Election season is drawing to a close and as promised I’m back to cover the political hijinks of the debates. Ol’ reliable Jim Lehrer is serving as the moderator. He’s always the moderator. I actually have him come in to moderate my family’s disagreements. HDTV is not kind to Jim. The candidates weren’t kind to him either. They ignored him all night long. Except for the occasional feeble objection from Jim, the candidates were on their own.
Barack Obama immediately jumps out with an acknowledgement of his 20th anniversary. Way to woo women voters, Prez! I’m disappointed he didn’t acknowledge my high school class is celebrating our 20 year reunion to lock up the class of ’92 voter block. Obama didn’t really answer the first question. Willard Mitt jumps in to wish the Obamas a happy anniversary, crack a sort of funny joke and then rehashed his 5 point “plan” from the RNC.
So far this debate is all about the middle class. Again. Poor people are again ignored. Oh wait poor folks were mentioned dismissively toward the end.
Willard Mitt likes to ask himself questions then answer them. So essentially he’s framing the debate on his terms regardless of what’s the “moderator” asks. Just like in the Republican debates, he also likes to try to out talk the moderator. I was disappointed Jim is let him get away with that.
Mitt is even better at the non-answer answer than Obama and Obama is pretty good a that. Willard Mitt keeps mentioning he has a plan he has yet to quote one plank of this unicorn of a plan. Sadly he was rarely challenged by Obama or Jim Lehrer to define the mystery plan.
Obama was cool as ever. He was a little too cool for my tastes last night. He let Willard Mitt talk himself into circles. And Willard Mitt was happily filing the space with as many falsehoods as possible. Still Obama needed to be a bit more aggressive in defending his tenure and making the case for another term. He has a tendency to babble and sound like he’s teaching a class though. In this debate that tendency made him seem detached. Last night was the best I’ve heard Obama defend his health care law though.
That whole debate was a meandering mess from both candidates. CNN gave the debate to Romney by a wide margin. They have a vested interest in a competitive race. They have all those pundits on the payroll (there were sixty-seven of them covering last night’s debate and the usual over-reliance on graphics and technological tricks). If the race was effectively over at this point who would CNN pay James Carville to yell at for another month?
The debate felt like a draw to me with an edge to Willard. Mitt landed some good punches but he came off as petulant and dishonest. Obama wasn’t as sharp as he should have been and occasionally seemed like he was more ready for that evening’s anniversary celebration than a debate. He was probably in limo after the debate telling Michelle “I should have said…”
I seriously doubt the course of the election moved significantly last night. At least not to the degree that CNN is making it out to have changed. As the political cliche goes, Willard Mitt did what he had to do last night. I suspect when the smoke clears and people start picking through half-truths and outright lies, Willard Mitt is not going to look as good. Right now he’s the man.
There’s a debate between the vice presidential candidates next week but I refuse to cover it. Nobody pays attention to veeps so I’m saving my self the trouble. If Joe Biden says some outrageous stuff I’m going to regret this decision.