Obama vs Romney Round ll Live Blog!!! (9pm ET/6pm PT)
Ok, and we’re off. Obama starts with an attack pretty much straight away after Romney begins with a question from Bob Schieffer on Islamic extremism, telling Romney he thinks the biggest geo political threat is Russia. The President says “Every time you’ve given an opinion, you’ve been wrong”. Obama then lays out every single time Romney has got it wrong. Wow. He’s not messing around.
Final statement – both candidates try to dispel commonly held perceptions about themselves (as per a question from the audience). Romney tries to preempt the 47% issue by saying that the Obama campaign has tried to paint him as not caring about all Americans. This is slightly ridiculous given he said it himself….Romney closes reasonably well, but after the Benghazi round, he still looks a little unsure of himself.
Obama finally, FINALLY brings up the 47% remark in his final statement, and talks about what that means in a wider context. It wasn’t as forceful an attack as it could have been, but he brought the point home effectively. Obama again wins this ’round’ on style given his surer rhetoric and more confident body language.
Overall, this was an extremely effective performance from Obama. He took it to Romney all night, both aggressively and accurately leaving the Governor looking bewildered on several occasions an unable to mount any sort of effective counter attack. There wasn’t a single moment where Obama looked troubled, whereas on virtually all debate points – tax, health care and foreign policy – Romney looked out of touch, untruthful and sometimes, plain ridiculous. Each untruthful statement was countered immediately by Obama and Romney just looked like a liar. It was nothing fancy, but it was very effective. The media will pore over the facts thrown around in the debate tomorrow, but as has been historically the case, they most likely won’t favor the Republicans.
This was exactly the type of performance the President needed tonight, and he delivered when it mattered most. We’ll see what the polls say, but from over here, it’s looking good for the Democrats.
Richard Adams at the Guardian:
Romney reaches for the “trickle down government” line and the naughtiness of China. This has nothing to do with off-shoring, really.
“On day one I will label China a currency manipulator,” says Romney. Great: you’ve just put up the price of everything in Walmart.
Wow. President Obama just eviscerated Romney. As an alpha male. It’s hard to convey genuine offense without seeming aggressive. But Obama made Romney look cheap and political over a tragedy like Benghazi.
They are onto gun control now, and Obama delivers a succinct defense of tighter gun control legislation. Romney comes in and starts to talk about families….not sure how this is relevant. Romney looks shaken here, like the last round on Benghazi has unnerved him.
“Romney was for assault gun legislation before he was against it” says Obama. Bam.
Middle East politics here we go. Romney is doing the whole “Obama is apologizing for America” in the region and hitting him for being soft. Obama gets up and delivers a very fiery retort to Romney’s politicization of Benghazi, and he looks genuinely angry. He tells Romney he finds the accusation that his team didn’t take it seriously offensive. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Obama shoot back like this – he is attacking relentlessly and Romney is looking extremely flustered. Romney looks very out of sorts here and is unsure of how to deal with this version of Obama.
Obama has his Presidential moment on Benghazi where he takes responsibility for the debacle. He smashes Romney for putting out a political press release during the crisis: “You don’t turn national security into a political issue”. He’s doing the “I’m a tough guy” routine which as a Brit I find distasteful, but with Americans will no doubt play well.
I’ll defer to Andrew Sullivan on the immigration debate:
On immigration, Romney cannot answer the core question, except by self-deportation. And Obama is reminding him of the fact. Romney just told Candy Crowley to shut up. He’s treating her with contempt.
Onto immigration now. Both candidates sound confident on this spelling out some specifics on policy. From a superficial point of view Obama is still commanding this debate hands down. There’s no way of fact checking and doing this blog live so we’ll be back later to see how the rhetoric matches up with the truth.
Ok, this performance should catapult Obama back into the race. He is HAMMERING Romney on his economic policies and his ridiculous attempt to draw a distinction between himself and Bush policy wise. Obama says that Romney’s economic plans center around tax cuts, the same measures that caused the crash in the first place. He also bashes Romney when he says he will crack down on China by pointing out that Romney has personally invested in companies that ship jobs abroad to China and are creating surveillance technology to spy on their own citizens. Obama then deftly portrays Romney as being more extreme on social policies than Bush – Bush didn’t wand to ‘defund planned parent hood’ or ‘turn Medicare into a voucher program’. This is incredibly effective from the President.
Great question from the audience – how will Romney be different from Bush given he screwed up so badly and left such a huge mess? Romney begins by throwing Dubya under the bus… wonder how this will play with the base….
Women’s rights in the work place. Both candidates speak well here, but Romney fails to talk about any specifics on policy. His line is “I hired lots of women” in business. So what? What are you policies? Obama hits back with health care and talks about how vital it is in supporting women – contraception, childcare etc etc. It’s a pivot from Obama, but an effective one.
Obama running against Republic Congress on tax question. Much more solid. Where the hell was this guy last debate?
The math don’t add up. Obama asks how spending trillion dollars and lowering taxes lowers the deficit. And Obama brings in Big Bird as Romney’s only visible cut! He then directly says to Romney that if someone came to him as a business man with this as a business plan, he would laugh at it.
We’re onto taxes now and this is where Obama can really hit Romney. Romney’s tax plan does not add up under anyone’s estimation and all of the cuts go to the top bracket. Obama is ramming this home by drawing a stark contrast between the two economic philosophies and accusing Romney of distorting his record on where he actually stands.
Obama really is on fire here, he’s calling Romney out big time for his distortions of the truth. Romney tried to tie high gas prices to Obama’s presidency saying they were much lower when he came into office. Obama hits back immediately saying lower gas prices were the result of the gigantic economic crash and says if Romney gets, gas prices might go down again along with the economy. Wonderful counter attack.
Andrew Sullivan is happy thus far:
Thanks, Mr president, for calling a lie a lie. Finally. That second round was a knock-out for Obama. Thank God he’s alive!
We’re onto oil now and Obama immediately steps out to call Romney out for lying about his plans. He’s got Romney on the inconsistencies again pointing out Romney opposed clean coal and is now for it. It’s early days, but if he keeps this up he’s going to make Romney look pretty silly. There’s almost a face to face confrontation and Obama tells Romney he’s making stuff up.
Obama has already ripped Romney for his tenure at Bain Capital accusing him of vulture capitalism – bankrupting companies and running off with the cash. Far more controlled, far more pointed attacks. This is looking much much better.