Apparently there’s some sort of political debate this evening

5 Facts You Should Commit to Memory Before Watching Tonight’s Debate

“In a weird attempt at ‘objectivity,’ the headline on the story reads ‘Political display at Morgan Hill home called racist”’ — because apparently a noose and watermelons are completely open to interpretation?”

“While some folks are obsessed with the silliness of ‘lynched’ chairs, racist t-shirts, and other nonsense, Mitt Romney has been offering up a mix of overt racism and covert ‘dog whistles’ against Barack Obama that collectively draw upon some of the deepest and ugliest stereotypes about black humanity.”

“Civil rights and labor groups have denounced the billboards as an attempt to intimidate minority voters.”

“Far too many people in this business have accepted the Etch-A-Sketch argument to the point at which whether something is true or not is measured by its effectiveness as a tactic.”

“When the book is written on the evolution of post-truth politics, this anecdote should be in the first chapter.”

“I have no desire to debate the pros and cons of those issues. I simply wish to point out that Romney changed his position on each and every one.”

“The 20-percent rate cut figure was plucked out of thin air for political reasons without regard to whether it was feasible.”

We now officially know nothing at all about Mitt Romney’s tax plan.”

“Numerous studies over the past 10 years conclude that tens of thousands of Americans die each year because they lack insurance.”

The Wall Street Journal labeled such financing mechanisms ‘Medicaid Money Laundering’ and a ‘swindle.’

“We pass a whole economy, society and environment to our children. Unless we have given them a really bad education, they would be crazy to opt for a government with a lower national debt in exchange for a weaker economy, a worse infrastructure or more damaged environment.”

“He said it was pathetic and comical to have the same person come up to you within only a half hour, have this person reintroduce himself to you, having absolutely no idea whatsoever that he just did this 20 minutes ago, and did not even recognize Glen’s face.”

If Romney’s lips are moving and he’s talking about abortion, he is lying.”

“And he just said, ‘Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,’ he said, ‘they rape so easy.’

Because of Obama, I now have a wife who can get covered. But really, at heart, I’m a limited-government kind of guy.”

“He promised that he would work with Indian country, that he would help us, and he has done that at every turn.”

“There you have the six ‘studies’ on which the Romney campaign has based its defense of Romney’s tax plan. Individually and collectively they fail the task.”

You still can’t drive cross country in 15 hours without speeding.”

“This isn’t because Romney or his advisors are bad at math. It’s because they’re lying, trying to get elected based on a fraud.”

“I am glad of all the support I can get anywhere, if I can get it without practicing any deception to obtain it.”

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  • Vermic

    “Racist Display at Morgan Hill Home Called Political”

  • Okay, liking the early minutes here.  Obama is focused and present and Romney is vague and avoiding the question.

  • First audience-laugh of the night goes to the President!

  • David Starner

    It’s standard media refusal to state facts. I recall headlines like “Elizabeth Smart speaks out against her accused kidnapper” that were equally WTF.

  • Jessica_R

    I must say it was quite nice to see the President take the smug, plastic-y orange man to the woodshed tonight. 

  • PandaRosa

    I don’t know what everyone expected, but I was not disappointed.

  • aunursa

    “Who won the debate?” insta-polls…

    CBS: Obama 37%, Romney 30%, Tie 33%
    CNN: Obama 46%, Romney 39%

  • thebewilderness

    Tonight he has given us binders full of women

  • Lori

    I think that someone who seemed more human and less like an automaton could have made essentially the same binder comment and not seemed weird. Coming from Romney it was a meme waiting to happen.

  • What I would like to know is this: how can anyone possibly not see Mitt Romney for the total and complete dumbass he is at this point? I mean, he’s not even worth despising any more. I think even Dubya had a little more native wit than Romney. He was a slightly better liar, at any rate.

  • Well, it was a lie. So maybe someone else could have made the comment and not seemed weird, and maybe that shows that Romney is bad at lying, in which case he really should stop lying all the time.

  • Donalbain

    The line about “accused kidnapper” makes sense, even if it is a bit ugly in terms of prose. “Man accused of being her kidnapper” would be better. But the general point remains, in something like a criminal case such as kidnapping, a newspaper has a responsibility not to prejudice the ongoing investigation and trial.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    What’s your point?

  • CharityB

    I think aunursa is just a fan of polling and statistical analysis. Personally, I don’t really get it (I think political opinion polls are one of the worst things about our political system — not in the top five, of course, but pretty damn high on the list of appalling worthlessness) but there’s nothing wrong with following them as a hobby as long as you understand that the polls don’t prove (or attempt to prove) anything empirical or objective.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’m interested in hearing aunursa’s explanation of his point. Every political post he just dumps links to polls and says nothing. Either he’s the guy who invented the concept of political polling or he’s unwilling to actually state his own opinions; either way there’s no need for anyone else to attempt to speak for him.

  • P J Evans

     He’s probably missing the big point in the CNN poll: their collection of people was weighted towards Republicans.

  • aunursa

    I shared information about the overall reaction to the debate of those who watched it.  I expect that some people will be interested in that information.  You and everyone else are welcome to take it or leave it.

  • Lori

    Yes, like most things that Mitt says (at least in public, while campaigning) the binders thing was untrue. I was just commenting on the weird phrasing. I think someone human could have said that and it would have seemed like one of those things that just comes out a little oddly. That happens to everyone. I think the fact that Mitt comes off like he was put together in a factory somewhere (presumably in China) made it meme-worthy.

    Well, that and the fact that he clearly isn’t a real big fan of the ladies working “outside the home”. That whole thing about how he’ll help women by making the economy so good that employers will generously allow them to leave work in time to go home and cook dinner for their families was just. Ugh, I can’t even. Thanks a bunch Mittens. I really appreciate that your plan for helping us out is to give more money to rich guys so they’ll throw women enough crumbs that they can go home and do their real jobs. Single women and women without children don’t exist or don’t need any help from the Mittster apparently. Oy. What a total ass. 

  • Lori

    I didn’t think he seemed stupid so much out of touch. Also mean and snotty as hell. I felt like there were times when you could really see the Mitt who ran a hedge fund that made millions by gutting people’s lives and then posed for pictures with dollar bills stuck to himself. I also want to know where the politeness police from the Biden/Ryan debate are today. Strange how they have nothing to say about the way Romney talked to both Obama and the moderator like they were The Help.

    I do think it’s true that Mittens may actually be a worse human being than W. That’s a terrifying thought.

  • Single women and women without children don’t exist… [for] the Mittster apparently.

    Now that’s just not fair or true.  After all, somebody’s gotta be responsible for all that gun violence!

  • Lori

    Gun violence the fault of single mothers, right? Different group of women. [eyeroll]

  • AnonaMiss

    “Binders full of women” was a funny mental image but if the story had been true it would have been an admirable example of a corporate hegemon going out of his way to seek qualified candidates that might have been excluded by sexist compilers.

    The part that made me want to punch Romney in the face was when he went on to say that women don’t need equal pay, we just need flexible schedules so we can go take care of their families. Which, yeah, flexible schedules are nice, but motherfucker it’s not equal to more pay. Equal pay, equal flex, and try to think of women without boxing them in as childcare providers for once.

  • It’s worth noting that the insta-polling is close to meaningless.  It does provide interesting information on how opinions change over time, as with all polling, but it doesn’t really help when trying to figure out what the debate will mean for the race.

    Opinions change in retrospect and sometimes people who won the debate in the insta-polling lost it in the slightly longer run once the news cycles and the people, and the people watching the news cycles had a chance to digest everything.

    Of course sometimes things go exactly as you’d expect them to go based on the insta-polling, for example in the last debate Romney was seen as a winner in the short and longer run.

    Which is sort of the point, the important results can follow the insta-polling, they can completely contradict it.  It’s useful if you want to know what people thought at that moment of time, but if you’re more interested in who won the debate, it takes a bit longer for opinions to settle.

    It’s also useful helpful for knowing who was watching it as it happened.  How did the viewers breakdown along party lines.  People have plenty of time to watch a debate after the fact, but by then their perceptions may have been influenced by what they’ve already heard.

    And, as with all polls, you have to look at the methodology, was it just anyone who happened to be watching, registered voters, likely voters, undecided voters, what?  But even doing so, it’s very much a snapshot.  And it’s a snapshot that doesn’t tell you a lot about the future.

    This post, by the way, wasn’t directed at anyone.

  • AnonaMiss

    Incidentally, I thought the takeaway moment of the night was when Romney thought he had caught Obama on a verifiable lie and the moderator contradicted him, told him he was wrong. The relish with which he pounced, and his stammering attempts to insist that he was right, the speed of his voice – I’d love to hear your thoughts on that moment.

    What was weird to me about it was the difference between that exchange and the occasions on which he’s called on other lies. Telling him he’s wrong normally doesn’t even ruffle his hair, but he sounded actually panicked last night when he thought he’d caught Obama in a bald-faced lie and then found out he was wrong.

  • AnonaMiss
  • Lori

    I think the panic is tied to the relish and also to Romney’s style. He has continued, for reasons I don’t exactly understand, to believe that Benghazi is a winning issue for him in spite of the fact that it has never played the way he obviously hoped it would. He thought he got his big opening to use it during the debate and instead of being a winning “zinger” it totally blew up in his face.  That wasn’t in the script so he wasn’t prepared for it and had no response on tap. Panic.

    I don’t think that Romney is a good debater, I think he’s a decent presenter. He said himself that his debate prep was about memorizing lines and looking for places to use them. He didn’t have a response memorized for having the moderator say straight out that his zinger wasn’t true. It’s also possible that Romney never actually watched Obama’s remarks from the day after the attack and was simply operating from summaries and talking points prepared by his staff. If so, for once he may not have even known that he was lying, which would contribute to him being surprised to be called on it.

  • aunursa

    Crowley: Romney was right in main Libya argument, but ‘he picked the wrong word’

    Crowley admitted that she also agreed with Romney during the debate, when he said that the Obama administration spent two weeks telling Americans the attacks were about “a tape and this riot outside the Benghazi consulate, which there wasn’t.”
    “He was right in the main, I just think he picked the wrong word,” Crowley concluded.

    The question is whether Obama’s statement in the Rose Garden was referring to the Benghazi attack…

    “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”

    Read FactCheck’s analysis here.
    Read the Washington Post’s analysis here.
    Read Politifact’s analysis here.

  • Lori

    Are you kidding with this shit? Really? Are we supposed to think that Obama talking about acts of terror was some sort of tangent or non sequitur ? If that’s what you and Romney have you should both just pack it up and go the hell home.

    Also, are those 3 fact checkers your new polls—-the thing you’re going to pointlessly post about every single issue as a passive aggressive substitute for actual thought?

  • What are you, four years old? “Acts of terror” aren’t the same thing as terrorism because you don’t use the suffix “-ism”? 

    You know who that sounds like? This guy. Do you really expect us to believe you thought that was a valid argument? Or are you so inconsistent in your positions that one case of semantic haggling was illegitimate, but the other isn’t?

  • CharityB

    I’m finding it hard to understand the difference between “act of terror” and “terrorist attack”, and the three articles that aunursa cites don’t really make a case saying that the two concepts are different.  I mean, I understand that conservatives need to make this argument because the Romney/Ryan ticket is comparatively weak on foreign policy, but it doesn’t make quite sense. 

    You know what? I think this issue is better addressed with another example of the exact same word choice: President George W. Bush, in the wake of the original 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers, said this: 

    The deliberate and deadly attacks which were carried out yesterday against our country were more than acts of terror; they were acts of war”. 

    Did American audiences at home really not understand that Bush was referring to the acts as a terrorist strike? I find that a little tough to believe. I know that language can be complicated and word choice and ambiguities abound, but that’s a little ridiculous. I think this is more of a case of someone who is bending over backwards to not understand a plain English phrase because it suits their political point. And that’s fine as far it goes, but it makes the people advocating this as a serious point look a little ridiculous.(I get Romney’s point — kind of — about subsequent comments by administration officials, though I don’t exactly see what’s disgraceful about the idea of deferring comments on an ongoing investigation until it ends. I mean, isn’t that common practice? “Accused attacker”, “alleged kidnapper”, “suspected gunman”… Why feign indignation now?)

  • aunursa

    Yes, “acts of terror” is essentially the same as “terrorism.”  The question is the context of the president’s speech in the Rose Garden on September 12th which dealt with the Benghazi attack. The question is whether his reference to “acts of terror” was referring to that attack.

    As this Washington Post timeline shows, from September 12-17 members of the Obama administration declined to identify the attack with the T-word.  The Post asserts “suddenly, a shift to [referring to Benghazi as] a ‘terrorism attack'” beginning on September 19th.  Moreover, President Obama himself “resists saying the t-word.”  On September 20th and 25th, in response to direct questions, the president said that the incident was still under investigation, and wouldn’t commit to calling it “terrorism.” If he had already determined on September 12th that Benghazi was a terrorist attack, then the question is why did he and members of his staff decline to use the T-word one week later.

    Therefore it’s reasonable for the media to question whether or not his earlier reference to “acts of terror” specifically referred to (or included) the Benghazi attack.

  • aunursa

    Also, are those 3 fact checkers your new polls

    You can dismiss my interpretation by pointing out that I’m biased for Romney.  You cannot so easily dismiss media fact-checkers.  You may claim that they are right or wrong.  (No one here seems to question their analyses when they validate Obama’s statements and reject Romney’s statements.)   But you cannot simply dismiss them as biased for Romney and against Obama.

    By the way, they didn’t say that Romney’s claim was TRUE or FALSE. They determined that its truth-rating was open to interpretation. (One fact-checker rated it HALF-TRUE.)

  • Yes, “acts of terror” is essentially the same as “terrorism.”  The question is the context of the president’s speech in the Rose Garden on September 12th which dealt with the Benghazi attack. 

    No, it’s not. You’re blatantly attempting to move the goalposts

    It’s also incredibly insulting that you are raising “questions of context” when the immediate next sentence in the speech is “Today we mourn four more Americans…” referring to the people who died in the Benghbazi attack. 

    This is a childish attempt at semantic dissembling that’s obviously false. 

  • I do think it’s true that Mittens may actually be a worse human being than W. That’s a terrifying thought.

    Yes, and yes.

    Personally, I think being that out of touch is stupid. Purposefully stupid. He’s not someone’s 80-year old grandma sitting on a back porch swing. He’s had every single possible advantage, and he hasn’t used them to get any knowledge of the world, taste, or judgment, and yet he wants us to think he should run the country! I’d love to see what Jane Austen would say about him.

  • Aunursa. Here’s the deal.

    You’re no troll. I can tell that you don’t like having to lie. You also hate losing. And you, like most people, hate admitting you were wrong, incredibly wrong, horribly wrong, morally wrong, wrong in ways that hurt real people whom you’re talking to. Yet you don’t avoid us. 

    You’ve been trying to pretend this is a game for a long time now. But you’re smarter than that. 

    Many of us have been justifiably mean to you many times, and will continue to be so, until you stop lying. Because when you lie to us, you’re being much meaner to us than all the name-calling in the world could be. Is this the person you really want to be?

    You know we’ll be here when you make the right choice.

  • Tricksteron

    No, the republicans get all their robots made by Disney.  Using Chinese made parts.

  • Single women and women without children don’t exist or don’t need any help from the Mittster apparently.

    What sort of unnatural monster would be happy in a childless state???  Why, next thing you know, the “gals” will want to work the same hours as men, and wear pants and live outside their fathers’ homes!

    You know someone is mired in the past when his attitude compares unfavorably with characters on Mad Men.

  • For my money, the real telling moment of the debate came fairly early. Romney tried the same damned thing he did with Leher, steamrolling over the debate format to suck up the time with his stump speech, and the moderator wouldn’t let him. And his reaction when the *President of the United States* tried to take the talking time due him, was to say something like “I’m talking right now, you’ll get your chance.” 

    His tone, his expression, his words, they all said the same thing: “How DARE this uppity woman and this uppity son of Ham interrupt  when a RICH WHITE MAN is speaking!”

    Also, how out of touch do you need to be when you’re setting up your BIGGEST ZINGER EVAR, if you ask the man you’re about to Zing to confirm the thing you want to Zing him with, and he sits back, and smirks and says “Go on…”, and not have a vision of Admiral Akbar right after Billy Dee Williams identifies the non-moonness of the Death Star?

  • Has anyone got links to subtitled versions of the Presidential candidate debates? Closed captions are a hearing impaired person’s best friend.

  • Lori

    You can dismiss my interpretation by pointing out that I’m biased for Romney.  

    I probably would if you would ever just state your interpretation instead of doing your standard linking to polls and now the same 3 fact checkers again and again.

    No one here seems to question their analyses when they validate Obama’s statements and reject Romney’s statements.  

    Aaaand your “both sides do it” fetish is showing again. No one but you quotes those fact checkers. I know that this is difficult for you to understand, but it’s possible to look at sources rather than (often stupid) “fact checking”. When we discuss Romney’s many, many lies we’re usually talking about things like video of him saying things he later claims not to have said and math and logic.

    Yes, Fred links to the round up at Maddow Blog, but I don’t just quote mine that and neither do other people. I actually check the links and go to other sources to verify. IOW, don’t put your lazy, passive-aggressive crap off on the rest of us.

  • Lori

    I know that CPAN captions it’s live stream, so I assume their video also includes them. PBS video probably does too. The News Hour makes a point about its commitment to closed captioning so it would seem odd for them not to provide them for the presidential debates.

  • P J Evans

    At  Daily Kos there  are ‘Transcripts Editors’ who post the transcripts.

    Scroll down for the more recent ones.

  • Lorehead

    Fred’s written from time to time about what journalism is about, so I think this is relevant to here.  What we saw Candace Crowley do last night was journalism.  When a politician lies to the American people, a journalist follows up with the truth.  And she was so scrupulously fair about it that even the side that lost the exchange points to her summary as accurate.  Under the circumstances, that’s remarkable.

    The audience in the debate had seen far too little of that over the years.  That, I think, was what they applauded.

  • I appreciate the link, but I prefer inline subtitles. Flipping back and forth between the youtube and the transcript (unless I’m purposely trying to listen for tone and inflection) is cumbersome.

  •  So. Watching Debate No. 1 now.

    As a Canadian, when a US high official or presumptive high official starts talking about a “North American” or “continental” energy independence, the alarm bells start ringing. The one thing a lot of Americans still don’t realize about NAFTA is that it locks Canada into two things:

    1. We cannot preferentially price domestic supplies of oil to ourselves.
    2. We cannot preferentially supply ourselves over the USA.

    So when Romney says “get us North American energy independent” he’s talking about grabbing Canadian oil and/or the tar sands output for the USA.

    It is wholly inappropriate of him to, in this instance, treat Canada as a mere appendage or colony of the USA when it has already been documented that in effect, the Canadian economy sheds wealth and jobs back to the USA when branch plants or subsidiaries are located here with the parent company “back home”.

    Not, of course, that Romney gives a damn considering what he got up to to get so fabulously wealthy in the first place.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Man, there are some silly people who live in Canadia. Actually saying in public that Canadians ought to consider the welfare of Canadia as being at least as important as the welfare of the US. Wow that’s dumb.

  • Unfortunately Stephen Harper agrees with you. (>_<)

  • Number three, it puts in place an unelected board that’s going to tell
    people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have. I don’t like
    that idea.

    Is Romney still pulling that stale old “death panels” crap?

    Oh, and for bonus points he’s also trying to push buttons right-wing politicians have used since the 1960s about government-sponsored health insurance. The Canadian Medical Association even tried this in Saskatchewan in 1962 when they made up horror stories about the government going around and telling your doctor what treatment you could get.

    If anyone here seriously thinks Canadians live in some kind of health-care hellhole, let me reiterate:

    1. I can choose my own doctor.
    2. No provincial or federal official has ever told me what treatment I can and cannot get. That’s been strictly between me and my doctor.
    3. I could be making $0 a year and still have complete, unfettered access to health care.

    Romney should have an actual listen to Canadians one day instead of his health insurance industry lobbyists.

  • P J Evans

    Romney should have an actual listen to Canadians one day instead of his health insurance industry lobbyists.

    That would require him to admit that he doesn’t know much. (I think of him as a dipstick, because he doesn’t get most of reality.)

  • Carstonio

    Aggravating because for-profit insurers already have the equivalent of “death panels” and already ration care, because that’s how they generate profits and dividers.