Scheiffer ends the debate with the words of his mom: "Go vote. It makes you feel big and strong." I'm not sure about "big and strong", but voting gives me a right to complain. A right to argue for something better.
Stewart interviewed Obama the other day on the daily show. Stewart joked he was putting together a scrap book of the campaign, and he couldn't tell, which photo of Michelle was from which debate. Can you tell? Me thinks Michelle is beaming once again...
10:29pm Speaking of cars, I still can't figure out why Paul Ryan's absurd answer in the VP Debate that Romney is a car guy did not get more play post debate: "This is a guy who I was talking to a family in Northborough, Massachusetts the other day, Sheryl and Mark Nixon. Their kids were hit in a car crash, four of them. Two of them, Rob and Reed, were paralyzed. The Romneys didn't know them. They went to the same church; they never met before. Mitt asked if he could come over on Christmas. He brought his boys, his wife, and gifts. Later on, he said, "I know you're struggling, Mark. Don't worry about their college. I'll pay for it.""
10:25pm Obama makes a dig against Romney being "an investor in China" knew that one was coming. the question is if Romney will replay the line from debate #2 that Obama is also an investor in China. Romney's attack line last time around got lost in the reaction to Obama's dig at Romney's long list of investments
10:24pm Romney bringing the heat on China. Curreny manipulater. Counterfeit goods. I want to be friends with China but they can't walk all over us.
10:21pm Republican friend on Facebook just announced that he takes comfort in the fact that no one is watching the debate due to Monday night football and game 7 of the NLCS. That's got to be a good sign for Obama supporters
10:15pm Interesting way to frame the question: "Shall we divorce Pakistan?" Don't forget they seem keen to divorce us too. Too bad there's no prenup. Things are going to get messy - messier - if that's even possible. Here's a cartoon from Pakistan daily:
10:11pm Obama: Its time for us to start stepping back in Afghanistand and "time to do some nation building here at home"...While Romney has criticsized Obama's timeline for withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan, he has indicated he would also bring them home by the end of 2014
10:04pm Romney pounds Obama on not visiting Israel on a trip to middle east. Obama responds back in full force that the one of the first places he went while running as a candidate was go to Israel and he didn't go with donors or to raise money like Romney (ouch!) and then after a cheap shot he went with the emphathetic route. More empathy than we've seen from Obama than the past 2 debates. At which point, Romney strikes back with a long clear list of foreign policy issues. Both gentlement defending themselves without looking defensive - a tough line to walk.
9:57pm The image of centerfuges spiralling is definitely frightening. why neither mentions stuxnet - our pretty darn successful cyberwarfare against iran - is beyond me: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/obama-ordered-wave-of-cyberattacks-against-iran.html?pagewanted=all
9:55pm Romney repeats the accusation that Obama has gone on an "apology tour", while Obama attacks back "This is not a game of battle ship"
9:50pm Mr. Romney would build 15 ships a year, including 3 submarines, compared with Mr. Obama’s 9 or 10. Each sub costs more than $2 bilion. We all pick our priorities. Personally, I'd prefer to spend that money educating the next generation or paying off our debt to China.
9:40pm BOB? WHERE ARE YOU HIDING? lets get back to foreign policy please. and if we're going to repeat old debate items at least can we get some qualify gaffes?!
9:38pm Speaking of education, American kids trail the world in math and science but come out number one in confidence. Great scene from Waiting for Superman:
9:34 Romney brings back the 5 point policy and knocks the teacher unions. Lets get off this binge, off this road to Greece. Teachers unions & Greece: two good buzz words that resonate with people...though no details relative to either.
9:15 pm Obama crushing it: "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back...just like the social policy of the 1950s, and the economic policies of the 1920s"-- The President is here to play.
8:30pm The third and final Presidential debate takes place tonight, October 22nd, at 9pm in Boca Raton, Florida – home to the now legendary Romney 47% gaffe. According to Romney, there are 47% of the [American] people who will vote for the President no matter what … 47% who believe they are victims.”
While I and at least half of America strongly disagree that we are a nation of victims who take no accountability for our lives, Romney was not so off with Part 1: the average of the most recent polls have the President at 47.1% neck and neck with Romney at 47.8%, definitely within the margin of error which is normally considered to be about 2-3%.
As of right now, it is possible that Romney could win the popular vote, while President Obama wins the electoral college vote, which makes Florida particularly important. Florida and its 27 electoral votes are currently up for grabs. Republicans held their convention in Florida in late August in hopes of picking up some support in the swing state, which is normally a winning strategy; however, the convention was a flop: an epic storm and an empty chair were by far the most memorable moments of the otherwise lackluster event. The polls have Romney with the edge, but again like the national polls, this edge is within the margin of error and thus totally negligible.
Recap: Romney left the first debate, which was focused on domestic issues, with a game-changing bump in the polls. And, big bird left that debate as the number one Halloween costume for 2012. Obama left the second debate, which was structured as a town hall with audience questions from undecided voters, as the declared winner with a with renewed momentum. And, “Binders full of women” gave Big Bird a run for its money – TBD on Halloween- and inspired a Facebook page and amusing tumbler (http://bindersfullofwomen.tumblr.com/). Although my personal favorite, is the interactive game inspired by Romney’s statement: http://www.romneybindersgame.com/
During the second debate, the enthusiasm on Twitter was palpable and “trackable”: http://www.sibylvision.com/live/ had positive Obama tweets surging in the hour after the second debate, but seems to have calmed down leading up to this foreign policy debate as both Romney and Obama supporters wait with baited breath. Analyzing the twittersphere, sibylvision puts together a net-Romney score Mitt Romney’s sentiment value minus that of the President—for the period from after the last face-off in Long Island till tonight’s (all times in Eastern Standard Time). Sibylvision concludes, "The results are rather striking. It’s clear visually that from about midday Friday to the present, the Governor has taken a significant lead both in time-periods won (that is, where he outperforms the President in a given 6-hour slot) and in the magnitude of the sentiment differentials...It is difficult to connect the growing spread between Romney and Obama we found by analyzing the Twitter feed to the tighter campaign reported by many of the pollsters (for example, Politico/GWU: Romney +2; IBD/TIPP: Obama +4). We see the Romney Express building steam as we come to the finish line…"
Needless to say, that this debate matters. Foreign policy is an issue that neither candidate has successfully distinguished himself on in the campaign so far. It’s based on complicated ever-changing confidential information. And, most of us Americans do not follow the issues on a daily basis, so we can expect the candidates to keep the debate fairly high level and focusing more on tone/talking points than real substance.
The debate format is structured by six 15-minute segments, which will each address the following topics as announced already by the moderator:
- America’s role in the world
- Our longest war – Afghanistan and Pakistan
- Red Lines – Israel and Iran
- The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – I
- The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – II
- The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World
In the VP debate, Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan, Biden nailed Ryan on Iran: “this is a president who's gone out and done everything he has said he was going to do. This is a guy who's repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us again. This is the guy who brought the entire world, including Russia and China, to bring about the most devastating -- most devastating -- the most devastating efforts on Iran to make sure that they in fact stop.” While Obama is likely to stress that the world is following again, Romney will assert that we have in fact become followers. I was surprised that Biden did not stress the outcome of the sanctions. While the debate was blaring on, Iranians were raring on, angered by the collapse of the rial and protesting Ahmadinejad’s economic policies. To be fair, Ryan a “budget guy” held his own, but stuck largely to the talking points and lots of “stuff” about leadership.
In terms of Syria -where approximately 30,000 people have now been killed- neither candidate has a solution. A very different place with different political dynamics than Libya, the circumstances are considered to be incredibly different. Neither candidate is advocating we send troops in. Neither candidate is eager to start another ground war in the Middle East. So, instead the debate regarding this horrific massacre will focus on who called Assad a reformer when and why…
And, while Biden flopped on Libya, Obama had a change in the second debate to finally close the door on the wave of media critique. Obama stressed that he did in fact mention terrorist actions following the death of our ambassador in Libya, which was backed up by moderator Candy Crowley. In a September 12th Rose Garden address, Obama did technically lump the Benghazi deaths into a reference to “acts of terror”.
As for China, Governor Romney who has gotten flack for a blind trust that manages his assets, which has investments in China, tried to turn the tables on Obama in the 2nd debate, stressing he was not the only one who had investments in China: “Mr President have you looked at your pension?” to which Obama responded, “I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours, so it doesn’t take as long” which got an audible positive reaction from the audience. We can expect this exchange to be potentially brought up again though a more successful strategy for Romney will be to focus on our indebtedness to China, Chinese currency manipulation, and the “weak” stance of the Obama administration towards China. But, really most importantly, Romney will and should focus on our debt: American can not be strong abroad unless we are strong at home. In turn, Obama will return to his point (hopefully more successfully) in the first debate that Romney is calling for lower taxes on the wealthiest and hoping to increase spending for the military without clearly laying out his plans to cut the deficit, and thus Romney is not to be trusted on the issue.
Tonight, I want President Obama to be a commander in Chief, Presidential, there is no need for him to overcompensate for his listless first performance in the first debate. The last debate devolved into a catfight with neither candidate looking particularly Presidential. While Obama is supposedly better when he can walk around, I believe the appearance of both candidates will benefit from sitting at a table. Whatever the final question, the last question will be their finale – a closing statement of sorts for the campaign.