The debate …

My morning-after thoughts, for what they’re worth …

  1. First, I didn’t learn anything … except that Obama’s 401-K has some mutual funds with foreign stocks … who cares?
  2. The town hall format was a sham … Crowley picked the questions … people were used as props — then ignored  … wonder what questions didn’t get asked?
  3. I scored the overall to Obama … but not by much … so, I wasn’t surprised by the 46 to 39 CNN instapoll
  4. Great question by one of the anchors: “did either guy help himself with the confrontational stuff?”
  5. The CNN & Fox focus groups did surprise me … CNN had undecideds in Ohio – they went 18 to 17 for Mitt … Fox had undecideds in Nevada … they went something like 24 to 4 for Mitt … logic: it’s all about the economy and Mitt won that issue.
  6. Obama neutralized the “does he want the job?” question and scored big on Libya … his team’s Libya debate strategy was well crafted and and well executed … especially when Crowley jumped in to help him … re: debate strategy”: “I’m responsible for everything that happens in my administration” – took responsibility without taking specific responsibility – that was a good play … “alQarda leadership has been decimated” – nice word-smithing – not “alQarda is on its heels” … made the Libya cover-up sound like word parsing … nicely done.
  7. My bet: the Crowley intervention will end up hurting Obama … it’s be the focus of discussion on the issue today, rather than his strong play on the issue.
  8. I agree with the focus groups that it’s all about he economy … Mitt’s riff re: “23 million looking for work, 47 million on food stamps, etc.” is damning … I thought Mitt made his economic plan sound credible (“listen, I’ve been putting together balanced budgets for decades … this guy hasn’t had a budget for 4 years”… net-net: Obama’s plan is simply tax the rich …
  9. In the CBS Instant Poll, 65% say Romney won on the issue of the economy. 34% say Obama won on the economy … that may be the story of the night.
  10. I also thought Mitt won big on energy … Obama just isn’t credible on the issue … comes across as literally tilting at windmills.
  11. Medicare-ObamaCare & Social Security are among the biggest issues … practically no discussion of them … nice job, Candy
  12.  I don’t get why such a big issue is being made of China … I can’t believe that men on the street understand the issue or care much about it.
  13. I though Mitt did a nice job re: “How are you different from Bush?” … wish Crowley had asked Obama “How are you different from Carter?”
  14. Obama’s shot re: Mitt’s taxes missed … as did Mitt’s shot at Obama for having mutual funds that invest in China …  one Nevada guy said: “whether Romney pays half as much or twice as much in taxes won’t impact my life” … that sums it up
  15. At the margins, I thought Mitt did the best he could re: immigration … the Univision line is strong “you didn’t keep your promise” … won’t move any big numbers, but may shift a point or two
  16. Obama got contraception on the table again … and, Crowley cut off Mitt’s response … so, issue will get some “war on women traction” … if this election hinges on whether law students get free condoms, we’re in big trouble.
  17. I’m curious re: why Mitt slipped in the marriage and family stuff … wasn’t accidental since it was forced in … must be something that tests well.
  18. The key number to watch is shift among the independents … both bases are revved up again.

Bottom line: no structural change in the race, Mitt’s momentum will slow some, but Mitt will still move up some in the polls.

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2 Responses to “The debate …”

  1. Frank Says:

    1. I would like to know what questions were left out too. I’m surprised the campaigns don’t demand post-debate to see the whole question roster made public. It is an obvious check on the process.

    2. I don’t understand why television journalists have such a monopoly on debate moderation. Aren’t there any other professions that could do a better job?

    3. You can put Libya in the same China bucket- no one cares (except GOP operatives). The single biggest political pass going- given to both sides- is the Middle East and all associated idiocy: Libya, Syria, etc. All normal people know it is a mess with no easy solutions that consequently generates policy blunders and embarrassments. Thus, nobody gets marked down much for anything.

    The administration is not expected to be bullet-proof on Libya policy because the voter thinks it is impossible to not make mistakes when dealing with those yo-yos over there. Same reason the NYPD gets away with a bad shooting on occasion. Sure, boutique liberals go nuts- but everyone normal knows it is impossible to routinely police strip club parking lots at 3AM and not make a mistake. Springsteen plays American Skin at the Garden… 400 people are enthralled, the rest of us jam the aisles to take a piss. When Romney talked about Libya, I and most of America felt my bladder stir accordingly.

  2. Jack Clark Says:

    Crawley wasn’t a “potted plant” but a Obama Plant.

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