Impressions of the second debate.

Obama was much more animated and his supporters will be happier tonight.

I think Romney was more impressive but I am a partisan. What surprised me was a focus group collected by Frank Luntz that decided that Romney won overwhelmingly. These were Obama voters in 2008. Their comments were very interesting. One woman supported Obama because of his comments about contraception. She was pretty much alone.

Obama said some things that will be in RNC ads next week.

1. He said that oil and gas leases were increased on public land during his administration. That is not true and Romney called him on it. Chris Wallace checked the facts and Romney was correct.

2. He said that Romney would raise taxes on the middle class and he had cut them. I don’t think anyone believed him. Romney did a good job, better than the first debate, in explaining his proposals.

3. The was only one question on Libya and Obama lied about what he said the day after the attack. That was foolish and we will see the Rose Garden statement many times before the election. He mentioned terrorism but the connection with Benghazi was not made. For weeks after, Obama and his underlings, especially Susan Rice the first black UN ambassador, kept offering the story of the anti-Muslim video.

4. The concerns about Candy Crowley as moderator were well based. She cut off Romney multiple times and Obama talked right past the clock. He ended with 7 more minutes of time. In addition, contrary to the agreement, Candy Crowley inserted herself into the questioning and supported Obama in his assertion that he had described the attack on the Benghazi consulate as terrorism. She later, after the debate was over admitted her mistake. That will be a topic until the election.

5. There was a dumb question about an “assault weapons ban.” Romney did well to note that automatic weapons are already illegal, a detail that escapes most Democrats, like Diane Feinstein

All in all, I thought Romney did well and Obama improved his performance from last time, although at the cost of a number of falsehoods that will provide fodder for the large Romney ad budget in the next two weeks.

There were several exchanges on immigration policy and education but these were the highlights for me.

26 thoughts on “Impressions of the second debate.”

  1. Bush “won” his debates by communicating ideas. He wasn’t articulate. Obama won on style and points but lost in the way it really mattered. That is, people were drawn to Romney’s ideas. I constantly have to remind myself that the American people aren’t stupid despite my own massive ego. Debates always remind me they aren’t. Ideas always matter and for some reason they sink into the mind of voters. Honesty, can’t really explain it but Romney won tonight.

  2. There is a man sitting in American jail, in isolation, who never had a trial, who is said to have made a video that insulted Mohammed, praise be his name. Obama ordered him imprisoned because Obama claimed the Lybian assassination was caused by the video.

    Now we know the assassination was a terrorist attack by Al Qaeda to celebrate 9/11. Will the man be released? Will he ever get a trial? Arre trials unneeded for politically sensitive crimes? Or is blasphemy now a felony for which no trial is needed to prove quilt? We don’t even know his name.

    I asked a friend who emigrated from the soviet union in 1989 how things go so bad in Soviet Union. “Gradually”, she said. “And those who fought back dissappeared”.

  3. Presidential debates are public demonstrations of leadership ability, not policy, and are THE place where the arguable majority of voters who rely on “non-verbal intelligence” decide who to vote for. (These are the people some call “low information voters”.)

    The fact that Romney spoke forcefully about jobs, energy prices and the economy are much less important that the fact he looked PRESIDENTIAL.

    Looking PRESIDENTIAL means Romney gives people who don’t like the economy permission to vote Obama out.

    The preference cascade that Romney kicked off with the first debate — by establishing that he is a man who can take command — will accelerate.

    We have a Romney electoral college route of Obama in the making.

  4. Obama has to be one of the most brazen liars in the history of American politics. He may have won this debate on first impressions, by repeating whoppers about Libya, energy production, Romney’s proposals, etc. The big question is whether the longer-term effects of having his arguments debunked on YouTube will cost him more than he gained by making authoritative if dishonest statements on national TV. I hope that Jim Bennett’s prediction about social-media ramifications is correct.

    Obama’s debate performance got him a three-point pop on Intrade, so on balance it appears that he did well this time. We’ll see if his gain lasts.

  5. I agree with Bob, above, that the American people are not stupid, and they are especially sensitive to when someone is not being treated fairly, as Romney was last night. The left and their media allies can’t help themselves. Lacking our well-honed perspicacity and intellectual purity (despite our massive egos!), they can’t recognize how blatant their bias is.

  6. Liberals believe that the economy responds to commands. The president orders ‘grow!’ and the economy grows. The job of president is to order in supplies – enough wind power, enough teachers, enough erasers and paper clips. A liberal believes that people are interchangeable parts. There are no good teachers – there are no bad teachers, there are only union members who have paid their dues. If a student does not learn, it cannot be the fault of the teacher or the student – the envirionment is to blame. The liberal sees the world as made up of classes – the oppressor class, the middle class, and the liberal ruling class.

    Conservatives call the liberal economic model serfdom. They want to eliminate classes. They want to get the rulers off the backs of the people. They argue that left to themselves, people will create an orderly market and everyone will get rich. They call this democracy and free markets.

    Faced with this argument, Liberals are certain that a free economy cannot work. There must be rulers and there must be a plan. There must be serfs. Serfdom and oppression are the inevitable result central planning. Plans cannot be executed unless everyone obeys. This is called Democratic Centralism.

    And so the 2 sides cannot understand each other. Worse, the liberals always win because they always control the police power of the state. Free markets can only exist in those places that are outside the law.

  7. “The fact that Romney spoke forcefully about jobs, energy prices and the economy are much less important that the fact he looked PRESIDENTIAL.

    Looking PRESIDENTIAL means Romney gives people who don’t like the economy permission to vote Obama out.”

    I don’t believe Americans are this stupid. If I’m wrong then it’s just a matter of time.

  8. Every time I looked at Candy Crawley, I was reminded of the character Sam Stone in the movie ‘Ruthless People’, describing his wife as a ‘squealing, corpulent little toad’.

  9. Sgt – the funny thing is I heard before this debate that Candy lobbied for a rule change – asking questions herself…she was initially supposed to just call on the “undecideds”

    I’m thinking after that last night she should have kept her mouth shut ;-)

    Anyone want to lay odds that this subject won’t appear next week? ;-)

  10. Time, as in November 6. You wrong? OK if you say so, but at least you’re consistent! Americans stupid? Hmm, no I think issues, policy, ideas and past performance matter and Barry showed up to a debate shootout with a water pistol. Fast, furious and empty. Looked presidential and aggressive so his committed supporters breathed a sigh of relief, but the swing voters are not impressed.


  11. “I don’t believe Americans are this stupid. If I’m wrong then it’s just a matter of time.”

    You are always wrong but the problem lies with your own logic process.

    The Crowley exhibition will have ramifications. Among them may be a real effort by Bob Schieffer to look impartial. His entire career began with the accident of sitting in the office and getting a call from Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother who needed a ride to Dallas.

    I feel a rout (no E) coming on.

  12. The response to these debates cheers. Romney’s competence & the wisdom of crowds.
    I was afraid Obama’s assertions might be considered fact by those only exposed to msm. But many, apparently, detected dishonesty. As Jonathan said, the depth of it was hard to believe – perhaps that made is so obvious. We don’t like being lied to and most of us know the signs. Whether Libya or oil or employment numbers, the dishonesty smelled. Which goes with the first lady’s lead in responding with applause to Crowley’s remark. We need to get those tacky, tacky people out of there.

  13. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I spent a few hours this evening with some friends, four out of five of them liberals. The non-liberal didn’t want to discuss politics in a group setting. The liberals thought that Romney had been excessively rude toward Obama and didn’t say anything substantive. Everyone, no matter what his views, tends to see the evidence that supports those views.

  14. I don’t believe Americans are this stupid. If I’m wrong then it’s just a matter of time.

    That you disagree with how other people decide in their lives doesn’t make those decisions wrong or stupid.

    It makes them different.

    In the time of tribal chieftains and kings when the crops failed, people who later became these kind of voters were the ones who put their leaders in wicker baskets as a burnt offering to appease the angry gods.

    Modern Republican Democracy is a little easier on the elite leadership.

    For those voters during a bad economy, everything an incumbent politician does or does not do is wrong, including doing nothing. So Presidential incumbents get voted out of office when someone else comes along and looks like a better leader.

  15. PenGun,

    This is Jay Cost’s final thought on the Presidential second debate —

    Final thought: These debates provide mostly an upside for Romney, and mostly a downside for Obama — insofar as Romney has an opportunity to look like a credible alternative to the president of the United States by standing on stage with him as an equal. This is why I am uninterested in who wins on points. Once again, Romney looked like a credible alternative to Obama, even if the latter may have landed more technical blows. Romney was especially effective at seeming empathetic, personally qualified, and focused on getting the economy going.

  16. Hard as it is to resist, I too feel that the election will be a clear victory for Romney, if not an actual rout. My crystal ball says Obama doesn’t make it to 200 electoral votes, and Romney gets 60% (or near) of the popular vote.

  17. Forgive me for looking at only one portion here. Also, I didn’t see the debate- I was working.
    That Obama called for a new gun ban was a large mistake. Even Bill Clinton learned that lesson and set as much distance as he could from his.
    How much the climate has changed in the gun rights arena is apparently beyond Obama’s comprehension. His background, Chicagoans will recall, is that he’s sent from the Joyce Foundation, one of, if not the, largest financial supporters of anti-gun initiatives. Much of what little Obama ever actually did do as an elected representative concerned banning guns.
    Today, women come to our intro to handguns courses in droves unimaginable to this oldster still steeped in the handgun-ban-is-imminent days and say they want guns for home defense.
    It’s a different world out there, now.
    And, forgive the pedantry, but automatic firearms are not illegal. They merely require registration and payment of a tax.
    They are, however, illegal to possess by citizens in the great State of Illinois, so Chicago Boyz might well be unaware of this.
    Heck, I’m from Rogers Park and I once thought the same.

  18. Jonathan,

    I agree many people see what they want to see, but, nevertheless, what they see often reveals what they truly think and feel. For example, your liberal friends talked about Romney’s rudeness, not BO’s excellence. People on this thread are praising Romney for his performance not (in the main) panning BO’s. IMHO, in their heart of hearts your liberal friends know things are going badly for BO, and they are trying to convince themselves of something they really don’t believe. You also see this in the INTRADE comments by BO supporters, which range from silly spin to outright delusion (e.g. the second debate was a BO rout). (BTW, BO’s INTRADE bounce is all but gone, as his numbers are heading south again.) The lamestream media is ignoring BO’s lie about Benghazi and is trying to make “binders of women” the new dog whistle for misogyny — talk about intellectual bankruptcy and and moral degeneracy! Finally, on the issue of what people see, my personal belief (prejudice) is that conservatives are much more likely than liberals to see things as they are, not as they want them to be, because of conservatives’ innate respect for truth and reality.

  19. I agree with you on all these points but Susan Rice is not the first black UN ambassador. Recall Andrew Young was UN ambassador under, uh, Jimmy Carter.

  20. Scotus,

    While I think that conservatives tend to have a much more coherent view of events than liberals do, they are still vulnerable to groupthink and other errors of judgment.

  21. It is now becoming known that the Benghazi “terrorism” comment was a trap that Obama set for Romney. Axelrod had met with Crowley in September and the matter came up there. Axelrod convinced her that Obama has said it was a terrorist attack and Obama had said so. He then, helpfully, provided her with a transcript to take to the debate. Obama knew that she believed he had said terrorist attack and that the transcript was there. He knew that Romney, and the rest of the world, didn’t believe he had said “terrorist attack” and so it was a setup. Crowley was part of it.

    The trouble with that plan, which worked at the time, is that there is another debate. If Obama had said what Crowley thought he had said, why go on about the video ? Either way, the video story doesn’t make sense. I expect Romney to treat Obama like a terrier with a rat Monday night. If he said and believed it was a terrorist planned attack, why say otherwise? Now, we have the newspaper and AP stories about the ambassador’s cable warning about 9/11 and the CIA station chief’s report the next morning. Obama is now trapped by his trap that he didn’t think through.

  22. Here is the McClatchy story.

    In the first 48 hours after the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Libya, senior Obama administration officials strongly alluded to a terrorist assault and repeatedly declined to link it to an anti-Muslim video that drew protests elsewhere in the region, transcripts of briefings show.

    The administration’s initial accounts, however, changed dramatically in the following days, according to a review of briefing transcripts and administration statements, with a new narrative emerging Sept. 16 when U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice asserted in a series of TV appearances that the best information available indicated that the attack had spun off from a protest over the video.

    What prompted that pivot remains a mystery amid a closely contested presidential election and Republican allegations that President Barack Obama intentionally used outrage over the video to mask administration policy missteps that led to the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

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