Tonight is again the night. Obama and Romney will square off to win the hearts, minds and votes of the American people in what must necessarily be the most important day of the campaign yet. Since drunk Uncle Joe and college sophomore Ryan talked last week, it’s a new game. National polls paint the race as super-duper close with more toss-up states than ever! That having been said, this debate format favors a rolling-up-the-shirtsleeves speaking style, and compared to Romney, Obama should prove himself the mayor of town halls.
Is it really so difficult to see this same scenario play out tonight? Romney has been good about minimizing his alienating references lately, but all he has to do is let slip something about the declining craftsmanship of Mont Blanc pens and Obama can clean up talking about his humble family origins. It really doesn’t matter whose facts are faultless tonight, but which candidate seems less like the Harvard-educated one-percenter he actually is. Granted, Obama is out of practice, but he still has much more experience acting like a guy you could just have a beer with than Romney.
Above all else, keep entertained for tonight’s debate. This is America, so that should go without saying, but these candidates are also, after all, crooning for your vote. There are plenty of drinking games to choose from, and the added element of audience participation tonight should satisfy all you people-watchers.
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UPDATE 9:45 China won this debate. Yes, Romney interrupted way too much and Obama had the upper hand on Libya. But I think there are 1.3 billion people who are now just shaking their heads and laughing: "Americans, you're so silly with your elections. Just accept that you have a ruling elite and make as much money as you can for yourself."
9:39 My mom thinks the moderator got her name by eating a lot of Candy. #waronwomen
9:36 Romney said jobs again in his closer. He brought this on himself.
9:33 My mom has come home from book club and is now serving my dad and me carrot cake. I'm glad her job wasn't outsourced to China! #waronwomen
9:31 Whenever I think of trapper keepers, I think of this South Park episode.
9:29 I made a promise, and I keep my promises.
9:27 Seriously, Mitt. Why's China on your mind? It's always a good idea to label countries as manipulative. Tariffs have been a historically strong way to respond to problems too!
9:24 Obama: "Guns? Parents and schools!" He's been droppin' the g's on his gerunds. Romney said 'less' earlier when he meant 'fewer.' #grammarnazi
9:22 Fast and Furious hath been invoked!
9:18 It does upset me that Obama will be declared the winner on the Libya issue even though I don't think he or Romney now how to deal with Libya properly.
9:15 Who said what about Libya when?! This matters people!
9:11 The what stops at Obama's desk?! You did say buck, right?
9:08 "Oh, look at me! I'm an informed voter! I'm in a brain trust!"
9:06 This is a verbal cluster cuss.
9:02 Obama is right. Once you pledge allegiance to the flag, that's pretty much it. You can't become un-American after that.
9:01 We may be a nation of immigrants, but you know who I can't stand? Emigrants. Bunch of quitters.
8:59 Romney almost gets me every time with his Mexican parents line.
8:57 EVERY TIME YOU SAY JOBS I AM GOING TO POST AWFUL JOB CLIP ART
8:55 Make sure to get in on this Twitter on the ground floor.
8:51 Bush-bashing has its place, but let's remember something important. W is the only president to ever appear on Deal Or No Deal.
8:49 Obama just told me Mitt is funding the Chinese so that they can spy on their own citizens. I'm glad that doesn't happen in America!
8:46 This is the second time Mitt has mentioned China. I don't think he understands the balance of power between us. Maybe he has his debits and credits columns flipped.
8:45 Someone remembers the Bush presidency?! I thought American politics started in 2008!
8:43 The girl in yellow seems cool with it. I guess she's a Romney voter.
8:40 Wait, did Mitt just promise "binders full of women" if he were elected? He's got my vote.
8:39 Even though my dad has fought the good fight, contradicting every one of Obama's claims, he now has to go do an expense report. Because he has a job. #firstworldproblems
8:37 I know I posted this during the first debate, but it's what I think of every time Obama mentions his grandmother.
8:35 Math that doesn't add up?!
8:31 Dexter is China. We're Doakes. Let's not start something we can't finish.
8:26 Again, if there were one deduction made for each time a candidate said deduction, I think H&R Block would go out of business.
8:22 My dad doesn't think Obama knows what a thriving economy is. I just want Mitt to stop harassing Candy. I think he would get ruffed up if he were harassing a woman named Candy anywhere else.
8:20 I suppose Mitt and Barack interrupting each other is preferable to them lulling me to sleep, but they both still sound so artificially calm. Makes me suspicious...
8:16 Forget the irony of how apathetically both candidates are discussing energy. It's putting me to sleep.
8:11 Just when you forgot the debate was happening in New York, someone opens their mouth to ask a question.
8:10 My aunt may be gone, but my dad knows what's going on here. Obama is dividing the classes.
8:08 If just one job were created each time a candidate said the word "jobs," we would be at full employment.
8:07 "I'm a poor college kid. Will you hire me?" Romney: "When do you graduate?" Obama: "College is great. College kids like manufacturing jobs, right?"
8:03 My aunt, an equal opportunity offender, thinks Obama could fly with his ears. She says she has made up her mind about the election and doesn't care.
8:00 My dad and aunt share a hatred for Dancing with the Stars, but my aunt doesn't want to vote for anyone with a name so stupid as Mitt. My dad reminded her we had a Grover as president.
7:57 Last minute full disclosure: I'll be watching this debate with my dad and my aunt. The former is a regular Rush Limbaugh listener, and the latter has similar politics but prefers NPR and knitting. Both grew up in Missouri and see nothing wrong with calling Asians Oriental. Track with my coverage for their reactions if nothing else.
7:12 Everything said tonight will be to drown out this subtext.
6:58 Tonight the country's fifth-grade math teachers will see two students present a skit about the number two and the number four. Even though both numbers are even, the kids will focus on how two is prime and four is composite and the other number is irrational, even though it's not. There will also be no mention of any other numbers.
6:16 Kids who have just outgrown Happy Meals have to choose their favorite McDonald's character tonight, but Ronald and Grimace aren't on the menu.
6:07 Tonight a crowd of baseball fans will have to make a decision about something they couldn't care less about— which sport can rightly call itself football.
5:57 Tonight will answer the age old question of what Guy Smiley would do if he got a few free punches in on Spock before the fight started.
5:49 CDT For the VP debate I brainstormed ways the debate could've been made better before it started, but since Sarah Palin did not end up refereeing a knife fight last week, I've decided to change my approach. In preparation for tonight, I'll be throwing out as many analogies as possible to frame the debate in hopes that just one might work. First, tonight is a chance for a man wearing a red tie and a man wearing a blue tie to convince everyone that they would never wear a green tie.