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Robert David SullivanOctober 04, 2012

We are pleased to have this analysis of the first presidential debate from Robert David Sullivan. You can read his preview of the debates here:

Note: I wrote the following (except for the last paragraph) without looking at any tweets, instant analysis, or other media coverage. But I seem to have backed into the consensus view that Obama gave a surprisingly tentative performance. Andrew Sullivan has a round-up of reactions here; the best-case scenario for Obama is that the fact-checkers are kinder to him than the bloggers have been over the past couple of hours. -- Oct 4, 12:59 a.m.

So did you change your vote because of Mitt Romney’s accusation that the Dodd-Frank banking-regulation law didn’t define “qualified mortgage”?

Political debates seem to be either overly personal or excessively detailed, and last night’s presidential showdown fell into the latter category. Moderator Jim Lehrer stuck to policy-wonkish (but not very illuminating) questions, and the focus on ledger sheets seemed to give Romney more confidence, while frustrating incumbent Barack Obama.

Romney said that deficit reduction is a “moral issue,” but it was striking how little attention was paid to morality in the debate. For example, the discussion of health care was largely about cost-efficiency. Obama mentioned the phenomenon of non- or underinsured families going bankrupt because of unexpected medical costs, but it was with a dispassionate demeanor that Bill Clinton or Joe Biden probably wouldn’t even be capable of. Neither candidate directly addressed the issue of whether basic universal health care should be a goal of the government, federal or otherwise – partly because Lehrer didn’t bring it up. I suspect this is a question that most political journalists consider settled (Democrats say yes, Republicans say no), but there would have been great value in hearing each candidate justify – or duck – their party’s position.

Education was treated similarly. Romney’s championing of the free market was softer and more implicit here, with “freedom of choice” in primary and secondary schools raising the unanswered question of what happens to children stuck with the wrong choice. The issue of equity in the classroom, and its role in providing economic opportunity for all, was not brought up by Lehrer or Obama.

In addition to the economic effects of the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”), there was a lot of attention to tax policy and debt reduction. The first question from Lehrer was about unemployment, but, once again, there was no philosophical discussion of how much of a priority job creation should be for the federal government. Is it as important as reducing the debt, or holding down inflation, and what happens if these goals conflict? Romney’s jobs plan was unsurprisingly vague (improve education and “champion small business”) and small-bore (reducing “overhead” by consolidating job training programs), and Obama seemed too intimidated to point out that unemployment has been exacerbated by the steady reduction of public-sector jobs.

There were no questions about the stimulus package of Obama’s first year or the “bailout” of the automobile industry, which meant that the president never got much chance to tout what his administration believes to be successes.

One question I would have posed is whether it is necessary (or a moral imperative, as Romney asserted) to balance the federal budget, or whether the goal should be keeping the deficit at a manageable level – as is the practice at many businesses in the process of expansion. The answers would tell a lot about each man’s priorities. After the Clinton administration ran surpluses, the Bush administration used the balanced budgets as justification for major tax cuts, which led to renewed deficits and nearly universal demands to slash federal spending. If Obama or Romney managed to erase the deficit, would they be comfortable with that scenario repeating itself?

The last segment of the debate was about gridlock in Washington, but there was no mention of the filibuster in the Senate, or the rise of the Tea Party and its success at defeating Republican moderates in Congress. Romney pointed to his record in Massachusetts of working with Democrats, but he also criticized the president, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for their roles in passing ObamaCare. This brought to mind his effective “gang of three” commercials from his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, where he warned against one-party rule in Massachusetts. I wonder if he regretted the GOP taking over the House in 2010; if it hadn’t, he could have again run as a wise executive keeping a check on the legislative branch.

Other thoughts:

-- There was a back-and-forth over Romney’s plan to reduce tax rates by limiting or eliminating tax deductions and “loopholes,” with Obama saying the plan would only work with increased revenue from middle-class households. Romney oh-so-briefly mentioned that “economic growth” would raise enough revenue to make his plan feasible, but neither Obama nor Lehrer asked what would happen if economic growth is lower than expected. I wonder if Obama, whose campaign requires him to say that things are getting better, was afraid to even mention the possibility.

Romney promised, “I’ll restore the vitality to get the economy moving again,” which recalled his campaign-trail suggestion that violence against American embassies in the Middle East would be curtailed simply by the act of his moving into the White House.

--The popular idea of an omnipotent president showed up when Romney bragged, “I will eliminate all programs that don’t pass the test” of being worthwhile enough to justify borrowing from China to pay for them. (This includes public broadcasting, he told PBS journalist Lehrer without sorrow.) Obama responded by talking about the “77 programs” his administration has eliminated. Nobody talked about how to get Congress to accept the elimination of programs they presumably passed due to popular (or contributor) demand.

--Shades of “I like to fire people” when Romney talked about the advantages of seniors choosing a private health care plan as an alternative to Medicare: “I’d rather have a private insurance company… If I don’t like them, I can get rid of them and find another one.”

--At points, Romney blew Tea Party whistles with statements like “The government is not effective at bringing down the cost of anything” and “the private market and individual responsibility always work best.”

--Romney boasted more than once about public schools in Massachusetts being the best in the nation – a discordant note, given that conservatives revile the Bay State as overspending, overregulated “Taxachusetts.”

--Nice to see that the Deep South no longer has any economic problems. At least, they’re never mentioned in anecdotes about struggling citizens in presidential debates, not since they became safely Republican.

--This seems right, from TPM’s Josh Marshall: “I remember noting one thing about the 2004 debates, especially the first one. George Bush seemed not to like being criticized by a guy up there on the stage with him. Presidents just don’t have that happen. They get criticized but not often to their face. Bush showed that in spades. And I feel like I’ve seen some of that from Obama tonight. A lot of grimacing.”


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Stanley Kopacz
10 years ago
The one thing I can't take in debates and elsewhere are the politicians telling the American people how great we are.  ARE we?  THAT great?
Rick Fueyo
10 years ago
"Obama is not very bright and he's in way over his head."

Not remotely true, I am surprised to see that from you. It has long been a Republican talking point with racial undertones or even maybe overtones. It was usually manifests itself in the Teleprompter references. But regardless of his performance the other night, there is no doubt the president is a man of immense intellect. That is undeniable in any honest appraisal.

As far as economic assumptions and whether statements to be made with veracity. There is just no way mathematically to reconcile the Romney/Ryan tax plans is revenue neutral, and the historic depredations of the Laffer Curve are simply faults as a matter of empiricism.  They always were, but it is been constantly bandied about as a way to attempt a morally rationalize an immoral act

Rick Fueyo
10 years ago
"Romney's tax proposals are feasible"

Not in the real world if you understand the issues
JR Cosgrove
10 years ago
There is so much spin everywhere this morning.  Some random reactions:

This author quotes Andrew Sullivan and Josh Marshall, the ultra left, which places him on the spectrum of political thinking.  Maybe America could try some unbiased articles every now and then.  One way would have been to get some Catholic journalist who wasn't so committed to liberal ideology to make comments.  But it up to several readers here to provide this.  I also wonder if we could get a real discussion of morality here and what constitutes it.  That would be a major contribution by America.

Republicans who were licking their wounds a few days ago over the horrible September for Romney are now over confident.  That could change just as fast.  The Republicans are already out with a ''sneer'' commercial panning Obama facial expressions during the debate.  Seems like a loser to me.

David Axelrod says that Obama will be much more aggressive next time but my guess is that two words will dominate the debate, Syria and Benghazi and neither will be positive for Obama.

And who knows if there are any October surprises up either party's sleeve. My guess in about 5 days we will not be talking about this debate just as the 47% has faded into the background.  The NBC news team in their typical non bias analysis lamented that Obama did not use this talking point but my guess Romney was prepared for it.

My guess is that the main effect from the debate is that most of the country now knows that Romney is not the bogey man that Obama has been portraying in his ads.  Interesting, Romney constantly talked about his experience as governor but not his business background and Obama never even brought it up.  I wonder if they both have private polls about that.
Tim O'Leary
10 years ago
As to the lying charge on economic issues, the difference of opinion is really related to different assumptions and different emphasis. One side believes a future projection (something inherently uncertain and based on assumptions) on what something will cost and says his opponent is lying if he doesn't agree with the projections and the assumptions. Whenever anything goes bad (jobs, debt, gas price, terror), the excuse is it could have been much worse. They denied the Libyan attack on 9/11 was due to Al Qaeda terrorists because it hurt the claim that we are safer. Afghanistan was the good war, etc. One side thinks keeping the poor dependent and unemployed is bad, the other sees all cuts in programs to be anti-poor people. One side will consider a reduction in spending a cut, whereas another will consider a slower growth alone to be a cut in spending. Is the dramatic increase in utilization of food stamps a sign of noble charity or a failure to help the poor with jobs? So, it is best to stay away from the ''lying'' word, as it wears thin with overuse and is more a sign of desperation.

As regards the President's poor performance in the debate, Clint Eastwood's critique of an empty chair is basically right. Obama is described as aloof and sphinx-like because he is inexperienced and doesn’t know the details (he never managed anything before he was elected) and covers up the gaps with teleprompter speeches, gives soft interviews to idolizing fans on the View or the late night shows. He makes lots of gaffes (they all do), but the friendly media ignores or excuses them. He is actually a little like George W. Bush in his preference for delegation and dislike of wading into the details or compromising (Bush filled his time reading lots of history books, about the same number of books as Obama played golf games). Romney is much more like Bill Clinton in his love of the details, pragmatic approach to problem solving and desire to make things happen through finding middle ground and compromise. He is far more likely to get bipartisan legislation passed.
MaryMargaret Flynn
10 years ago
While I have followed many threads in our political discourse, especially since working only part time I was suprised how exhausted I felt after the 90 minute debate and how discouraged. So I recall a mantra a wonderful Jesuit uses; ''Remember, God is God and you are NOT''.  So I cheer up-neither are the presidents, popes and etc.  And I  have the gift of Life. So how can I contribute? Well after practicing medicine for 46 years, I am a pro-life citizen committed to pressing for reform for ''Medicare for All''.  ALso committed to less spending on military, no new wars, more civil rights, economic justice, reform of our now legal but immoral ''naked capitalism'' and against the growing inequality here in the USA.  I see Mitt Romney's vision for policy for national issues (let the states decide, less gov't, elimate the 47% of us who need gov't subsidies, persistent privitization of profits and socialism of debt) and his overall agressive hubris frightening. So I support Obama and Biden and pray adrently for thier re-election in Nov.  And I will be going to a two day conference sponsered by Physicians for National Health Plan later this month so I can give talks to hopefully inform others of the triage to less or no care for those who run out of money before they die, which is a daily minute by minute relaity in our USA.  Like our military industrial complex, our health care system is in need of great reform. It is a new day.      
David Smith
10 years ago
Mary Margaret (#25), I, too, would love to see a single-payer medical-care system in place in this country. But look what your candidate gave us, instead - a worse version of the already awful system already in place. He cemented a rotten system even more solidly in place than it was. That's very much the wrong direction in which to go. Very wrong headed - totally off base. ''Misguided'' is about the softest euphemism one can use fairly to label it.

Like some others here, I'm far from convinced that the present president is up to his job. He seems to me likely way over his head and out of his depth - simply not up to the task of understanding in sufficient depth the stickiest issues he's confronted with. It's hardly racist to say that - any more than it was anti-Baptist to say that George W. Bush also lacked the intellectual wherewithal to handle his office in the way in which it ought to have been handled.

In fact, because of the nature of our flawed political system, we're very unlikely ever to come up with the best and brightest at the top. So we have to make do, hoping that the civil service, the Congress, and the courts can compensate for the mediocrity of the executive.

In this election, though, we have, I think, a choice between a philosophically and intellectually inadequate television idol committed to a strongly partisan approach and a candidate who seems to have few strong political convictions but a demonstrated ability to bring various competing positions to workable compromises. That's not saying much about either man, but at least the compromiser has a talent which I think just about everyone would agree is sorely needed at this moment in our history.

As for the wretched excesses of a very small group of capitalists in recent years, I suggest that we think of them not as capitalists but simply as excessively selfish and greedy people. In a Communist society, these same people would have excelled at the sort of manipulation of the system for their own ends as they have in a nominally capitalist system. People like that have no preference for systems - they will, alas, thrive no matter what putative ideology has risen to the top.

Back to the medical-care problem. I've become acutely aware of the limitations of our medical-care system in recent months, for various personal reasons. Unfortunately, I've more or less come to the conclusion that we're not going to get the single-payer system so many of us long for. The United States is cursed - or just possibly blessed - with having to go its own, unique way in this realm. And, pretty much accepting that, I wonder whether we might not stand a much better chance of coming up with the best possible solutions if the way is led by people who have deep expertise in making hybrid systems like this work, rather than by people who are committed to fighting it, because they find it abhorrent.
Tim O'Leary
10 years ago
Recalling Kevin Clarke's title of his September 18 post: Did Barack Obama just lose the election?

CNN's ''flash'' poll after the debate had Romney winning 67% vs. 25% and the focus groups on CNN and Fox of ''undecided voters'' saw a lot of shift over to Romney. It certainly is the consensus (with glee from the right and sadness from the left) that Romney was the outright winner, appearing energetic, engaged, full of ideas and a can-do mentality, whereas the President was uncomfortable and meandering in his responses. It is bad when the President's own supporters say he needed a teleprompter.

I think this debate was the most lopsided in years, maybe ever. We will see if it translates into a shift in the polls. Some memorable ideas:
 - The contrast of trickle-down government vs. trickle-down economics.
 - Is a government program valuable enough to borrow from China to pay for it?
 - A massive and accumulating debt is immoral, a form of stealing from the next generation to pay for this one.
Charles Petro
10 years ago
An entire debate about the economy and neither poverty nor the poor were mentioned. If we truly are a "Christian nation," we might want to consider reexamining our priorities. 
Joshua DeCuir
10 years ago
"Political debates seem to be either overly personal or excessively detailed, and last night’s presidential showdown fell into the latter category."

Liberal commentators (and many conservative ones, too) have been savaging the Romney campaign for being a campaign over "nothing."  NOW the problem is he offers TOO-substantative critiques!?!

I admit I'm a policy-wonk, so I loved the Dodd-Frank stuff.  And Romney is right (as many liberal commentators have pointed out): Dodd-Frank only entrenches, rather than prevents, too-big-to-fail.  The President has given a blank check guarantee to the biggest New York Banks.  The President couldn't defend that because he knows it to be true.  Dodd-Frank is a classic opportunity for Romney to triangulate & fight on the President's own terms.  I hope he does more of it.

The author also knocks Romney for his "Tea Party whistles"; yet he completely ignores Romney's quite elegant defense of - wait for it - REGULATIONS, and the role they play in a free market!  How Randian! 
Tom Maher
10 years ago
Romney for the first time in this campaign brought home the national debt crisis is one of the largest moral challenges of our times.  To be able to finance today's federal expenditures we are barrwoing from China more than a trillion dollars per year for the last four years and will continue to barrow over a trillion dollars per year indefinately into the future.  For four years over 40% of the federal budget is financed by barrowed money.. We now have a huge national debt of over 16 trillion dollars whgich is larger than the entire annual Gross Domestic Product.  This huge and rapidly growing national debt is unsustainable and will cause a finacial collapse of the United States as our ability to fiance  the accumulation of more debt is exhuasted.  A financial collapse of the U.S. governement would be a disaster that would severely impact  everyone in the United States for years  Romeny points out the immorality of this out-of-control growth of the national debt.  We are burdening future generation of Americans who will have their own financial needs with the priniple and interest payments of teh debt we are accumulating today.  Our failure to stop the menancing growth of our national debt is recklessly immoral and can no longer be morally justified or ignored.   
Thomas Rooney OFS
10 years ago
I'm having a lot of conversations with liberals today telling me to READ the transcripts, not WATCH the debates.  If I want content, I'll go to the candidates' websites and click the ISSUES tab.  Presidential debates are about primarily style, attitude, passion, and confidence, meant to grab the "low-interest" independent voters...the ones who aren't really paying attention to the campaigns, the ones who are most certainly not reading fact-check columns today.  Right or wrong, that's the reality.

The governor came to debate.  The president came to deliver a stump speech/press conference.  Even the president's campaign secretary said on CNN's post-spin last night that his goal was to "talk directly to the American people".  That's not debating.  And it was painful to watch him stutter through his long-winded answers, often having little to do with the question.  The governor constantly engaged him, challenged him, looked at him during retorts.  The president looked at everyone BUT Romney, seemed nervous, irritated and angry.

In short, as far as debates go, Romney cleaned Obama's clock. 
ed gleason
10 years ago
@ JR   " financial collapse of the U.S. government would be a disaster that would severely impact everyone in the United States for years'
I note that JR's and Romney's  moral argument is about harm  limited to those inside the US boarder. A not unusual GOP stance that shows up as a parochial morality..

Obama just got a  lesson long known in sports 'DON'T SIT ON A LEAD'.. it will be up to Biden to do the biting.  
Vincent Gaitley
10 years ago
Gov. Romney exposed President Obama for the empty suit he is:  a well speaking, mannered ideologue with no actual experience at running anything.  Mr. Obama overpromised and underdelivered in his term, and he may not be re-elected.  Fair play for all politicians.  

Meanwhile, the remark that Romney blew "Tea Party whistles" by pointing out that government can not lower the cost of anything is utterly bizarre-government can't lower costs...or prices (the two are often confused).  Why is that supposed to be a Tea Party remark?  Your bias is showing.  The private market and personal responsibility do work best, government is better at being a fail safe, a back stop.  However, now federal aid is sought first, and worse, somehow declared a "right", and always beyond reducing...how dare anyone reduce the expenditures of the federal government, why, the earth might stand still.  

Obama was at his silly worst trying to explain his deficit reduction plan.  it goes something like this:  First borrow 6 trillion dollars, then propose to cut the budget, but actually don't, then say you did, and then agree to reduce the rate of increase in the future budgets, fudge the numbers, and then call China and borrow more money and print more dollars here reducing their value, and voila, only a couple trillion out of balance, and finally, blame President Bush. And smirk, but don't look at that Mormon in the window.
JR Cosgrove
10 years ago
''I note that JR's and Romney's  moral argument is about harm  limited to those inside the US boarder. A not unusual GOP stance that shows up as a parochial morality..''

I think you should read a little more closely.  And I believe the protectionist wing of the political spectrum is on the left though I did not make a comment on it here.

Also the snarkest comment so far was that Clint Eastwood's chair would have done a better job.
Tom Maher
10 years ago
Dr. Larry J. Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics in a TV interview this morning after the first Presidential debate said he had never seen a wider disparity in debate performance going back to the 1960 Nixon Kennedy debate.   Even worse than  the 1980 Carter Reagan debate classic which is credited with vaulting Reagan into a 49 state victory one month later after being 10 points behind Carter just before the debate.  

Debates  matter in an election.  In the first Presidential debate the President was trounced in style, substance ,theme and accountability. 

The President showed extreme vunerability in failing to adequately accounting for his job performance, and policies.  The list of failure to deliver results as promised is a mile long and very short of the goals Obama set for his administration.  Something is very wrong and it matters that it be corrected.

And then there was the question why would Obama devote himself so exclusively to passing Obamacare while 23 million Americans were out of work and economic activity actually decrease in the last three years?  How shocking it must have been for President Obama to be held accountable before 60 million Americans for the first time for his job performance.  Reinforced with questions such as why was 90 billion spent on green energy projects all of which have failed often in under a year.  As mentioned it is bad enough for governement to be in the business of picking picking winner and loser companies to invest in.  But why pick whole industires full of loser companies and  thereby wasting 90 billion of taxpayer dollars without creating any jobs.  The therme of why rely on governement to create jobs when it fact the private sector and especially small business have always been the effecitve engine of job creation?  

The debate showed the  voters have a very stark choice to make: do we continue the failed economic policies of the last four years andlet the economy further decline and stagnate?  Or do we switch to economic policies that actually work and allow the  private sector to grow and create more jobs?  Let's remove the governemnt created barriers to economic growth and job creation.

Debates matter because results matter.

This debate was a another breakout in holding President Obama and his failed economic policies accountable before the nation. 
Carlos Orozco
10 years ago
The media this morning was full of talk about a weak moderator and of "missed opportunities" to partially explain the President´s dismal debate performance. Sure, Romney is no solid candidate and has held opposite positions on issues, making him an enigma (or, more probably, just another politician willing to say anything to get elected) and, because of that it is, unexplicable that Republican presidential candidates put him in more hot water than the re-annointed Democratic candidate.

I think Obama's main problem during the debate was that he had to defend an almost complete term as President, and found himself with no arguments to do so.  As a candidate four years ago he could sell snake oil, that is no more.
Crystal Watson
10 years ago
After watching the debate I came away with one main feeling ... that Romney lied so much it was a miracle his pants didn't spontaneously combust.  Oh, btw, Romney did mention "the poor" - he made them sound like some kind of alien species - when he described how he was going to decimate medicare. 
Crystal Watson
10 years ago
Oops - I meant to write "medicaid".
David Smith
10 years ago
Obama looked terrible out there, like a kid explaining to his teacher of the terrible tragedy that befell his homework. He let Romney get away with some whoppers that should have been easy points for him. Did he not prep at all? Seemed like it. He does this again and he will debate himself out of office.
I didn't think he looked terrible, just behind the curve. Of course he prepared - he was just up against a figures person, someone with clear talking points and a knowledge of the facts behind them. He might have done better to stay in Chicago, or at least Illinois. Most ambitious people, I suppose, reach too high.

Obama seems to me sort of a two-trick pony - he gives good inspirational speeches and looks cool on television.

As far as the he-was-lying outrage against Romney goes, all politicians lie constantly, if by ''lie'' you mean twist the truth to try to put yourself in the best possible light at the moment. Calling a politician a liar is like calling the pope a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinitarian''>Trinitarian - it all depends on what you mean by Trinitarian.
David Smith
10 years ago
Oh.  It wasn't me, Kevin.  You've changed the way you parse your comments. 
Amy Ho-Ohn
10 years ago
I didn't see the whole debate, but I've watched some segments.

Obama is not very bright and he's in way over his head. Remember how he got this job? In 2008, the Democrats held about a hundred primary debates, Hillary and seven or eight guys, including Obama. And Hillary wiped the floor up with them all, every single time. She's a "numbers person," like Romney, and she knew more about how government works than all of them put together. The guys realized they were looking ridiculous and began dropping out.

Then it was a month or two away from primary ballot-casting time, and the party started to panic. "We're not really going to give this thing to a woman, are we?" they were all asking. So they looked around desperately and the only men still in the race were Obama and John Edwards. (remember him?) So all the big poobahs, Kennedy, Kerry, Cuomo, Carter, Gore, began talking up Obama, how historic it would be, you know, to have such a cosmopolitan candidate.

He doesn't have what it takes. He got the job because he's got a penis. He's always been a moron in debates. This is what happens when you're desperate to keep women out of the good jobs. Pffffft - clunk. He's a dud.
JR Cosgrove
10 years ago
''He let Romney get away with some whoppers that should have been easy points for him.''

Apparently this is the theme that Axelrod is trying to emphasize now.  However, it seems that it is Obama and his campaign are the ones telling tall tales and not Romney.  Romney's tax proposals are feasible and the organization which Obama claims supports his point has distanced itself from Obama's claims that Romney's plan is not possible without raising taxes on the middle class.  They have said that by putting all deductions on the table it is possible and Romney provided the way to do this, by providing a fixed limit on deductions.

Romney has been debating Rob Portman constantly for the past month as Portman played Obama.  Portman is also a numbers wonk on government expenditures, taxes and budgets.  The intent was to provide Romney with tons of numbers for the debate and it worked.
Tim O'Leary
10 years ago
Rick #22

President Obama said he would halve the deficit, but he has doubled it. He said he would get unemployment down to below 6%. He said he was would reduce the debt and reduce our reliance on borrowing from China but he has mushroomed the debt. He said he would close Guantanamo day 1 of his presidency. He gave soothing speeches to the Arab world but our popularity there is worse than when he took office. He put millions into companies like Solyndra and lost it all. He said he would bring people together but pushed through one-party Obamacare that remains unpopular with at least half the country.
The list of unrealistic promises and failed policies could extend many more paragraphs. Are these failures signs of “immense” intelligence or signs of not-so-special intelligence and lack of operational/managerial experience in the real world? How does one decide he has immense intelligence? How he performs on talk shows? He has refused to show past test scores, not that I want them – I really don’t care about that, just his principles and performance as President. To bring in the charge of de facto or veiled racism against Amy for dissenting from the claim he is immensely intelligent belies a form of racism in its own right. Ever hear of the soft bigotry of low expectations? There was no hesitation in decrying the intelligence of President Bush. It is long past time to stop the racist charges and stick to judging policies and performance.
david power
10 years ago
Interesting to read the comments of the more judicious here(Amy,David Smith).
With Obama we have seen the frightening power of the mainstream media and I am sure that even Castro in Cuba longs for the internal press coverage afforded the big O over the past 5 years.I missed the first debate but will watch the second.
Obama is an actor as much as Bill Clinton is and was.He can adapt.Clinton pretends to be a wonk as he knows people are impressed with that but it is just an act , the only figures Bill is interested in are female ones.But he can put on a show.Obama can do the same.Feel the pulse of the audience and then become who you want him to be.Harder this time of course because he now has feet of clay but don't be surprised if you start hearing Rocky music after the next debate.
david power
10 years ago
Just watched the debate.Yes everybody is right.Romney killed him.
Romney channeled the Gipper, not a bad thing to do and who knows if he cannot have a late surge. 
Carlos Orozco
10 years ago
Maybe, after all, Clint Eastwood's empty chair was an omen.

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