Thursday, October 04, 2012

Romney edges Obama in bottom of the ninth in debate

The rather formal debate last night between President Obama and Mitt Romney, moderated by Jim Lehrer, at the University of Denver, became the main television event on Wednesday night on CNN and broadcast networks, once it was clear that the Yankees would clobber the Red Sox  (14-2) on ESPN, the main competition for ratings (and very important!).

It started rather trivially, with the president recognizing his wedding anniversary (marriage demands that), and then Mitt Romney noting that the president has to spend time with “me”.

The president seemed specific when saying that revenues, after GOP upper income tax cuts, would make up the deficit, but Romney seemed to come back and say he had never called for tax cuts that would continue increasing debt.

Romney seemed to suggest that we cannot pay for government-guaranteed health care and for everything else.  He talked, in libertarian fashion, about powers explicitly granted Congress and the federal government.  He referred to a constitutional right to “the pursuit of happiness” (almost as if lout of my first DADT book, Chapter 6), and said that this required a strong defense, but also noted that people need to take care of one another, including the most vulnerable, rather than depending on government to do that.  Mormon culture is very good with this.

At the very end, Obama noted the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell”.

News analysts afterward said that Romney’s proposals would not take care of health insurance for those with pre-existing conditions if they had not had health insurance during the past several months. 

It seemed as though most observers felt that Romney had “won” the debate and would draw closer in the polls the next couple of days.

The president did not mention the “47%” issue, and Lehrer never asked about it. 

Although Obama, as the incumbent, should have "home field advantage", Obama spoke first and Romney batted last (in comparison to baseball, where the home team can score a walk-off win).  Obama spoke for more elapsed minutes than Romney (that is, held the football longer).  But in the end, Romney probably edged him out.

Fareed Zakaria has pointed out that Romney was specific in the debate that he would not cut taxes in a way that increases the deficit, but that clarification seems new.  Romney also admitted the need for some financial regulation.

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