Last debate before the election (chews nails nervously) and I don’t care what the spinroom says, that was a clear win for Obama. I also don’t care how badly my shirt smells, I’ll be preserving its magic right through the World Series and through Election Day.
Foreign policy was the topic of this debate, although really foreign policy meaning mainly Middle East politics with a faint nod to China. The rest of the world apparently has no impact on your presidential aspirations. Congrats to Bob Schieffer for spanking Romney at least once, although frankly I think he could have been a little sterner about Romney’s penchant for flouting time limits and being a blowhard. Schieffer was competent, although he was no Martha Raddatz, which is a shame, because someone needed to call out Romney on his inability to answer a question on foreign policy directly.
But happily, Obama was on fire tonight, getting the best zingers of the night and calling out the Romney lies.
Some of my favourite Obama lines of the night (lines I’m sure he practiced ahead of time):
You were asked, what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia — not al-Qaida, you said Russia. And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years. But, Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.
But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — (laughter) — because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s what are our capabilities.
Bob, let me just respond. Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. This has been probably the biggest whopper that’s been told during the course of this campaign, and every fact-checker and every reporter’s looked at it. The governor has said this is not true.
Now, I hasten to add, that while those were lines I loved, the truth that every Obama supporter has to come to terms with is that NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS, there are people who will never accept that Romney has lied about Obama. Case in point, the apology tour. This is a fiction promulgated by the GOP political machine since Obama left for Cairo. There was nothing apologetic about it, but I have ex-friends (whom I had to unfriend on Facebook) who railed about how they knew Obama had gone on an apology tour and that it was a disgrace. No amount of logic or facts is ever going to dislodge her sad opinion. Some people do not want to be confused by facts. Romney’s poor performance will make as little difference to them as Obama’s poor performances in the first debate did for me. I understand that. I can only hope there are slightly more sane people out there than insane people.
I also must mention the blinking. With the candidates on split screen, I noticed Romneys blinking FAR more than I have at the previous debates. Here’s what About.com says about that particular piece of body language, “People often blink more rapidly when they are feeling distressed or uncomfortable.”
Curiously, besides the blinking, one of the takeaways of the night was that Romney apparently agrees with most everything Obama has done, revealing either an amazing lack of imagination, or an underlying truth that all along Obama has been doing what a commander-in-chief should be doing.
Of course not every pundit felt it was a clear Obama win. But at the Political Wire, Taegan Goddard says:
The third and final presidential debate was President Obama’s best moment in the campaign so far. He was prepared on every issue and knew Mitt Romney’s record of past statements just as well… As the debate went on, Romney tried many times to move the international affairs discussion back to the economy where he was more comfortable. It was as if he had only 30 minutes of foreign policy talking points for a 90 minute debate. As a result he seemed to string together random thoughts which often made him sound incoherent.
TalkingPointsMemo concludes: “Romney began to falter as Obama became more direct, organized and declarative. Romney seemed increasingly lost. Obama seemed comfortable, happy. The visuals told the story.”
It was a good night.
Paul Ryan Repairs the World
And while Romney is out debating the future of the world, his pal Paul Ryan has been out doing good deeds, like cleaning Mount Rushmore:
Cleaning Mother Teresa:
and cleaning Brad Pitt’s abs:
Ah, the things one can do with Photoshop…
And sometimes I don’t need to Photoshop anything at all:
I have a theory.
By Ann Elk.
Stay with me here. I know this is going to sound like I’m a nut job, but, here goes. Clearly from these last two debates, we can see that Debate #2 and Debate #3 Obama is so much more practiced, so much smarter and quicker than Debate #1 Obama. And I’m not the first one to wonder what the heck happened in that first debate.
Here’s my crazy theory. What if Obama lost that first debate with strategy in mind?
Pshaw, I hear you say, what a thought! Why would he do that? Well, folks, this election is a different animal mainly due to the sudden rise of SuperPACS, quasi-political organizations that we all knew were stockpiling cash to make a hit on Democrats running for Senate, particularly in the final weeks leading up to the election. In early October, Obama had only a small lead in polls in popular vote, but the likelihood was that he would carry most of the swing states in the electoral college race.
I think he also knew that if it looked like Romney was going down in flames (which he was after the 47% remark) the conservative SuperPACS would pull their money from the Romney campaign and abandon Mitt to focus on the Senate and House races. With Obama on a slide, GOP superPACS have earmarked more cash for pro-Romney ad buys in swing states and moved away from the Senate races. Savvy?
Think of it like that final act of Lord of the Rings. Aragorn proposes a crazy house call on Sauron’s front gate to draw the Eye away from the hobbits scrambling up Mount Doom. Yeah, yeah, go ahead and tell me I’m crazy, because who would throw away an only slightly-greater-than-nothing lead?
It would be an incredible game of brinksmanship, I concede, but come on, this man is President of the United States. You have to have some nerves of steel to get the job.
Anyway, my point is, yes, he took a dip in the polls–perhaps more than might have even been anticipated. But still, Romney has never been able to create volatility in the polling, not like back in 2004.
Have I mentioned early voting? Very much worthwhile. It means that once you’ve voted you can ignore the myriad political ads and paraphernalia invading your inbox…
In-person early voting has commenced in South Dakota, Idaho, Vermont, Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, Indiana, California, Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, Hawaii,
You can vote by absentee ballot already most states. Check Reed’s calendar for more info.
That was a good night.