The governor versus the professor…

CMGd Playlist Player – AJC


Updated at 10:35 p.m.: Let’s put it this way: Barack Obama’s listless — maybe rusty is the better word — performance this evening puts a great deal of pressure on Vice President Joe Biden next week when he debates U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

Mitt Romney gave his campaign the best news it’s had in six weeks and more, and if nothing else, certainly will stop the panic in GOP ranks that we’ve seen.

Updated at 10:11 p.m.: A confident Mitt Romney goes personal: “Mr. President, you’re entitled to your own plane and your own house, but not your own facts.”

The topic was education, but he segued into an attack on Obama’s support for “green energy.”

Updated at 10:11 p.m.: Obama finally lands one — by pointing to Romney’s vagueness on amending Dodd-Frank, elimination of tax deductions and replacing “Obamacare.”

“Does he think it might be too good for middle-class Americans?” Obama asks.

Updated at 10:07 p.m.: If the folks at the Barkley Forum are right, and presentation and confidence is the key to winning a debate, your only victor tonight can be Mitt Romney. Barack Obama’s hesitation, his constantly bowed head, and that one leg cocked behind the other doesn’t bespeak an aggressive stance.

Updated at 9:50 p.m.: Barack Obama launches an attack on Mitt Romney on Medicare, but it lacks force — and Romney dodges the direct question from Jim Lehrer: Do you support a conversion to a voucher system? I oppose any changes to current retirees or those near retirement, Romney says.

Updated at 9:40 p.m.: Biggest difference between the two tonight: Mitt Romney just rejected the Simpson-Bowles approach to federal deficit reduction — i.e., a combination of entitlement reduction and revenue increases. Barack Obama says he’ll go there.

Updated at 9:30 p.m.: Here’s a thought: Mitt Romney could be said to have won the first bout of this debate, and yet still be declared the loser — because Barack Obama has taken the debate into such detail that he’s putting a national audience to sleep.

Political rope-a-dope?

Updated at 9:22 p.m.: I have to give the first 20 minutes to Romney, who is on the attack, and focused. Obama is getting himself bogged down in a detailed defense of himself.

Updated at 9:17 p.m.: Says Romney: “I’ve got five boys. I’m used to people saying things that aren’t true.” Say it ain’t so, Tagg.

Updated at 9:11 p.m.: Romney disputes Obama’s accusation that he’ll run up deficit with tax cuts, says he’s not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income Americans. Middle-class Americans are paying “an economy tax.”

“I’m not looking to cut massive taxes….My principle is there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit,” he says. “Any language to the contrary is not accurate.”

Says Obama: Romney “has been asked a hundred times” about what loopholes he’ll close. And he hasn’t answered.

Romney overrides Lehrer to respond. A sign of aggressiveness.

Updated at 9:07 p.m.: Good start for Romney. Congratulates Obama on his marriage — declaring himself an unsuitable romantic partner, then opens with a vignette about a troubled woman in Ohio who was losing her home.

Updated at 9:03 p.m.: Jim Lehrer introduces himself, promises to draw out differences. Obama and Romney start out with the awkward handshake.

First question: Jobs.

Obama says to his wife: “Next year, sweetie, I promise we won’t be celebrating in front of 40 million people.” But crowd has been ordered silent. It falls flat. Then he begins his answer.

“Economic patriotism” is his key phrase.

Updated at 8:55 p.m.: Just saw Ann Romney take a cleansing breath. As for Michelle Obama — oddly, five years drops off her face when she’s worried. She looks younger.

Updated at 8:25 p.m.: Hearing much talk on cable TV about the need for Mitt Romney to be liked tonight. Anyone who’s ever met the in-laws for the first time know what a high bar that is.

What Romney needs is a three-debate likeability strategy: Respect me, trust me, then like me.

Updated at 8:05 p.m.: Meanwhile, on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly just wondered whether Mitt Romney should bring up that 2007 video of Barack Obama that conservatives have been highlighting all day.

O’Reilly wants “rowdy.”

Don’t think so.

***

Updated at 7:45 p.m.: Sick of the hype? Me, too.

The biggest decision over the next 90 minutes will be what network to tune into for this first presidential debate in Denver.

CNN? Too many bells and whistles. They’ve all but offered to attach me to a galvanometer to measure my reaction. PBS is a possibility, given that the moderator is Jim Lehrer. His 12th presidential debate.

Maybe C-SPAN.

And what am I looking for? The focus has been on what the debate means to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. I’ll be looking for news.

Since early this summer, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss and his bipartisan Gang of Six have been urging the Commission on Presidential Debates to press these two candidates on a “grand deal” to address a $16 trillion deficit.

For Obama, that means addressing entitlement cuts. For Romney, that means increases in federal revenue – whether a tax hike or closed loopholes.

Neither candidate has gone there. If one or the other does, that’s a headline.

***

Ladies and gentlemen:

This will be the spot where we’ll discuss tonight’s lights-out, Denver cage match between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Bookmark it and and come back and 9 p.m. We’ll be happy to have your comments. In the meantime, we post this brief list of things to watch for compiled by the Associated Press:

1. ROMNEY MAKES HIS MOVE: He needs to re-energize his campaign after slipping in the polls. Can he do it by going on attack? Watch for Romney to lay into Obama’s policies with gusto while trying to avoid getting too personal with his criticism, which could backfire. Obama needs to stay calm and hold his ground.

2. OBAMA ON DEFENSE: He’s stuck trying to defend a painfully slow economic recovery. Can a sitting president sell the idea that he knows how to make the next four years better than his first four? Or does Obama mostly try to divert attention by slamming Romney’s economic plans?

3. ABOUT THAT 47 PERCENT: Romney faces his biggest audience yet in the wake of his remarks about “47 percent of Americans.” He’ll try to dispel the notion that he’s uncaring toward people who depend on government benefits or don’t pay income tax. Can he recast his remarks as a critique of an economy that leaves so many needing food stamps and unemployment checks?

4. HOW THEY SAY IT: Watch for a clumsy gesture or errant look that says more than words — remember Al Gore sighing, George H.W. Bush checking his watch. Listen for tone of voice, too. Does Obama come across as arrogant or aloof? Does Romney seem awkward or out of touch? Did that zinger sound natural — or forced? Humor is welcome relief, but it’s tricky to pull off.

5. A SURPRISE: They try to prepare for every scenario, but something will catch the candidates off guard. That’s the telling moment. How well do they respond? Romney occasionally lost his cool with GOP primary opponents. Obama tends to lapse into long-winded answers and troublesome phrasing. Will either man be flustered into a mistake?

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

236 comments Add your comment

ByteMe

October 3rd, 2012
10:34 am

Did that zinger that he practiced for the past 2 months sound natural — or forced?

Tom

October 3rd, 2012
10:53 am

My party’s candidate will blow that other guy out of the water. The other party’s candidate is the worst: how could anybody possibly consider voting for him?

MANGLER

October 3rd, 2012
11:08 am

A direct question is asked.
Is an answer to THAT question given?

Peanut Farmer

October 3rd, 2012
11:14 am

@Tom

I know, he’s a joke.

cc

October 3rd, 2012
11:23 am

“He’s stuck trying to defend a painfully slow economic recovery”

He’s stuck trying to defend a “no recovery” economy.
(There! I fixed it for you!)

Obama will also announce his plans for another ‘apology tour’, a renewal of his Cairo initiative and extend an invitation to all muslim jihadists to immigrate to America. The jihadists will be invited to join forces with the detainees soon to be moved from Gitmo to the prison purchased by the federal government in Illinois to plan even more attacks on America.

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
11:25 am

I’ll watch for the entertainment value but I don’t expect much in the way of substance.
Romney wins if he avoids trying to be funny (humor is not his strong suit) and parallels his attacks with a discussion on what his policy position is and more importantly why his approach is better.
Obama wins if he limits his defensiveness – defend the defensible but clearly acknowledge the mistakes and what was learned from them.
If one goes for the extreme flank and the other appeals to the middle, game over.

Danny O

October 3rd, 2012
12:26 pm

Obama should remind people that the economy grows when money is in the hands of people who spend it. Romney will have to walk a fine line in order to keep the hardline right interested in him while appealing to undecideds in the middle.

Retired Soldier

October 3rd, 2012
1:37 pm

Romney should remind people that the economy grows when money is in the hands of people who have jobs. Obama will have to walk a fine line in order to keep the uberliberal left interested in him while appealing to the undecideds in the middle.

Devildog

October 3rd, 2012
2:01 pm

Come on Mitt, weve got to put this arrogant SOB back in his place..! Our nation cannot take another four years of incompatence..He has so many Moochers addicted to Gov. asst. it will be hard to get things back on track….!

eagle1

October 3rd, 2012
3:43 pm

It’s the economy stupid! Where have we heard that one before? It fits today’s election. Bye Bye Obummer!!!!!!!

Subroto Sarkar-----Social Worker and (Retd) Management consultant and Industrialist

October 3rd, 2012
4:57 pm

I am from India I had given Obama a blue print to economic recovery when I visited last US in 2009, Obama has the upper hand. He will put up th economy recovey plan. US can become self sufficient if younger generation is coaxed to become self employed, Obama is holding the projection I prepared for him. He will announce it now.

JT

October 3rd, 2012
6:20 pm

The candidate who has the best one liners and non verbals while the other candidate is talking has my vote!

ATLcracker

October 3rd, 2012
8:08 pm

WTF! The debate starts at 9:00 PM. I have a job. I have to get up at 6:00 AM. I hope all the rich folks and the poor folks enjoy the debate.

I dropped my fried twinkie

October 3rd, 2012
8:11 pm

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
8:18 pm

@JT
We may have to wait until the VEEP debate to get the really good material.

I dropped my fried twinkie

October 3rd, 2012
8:24 pm

td

October 3rd, 2012
8:56 pm

You libs should go ahead a save time by declaring Obama the winner of the debate before it starts because no matter what happens it is what you are going to say when it is over.

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
9:12 pm

Both guys need a serious math lesson

WaitAMinute

October 3rd, 2012
9:14 pm

Romney comments are confusing

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
9:14 pm

Clean coal – plays well..means nothing.

crankee-yankee

October 3rd, 2012
9:15 pm

What exactly is “clean coal?”

Alphare

October 3rd, 2012
9:16 pm

Romney’s supply-side economy says, if rich people have lower tax and thus more money, the rich will create more jobs.

Well, the rich are richer now thanks to Right wingers in the congress. But where are the jobs?

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
9:16 pm

Drill baby drill? Wow. N/A Energy independence is a pipe dream as long as we continue to rely solely on fossil fuels.

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
9:19 pm

1st zinger! “nevermind” a bit flat I thought

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
9:20 pm

Clinton invoked – smart move.

Offnote

October 3rd, 2012
9:21 pm

Romney is speaking from both sides of his mouth on taxes. Overall rate deductions cannot in any way be neutralized by lowering deductions. The net effect is still lower overall taxes for everyone, which means increase in deficit.

Alphare

October 3rd, 2012
9:23 pm

Just like I read Romney’s mind …

But Mitt, you are richer than 4 years ago, a whole lot richer I believe, how many jobs have you created? I know you created a few in China, what about the US?

Offnote

October 3rd, 2012
9:24 pm

Right. Lower taxes create jobs! And I am the president.

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
9:25 pm

So Mr Romney – if not 5 trillion ( and I don’t think it is) just how much IS your tax cut?

crankee-yankee

October 3rd, 2012
9:26 pm

Our moderator is losing control.

Ronald Reagan

October 3rd, 2012
9:26 pm

I I ah ah uh uh uh ah I let me make this perfectly clear I am in over my head! Romney wins the debate!

Blame Bush

October 3rd, 2012
9:29 pm

<<<<<——————————————-

crankee-yankee

October 3rd, 2012
9:29 pm

So this is a tax debate. They both keep coming back to taxes.

Auntie Christ

October 3rd, 2012
9:30 pm

Ronald Reagan
October 3rd, 2012
9:26 pm

I see that being dead hasn’t cured you of being senile.

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
9:31 pm

watching the CNN squiggly – women are responding much more positively to Obama.
Men offering a better response to Romney

td

October 3rd, 2012
9:36 pm

I will be damned. Romney may actually be a fiscal conservative.

WaitAMinute

October 3rd, 2012
9:38 pm

No take is cheap

td

October 3rd, 2012
9:38 pm

Romney slams Obama on all the failed energy companies.

bill

October 3rd, 2012
9:40 pm

Oh god Obama is blowing it!
Someone please stop the debate.
Obama looks horrible and can’t back up anything he says.
Mitt actually looks like he is just toying with Obama.
Please stop the debate before Obama screws himself even more.

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
9:42 pm

@td
Put down the bong buddy.
Romney is the Artful Dodger

Ronald Reagan

October 3rd, 2012
9:42 pm

Uh uh uh ah ah ah ah ah Liberals are funny! Romney 12 Barry H. 1

WaitAMinute

October 3rd, 2012
9:49 pm

“Romney is the Artful Dodger”
++
That’s all he is doing.

td

October 3rd, 2012
9:49 pm

Look before I leap…

October 3rd, 2012
9:42 pm

@td
Put down the bong buddy.
Romney is the Artful Dodger

You libs, Obama and the LSM has been screaming for months about how Romney has no specifics. Well who is being specific tonight and who is not?

Dave

October 3rd, 2012
9:50 pm

Enter your comments here

Ronald Reagan

October 3rd, 2012
9:51 pm

The party is over turn out the lights Barry H. & PBS 2 Romney 18

Janice

October 3rd, 2012
9:51 pm

my head is ready to explode……moderator is dead in water and debaters are not following rules. where is my maalox?!

Dave

October 3rd, 2012
9:52 pm

Looks like back and forth. Both have valid points. Looks pretty even and Mitt is surprisingly holding hius own.

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
9:53 pm

@td
It only took 36 minutes for Romney to cough up a number on one of his policies.

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
9:55 pm

Mitt seemed a bit on the defensive in the first few minutes but has stepped up his game.
I think laying off the moderator during the actual debate is a bad idea :)

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
10:00 pm

Obamacare good at state level – bad at federal. Does not say much about what to do about the 49 states that have not enacted any kind of insurance guarantee
And since very little of the ACA has actually been enacted, kind of silly to say it HAS killed jobs.