Jul 21, 2017

(RSS) I Might Be Wrong

The National Anthem: Presidential Election Results

“This is where we analyze the analysts, watch the watch-parties and remember which channel CNN is on for the sole time every four years. They keep counting down and I expect someone to say “New Year’s”; 76-65, Romney right now, but with these basketball numbers Obama is bound to rebound” — Aaron Eisen, 8:59 p.m.

“I lied to my exit poller specifically to throw off their prediction” – ibid.

“In 5 minutes I will make my projection for the next CNN projection.” – ibid, 9:09 p.m.

“Could be the last election for the old media — they could phase out their economic irrelevance as part of retirement. It’s important to reiterate how meta (forgive me) this all is, with my watching on a computer people watching others through screens. Half of the country is blushing, with Romney capturing states.” – ibid, 9:40 p.m.

“Just saw a political advertisement. You got me too late, bro” – ibid.

“Obama wins before Virginia is even counted. Were we irrelevant? The leader-as-symbol lives on. What a great president” – ibid. fin.

The final countdown: Obama v Romney round 3

Romney should be answering just the question about Libya. That’s a really strong Republican talking point. Instead, he tried to force Iran, Syria, and Libya all into one answer. It’s an hour and half debate – he’ll get time to answer each of these in detail. -Sam Novack 9:07 p.m.

This is a more collegiate, meatier debate. Echoes the substance of the VP debates without the theatrics. Now this is a presidential debate. -Rolph Recto 9:09 p.m.

Obama is right to point to his numerous policy achievements: ending the War in Iraq, mercilessly pursuing Al Qaeda, and managing tricky situations in Libya, Egypt, and Syria. Romney seems to be harping endlessly on this embassy disaster, ignoring Obama’s reasoned, largely successful foreign policy achievements. -Russell Bogue 9:09 p.m.

“The 1980’s are now calling to ask for their foreign policies back”.
That was funny, Barack.
Also, is Romney really in favor of increasing the number of troops in Iraq? I really hope that isn’t true. -Ashley Spinks 9:12 p.m.

Romney continues to talk about values he wishes to instill in the Middle East—democracy, women’s rights, education, etc.—as if we all don’t wish to. But how does he plan to, other than “talking tough” and pandering to Israel? I really want to hear a plan, and I think we all do. -Russell Bogue 9:14 p.m.

I respect the moderator for giving Romney extra time to respond to Obama’s allegations. He seems more balanced/objective than Candy of last week. Obama is correct in saying that consistency is necessary when explaining foreign policy/policy in general. Romney hasn’t shown a standard of opinion. He is kind of a flip-flopper, for lack of a more educated term. -Ashley Spinks 9:16 p.m.

This Syria issue seems a weak debate topic. There is broad agreement between the two candidates, except for perhaps the provision of heavy weapons. Moreover, there is no right answer. It’s a quagmire, a hugely complicated issue, and one that any president, Republican or Democrat, would struggle to adequately address. -Russell Bogue 9:20 p.m.

Going back a few minutes, I agree with Rolph. I like the format of this debate much better than the previous two. It’s much more collegiate and organized. The moderator isn’t messing around, either. -Ashley Spinks 9:22 p.m.

This has been an interesting debate so far. Romney acting very moderate in foreign policy, while Obama also moves center, quoting Netanyahu’s “Red Line” and supporting Democracy abroad. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes… -Sam Novack 9:26 p.m.

Obama’s policy seems to be that humanitarian intervention is not bad, but must be balanced with the personal responsibilities of the individual countries. I respect that. How do Romney’s views differ? I’m eager to hear his response. -Ashley Spinks 9:26 p.m.

Didn’t take long for Romney to start making this into an economic issue. Do you have anything else in your bag of tricks, governor? -Katherine Ripley 9:28 p.m.

I was almost with Romney there for a second…I agree with him that the task of policing world conflicts and promoting peace has fallen to the United States, and is not a burden but an “honor”. However, I didn’t feel it was necessary to drag Obama’s “bad economy” into the debate right now. -Ashley Spinks 9:29 p.m.

Oh no, domestic policy is leaking into a foreign policy debate, from both Obama and Romney alike. Perhaps this is just cynicism, but I think that if there isn’t mention of the economy a lot less people would be listening. -Rolph Recto 9:33 p.m.

I agree with Romney’s premise that we can’t worry about humanitarian, international spending while our economy is in a shambles, but then he went on to say that we need to “increase our military budget”. Does he know that 48% of the WORLD’s military spending is by the United States? The military already comprises a giant part of our budget. If we don’t have discretionary funds for international aid, we don’t have extra money for an already huge military, either. Obama proposes more spending on US manufacturing and education. Growth internally will make and keep America strong. -Ashley Spinks 9:33 p.m.

I adore this moderator. So far this debate has been smooth. The questions have been clear, broad, and important. The rules have been abided by. He’s doing a great job. -Ashley Spinks 9:34 p.m.

Both candidates are talking about the deficit. Romney’s “college graduates” remarks and Obama’s “ask the wealthy to pay a little bit more.” The energy debate. Now unemployment. I was under the impression that this was a foreign policy debate. -Sam Novack 9:34 p.m.

One question, Mitt. Just one question. In what world do massive tax breaks and increased military spending lead to a balanced budget? Explain the math to me, please. -Russell Bogue 9:35 p.m.

Bravo, Mr. President! Way to call out Romney for taking credit for an education policy that was there before him. This is the teeth we wanted to see in the first debate. -Rolph Recto 9:40 p.m.

Obama is right— Romney has brought up “promoting small businesses” multiple times, but his record shows that he hasn’t really done anything to do this. Also, I like that Obama is directly quoting Romney’s former statements. Obama seems well-prepared without seeming rude or catty. This is a pet-peeve of mine: Mass. schools are NOT number 1 any longer. That is Maryland public schools. Romney keeps citing that statistic and as a Maryland native, it bothers me that it is blatantly untrue. Additionally, Obama is correct that many of the education policies were in place in MA before Romney took office. -Ashley Spinks 9:41 p.m.

I just want to point out that it’s the job of Congress, not the President, to make and balance the budget. Perhaps we should point to our Legislative Branch’s failure on this front… -Russell Bogue 9:43 p.m.

I am so sick of Romney mentioning his business experience and the Olympics. It’s just not germane, and even if it was, we’ve heard it all before. -Ashley Spinks 9:43 p.m.

“The nature of our military has changed”. Thank you Obama, for pointing out the obvious. Romney’s statistic about the Navy, whether or not it is TRUE, simply doesn’t matter or prove anything. -Ashely Spinks 9:45 p.m.

“We also have less horses and bayonets” — best line of the night. Romney’s talk of expanding the military seems incongruous with his talk of balancing budgets and keeping out of Syria. -Rolph Recto 9:46 p.m.

The whole military question is really key here. Romney seems to believe that mo’ money, mo’ power. Doesn’t it take a more nuanced approach? Shouldn’t we look at wasteful spending, overspending, and needless spending, and aim to eliminate all three? It seems reasonable to me that we could cut our budget, make the military more efficient, and not compromise on national security. -Russell Bogue 9:48 p.m.

Romney talks like a young gun who wants to prove himself a great leader: he has a more aggressive foreign policy, and he certainly focuses more on the military expansion. Obama seems like the pragmatic statesman who, four years later, has realized that bravado isn’t always the right attitude. -Rolph Recto 9:49 p.m.

Obama can’t pretend that sanctions are having the desired effect – Iranian leaders don’t care about the sanctions. He says Iran will face a choice, but they’re not afraid of the choice. Even if the people are feeling the sanctions, the leaders are ignoring them and continuing with their nuclear program. Obama’s mistake has been a reluctance to openly align the United States with Israel. -Sam Novack 9:50 p.m.

I actually agree with Romney that we need to place extreme pressure on Iran. Diplomacy has failed time and time again. We need to make life unbearable for that nation until its rulers eventually cede to the discontent of their people. -Russell Bogue 9:50 p.m.

“Bob, let me just respond. Nothing that Governor Romney just said is true.” I think Obama said it all, guys. -Ashley Spinks 9:56 p.m.

Finally, Pakistan. Our Achilles Heel. The ally who undermines us at every turn, abuses our leniency, supports terrorist groups, and terrorizes its own citizens. It’s high time we move away from our policy of tolerance. -Russell Bogue 10:10 p.m.

“Obama Bin Laden” is the only goof up of ol’ Bob the Moderator. He’s doing a much better job than his liberal predecessors at keeping the ball rolling and asking pertinent questions to both candidates. Hope the guy is remembered as being an actual MODERATE moderator rather than his “Obama Bin Laden” remark – even though I know I got a chuckle out of it. -Sam Novack 10:11 p.m.

Please, let’s talk about which candidate will do a better job of pissing off China—the most prominent and powerful rising global power, one of our biggest trading partners, and the holder of all our debt. Really good idea, fellas. -Russell Bogue 10:16 p.m.

Obama is making some very important points about the situation in China. They do need to play by the rules of everyone else. We need to make it more difficult to “ship jobs overseas”; we do need to build manufacturing on our own land. -Ashley Spinks 10:17 p.m.

All in all, I don’t think this final debate was a game-changer. In fact, I think both candidates went in with the intention of maintaining the status quo. Obama was talking “red lines”, support of Israel, and making China play by the rules, while Romney said no boots on the ground in Syria, and allow government aid for bankrupt auto companies. Despite several interruptions on both sides, this was the most moderate debate, with the most moderate moderator, of the campaign. I’d be surprised to hear if this one changed anyone’s mind – this one was an hour and a half of entertainment to political junkies like me, but otherwise, this debate carried little meaning. -Sam Novack 10:31 p.m.

I think this was a sweep for Obama, but that’s not surprising. It was his strength, and always has been. He was a bit snarkier than usual, perhaps snarkier than necessary, but it is a welcome departure from his complacency in the first debate. -Russell Bogue 10:34 p.m.

Talk of the Town: Obama vs Romney round 2

It’s so cool that they started with a college student’s question. I doubt Romney’s claim that he will make college more affordable, since he previously said that he would cut funding for Pell Grants by over half. Romney agreed with the kid that there was a problem (“too much debt, not enough jobs”), and kept saying, “I’m going to fix that.” But how? What is his plan? I liked Barack’s sly dig, “We need to build jobs in THIS COUNTRY.” I won’t be too partisan, but Barack actually laid out a concrete plan, so I respect that. -Ashley Spinks 9:08 p.m.

Once again Romney is repeatedly citing his plan to create “12 million new jobs”. I wish he would give more details. I can’t even pass judgement on his policies because he seems to have none. I missed the first presidential debate, but Obama sure seems to have come out swinging tonight. Another dig at Romney’s privilege with, “He wants to make sure that the people at the top play by a different set of rules.” -Ashley Spinks 9:12 p.m.

The President is clearly awake for this round, but I think the energy debate, as it pertains to job growth and energy independence is not a good talking point for him. All this growth in coal and natural gas has happened in spite of the President’s policies. And he says Romney won’t be supporting clean energy. But we’ll get the most cost-efficient, viable clean energy if it develops and competes in the private sector. On a side-note: Romney just officially lost all the Avian fanatics he managed to keep after his Big Bird remark. -Sam Novack 9:17 p.m.

Obama and Romney walking in circles around questions -Aaron Eisen 9:18 p.m.

Obama is right… If WE control the demand, we keep the prices under control. I’m glad Obama acknowleged his environmental protection perogative, although I don’t think he’s been as proactive in the last four years as he could’ve been. Romney is basically saying he wants to exploit the natural gas/coal market as much as possible, which is definitely going in the wrong direction. It’s irresponsible and unsustainable. He’s going to give more licenses for drilling and build a giant oil pipeline…it’s disgusting. Thank you, Obama, for calling Romney out on his constantly changing political positions. -Ashley Spinks 9:19 p.m.

They’re both out of their seats…is there going to be a fight?! This is real television, haha. -Ashley Spinks 9:20 p.m.

“Why was that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse!” This is a relevant point. I’m really trying not to be one-sided with my commentary, but Obama is just making more honest, more pointed, and more reliable statements. -Ashley Spinks 9:23 p.m.

This poor moderator! Neither of them is showing her much respect, and she’s seriously concerned with making sure the audience gets to speak. That’s the important part, addressing the public! -Ashley Spinks 9:24 p.m.

Kudos to all these people for asking really good questions. It’s a shame that the candidates aren’t doing a great job of addressing them. -Katherine Ripley 9:28 p.m.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but from what I know of Romney’s tax policy, everything he’s saying right now is untrue. He’s not going to keep tax rates the same for the highest tax bracket, and he’s not going to be looking out for the middle class. He never has. Also, I’m wondering how Romney’s plan to lower tax rates across the board is going to be sustainable. -Ashley Spinks 9:28 p.m.

I respect Obama for giving specific figures for his tax policy. The first $250,000 that you make will be taxed at the same rate. Ninety-eight percent of the population, and ninety-seven percent of small businesses will be unaffected. Also, I question STRONGLY this statistic of Romney’s that the top 5% pay 60% in taxes. What about all the loopholes in the tax code? Romney shouldn’t even insult our intelligence by pretending he cares about women. -Ashley Spinks 9:33 p.m.

AND Kudos to the moderator for posing a very good question to Governor Romney. So good that Romney has apparently decided not to answer it, but rather to insist that his math, which he has yet to explain, does in fact add up, and talk some more about the deficit. Governor, do you have anything new to say? -Katherine Ripley 9:37 p.m.

Obama just addressed the unsustainable nature of Romney’s tax plan…it would be SO expensive to do everything Romney allegedly wants to do, and he’s offering no clear suggestion for how to pay for it. I’m glad that’s been explicity addressed now, and I’m sure Romney will have a response! -Ashley Spinks 9:35 p.m.

Obama’s expansion of Pell grants is fantastic policy (as is the Lily Ledbetter Act). I know that on a personal note, they were vital for me to afford college. -Ashley Spinks 9:41 p.m.

Romney is trying to make every question about his background in business and the economy. Pay equity for women…“I know how to make the economy work.” Well sure, Governor. That makes me feel a lot better about the pay gap… -Katherine Ripley 9:43 p.m.

The fact that Romney PERSONALLY ensured jobs for a few women is irrelevant. The fact that he accomodated one working mom is also irrelevant. What is he going to do on a national scale? Tell me. -Ashley Spinks 9:42 p.m.

The President is presenting his ideology on these issues, but Romney actually has credentials. He CAN balance budgets and he DOES employ women. And here comes the contraception debate. “Contraceptive care” says Obama? This isn’t care, it’s a check on a group of people on the assumption that they CANNOT CHOOSE whether or not to have sex. This is a personal responsibility issue as much as it is a religious liberty/women’s rights issue. -Sam Novack 9:45 p.m.

Romney needs to stop citing his ability to run a business as if it’s a qualification to be leader of the free world. It may be a single factor, but it certainly doesn’t qualify him for the whole job. I’ve basically given up on trying to be objective, because I can’t support what Romney is saying. Thank you Obama for citing SPECIFIC policies that Romney has either passed or supported that have robbed women of their equal status in society, both in the sphere of healthcare and the workforce. -Ashley Spinks 9:47 p.m.

“George Bush didn’t propose turning Medicare into a voucher…George Bush never suggested that we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.” Barack Obama is sassy, and I like it. -Ashley Spinks 9:52 p.m.

This whole premise that if we re-elect Obama, we’re going to get “the same thing we’ve gotten for the last four years” is a logical fallacy at best. We won’t repeat the last four years, we will build upon them. We will progress, not regress. So yes, idealogically, the next four years will see similar policy. But that doesn’t mean stagnancy. -Ashley Spinks 9:58 p.m.

Romney has a strong point – unemployment is the same rate, but this doesn’t count the people who’ve given up on looking for work. And now we have more people dependent on food stamps. What does that say about the kind of economy/society that Obama’s policies are encouraging? It’s not the kind I want to live in. -Sam Novack 9:59 p.m.

You have a record too, Romney! And it shows that you used to be a liberal Republican. A compromiser. Records don’t always mean anything. -Ashley Spinks 9:59 p.m.

Starting to get a headache from all the ruckus. -Katherine Ripley 10:07 p.m.

“You know, I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours.” This is the best quote of the entire debate. -Ashley Spinks 10:08 p.m.

Here comes foreign policy! Good question posed to open it up. Obama: “Our diplomats serve all around the world.” Okay…we understand that point. But why, if you care so much, did you only RETROACTIVELY provide security when such security had been called for in advance? Furthermore, on his point about Romney politicizing the attack, Romney was merely pointing out what had ACTUALLY occurred, rather than naively heaping the blame on a YouTube video. -Sam Novack 10:12 p.m.

Yeah, Romney just should not have insinuated that Obama doesn’t understand the gravity of his position. It was a low blow, and completely disrespectful. You do not question someone’s patriotism or integrity. Whether you like Obama or not, he cares about people’s safety. I like that Candy and Obama are forming a bond over what a jerk Romney is being. -Ashley Spinks 10:18 p.m.

Obama should NOT have just mentioned prayer/religion. That is dangerous, dangerous ground during a debate, and it was a blatant attempt to try to garner support from the devout voters. I’m not questioning Obama’s faith, it just shouldn’t have been mentioned at all. Just address the question, please. -Ashley Spinks 10:20 p.m.

Kudos to the moderator for pointing out the fact that Romney was avoiding the question…again. -Katherine Ripley 10:23 p.m.

Wait…did I just blackout? How in the world did we get on the topic of the nuclear family? Where was that segue? -Ashley Spinks 10:23 p.m.

I’ve only been calling on Romney to make the points about parents since last debate! This is the truth. We can funnel as much money as we want into education, but if kids aren’t raised properly in the home, they aren’t going to go out and be productive members of society, no matter how great the schools. And is anyone surprised to hear the moderator steer the discussion AWAY from Fast and Furious? I’m certainly not. Just another left-leaning moderator trying to keep the tough questions from coming in. -Sam Novack 10:25 p.m.

As an attempt to be nonpartisan, I will point out that Obama has now interrupted the moderator numerous times. Not cool. -Ashley Spinks 10:27 p.m.

Ashley, if Obama truly cared about his peoples’ safety, he would have provided security to his people overseas who were requesting it. He called out Romney for politicizing the event, so it is more than acceptable that Romney call out Obama for going to interviews and campaigning while people he DID NOT PROTECT were killed in an attack he misrepresented. -Sam Novack 10:31 p.m.

I like Romney’s tone in this final closing point. He WANTS everyone working again – in the past, he only indicated people are not. And what reason do they have to if the government and wealthier tax-payers will provide for them? “Self-reliance” is rich coming from the President. Further, I appreciate Romney mentioning his faith. This is a crucial part of a candidate’s character, and it certainly has a place. I won’t deny that Obama looked much better than he did in the previous debate, but I think he brought a lot of his old rhetoric and relied on several team-attacks on Romney with the left-leaning moderator. -Sam Novack 10:41 p.m.

The issue of marriage equality was conspicuously absent in this debate. I’m sure that somebody in that audience of voters would have raised it, and maybe there would have been time had the candidates answered each question clearly and concisely, instead of sniping at each other and spouting the same generalizations over and over again. This debate was better than the last one, but still very disappointing. -Katherine Ripley 10:46 p.m.

Vices and Virtues: Biden vs. Ryan

Poor Biden is already behind. Ryan was more than correct! He and Romney understand how the Obama Administration represents America: as an apologetic country that’s afraid to take a stand against terrorism. It’s one thing to brag about getting Bin Laden, but another thing to call out a new terrorist attack when Obama’s in the driver’s seat. He’d rather say it’s America’s fault for a YouTube video, than call out what, from the beginning, was clearly a terrorist attack. -Sam Novack 9:13 p.m.

In 2010, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: “Sanctions cannot stop the Iranian nation. The Iranian nation is able to withstand the pressure of the United States and its allies.” Biden can laugh and say everything Ryan says is wrong and “malarkey”, but he is fast falling behind Paul Ryan, who is coming out swinging. President Obama’s approach has been weak and unclear – Netanyahu and Israel, and the rest of the free world, need the United States to show itself as strong, ready, and willing to attack Iran. -Sam Novack 9:20 p.m.

In response to the above post – from where I’m sitting, it seems like Paul Ryan was the one heavily endorsing said sanctions, whereas Biden was talking about the actual feasibility of Iran even taking the action that they’re threatening. As he said, “facts matter.” -Katherine Ripley 9:23 p.m.

Word to the wise, Vice President: laughing and smiling skyward are not real arguments. He is out of his league, politically and argumentatively. This is going to be a long hour and a half for Biden, President Obama, and the Democrats. -Sam Novack 9:23 p.m.

Citing the unemployment right of a single city doesn’t prove that the whole country is moving in the wrong direction, Paul Ryan. The national unemployment rate recently fell below 8 percent for the first time in a while. Let’s focus on the big picture. -Katherine Ripley 9:27 p.m.

This is turning into a “he said-he said” argument. “Our main supporter is a democrat”…“he said he no longer supports it.” What is even going on? This shouldn’t be a dispute of fact but rather a discussion of differing opinions on the important issues. This is for the voters, after all. -Katherine Ripley 9:42 p.m.

Our moderator started out better than the previous one, but she has since fallen into the same lame category. She is letting interruptions (almost entirely on Biden’s part) go unchallenged. You can say Biden is looking aggressive, but in all honesty, Ryan is the only one of the three on stage adhering to any kind of debate/common etiquette. -Sam Novack 9:43 p.m.

Bringing up the “47% comment” was a low blow, and not super professional, but Biden is right. Romney has endorsed policy ideas and used rhetoric that has disenfranchised millions of Americans.
I wish I could effectively fact-check during this debate…are Romney and Ryan really offering 500 billion dollars in tax cuts? Has the economy really only grown at 1.3% this year, and is that truly a smaller rate of growth than last year? If both of those statistics are legitimate, they are relevant and important.
Ryan’s story about Romney helping the car-crash victim and donating 30% of his income to charity was irrelevant. The argument is not whether Romney is a good GUY, but whether he will make a good President. Romney doesn’t need to look out for one person, he needs to look out for all people and the national economy.
Technically, Obama and Biden didn’t PASS the stimulus. It was initially Bush legislation. They did, however, renew it. Ryan asking for stimulus money during his time in Wisconsin is the same type of hypocrisy demonstrated by Romney. He passed “Obamacare” in Massachusetts and now opposes it as a Presidential candidate.
There absolutely shouldn’t be benefit cuts for current seniors, but private businesses should not be involved in a governmental program. Social Security does need reform, I agree with Ryan. But privatizing the program is NOT the only way to do that. As Biden rightly pointed out, the market can crash at any time. -Ashley Spinks 9:44 p.m.

This is pathetic. Now the moderator is attacking Ryan after letting Biden interrupt countless times. This is an appalling attempt to turn around a debate that, for the Democrats, smelled sour from the word go. -Sam Novack 9:51 p.m.

Democrats are going to say Ryan has made no different claims on how to address Syria, but it comes back to the fundamental difference between Obama/Biden and Romney/Ryan: the Republicans are willing and able to call a spade (Bashar al-Assad) a spade. They would not have taken a seat on their hands and equivocated while the situation got more and more out of control. -Sam Novack 10:18 p.m.

Ryan talks of the Obama administration infringing upon religious freedom, but to take away a woman’s right to choose would be to infringe upon her privacy and her liberty when it comes to her health. It is essential to preserve that right to choose, just as this country preserves each person’s right to worship in his or her private life. -Katherine Ripley 10:20 p.m.

Martha Raddatz (moderator) turned away a legitimate issue: religious liberty. This was just to get a quip in about abortion, which had already been addressed. Government-sponsered, and therefore TAX-sponsered, birth-control, contraceptives, and abortions are all violating the religious liberty of those paying those taxes. That is a real issue, and that was a real chance to discuss it, but Raddatz wanted to make a point for the left. Sad. -Sam Novack 10:26 p.m.

Well, that was entertaining to watch, but I don’t feel like I really learned anything. The fact checkers going nuts on Twitter were more informative. As one of my roommates said, after it was over, “That was a bunch of malarkey.” -Katherine Ripley 10:33 p.m.

The Mitts are Off: Obama v. Romney Round 1

President Obama – using his two minutes to wish happy anniversary. Swell guy? Or no answer? Hmm… – Sam Novack 9:05 p.m.

Pre-debate thoughts: Obviously the economy is going to be a central focus of this debate. Obama will have to defend his stewardship thus far of a particularly sluggish economy. Romney will have to prove why he has better ideas—and especially why his primary answer (tax cuts) doesn’t unfairly favor one segment of society over another. -Russell Bogue 9:06 p.m.

Romney’s 5-Point Plan is nice departure from his normally vague promises, but still lacks specifics: “champion small business” is pretty much the priority of every president and presidential candidate. How does Romney’s plan do this better than Obama’s? That’s what we want to know. -Russell Bogue 9:09 p.m.

Both candidates manage to start off with harmless niceties, and I’m sure that Romney wishing Obama a happy anniversary will be the nicest it gets tonight. Romney did a better job of contrasting himself from Obama, although both did fairly well in outlining their economic plans. Also, Romney looks much less orange than normal. -Forrest Brown 9:10 p.m.

Romney’s got an edge in this early round, I think! Obama can say what he want about increases in traditional energies, but Romney is right in saying that these growths have happened IN SPITE of Obama’s policies. -Sam Novack 9:14 p.m.

Romney claims he will propose no tax cut that add to the deficit: how do we cut taxes by up to 20% and still maintain a balanced budget without crippling spending cuts to vital government programs? As Obama notes, the tax cuts equal $5 trillion, and Romney proposes increasing military spending by $2 trillion: that’s $7 trillion that needs to be made up. Loopholes? Really? -Russell Bogue 9:16 p.m.

The central issue so far has clearly been the respective tax plans of Romney and Obama. Both are trying to argue their interpretation of Governor Romney’s plan as either a wealthy-centric burden on the deficit or relief for the middle class. Both are citing studies and quoting their plans, the question will be whether or not the voters are willing to do the research to discover who’s right. Without doing it myself, I’d say both are probably exaggerating to some degree. So far the only advantage I’m willing to give is to Obama’s tie dimple. -Forrest Brown 9:19 p.m.

Romney makes a very pertinent and powerful point when he cites that 54% of business owners are taxed in the individual tax bracket—a strong case for lowering tax rates across the board. -Russell Bogue 9:20 p.m.

The audience is already breaking their silence to chuckle at Jim’s loss of control of the debate. That didn’t take too long. Obama seems pretty stuck on the same two points – the $5 trillion tax cuts and the $2 trillion increase in military spending. I’d like to see him explain/defend what approach he approves of. I’ve heard Clinton’s name dropped a few times, but Obama hasn’t answered for his tax increases. …and now Romney talked down poor Jim again. That guy is obviously not ready. -Sam Novack 9:25 p.m.

The moderator is not able to control either candidate from harping on the same topics or to move on, I’m pretty sure we’ve seen the same arguments presented over and over for the last 10 minutes. -Forrest Brown 9:25 p.m.

They are actually making factually opposite claims. Either the tax break totals $5 trillion dollars or it doesn’t—isn’t this pretty black and white? Who is right here? You can’t play politics with facts (or you can, but it’s stupid). -Russell Bogue 9:26 p.m.

A point lost on both the candidates and voters: Congress is constitutionally charged with setting the budget for the United States. Budget deficits and a failed tax code are failures of Congress, not the Executive. -Russell Bogue 9:30

Now we hear how the deficits are going to be cut by both sides. Romney does not plan on cutting $5 trillion in taxes and miraculously staying on budget. He just outlined that he is NOT going to keep all these massive tax-money spending government programs. And Obama just says “whoa…I was handed a tough situation.” More Bush-blaming. Not surprising. The fact is, he raised the deficit with his ineffective stimulus and programs like Obamacare. -Sam Novack 9:31 p.m.

A rare agreement! The issue of revenue will be crucial, as it one of the few areas the candidates are willing to admit they hold opposing policies. The question is whether or not the American people agree with Romney that all taxes hurt the economy, or side with Obama’s view that the wealthy need to pay more and corporations should not be given as many tax breaks. -Forrest Brown 9:36 p.m.

Romney wants to balance the budget by growing the economy—creating more jobs, and thus higher incomes, and thus higher revenues. Obama proposes mathematics: raising taxes a certain amount and cutting spending a certain amount. We can debate the merits of each, but it seems pretty clear that Romney is basing budget deficit reduction on proposed job increases that may or may not materialize, while Obama is basing his on plus and minus signs. -Russell Bogue 9:36 p.m.

Jim Lehrer, Virginia resident, letting things get out of hand in the his 12th debate as moderator. Candidates interrupting, going over allotment — part of debate where each of them becomes an economist. Obama relies on “worst recession since the great depression” to bail out his difficulties; Romney quoting “Path to Spain” echoing Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” -Aaron Eisen 9:38 p.m.

Obama – why should we want Exxon and Mobil to make more money? Hmm…maybe because it’s an American company? It’s the same thing as his smear campaigns. Why is Romney a bad candidate? Because he knows how to turn a profit? He knows how to make things happen. Interesting side-note – it’s Obama’s breaks to Green Energy and his restrictions on traditional fuels that have led to the high gas prices he’s crying about. He’s killin’ me, he really is. -Sam Novack 9:38 p.m.

I think Obama is probably going to win the medicare debate- he has a stronger plan, and the people who matter on this issue (seniors) are not fond of the voucher system Romney is trying to spin. -Forrest Brown 9:51 p.m.

Romney, I think, has a more ideologically sound Medicare plan. It sounds really nice. It’s a good idea. But he doesn’t deal with the reality that insurance companies price gauge sicker, older patients, and his plan won’t regulate or prevent this. -Russell Bogue 9:55 p.m.

A quick note- Romney has been strong in this debate, but notably absent have been the “zingers” we were promised. I was looking forward to some one-liners. -Forrest Brown 9:56 p.m.

I think both Romney and obama have made some tactical mistakes, Obama in embracing the term “Obamacare” which is too stigmatized to be an effective tool for him, and Romney in even slightly referencing his healthcare plan in Massachussetts which was the model of “Obamacare” in the first place. -Forrest Brown 9:56 p.m.

Even Jim has openly abandoned his own 2-minute system. It’s fast becoming a free-for-all. Aaaaaannd…here comes ObamaCare! Why should businesses have to pay for parents to keep their 26-year-old NOT KIDS on their health coverage? It’s back to the jobs v. personal responsibility debate. Either kids, who really are far too old to be considered kids, are relying on their parents’ health coverage into their mid-20s – or they take responsibility for their own lives and get their own coverage, rather than heaping the costs and regulations on private insurance companies and, therefore, small businesses. -Sam Novack 10:04 p.m.

Romney’s distinctions between RomneyCare and ObamaCare are unconvincing. They’re essentially the same thing. -Russell Bogue 10:05 p.m.

Both candidates have shown a willingness to twist facts and repeat the same lines used in their advertisements, which sadly is the historical norm in these debates. That’s probably why the historical trend of debates not effecting the election will coninue as well. Look for any shift in the polls tomorrow to quickly dissipate by the end of the week. -Forrest Brown 10:10 p.m.

Jim’s questions are really driving me up a wall. “Is there a fundamental difference between you two on Issue X?” Well no duh, Jim! That’s only been the catch-phrase of the campaign. There is a CLEAR CHOICE! Does he expect one of the candidates to say “Whoa there Jim…we’re actually the same on this topic. Let’s take a breather here.”??? -Sam Novack 10:14 p.m.

Obama has creepy smiles. Just putting that out there. -Russell Bogue 10:17 p.m.

Surprise world! I disagree with Romney! It’s not the state’s job to improve kid’s learning. It’s the PARENT’S job! If a kid doesn’t want to learn, spending infinity on public education isn’t going to save him. Either the parents instill in their child a desire to compete, to succeed, and to learn, or they don’t. It certainly isn’t the government’s job, Mr. President, and Mr. Romney…sorry, not the state’s job either. Mr. Personal Responsibility needs to stick to his guns – I’d have cheered if he’d answered “parents.” -Sam Novack 10:21 p.m.

Romney’s embrace of a competition based government may conform to strict capitalist point of view, but it ignores the fact that in many areas, the goal is to have everyone succeed, particularly in education. -Forrest Brown 10:25 p.m.

Ah, the token bin Laden reference from Obama. I was waiting for that. I think Romney has better credentials when it comes to reaching bipartisan agreement, but I doubt whether Congressional Republicans will listen even to him. -Russell Bogue 10:28 p.m.

Probably a wise choice not to grade yourself, Mr. Moderator. There was almost no guidance on this debate. What I’d like to know is: where were the questions about the riots in the Middle East? This is a big issue, and there if Jim was looking for a stark contrast, he’d be hard-put to find a better one than the one that exists here. The repercussions from this are going to be felt after November, and need to be addressed. As does a Nuclear Iran. Surprised that, in general, foreign policy was left off the table. -Sam Novack 10:28 p.m.

In my opinion, Romney won this debate. I don’t agree with many of his ideas and policies, but he was on the attack, he was articulate, and he created observable clash. Obama seemed to stumble through statistics and transmission mechanisms, obscuring his true points. -Russell Bogue 10:31 p.m.

Final thoughts- Romney was certainly better prepared for this debate, and his delivery was much crisper and more organized than the President’s. But I don’t think Romney was able to convince enough voters leaning towards Obama that he offers a better choice, because he wasn’t able to match the substance of the President’s plans. I predict a one to two point swing to Romney in the morning that will disappear by Sunday. -Forrest Brown 10:32 p.m.

Just like that it is over. 90 minutes, four years — maybe I’ll blog my whole life. When will the moderator become a computer? The more information, the better. -Aaron Eisen 10:34 p.m.

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