|Do we really need more of these?|
Former Governor (former Republican?) Charlie Crist is sitting in the First Lady's group. Ann Romney is surrounded by her boys.
Supposedly, Gov Romney is going to be all moderate tonight. We'll see if the Prez can set him off again like last time. I read some comments that the Prez was deliberately interrupting last time to throw the CEO off his game. A lot of people, particularly women, supposedly found that to be a negative.
I end up watching CNN. Both Fox and MSNBC are out for obvious biases. PBS is too boring. CNN is almost that boring. They do have the true bi-partisan punditry of David Gergen. Although, I can hardly stand either Paul Begala or Ari Fleischer. (Fleischer the man who helped sell the Iraq war). Begala I once saw live co-hosting "Cross-fire" James Carville is much more entertaining. Saw Tucker Carlson too, bow tie and all. (kind of a bozo).
This may be a more serious discussion sitting around the table with the seasoned Bob Schieffer.
Bob Schieffer has gravitas. "Audience has taken a vow of silence" good line.
And they're off . . .
50th Anniversary of Cuban Missle Crisis. Wow. Schieffer lays it on thick.
Right off the bat is Libya. Schieffer goes on Romney's "unravelling mid-east policy" charge. Prez is very attentive to Romney's speech. Our "hearts and minds [?]" go to the victims? See, he congratulates Prez on Bin Laden and comes out all moderate. "We can't kill our way" out of this.
Prez goes on now about his anti-al queda accomplishments, Iraq and Afghanistan. Gov is attentive with nervous smile and plenty of blinking. Prez tries to explain Libya. Good point that he took initiative on international coalition - that's what Romney wants us to do in Syria, etc. Prez acknowledges Gov's compliment but accuses him of being all over the map.
Gov wants to reform the Muslim world. Prez focused on him intently and blinking a lot. (I guess as long as nobody sighs that's OK?) Gov is going all moderate on the Muslim world and accusing the Prez of fomenting chaos. Somebody prepped the Gov on Mali. He keeps bringing it up. Schieffer cuts him off.
Prez calls him on Russia threat (instead of al queda) you want 80s cold war, 50s social and 20s econ policy. Prez goading him. Calling him on Iraq. Gov writing furiously. Prez on Gov's "mixed messages" on Afghanistan.
Gov doesn't concur with what the Prez said about his record. Complaining about the Prez attacking him. Explains Russia -Prez tries to interject. Romney getting angry. Now they are arguing over each other. Prez says Commander in Chief has to be clear. Troops still in Iraq is not the solution.
Romney has that thing kind of like I do with a smile when he gets nervous. It's going now. Prez shifts to nation building here at home.
Schieffer stays cool and interjects Syria. Challenges Prez on Assad. Prez responds with organizing international community and mobilizing moderate forces withing Syria (that's kind of a steal of Romney's language on assisting Syrian rebels just on CNN). Getting more entangled militarily is a serious step. Heavy weapons to opposition is not a simple solution.
Romney responds by stepping back to prepared points. Links in Iran. Denies we want military involvement there. (more moderate talk). Saudis, Qataris, and Turks need to be coordinated. He wants Syria to become a friend - this is neo-con talk like on Iraq.
Prez claims leadership role in Syria. Prez goes back to Libya and credits Gov for supporting the international leadership. Then notes Gov's complaint of "mission creep."
Gov says we have abandoned our responsibility in Syria. Prez notes he doesn't have different ideas because we're trying to promote moderates and getting Assad out.
Schieffer on the Prez on the time for Mubarack to go. Prez doesn't regret it and puts responsibility on Egyptians to protect civil rights & treaties with Israel.
Prez looking confident. Speaking to young peoples' aspirations in Muslim countries. Organizing entrepreneurship conferences (right up Romney's alley) Romney raised eyebrows - almost an eye roll.
Schieffer asks Gov about Mubarack and he doesn't disagree with the Prez but Romney wishes it all could have been better or prepared earlier. (I like the Prez so I think he looks presidential. It appears to me that the Gov looks a little nervous - but he is back to prepared text on strong economy so he gets more confident). He gets on to weak economy and that we need to strengthen military. Gov says no where in the world is our influence greater than 4 years ago - Prez balks but Schieffer cuts him off
Gov goes into prepared text about his world peace principles. but "America must be strong. America must lead." and he goes right back to economy. Stand by allies - complains about distance with Israel and Poland (two of the three countries he visited). complains about Prez response to green revolution.
Prez says we're stronger than when he came in. Mainly for ending Iraq war and reinforce alliances that have never been stronger. And the Prez pivots to rebuilding America and brings up auto industry (Ohio still important). And challenges Romney's budget going to progressive taxation. Accuses Romney of wrong and reckless policies relying on W. and Cheney.
Gov goes to 5.4% unemployment promise and to his 5 simple steps speech. Oh, and 15 million jobs. (probably whoever is Prez will get that many)
Prez goes on the attack on Mass. record on small business. Includes wealthy in small business. Pivots to education policy.
Schieffer keeping good track of time. Gov does successfully cut him off on Mass. education success. (canned) bipartisanship. Prez interrupts.
Schieffer back to military and where the Gov will get the money. Gov will cut discretionary budget and Schieffer challenges. Gov says we can't afford Obamacare.
Prez challenges Romney on his math (as Schieffer did - I can't believe he told Schieffer to go look it up on his website!) Gov wants to build the Navy and Air Force. [He said the Navy has fewer ships than in 1917 - context for the picture above.]
Prez says sequester (Congress's) will not happen. We not only have fewer ships, we have fewer bayonets and horses - challenging Gov on his knowledge of military "It's not a game of battleship" oooh. [The bayonets and horses line was good - and the "game of battleship" but the Prez got a little too snarky explaining aircraft carriers and submarines - should have stopped with the horses.] On the financing "We've visited the website quite a bit - and it's still not going to work" zing!
Schieffer asks if an attack on Israel is an attack on the US. Prez makes it clear that we stand with Israel if they are attacked. And Prez guarantees no nuke in Iran - Gov looking sad. Prez is tough. Gov very sleepy dog - kind of reminds me of the Prez in the first debate.
[I got interrupted by the doorbell with the High Priests Group Leader setting up the progressive dinner for this Friday]
Prez is on the progress of sanctions and possibility of talks with Iran - news reports wrong but there is progress because of sanctions.
Gov says Iran saw weakness - Prez said he'd meet with world's worst actors. And jumps on the "Apology Tour" Let's see how the Prez has prepared to respond to this. Gov getting angry about Iran.
Prez calls the apology tour the biggest whopper of this campaign. Way to go! Said everything the Gov said just isn't true. Now the Prez is a little angry. Prez said when he came in the world was divided and Iran was resurgent.
Gov says we're 4 years closer to a nuclear Iran. And he defends "apology tour" Gov angry. America had been dismissive and dictated. America has freed nations. [and also set up dictators like the Shah of Iran - we're still paying for that one]
Obama says his first trip as a candidate he visited the troops and when he went to Israel he didn't take fans or do fundraisers he visited the Holocaust Memorial [Yad Vashem] and reassured himself of why we are allies. Prez wants to be credible to all countries involved. The US stands on the right side of history. (This makes Romney look fool of platitudes)
Schieffer challenged Gov on Israel call that bombers are on the way and Gov deflects and ignores Schieffer attempting to switch question to the Prez. Gov complains about Prez & Israel.
Prez notes on a "whole range of issues" the Gov has been all over the map. Prez going strong on getting bin laden and criticizing Romney on his record on this. Prez goes onto a person's story about getting bin laden - a family member of 9/11 victim and used her name "Peyton" Those decisions are not popular - including Joe was not on board.
Schieffer finally cuts off the Gov. Question is to the Gov on Afghanistan. Schieffer is really taking charge now. He has most of the gravitas at this table, next is the Prez, third place is the Gov.
Gov rambles on Afghanistan. Prez comes back to Afghanistan (because it was ignored for 10 years [not quite that long actually]) Pushed Afghanization of Afghanistan. Nation build at home. Gov gulping. Prez goes on to Vet issues. Gov fidgets.
[My wife just said it's likely this one will come out a draw - or each group will just support their guy]
Schieffer on "divorcing" Pakistan - the Gov has been well prepped on Pakistan. Admits it was right to go in there to get bin laden. Gov supports drone war.
Mormons for Obama
And Chuck Todd in agreement:
Prez going through successes in region. al queda is weaker than when he came in.
Schieffer goes on to China - but asks Prez what is greatest threat? terror then Prez shifts to China. Play by the rules. jobs overseas. We won the steel case. We won the tire case (and the Gov criticized as protectionist). and Prez pivots to education.
Gov - the greatest threat is a nuclear Iran [how is that any greater a threat than a nuclear N Korea, a nuclear Pakistan, a nuclear China????] Gov says we'll be strong and complains about China. Schieffer goes on Romney about currency manipulator on day one - Isn't that the beginning of a trade war? And the Gov patronizes Bob Schieffer. Gov tells of a counterfeit valve problem.
Prez says Gov is familiar with shifting jobs overseas - goes back to auto save - "We'd be buying Chinese cars" US exports to China have doubled - currencies are at the best point since 1993. Prez talks of pivot to Asian-Pacific region.
Gov complains about Prez attacking him. Goes on to defend auto industry. His plan was to go through managed bankruptcy. Arguing over each other. Prez says "Let's check the record" [no life-line from the moderator this time]
Prez says Gov is trying to "airbrush history" Gov says he's not wrong they agree to look it up. Prez's time is ahead.
Gov goes into litany on Prez's economy problem. He met anonymous people. Ann was with some weepers.
Gov says he loves teachers. Bob Schieffer "I think we all love teachers." [so, the moderator gets a slam in on Romney after all]
Prez's close. Stump speech. Build on strengths. After a decade of war we have to do some nation building at home and care for our Vets. He will fight for our families.
Gov. Excited about the future. It doesn't help the Gov's bipartisan credentials when he says his Mass legislature was 87% "Democrat." It was 87% Democratic. Thank you.
They're shaking hands friendly-like this time after it all.
Oh, good. Carville's on CNN. "The Prez came to attack, the Gov came to agree." Fleischer - oh, this won't change anything - the first debate said it all. Carville arguing with Fleischer. Carville says the Gov looked like the Prez in the first debate. I wanna hear what Gergen says.
Gergen says that the Prez dominated the middle of the debate. But Romney passed the Commander in Chief test. It leaves a competitive race. This was Romney's weaker night but attacked the Prez cleverly from the left that "we can't kill our way out of this mess" out of this.
Chuck Todd says that Republicans are not declaring a victory but that he passed a competency test. All quick polls I've seen coming in have been with a win for the President to varying degrees. I've heard pundits say that the question is whether this will stop Romney's momentum. My poll statisticians at fivethirtyeight.com and election.princeton.edu show that momentum stopped a few days ago.
And, early voting starts tomorrow in Utah. http://vote.utah.gov/early-voting/location/