Live Blogging the Presidential Debate
It is 6:46 PM. I am set up in the kitchen at work with my laptop, my trusty research assistant, Beau, and the debate on the flat screen. I am going to keep this as live as possible by hitting the “Update” button on my draft screen as I go. Here’s an example of what a comment will look like:
6:42:00 PM – Mitt Romney has already referred to me as “the liberals” in his pre-fight commercial.
With that out of the way, here we go.
7:00:00 PM – I can’t take anymore of James Carvel or AC360’s hair; it’s 7:00, let’s go!
7:00:30 PM – So CNN is going to track the approval of some CO undecideds with squiggly lines; STAY TUNED.
7:01:00 PM – Love that this started with a coin flip, but who won? Did Obama win and take ball or did Romney defer Patriot’s style?
7:02:35 PM – No cheering? No booing? WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF WWE WRESTLING MATCH IS THIS!?!?
7:04:30 – Obama starts with jobs and a happy anniversary to Michelle. Romney is PISSED.
7:12:20 – Mitt is spitting some FACTS right now, DAMN. AND THE UNDECIDED WOMEN GO CRAZY!!! But seriously, how are they tracking that?
7:07:05 – Enter Mitt. Makes a little joke, accuses Obama of lowering taxes for the wealthy (?), reminds us of all the people who’ve asked him for help, and goes right to the old smaller government more entrepreneurs. and BOOM, calls big government “trickle down government”, veerrrrryyyyy interesting, Mitt.
7:09:10 – Race to the Top is Obama’s No Child Left Behind – based on questionable reasoning and very unpopular amongst educators.
7:10:45 – Mitt’s looking pretty tan, moves his head a lot while Obama talks.
7:12:00 – Mitt is laying down some FACTS right now, dayyyamn. BEST QUOTE OF THE NIGHT SO FAR: “I like coal”.
7:14:15 – For real, how are they tracking these undecided voters? Please show us a room full of undecided voters on brain censors.
7:17:40 – I love how candidates refer to their “plans” and “studies” like they actually exist. “That’s not my plan – this is my plan”, “My studies show that you’re wrong; you gotta read the studies!” I just read a study, it says shut up about the damn studies.
7:20:40 – Now that we’ve got some longer answers, let me pause and discuss outfits: I see Barack went with the charcoal suit, white shirt, blue spotted tie, and American flag lapel pin, while Mitt blew the doors off with a black suit, white shirt, striped red tie, and American flag lapel pin. SICK!
7:22:10 – They took ‘er jobs!
7:24:45 – Someone’s gotta hammer down this guy’s tax plan, for fuck sake!
Post-facto note: I wanted a little time to confirm this, but yes, Romney was talking out of his ass when he said his tax plan would not add to the deficit. His idea is to leave taxes for the rich where they are (although he later argued that tax cuts for the rich are good for the economy) and cut taxes for middle- and lower-class Americans. He says he will keep the deficit at bay by cutting expenditures. This is the classic Republican line that never works out because they won’t cut defense and cutting Social Security or Medicare would be political suicide. Without cutting those three, you don’t have much left, hence Romney talks a big game about popping Big Bird with a Remington. But there we’re talking about pennies of pennies and it just won’t add up; this plan didn’t work for Reagan (see Bush I), didn’t work for Bush II (see Obama) and won’t work for Romney.
7:26:10 – What do we think of Mitt’s hair? Tweet @erichbernstein and let me know!
7:27:00 – Thank god someone is finally going to end the $70,000 per year we give to PBS to end the treacherous rule of that big yellow communist chicken!
Post-facto note: According to this article from CNN, the U.S. government gives $450 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting every year. The CPB is responsible for a wide range of public education and arts initiatives, as well as many commercial-free news sources, like Frontline, but Sesame Street itself is 93% funded by licensing (Tickle Me Elmo) and Corporate Sponsorships, meaning very little of Uncle Sam’s Dollars go into Oscar’s trash can.
Also, to put that $450 million figure in perspective: A U.S. government budget will hit around $3.5 trillion, of which $450 million is 1/7,800. In plainer terms, that means that if you had ten dollars for a simulated budget and were looking to reallocate, cutting the equivalent fraction that CPB funding represents would save you a whopping one tenth of one cent.
7:28:00 – Mitt mentions Big Bird – take a shot!
7:29:10 – Someone get me the credit card that paid for the Iraq War cause I got some PLANS that involve the Red Wing store and a few cases of Murray’s Pommade!
7:30:20 – I did the math – Obama’s right!:
7:31:20 – “Do you support Simpson Bowls?” Am I fucking high right now?
7:33:00 – Beau thinks Obama is flustered; I didn’t know jobs could die. How many jobs would a democrat kill if a democrat could kill jobs?
7:34:10 – I don’t know, Spain ain’t so bad – they beat the hell out of us in soccer!
7:35:20 – Inside Romney’s head right now: sheeeeeet, if I had to pay taxes on ma mothafuckin’ jet I’d be dead ass broke right now!
7:36:40 – What is this face Romney’s making?! I feel like that’s how I looked at my prom date.
(Maybe that’s why I didn’t get laid on prom night).
7:38:00 – Who is this “friend” that’s taking shots at Obama, Romney? HUH?!
7:40:20 – Oh yeah, Obama’s grandmother, I know her, sure.
7:43:30 – “I don’t think my opponent sucks. Oh wait, my mistake, did I say doesn’t suck? I meant SUCKS THE BIG ONE! BOOYAH! PEACE I’M OUTTA HERE!” – Romney
7:45:15 – Obama’s tone is way too reasonable for my purposes; get nasty Barry!
7:47:45 – Here’s a major question dodge by Romney: Asked point blank if he supports vouchers; and lays down the “here is what I’ll support”. Vague plan follows.
7:48:20 – The bill came straight from a voice that echoed out of Ronald Reagan’s tomb and was transcribed by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan with the help of a Harrem of olive-skinned virgins.
7:50:20 – Barack’s about to make an important point: We spend too much on healthcare because we are unhealthy as a nation and our attitude about healthcare sucks – we don’t believe in preventative medicine and we refuse to manage ailments for a reasonable cost when expensive, unproven, magic cure procedures are available.
7:50:30 – Oh wait, he didn’t make that point.
7:52:40 – New favorite quote of the night: “Let’s not.” – moderator
7:53:50 – So keep Dodd Frank or what?! Goddamnit, answer the fucking question!
7:55:20 – Romney makes a decent point about follow-through on some of Dodd Frank’s major titles – this is a point of frustration for me.
7:56:00 – Enter Health Care: Official Debate Segment.
7:56:30 – Appleton, Wisconsin, home of Lawrence University, which I visited summer 2005.
7:56:45 – They tried to recruit me to the practice squad of the football team.
7:58:10 – Another good point by Romney – Obama’s healthcare push may have been poorly timed; I have long regretted that he used so much political capital to pass legislation that ultimately didn’t get us what we need: Public motherfuckin’ Healthcare.
7:59:00 – I have to pee. Is there a halftime show for this halftime show?
7:59:30 – WOOOAAHHH; “I had five seconds before you interrupted me, bitch” – Obama
8:01:10 – I love it when Romney has to pretend he hates his own healthcare plan.
8:02:55 – I feel awkward commenting on Obama’s hair, so I won’t.
8:03:15 – Better than streaming the approval of undecided voters would have been streaming heart rate data from Obama, Romney, and the moderator. Am I right, or am I right?
8:05:30 – True story: when I was on the campaign I met with a guy who worked in the medical supply industry and saw on his insurance company’s bill they had been charged $150,000 to install a plastic spacer that costs less than $5 to make.
8:06:00 – Although, to be fair, it was installed in his heart and it saved his life.
8:07:10 – Romney’s doing a good job of making it sound like the government is going to disapprove my next reconstructive shoulder surgery when I blow it out bench pressing 600 lbs (again).
8:09:15 – I really want a candidate to break the dress code just once. Wear a tux or a bow tie, or maybe some lens-less glasses. Although, bow tie Obama would never escape the Nation of Islam comparisons.
8:11:00 – Romney mentioned Reagan – drink!
8:12:10 – In truth, Romney is having a bad hair night; his part is flying up on left side, which is no good because part side is usually strong side (See Mad Men). All I can say is: Thank god he has the head size to support the volume.
8:13:40 – Woah, a Lincoln reference – I honestly did not see that coming.
8:15:20 – Point of fact: Race to the Top was top down – about as top down as it gets.
8:16:30 – Undecideds jumped at all the military and god stuff.
8:18:25 – “Miserable, pathetic, filthy, wretched, poor kids, living in disgusting shanties – I mean, less fortunate kids”. – Romney
8:20:40 – I like the community college stuff and I’m glad these two seem to agree – I’ve had nothing but great experiences at public universities.
8:22:10 – I agree with Mitt on this – I first heard about “green jobs” sophomore year in high school and even at a super-left high school in Brooklyn, everyone in the room looked around like, “what the fuck do jobs have to do with the environment?” I mean, some jobs, sure, but a whole economy? It’s a bit too arbitrary and idealized.
8:24:02 – Three minutes!? I don’t know if I can hold it.
8:25:40 – Oh shit, Middle East, here we go!
8:26:00 – Oops, nevermind.
8:26:30 – CNN really shat the bed with this whole lack of hooting and hollering thing.
8:27:55 – “Do I fight with Republicans? Yes, when they tried to nuke Florida, ruin our economy, and inject Smirnoff into each other’s anuses during a joint session of Congress? Yes I did.” – Obama
8:28:35 – If Romney uses Murray’s then he ran the fuck out before this thing kicked off.
8:29:00 – How would cutting our military be devastating? Please please please tell me.
Post-facto edit: This infuriates me; how is it that neither candidate feels comfortable saying that, well, gee, now that our military is 4 times more powerful than any other, and our concerns about staying competitive revolve more around economic performance, we might be able to back off on tanks and destroyers. Obama actually did cut the military budget, but still he’s embarrassed to say it on TV.
8:29:30 – Almost peed myself.
8:33:00 – So the consensus is Romney held his own better than expected and I held my bladder poorly.
8:35:00 – No personal attacks, no big ideological points, extremely disappointing overall.
8:40:00 – This fat bald guy just caught the trickle down government comment – only an hour and a half after I did!
8:42:30 – My readers are disappointed with my lack of hair analysis, so:
I think Romney does well for himself but I do wonder if his flecks of gray are natural – do people really gray at the temples and nowhere else? This 7 second google search result says probably not. Also, his hair up top is jet black and his grays are almost white – can that kind of contrast be natural? I remain unconvinced.
I think Obama does the right thing by keeping it tight, although full-afro-Prez would be incredible.
8:50:00 – Alright homies, I’m outa here. Leave me messages with comments and I will live reply at my own convenience.
Post-facto closing comments: Now that the bust has settled, I’ll say this: I’m surprised Romney could quote as many facts as he did, but I don’t see him keeping it up or winning two in a row. Also, of course he sounded good; the man will say anything to get elected, that’s been his whole deal from day one.