What Actually Happened At Last Night's Debate

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. Last night's debate may well go down in history as one of the oddest on record. After a contentious second debate in which the idiot moderator took over for Obama at a crucial point and misstated his previous remarks on Libya, most viewers were no doubt expecting Romney to come out guns blazing. He certainly had the opportunity. Moderator Bob Shiefer, perhaps desperate to save the mainstream media's lock on presidential debate moderation after the Crowley embarrassment, started things off with an underhand softball toss to Romney on Libya.

    Surprisingly, Romney launched into a general discussion of the future of the middle east, filled with platitudes and never even mentioned the Libyan fiasco. Obama, no doubt relieved beyond measure to not have to explain his administration's weeks of lies and abandonment of Americans under fire, answered in a similar fashion.

    Republicans across the nation were slapping themselves on the forehead and asking, "WTF" or words to that effect.

    As the debate wore on, Romney generally stuck to Reaganesque themes of lifting everyone up via American leadership and the importance of strength and resolve. He rarely attacked or even criticized Obama except in the most general terms. Instead, he often underscored his agreement with Obama's approach or policies.

    Obama by contrast attacked relentlessly and in a very personal manner. He mocked Romney for supposedly not understanding modern military needs and linked him to Bush and Cheney. His signature line was some idiotic reference to the foreign policy of the '90's, the social polciy of the 50's and the economic policy of the '20's or somethng like that.

    The usual suspects are jubilant today, thinking Obama triumphed decisively. But did he really? What was really going on?

    My take is that the differing styles reflected polling and focus groups results. If so, democrats have nothing to celebrate.

    Romney reminded me of an NFL coach protecting a lead in the fourth quarter. Run the ball, eat clock and play a soft zone defense to prevent big plays. His message to voters was expect nothing too different from me on foreign policy. He wanted undecideds to come away thinking, there isn't much difference between them on foreign stuff, so let's focus on the economy.

    Obama by contrast was like an MMA fighter who knows he is well behind entering the final round. He was swingly wildly, hoping somethng connected. He got a few shots in, but none of them put Romney down. His central argument, that Romney is a reckless neophyte who cannot be trusted to run foreign policy, was always a tough sell and he didn't come close to making that case. he scored some debating points, but also probably hurt himself by appearing uncivil while Romney was gracious.

    I think this debate and whatever effects it is shown to have had will be studied by political pros for years. The reason is it provided such a stark contrast in styles, and in Romney's case, a total departure from his previous tactics. It is no secret that undecideds and independents invariably say in focus groups that they are sick and tired of all the partisan bickering and just want the parties to work together and get stuff done. They also express distaste for personal attacks and incivility. Romney's camp obviously took that to heart; Obama, not so much.

    I personally was disappointed, but one of the spin crew made the point that partisans always want red meat and that is not always the best approach to woo undecideds. Going into a rope-a-dope in the last debate seems risky to me, but Romney has very sophisticated people handling him. I am assuming they believed they have a winning hand now and wanted to leave voters with a positive impression of a Romney who is likeable and gracious.
  2. Arnie


    I was flipping back and forth between the games and the debate, so I didn't watch the whole thing, but Obama looked churlish at times...it seemed very out of character for him. I think Romney was smart not to take the bait.

    At the end of the day, this election is going to be a referendum on Obama and his handling of the economy. I think Romney succeeded where he needed to in these debates....showing that he is a credible alternative to Obama, especially on the economy and especially with independents/undecideds. The Obama campaign carpet bombed Romney on his character for months and Romney showed what a lie it was in the debates.
  3. Epic


    Yep, they believe he is ahead with momentum. It wasn't rope-a-dope. Rope-a-dope can only be done in the earlier rounds, which I think that Romney did quite effectively during the past several months, but not by choice. Romney simply didn't have access to the RNC cash until after the convention. Obama's team literally fired every bullet they had months ago. I'm surprised that they really didn't save anything. If they had, it would've come up during the debates. There was nothing new, which is precisely why the subtle attacks pointed at Bain and taxes had no effect and looked desperate.

    Romney made an obvious pivot into prevent defense and run out the clock mode. Match your opponent without trying to dominate them. Take the low hanging fruit on offense without being aggressive at all. Avoid injuries that might be incurred by trying to push for another first down. On defense, don't give up big plays and don't let them get out of bounds to stop the clock.

    As you indicated, Romney even passed on Libya because he got intercepted on that play during the second debate. No long pass plays in this debate.

    The problem with prevent defense in a close game is that it really is a 50/50 proposition. If I were a coach in either football or politics I would just keep doing what has been working for me. When your opponent expects prevent defense, you send in a safety blitz. When they expect you to run out the clock with run plays, you take the quick 5-yard laterals to the side lines. When it is a 2-point game with a minute left, there is one strategy that almost always seals the deal. Do your best to make it a 10 point game.
  4. As has already been stated, Romney employed a very risky tactic in a close game. Maybe it will work.
    I guess I was really disappointed that the tactic used by the MSM and Team Obama regarding Benghazi has worked. Neither Romney or Ryan were able to do much with the story, which simply amazes me. Media won't cover the story, adminstration changes the narrative every week. It's now a non-issue for the election.
    I believe it has been said numerous time that Americans really don't care that much about foreign policy. You would think that they would having seen several thousand of their sons and daughters killed, 100,000+ wounded in one way or another, and more to come as the ME continues to spiral out of control. I guess it's all about the dollar. Always is, until it's your kid in the box. Damn shame. Go ask a combat Vet if he thinks foreign policy doesn't mean anything. Ask the mother or father of a dead Vet. You'll probably get an ear full.
  5. Epic


    I don't think that foreign policy doesn't matter, but I think that economics has a huge effect on foreign policy. Ask yourself which is easier. Build your military to the point that you scare your enemies into never attacking you? Or, open up trade agreements and make their economy codependent on American economic success?

    The latter is historically more reliable and more beneficial to all parties involved. Think Japan vs. Iran. Japan was once a mortal enemy and will never oppose us again because of economic codependency. Who is more likely to war against us, Russia or China? Russia obviously, even though China is more capable.

    Nine times out of ten war can be prevented via economic channels.
  6. To the people who felt dissapointed that Romney didn't attack Obama on Benghazi last night... Ask yourself, with all the attention it has already gotten through the media, as well as Bret Baer's special on Benghazi that aired last friday on Fox... why would Romney need to bring it up anymore?? It's beating a dead horse, everyone and their grandma already understands that this is a cover up by the Obama administration. There was absolutely no need for Romney to attack Obama with regards to Benghazi and look petulant. Romney has already won the first debate, tied on the second, and he is surging in the polls surpassing 50%. All Romney needed to do last night was look presidential and that he knew what he was talking about. And Romney did just that. Absolutely brilliant.
  7. He did not, because he probably came to the conclusion that Crowley and the President were right. He probably checked the speech wording and realized that what he was told about the speech isn't what was in the speech.

    Romney seems to have probably understood that a lot of things he was saying and defending were not right, and seemed to have changed course which made him look like an "all over the map" candidate. An area where he stayed the course was on China, in which he made some good points.
  8. jem


    exactly my thoughts.
    we all know on the left and the right Obama is lying his ass off... and as president he even got some people to support both of his stories. No point in going there. If Romney said video... Obama would say rose garden terrorist, if Romney said terrorist he would say we were waiting to be sure but went with the intelligence reports.

    Why could Obama get away with this? because his staff is full of shit and because he did all that on purpose. That rose garden speech was designed to do what it did.

    With respect to Romney, what an executive he is.

    At one point Romney after minutes of very solid rebuttal material on a subject... The moderator said that is our next topic -
    I thought it was over. Few people would have had 2 more minutes of fresh insights.

    Most executives or real life judges don't not waste time like that. The point is made and you move on.

    Romney is not just competent, he is very skilled.
  9. Epic


    I noticed that too Jem. Romney had just spent about 2 1/2 minutes on a rebuttal, and then the moderator asked a question on the exact same topic, handing the mic right back to him. I was thinking to myself. He just answered that question thoroughly. Romney didn't miss a step, but instead pivoted to offense and added a couple more insights to drive the point home.

    I don't think he is great at thinking on his feet, but he is solid in his grasp of the topics.

    Romney's inability to think on his feet cost him his best and most prepared line of the night. That line should've made headlines but he failed to pin Obama on it. That is the first time the GOP has taken the time on a national stage to explain why they call it an "Apology Tour". Romney did a very good job of prosecuting that, until Obama went into a drawn out story about visiting historical sites on his tour. The Romney response should have been;

    "Mr. President, I just explained very concisely why it was inappropriate for you to call America's leaders dismissive, derisive dictators. You just spent three minutes excusing yourself for such inappropriate behavior by claiming that your time was well spent because you also visited historic landmarks and monuments. Is that really your best defense? I'll say it again Mr President. Americans are not dictators! We liberate others from dictatorships!"

    Had he done that I think the edge in the debate would've gone the other way.
  10. After the 2008 election, I was fully convinced that the democrats were better at picking their candidates than republicans. McCain tried to express himself as the candidate that would take the high road and stay above the fray. Meanwhile you had this freshman senator from Illinois that was young, smart, charming and attractive speaker, yet ruthless when it came to taking down his opponent. Add to all that, the historical nature of having the first black president, and the best the GOP can do is nominate a moderate republican that was deathly afraid of criticizing Obama. It was a campaign doomed to fail, even though they tried to resuscitate it by adding Sarah Palin to the ticket which gave it a little boost but quickly died.

    Fast forward 4 yrs later to the GOP primaries of the current election cycle, I was not impressed by any of the GOP candidates at the time. To me none of them had that likeability factor that Obama has. At the time I had some hopes for Rick Perry because he came across presidential, has a good track record in his own state, and he had this tough persona about him. He turned out to be a disaster and when he couldn't remember which government sectors he wanted to close during one of the debates, that sealed his fate. Herman Cain was also an interesting person on my radar because he had private sector experience, but he never survived the attacks on him regarding his extramarrital affairs, or what ever it was, I don't even remember. Once again I was depressed about the notion that the GOP would never be able to nominate someone that could take on the Obama/Chicago machine.

    However after the first debate in Denver, I was blown away by Romney's ability to take it to Obama. He was aggressive, yet respectful. He knew Obama's weak points (which there was no shortage of) and pressed them hard. In hindsight after the three debates, it seemed like Romney was always one step ahead of the Obama camp. Latest example being how everyone expected Romney to pound Obama on the Benghazi terrorist attack in this last debate. Bob Schieffer started the debate on that topic, and Obama even went back to the topic, as if they all expected Romney to start accusing Obama of mishandling Benghazi and get down in the weeds with him. But as mentioned earlier, Romney is already winning. All he needs to do is look presidential, lock in his gains, and its a done deal. Furthermore, the media, particularly Fox news, has already shed light on this issue and anyone with half a brain cell understands that this is massive a cover up by the administration. Polls even show Obama took a hit with regard to foreign policy. Obama was outmanuevered once again, and it made him look petulant, angry, and small minded. The Obama/Chicago machine has met their match.
    #10     Oct 24, 2012