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Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:13 PM

Mark Shields' comments on JK role in debate prep (his own correction. .)

transcript from News Hour, Oct. 5. Video and full transcript at this link:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/july-dec12/shieldsbrooks_10-05.html

MARK SHIELDS: . . .
What -- 48 hours later -- first of all, just a personal note, I speculated on election -- election night -- on debate night that the president's passive performance -- and it was quite passive, listless -- may have been attributed in part to John Kerry, his sparring partner in the prep sessions, who is a leading contender to be secretary of state, maybe not going tough toe-to-toe to him.

My subsequent reporting has, in fact, contradicted that. John Kerry, I was told by two eyewitnesses, was actually tougher inside than Mitt Romney was with Barack Obama in the debate.


32 replies, 3239 views

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Arrow 32 replies Author Time Post
Reply Mark Shields' comments on JK role in debate prep (his own correction. .) (Original post)
MBS Oct 2012 OP
politicasista Oct 2012 #1
Mass Oct 2012 #5
politicasista Oct 2012 #6
regnaD kciN Oct 2012 #2
Luftmensch067 Oct 2012 #3
Mass Oct 2012 #4
karynnj Oct 2012 #7
beachmom Oct 2012 #19
Mass Oct 2012 #8
MBS Oct 2012 #9
karynnj Oct 2012 #10
JI7 Oct 2012 #11
Inuca Oct 2012 #12
MBS Oct 2012 #13
Mass Oct 2012 #14
MBS Oct 2012 #15
beachmom Oct 2012 #17
Mass Oct 2012 #18
Inuca Oct 2012 #21
beachmom Oct 2012 #23
Mass Oct 2012 #25
Inuca Oct 2012 #27
Mass Oct 2012 #28
Inuca Oct 2012 #20
Blaukraut Oct 2012 #26
beachmom Oct 2012 #16
Inuca Oct 2012 #22
beachmom Oct 2012 #24
wisteria Oct 2012 #29
Inuca Oct 2012 #30
wisteria Oct 2012 #31
Mass Oct 2012 #32

Response to MBS (Original post)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:48 PM

1. Interesting n/t

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Response to politicasista (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 08:08 PM

5. Not surprising.

I've seen a few morons attacking Kerry, but the vast majority is either blaming Obama or blaming Romney, as should be. Lehrer was also absolutely useless.

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Response to Mass (Reply #5)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 08:18 PM

6. Yep n/t

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 07:00 PM

2. I suspect that, while Kerry was "tough" on Obama...

...he did it from the framework of how Romney was presenting his candidacy this campaign. I doubt it would have occurred to Kerry -- or any other sparring partner, for that matter -- to have Romney jettison all his positions, deny he ever held any of them, and then make up entirely new, fact-free positions and represent them as what he had always been saying. Not to mention interrupting over and over and demanding -- and getting -- the last word on virtually every issue.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 07:19 PM

3. I bet you're exactly right

That is what makes most sense to me. Kerry is a fantastic debater and I'm quite sure he did his best to represent the positions of the Romney campaign and platform in the toughest way possible -- he knows what it's like to face a ruthless liar. But he didn't have to debate an Etch-a-Sketch...

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Response to regnaD kciN (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 08:06 PM

4. I think you're right.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 09:19 PM

7. Who would? Kerry knew Romney shifts his position Relisten to Kerry's convention speech

From memory because I'm lazy today:

On Afghanistan it is not fair to say that Romney has no position - he has all of them.

On Libya, he humourously listed the series of positions Romney had that had him darting from the left to the right and back again.

I do agree that neither Kerry or Obama expected Romney to do as you aptly describe - largely because it should NOT have been successful. Where were the Obama spinners? Why did the media immediately define winning as being aggressive - even if completely dishonest? Romney's REAL flip flopping should be a negative, not a debate strategy.


In addition, I think that what happened was that Obama likely spent less time in preparation than he would have wanted because his job had conflicting demands that were more important. In addition, NONE of the complaints are that he was ill prepared in terms of having clear statements of his accomplishments, his plans, and Romney's stated positions (ie the ones STILL on his website later that night.)

All the criticisms were things like:
- He looked mostly deadly serious and not happy
- He did not seem energized and enthusiastic (amplified because Romney looked like he had several cans of Red Bull)
- He did not as most do pivot on questions to make extraneous attacks on Romney. However, the fact is that he did make several strong attacks on Romney's tax plan - even after Romney said it was not his plan. Here, I think the biggest fault was in the Obama spinners. The fact was exactly the plan on his web site. They and the lazy media are at fault here. How do you have a debate or even a serious discussion with someone who changes at the speed of light. If his plan changed, why was there no statement that it had before the debate and why are there no details on the plan even now. To quote John Lennon "You say you have a real solution, well you know, we all want to see the Plans"



Looking at that list, how could Kerry or anyone else, have changed any of them.

On number 1 and 2, I don't think that Obama could pull off being anything than who he really. Remember when the pundit class roasted Gore and he took all the criticism to heart and tried to make the changes only to be called inauthentic because there were 3 Gore personas in the three debates. Only Obama can fix these - and they need to be fixed in a way that is authentic to who he is. (Also look to the fact that his likability did not change.) Not to mention, Obama may have been more energetic and less somber when he practiced than when he dated. Neither of these can be blamed on the team.

On the third, there is a balance of when this should be done. Every time it is done, it is at the expense of explaining himself - but, he needs to respond to attacks. This was a real dilemma because last time nearly every Romney word was both a lie and an attack.

Kerry himself is very good at making pivots and letting opponents' words repeated back to them by a very good listener damn them. Not to mention, as to never following Romney's bad behavior in talking over everyone, Kerry follows rules too. However, in one of the Jeff Beatty debates, Beatty acted as Romney did - Kerry followed the rules for a few questions and saw the moderator was not calling him out and then Kerry dominated the rest. (not a tough thing to do as he had both more stature and a voice that is very hard to speak over.) Kerry may be able to help him on this - but to assume that the Romney in the second debate will do the same thing is dangerous. He probably will do something else. (Romney did NOT do this in the primary debates, so it is possible that Kerry did not create the bizarre Romney that showed up. )

I think that all anyone other than Obama could do would be to play the role and give him practice and to suggest ways to handle things that didn't work in practice. This would not be just Kerry's role, but the top advisers who were also in the practices.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Reply #2)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 11:05 PM

19. Nope. Sounds like he mixed it up per MBS's post downthread.

Kerry did the best he could.

Don't forget that Obama hasn't debated since '08. Romney has had practice all year.

Frankly, the whole thing is ridiculous. Romney lied all night. That was one thing SNL did that I liked: they had Romney saying unemployment was at 100% and that it was in fact HE who killed OBL. Pretty apt satire there.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 08:17 AM

8. Good to see some people are honest and do some fact checking.

Which is more I can say from Joan Vennochi, who has her contractually mandated "Kerry is a loser" column:
http://bostonglobe.com/opinion/2012/10/06/john-kerry-career-dreams-keep-slipping-away/W57xqx62U9syExYZghPFfI/story.html

Where she states that Kerry is a loser (and will not become SoS) because
a/ Michel Moore said so (I guess)
b/ He defended Susan Rice while doing his job and asking the administration to be accountable.
c/He is too cautious and middle ground (I guess she prefers people who rush to judgement like, say, Bush?)

and finally this canard that has been going through Boston's papers and drives me nuts: Kerry will not be SoS if Warren wins. So, what are we people supposed to do? Vote Brown Of course, they are correct that, should the Senate be 50-50 and Warren wins, he probably will not. Is it worth the ink to print this? I have to say it drives me nuts more by the certainty that none of the presumed candidates could beat Brown. Really? Aside the fact I am not sure he would be the nominee if he loses this race, could people (including the DSCC) stop denigrating our MA Democrats. May be they should endorse Brown directly.

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Response to Mass (Reply #8)

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 09:54 AM

9. I feel your pain!

Vennochi drives me NUTS.

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Response to Mass (Reply #8)

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 05:04 PM

10. I agree that the SoS /Senate race interaction is ridiculous to speak of

I don't think anyone sane would suggest that Obama would select Kerry if it could turn over control of the Senate to the Republicans. I assume that Kerry himself would be the first to say that would make no sense. As good a candidate for SoS that he is, he is not so much better than everyone else to justify losing the Senate. In fact, Kerry's speeches for Warren spoke directly to the need to control the Senate.

I agree with you that Brown could lose and there likely are Democrats who can beat him. This may be especially true if he continues in the negative campaigning he has done. That behavior and losing would likely both damage him. Not to mention, if he loses he can't be the Arms Service Committee Ranking Member ( ) as he claims he is - and he likely would not even lead a subcommittee because he would be back to being the most Junior member of the entire Senate. Not to mention, he would AGAIN have to run for Senate in slightly less than 2 years if he won. Would one of the biggest egos with the least reason to believe in his own greatness be willing to run again, possibly lose again, return to the bottom if he did win, and face a 4th election in a span of 4 years? My guess - he will be a commentator on Fox - until his attractiveness faded enough not to compensate for his inarticulateness.

I wonder if Vennochi's real fear might be the diminished power that MA will have if Warren wins and the Senate numbers are reasonable to risk the seat. They would have a senior Senator with maybe a month or two of seniority and a temporary Senator, who will be replaced with the most junior Senator in the Senate. (It would be strange if it is Warren and Warren - but there are many Democratic possibilities.)

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 11:58 PM

11. This was stupid , it's clear now that Obama's Reaction was partly strategy

at least when it came to not bringing up certain things.

i wonder if Obama did not come off too well or at least in ways the whore media would taken advantage of to be used against him like with Gore's Sighing or remember during the primary Obama to hillary "you are likable enough". he might have just wanted to avoid giving anything like that.

Obama has never been great when it comes to debates. but he has been good enough, decent to get through without coming off horribly.

but what makes me more angry is the media knows romney was lying but they don't want to discuss what was said but would rather talka bout stupid crap.

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Response to JI7 (Reply #11)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 08:29 AM

12. I still cannot get a personal grasp

on what happened. WHy he was so bad. Because, much as it pains to say it, he WAS. I agree that debatingis not his strong suit. He did nothave to be great. He had to be OK. And he wasn't. And I am not the stupid media (I made the mistake of watching Morning Joe this morning, not good for my blood pressure and my overall sanity). And remember the MSNBC people reaction right after the debate ended? THeir gut reaction? The one taht SNL made fun of? It was their gut reaction, Chirs Matthews being the most extreme, and not from people that wanted ot be critical and push the Romney was great meme, but from people that seemed really hurt and puzzled.

ANyway... I hope it will get better, and that what happened last week will not have too much of an impact. But I am afraid that something that Scarborough said this morning is at least parially true, namely that nothing Obama or any surrogate will say until the next presidential debate, not any ad, or speech, etc., will matter much.

Sorry to be such a downer.... I guess I am in a lousy mood. Actually, I know I am, not only because of political issues .

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Response to Inuca (Reply #12)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 09:53 AM

13. I also was in disbelief after that debate

Here's the best analysis I've read ... apparently from a lawyer.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/04/1139793/-Mitt-Romney-Lying-to-victory). . search in comments for "maybe but" (title) or commentator (kulta1)

With no moderator of any ability to, well, moderate, and with Mitt's pathological skills at lying, what would have ended up is a he said/he said back and forth which would have accomplished nothing and would have more than likely hurt Obama more because, to put it simply, people expected that of Mittens but not of Obama. There was absolutely no way in this debate circumstance for that moment when Romney would say "you got me" (verbally or otherwise) because Romney is lacking that gene most people have called shame. Sometimes you win by "losing" and sometimes you lose by "winning". This in many respects was the latter, or at least I think Obama saw it that way. It is, I think, not the way he wanted it to go, but he's always someone who plays the hand he's dealt.

Some of my best trials have been against the smartest, toughest adversaries mainly because they raise my game and it's about substance. My worst have been against adversaries who, frankly, were not at my level but who I did not respect. I see that in Obama...he just cannot hide it when he doesn't respect or believe in his opponent. And that lack of respect (or whatever you want to call it) leads him to lack his mojo.

yes, there was no Bain, 47% etc. but here's why IMO: it's already baked into the meme; and rule #1 in any adversarial situation (especially where it's not an advantageous one, like this one with a bad moderator): you never ever give your opponent another chance to clean up if you don't have to, because he just might do it. Bringing up those topics in this setting was something Romney was salivating to have happen.

He made no major errors. He hit his points. He was overwhelmingly still seen as more empathetic and likeable, many of MItt's statements will come back to bite him, and Mitt's style will fall flat at the town hall setting and at the debate on foreign affairs.
Would I have liked him to rip Romney's head off (verbally?) Yes, but I never expected it, and for the long game it is not worth it. Plus, he is not good at it

. . . Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 07:03:47 AM PDT



see also this morning's NYT, which is pretty much aligned with that lawyer's commentary
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/us/politics/biden-up-next-obamas-aides-plot-comeback.html?hp

Here's an excerpt , with mentions of Sen. Kerry

On the conference call convened by aides in Denver and Chicago even as the candidates were still on stage, there was no debate in the Obama campaign about the debate. None of the advisers fooled themselves into thinking it was anything but a disaster. Instead, they scrambled for ways to recover. . .
Like other presidents, Mr. Obama’s debate preparations were hindered by his day job, his practice sessions often canceled or truncated because of events, advisers said. One session took place just after he addressed a service for the four Americans slain in Libya, leaving him distracted.
. . . .
Mr. Obama does not like debates to begin with, aides have long said, viewing them as media-driven gamesmanship. . . . Mr. Obama made clear to advisers that he was not happy about debating Mr. Romney, whom he views with disdain. It was something to endure, rather than an opportunity, aides said.

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts was recruited to play Mr. Romney. The preparation team was kept small. . . By the time Mr. Obama retreated to Nevada for a final couple days of practice, the debate prep team was getting by on as little as three hours of sleep a night as they crafted answers and attack lines. Mr. Kerry played a range of Mr. Romneys — aggressive, laid back, hard-edge conservative — and got in the president’s face, according to people in the room. Mr. Obama’s alternating performances left aides walking off Air Force One in Denver looking worried.

On stage, Mr. Obama seemed thrown off as Mr. Romney emphasized elements of his agenda that seemed more moderate and was surprised that the moderator, Jim Lehrer of PBS, did not pose more pointed questions. . .
. . .
The president proved as aggressive in his post-debate rallies as he was passive in the debate, but the campaign was besieged by anxious Democrats. Mr. Messina had to pep up a demoralized staff in Chicago. Mr. Obama took the blame during calls with advisers. “This is on me,” he told them. Asked by some if Mr. Kerry was at fault, Mr. Obama said no. “It wasn’t Kerry,” he sad. “Kerry was fine.”


the hard-copy version in today's (Oct. 8) paper, and also the earlier web version, had a more specific explanation of "alternating performances" . That earlier version is still up on Talking Points Memo. http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/obama-often-struggled-in-debate-prep-had-to?ref=fpa

Advisers had seen two presidents during practice debates, one who had been listless and passive two nights before and another energetic and aggressive the next night. It turned out the former was the one who showed up in Denver…




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Response to MBS (Reply #13)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 10:02 AM

14. What drives me nuts is the fact that dems are that quick to blame Kerry.

A debate prep is not one person. It is a team. If they want to blame the team, blame the team, but why Kerry alone?

On a less gloomy note, it seems now clear from the polls that the debate bounce for Romney is over. Polls on a 5 day basis have stabilized and Rasmussen, who is on 3 days, is now a tie after Thursday numbers were replaced by Sunday numbers. We'll know more on Tuesday or Wednesday, when Rasmussen will have 3 days of clean numbers, but my best guess is that it will be a short live bounce (except if, of course, Biden falls short, which I do not think will happen, but who knows).

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Response to Mass (Reply #14)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 10:07 AM

15. well, at least the NYT got it right

(and so did Mark Shields, at least eventually)

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Response to Mass (Reply #14)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 11:00 PM

17. Apparently not. With that Pew poll.

Although maybe it was mostly front loaded to Thursday/Friday.

Gosh, at this point it's best just to read Nate Silver and Mark Blumenthal. Each individual poll coming out is all over the place.

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Response to beachmom (Reply #17)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 11:05 PM

18. We''ll know soon. It is impossible to know when it comes to the Pew Poll.

But most tracking polls show the numbers are stabilized.

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Response to Mass (Reply #18)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 08:04 AM

21. What do you mean by

"It is impossible to know when it comes to the Pew Poll"? Anything I should know about that poll in particular? Grasping at straws, I know, but I am really scared . Some comment I heard yesterday in the media, forgot where, said that Pew tends to be kind to Obama.

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Response to Inuca (Reply #21)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 09:14 AM

23. It's one poll. I just think freaking out over one poll is not smart.

Again, two places to read:

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/

http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2012-general-election-romney-vs-obama

(The above is Mark Blumenthal formerly of pollster.com)

They don't B.S. about stuff. Obama's convention bounce was there but not as big as some hyped it to be; similarly, what I am seeing is still that Romney had a Thurs/Fri debate bounce that deflated over the weekend somewhat. Pew's results were only 13% from Sunday when Obama started doing better.

This is like '04 but in reverse somewhat. The fundamentals favored Bush -- only Iraq and Kerry's candidacy, including his debate performances kept the race close until the end. And Kerry's debates were truthful unlike Romney's. Bush won by 2.4%. I made the mistake of cherry picking polls back then. Republicans will tout Pew to their own peril. Every poll average I have read still has Obama ahead.

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Response to Inuca (Reply #21)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 10:01 AM

25. Being scared is the worst remedy. Sadly, dems fall too often in this trap.

What I mean is that it is clear that Obama's numbers were going up on Sunday and Monday. This poll is largely done from Thursday to Saturday, (10 % of interviews on Sunday).

As for being kind to Obama, this is a bad interpretation (just as bad as saying this last poll is kind to Romney). I wish TV people got trained on polls. The Pew Poll does not weight on party affiliation. It is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it means it amplifies mood swings that do exist. Before the debate, Republicans were depressed and did not answer polls. In these last series of polls post debate, Democrats are depressed and do not answer polls. (Same thing for PPP who is a Democratic pollster. The difference is that PPP says so clearly, while Pew just dumps raw results with very little analysis about what it means).

I am not for "unskewing" polls. I find this ridiculous. But people have to be aware of what polls measure: a mood swing. And, in a race that is really tight (and has always been) these mood swings tend to look terrible for one side or the other.

Now, I do not say that Romney did not get a bump. He did. But these poll numbers have limited use and Democrats (and Andrew Sullivan) need to calm down and stop hyperventilating.

Here is what Scott Rasmussen ( of all people) had to say in its daily tracking comment. So, we have to stop the pity party and start working. Turnout will be key.

We have reached the point in the campaign where media reports of some polls suggest wild, short-term swings in voter preferences. That doesn’t happen in the real world. A more realistic assessment shows that the race has remained stable and very close for months. Since last week’s debate, the numbers have shifted somewhat in Romney’s direction, but even that change has been fairly modest. Still, in a close race, a modest change can have a major impact. Over the past 100 days of tracking, Romney and Obama have been within two points of each other 72 times. Additionally, on 89 of those 100 days, the candidates have been within three points of each other. See daily tracking history.

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Response to Mass (Reply #25)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 12:51 PM

27. I'll try to calm down :-) n/t

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Response to Mass (Reply #25)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 01:54 PM

28. Here is the Rand page website.

https://mmicdata.rand.org/alp/index.php?page=election#election-forecast

Pollsters do not like the rand poll because it is an internet poll and there still seems to be a bias against the validity of these polls (Ipsos and Rand). So, they are not integrated when sites like Talking Points Memo and RealClearPolitics calculate their average. There may be a good reason for that though I wonder why they would not be as valid as a phone poll where only 10 % of people agree to answer.

What I find particularly interesting in the rand poll is that they interviews the same people all the time, so you can actually see how these people evolve.

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Response to MBS (Reply #13)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 08:00 AM

20. Thanks for the quotes MB

Interesting reading. Though they don't realy make me feel better, especially after the latest poll numbers. Yes, I know, thinga are "in flux", it's just one poll (actually 2, Pew and the one from Michigan), etc. I hope the Pew poll is wrong, outlier, whatever... but I don't want to be like various idiots on he right recently finding nonsensical explanations for poll numbers I do not like. Of all people, I heard Ari Fleisher yesterday on CNN kind of dismissing or minimizing the Pew results because he said it had an unrealistically high # of republicans being polled.

As to your links: the Kos lawyer may be right, I don't know, I am not a lawyer, but it sounds a bit too much like a "I don't really want those grapes in any case, they are too sour" kind of explanation (I hope the reference makes sense, not wsure it exists in English as well, old La FOntaine fable). NYT: informative, and very glad to see the good thigs about Kerry. The quote from TMP got me worried... is something wrong with Obama? Physical? Psychological? Why the sudden changes in mood? Even writing about something like this in he media is not good...

Apologies in advance for probably the abundance of confusing typos. I don't have time to review, and it's not easy typing with a cat in your lap

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Response to MBS (Reply #13)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 12:33 PM

26. Looks like JK presented Obama with every Romney version possible

So he did his job. The President, otoh, seems to have serious problems thinking and reacting on his feet. When he is faced with conflict, where things can get a bit ugly, he backs down.

He really fucked this up on Wednesday, and there is no sugar-coating it. While I don't believe the crazy poll swings this time, I also didn't believe them when we were ahead in the high single digits. This has always been a more or less tied race, which is precisely why this one debate performance can be the deciding factor in favor of Romney. I've long suspected that voters were desperately looking for a reason to NOT vote for Obama. That his support has consistently been very light and soft. They got that excuse handed to them Wednesday night, and twofold. Weak, hapless Obama, contrasted with aggressive, moderate-seeming Romney. For the low information voter who did not realize that Romney lied 27 times in 38 minutes, he looked like the lesser of two evils in that debate.

At this point, I honestly wouldn't want to make a prediction who will win November 6th. We have the ever-present Democratic Voter apathy to deal with, which could be enough to swing the whole thing Romney's way, because his base is chomping at the bit.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 10:58 PM

16. I think many of us were a bit with Shields, thinking that

perhaps a more dishonest practice opponent would be better. Alas, we were wrong as well.

You guys see this?

The president proved as aggressive in his post-debate rallies as he was passive in the debate, but the campaign was besieged by anxious Democrats. Mr. Messina had to pep up a demoralized staff in Chicago. Mr. Obama took the blame during calls with advisers. “This is on me,” he told them. Asked by some if Mr. Kerry was at fault, Mr. Obama said no. “It wasn’t Kerry,” he sad. “Kerry was fine.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/us/politics/biden-up-next-obamas-aides-plot-comeback.html?pagewanted=all

The President himself defended him, so now I feel a little bad about my snap judgment. Obama had a bad night. He's never been a great debater and last week was all about him. Although ..... I still feel like it wasn't as bad as many in the media have said. I thought he did O.K. but not great. But I guess I misread it or this whole thing is being overblown.

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Response to beachmom (Reply #16)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 08:11 AM

22. About your last sentence

I think that both. I don't think he did OK. My incresingly sinking feeling as I was watching was not so much "OMG, Romney is so good", but "what on earth is wrong with Obama" (of course, the 2 are correlated). The SNL bit about killing BinLaden was unfortunately not very far from the truth. As to things being overblown, of course the media is having a ball, we again have a horse race "for Pete's sake". But in terms of media reaction I go back to the very first reactions of the MSNBC people. Love them or hate them, Maddow, Matthews, Shultz are true Obama supporters, and in my view, in these forst few minutes after the debate at least, they almost forgot they were TV talking heads, they reacted from their scared democratic gut.

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Response to Inuca (Reply #22)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 09:21 AM

24. I enjoyed this Kevin Drum "hack gap" post:

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/10/hack-gap-rears-its-ugly-head-yet-again

My conservative readers may scoff at this notion, but rarely has the hack gap been on such febrile display as it has since last Wednesday's presidential debate. Ask yourself this: can you even imagine Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh tearing their hair out over a weak debate performance by Mitt Romney the way that liberals have been over President Obama's? I can't.


Drum's opinion on the debate is more like mine. Romney slightly won but it wasn't any big blowout. But even leaving that aside, liberals sure handwring a lot, don't they? I swear they really want the beltway Kool Kids to respect them, whereas conservatives could care less what Chuck Todd or Jake Tapper think. Of course, hackery tends to turn off most liberals. When liberals engage in it I cringe (like many commenters questioning the Pew poll's cross tabs like the nutty Unskewed Poll guy did on the Republican side when Obama was up big after the convention). However, they went too much in the opposite direction Wednesday night. And Andrew Sullivan at this point is unreadable -- he has seriously gone off the deep end.

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Response to beachmom (Reply #24)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 09:55 PM

29. I agree. We are playing right into the hands of the media and appearing discouraged.

We should just shrug it off and move on. There are still two more debates and I think Gov. Romney has already presented his new act and has no where else to go.

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Response to wisteria (Reply #29)

Wed Oct 10, 2012, 08:02 AM

30. I saw a little note from EJ DIonne

yesterday that I thought was talking about myself . He was quoting a frind of his, a pollster, who said that when poll results are bad, republicans want to kill the pollsters, and democrats want to kill themselves . To be honest, I still feel like that, figuratively speaking, of course.

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Response to Inuca (Reply #30)

Wed Oct 10, 2012, 01:33 PM

31. Elections come and go.

They aren't worth stressing and worrying about. I learned that after Senator Kerry lost. There is only so much we can do to help our candidates. I am always telling myself that no matter what is beng said about the candidate I support, my committment to this candidate will not waiver. I was going to vote for he/ him when this candidate was up, and I intend to still vote for him/her even if this candidate is down. Why, because I believe this candidate has integrity, is honest and the one who will make a real difference for all of us.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 09:28 AM

32. For those who want to see a good debate with a moderator doing its job and

asking questions that actually matter and candidates who try to answer properly, the MA Senate debate yesterday is the place to go. It is on CSPAN, and you can wonder how last Wednesday debate would have turned if Jim Madigan had moderated rather than Jim Lehrer.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/warren-brown-debate-13592336?src=rss

Now, obviously Warren won the debate, and I agree with her mostly, but Brown did fairly well for what he had to sell, and continued to attack. Both candidates seemed to have a fairly clear idea of what Western Mass is like (which is not always the case). And, what is most important IMHO, the questions and the answers related to real issues to people, and both candidates showed some level of empathy. What was most irritating in the presidentatial debate was the lack of empathy on both sides, not surprisingly on Romney's sense, but also on Obama's sense.

As Charlie Pierce says

It would be wrong to read too much into Warren's strong showing. Brown did what he came to do, which is to promise not to raise any taxes anywhere on anyone, ever. This is, of course, insane public policy, and it makes him sound more like he's running for state senator again, but it sells very, very well, and if he can use it to deflect Warren's attempts to make national issues important to this race, it will have served its purpose. This will still be a two- or three-point race, either way. Recent polling has shown Warren's unfavorability rating inching northward — endless TV attack ads will do that — but it also has shown that people overwhelmingly blame Brown for the tone of the campaign so far, which undoubtedly had something to do with the fact that he declined to utilize his Injun-spottin' skills on Wednesday night. Maybe it takes a strong hand to turn a campaign back into something positive. Maybe, dammit, it takes a Jim Madigan.

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