ThinkProgress has a great '5 Facts to Commit To Memory Before Watching Tonight's Debate' piece.

Second, Talking Points Memo is my go-to site: I visit it a few times every day due to their thorough coverage of current political issues.

Third, Ana Marie Cox's Twitter feed. Cox is the founder of Wonkette and a journalist currently writing for The Guardian. She's amazing and funny as all hell.

I would link you to the NYT's election coverage, but apparently I've reached my 10 article limit for the month. *sigh*

Less than 45 minutes to go! I'm curious about what kind of questions will be asked tonight. I hope that reproductive rights will be brought up - the topic was bizzarely absent from the previous presidential debate.

UPDATE: 7:55 PM OK, I've had food and wine, so I'm ready to hour before it actually starts.

Heard people in the Boston area had an earthquake? Hope everyone is OK. 

Since MA is Romney's old stomping grounds, think it portends anything about tonight's debate?


UPDATE: 5:25 PM To get some background for tonight go to this site, describing Romney's tax plan in detail: Mitt Romney's Tax Plan.