Wednesday, October 17, 2012

KC's live-blog transcript from the 2nd Prez debate

If you missed last night's second presidential debate, holy crap was it fun. You can catch it here, here, or here. Below is a transcript of my live-blogging while watching it. The transcript is chronological, with the beginning of the debate at the top and the end at the bottom. Enjoy!

- Confidential to Mr. Prez: glad to see you woke up for this one. Welcome back to the fight.

- Did Romney get Botox since the last debate?

- It's rather depressing to see two intelligent adults scramble over each other to convince viewers that each will more ruthlessly assault the environment to lower gas prices (especially given that the POTUS doesn't really have much control over gas prices). But not as depressing as Obama at the first debate.

- To hear Romney talk about his tax plan, you'd think it'll walk your dog, clean your dishes, and rub your back at night. Of course, that's true when Obama talks, too. (Though the latter actually has a plan, with details 'n stuff.)

- Hmm. Obama keeps talking about "what grows the economy" as if it's a matter of opinion, rather than an empirical question about how reality behaves.

- Weird moment around 29:40 where Romney's talking. Behind him, Obama just stares off into the camera with an absent smile.

- Obama's not great at remaining dignified while going on the attack. Biden had this great condescension, like a slightly drunken, indulging uncle. Obama comes off as more just mean; there's no humor in his fight.

- The name of the game here seems to be, "I'm an angry populist, and you're an incompetent elitist!" "No, I'M an angry populist, and YOU'RE an incompetent elitist!"

- Romney: "...they brought us whole binders full of women..."

-On women's unequal pay: Obama's personal story of actually growing up with strong, oppressed women is waaaaay more compelling than Romney's "When all the applicants were men, I went and found some women to round out the cabinet" anecdote. But then Romdog links it back to the economy, and, y'know. Bad economy = bad Obama, bad for everyone.

-YUP! Obama takes the ball and links to women's reproductive rights.

- Every time either of them ignores a question and recites a peripheral talking point, I just think of SNL's Sarah Palin saying, "I'm just gonna ignore that question and talk about Israel."

- "Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives." --Romney slides further to the middle.

- And now Romdog's trash-talking Dubya. Lovin' it.

- "Our party has been focused on big business for too long." Romney speaks the truth, with such irony that my ears bleed to hear it.

- Obama replies with "Bush ruined the economy," a true but tired line.

- I gotta say, Obama's doing much better this time around, but Romney's still a formidable debater. That cyborg technology is fierce!

- Hm. Romney and Obama's answers on immigration reform are nearly verbatim-identical. I guess this is an example of popular voting leading to a sort of insipid compromise in central leadership.

- Both these guys are committed to convincing the audience that there are no hard choices, no trade-offs.

- Obama on the Bengazi attack: 'I called up my national security guys, and told them to do...what they presumably would have done anyway, unless they were totally incompetent.' Que?

- Still, Mr. Prez has a stare that could cut glass, when he's talking about that attack.

- "Secretary Clinton's done an extraordinary job. But she works for me. I'm the president. And I'm always responsible." THERE'S that dignity! You got it, man! That's how to sound presidential.

- Oh this shit just got real. Obama stops just short of challenging Romney to a duel at about 1hr 13min.

- Then Obama deftly dodges a question about 'How have you lowered assault weapon availability?' by talking about 1) an inspiring anecdote, and 2) his general goals. Nice dodge, sir.

- Romney follows suit, sans anecdote, then links the gun question back to socially-conservative values. Apparently conventional parenting is the secret to lowering gun violence. Then links to Fast & Furious, which is a great punching back for Romney.

- Evidently neither Obama nor Romney have anything substantial to say about gun control, since both use the question as a sort of spring-board to leap onto a peripheral pet-issue (and of course all issues lead to Jobs/the Economy).

- Oh boy. "How will you keep jobs from being outsourced?" I'm looking forward to hearing both talk about protectionism via the rhetoric of freedom.

- Romney: "On Day One, I will label China as a currency manipulator, which will allow me as president to put in place tariffs...So we're gonna make sure that people we trade with around the world play by the rules." So there you have it: Romney' not talking about protectionism; he's talking about FAIRNESS. It's TOTALLY different.

- Obama talks with his fist, basically like Bill Clinton but with less thumb. Romney flaps.

- 'I'm gonna be tough on China!' 'No, I'M GONNA BE TOUGH ON CHINA!'

- Romney's catch-phrase: "We don't have to settle." That's right, we can HAVE EVERYTHING! NO COMPROMISES! CAKE AND EAT IT TOO!

- Obama takes Romney's "everyone should play by the same rules" line as a euphemism for social justice. Or maybe Romney took it from him as a euphemism for protectionist economic policies. Does it really matter? "Fairness" and "freedom": who doesn't support both?

- And with that note, we come to the end of a much, much more interesting second debate between Romdog and Obama. I gotta hand it to the Governor: he's remarkably life-like in debates.

- Check out Andrew Sullivan's live-blog on the debate here:

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