8:56: Blah blah talking heads most important debate ever. David Gergen sucks.
8:58: CNN’s room of voters sure is white.
9:01: Candy Crowley has selected the voters’ questions, so in large part if this debate is good or shit rests on her. Shocking. I’m sure by now that most of you have seen the rules the parties forced the moderators to agree to; it is also clear that in the veep debate Martha Raddatz ignored a lot of them. Let’s see of Crowley has as much metaphorical ballage as Raddatz did. My prediction: nahhhhhhh.
9:02: And here are the candidates! QUESTION FOR ROMNEY: Jeremy Epstein wants to know if he will have a job when he finishes college. Romney thanks everybody and then says the question is very important, just like another girl who just told him blah blah blah personal anecdote. Romney wants to make sure it’s cheaper for kids to go to college and wants to keep Pell Grants and loans intact (which, no, he doesn’t, he just doesn’t, first lie within the one minute mark), and then talks about how he knows bidness and therefore can make jobs appear by planting job trees.
9:06: Obama wants to build manufacturing jobs, unlike Romney who would have let GM go bankrupt. He wants to change the tax code. He wants to make the education system even better and increase accessibility to student loans and more slots for community colleges. He also wants to make sure America invests in renewable energy. And he wants to reduce the deficit by making wealthy people pay more. And infrastructure! This is a pretty bland opening from Obama.
9:08: Crowley wants to know how long-term unemployeds will get jobs. Romney says Obama is a failure and he has his Five Point Plan which is not actually a plan but whatever, nobody’s going to call him on that. Also he didn’t want GM to go bankrupt, he wanted a managed bankruptcy! Which would have been impossible, and also it was Obama’s fault GM went bankrupt, which HOLY SHIT that is so mendacious. Obama: “Candy, what Governor Romney said just isn’t true.” “Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan, he has a one-point plan: make sure the well-off play by a different set of rules.” OHHHHHH OBAMA CAME TO PLAY. Romney gets really, really pissy, and let’s have him do more of that.
9:11 Philip Tricolla wants to know about gas prices and that Stephen Chu doesn’t want to reduce them. Obama: we’ve increased domestic oil production, but we also increased CAFE standards and increased renewable energy use, which means less oil importing. “Romney says” he has a plan, but that’s just letting oil companies do whatever, and we have to look to the renewable future like China and Germany are and we have to build them and Jeremy gets a job that way. Romney says “let’s look at his policies, as opposed to his rhetoric” and complains that federal land oil production is down and he also brought criminal sanctions against oil drillers in North Dakota because they killed some migratory birds, and says that Obama is not Mr Oil or Mr. Gas or Mr. Coal, and maybe it is not wise to suggest a black man should be called Mr. Coal, GOVERNOR DIPSHIT. And then he promises that America will be energy independent within eight years, which is a fucking fantasy, and complains about the Keystone XL pipeline.
9:17: Candy wants to know if high gas prices are the new normal. Obama says world demand is high, but that Romney lied a bunch just previously, and pointed out that he shut down coal plants in Massachusetts (OOOOOOOOH), then talks about clean coal (ugh ugh ugh) and points out that oil imports are down and production is up and also efficient cars. Romney: But you haven’t done that, you cut permits on federal land – and Obama interrupts and tells him it’s not true, and there’s some back and forth. Obama points out that oil companies had leases which they weren’t using and that they had to use those leases or lose them. Mitt keeps screaming that production is down and Obama says that’s just not true, and then complains that coal is in trouble, which it is but it’s in trouble because it’s MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHER FORMS OF ENERGY NOW. Also oil prices are up because Obama did not use his magic wand. Candy wants to know more about gas prices because she REALLY WANTS TO KNOW. Obama points out that gas prices were lower when he took office because they were in a middle of a recession due to policies like Mitt’s, “and it’s conceivable that Governor Romney could lower gas prices because his policies could put us back in the same mess.” OOOOOOOOOOO. Then he slams Romney for calling wind energy jobs “imaginary” and says Romney doesn’t have an energy strategy. Mitt then starts debating Candy about the debate rules because he’s a PISSY BITCH.
9:23: Romney’s lines are WAY DOWN. Mary Follano wants to know about taxes and specifically what deductions Romney would cut in order to afford his massive tax cut, listing several specific ones that are pretty major. Romney wants to bring tax rates down for middle income earners, he says (uh huh). Then he says he will limit some deductions but mostly for rich people but they won’t pay any LESS taxes, which WHAT IS THE POINT OF YOUR TAX CUT THEN MITT. Then he talks about his “bucket” idea again, and also he’ll kill the capital gains tax for earners under 250K, and won’t increase taxes on the middle class, and Obama is bad.
9:27: Obama: I said I would cut middle-class taxes and I did. I said I would cut small-business taxes and I did that a lot too. I just want the BushTaxCuts ™ to expire for rich people, and the only reason it hasn’t happened is because the GOP won’t let middle-class earners and poors get a tax cut unless rich people gets theirs. Also, Romney was on 60 Minutes two weeks ago and thinks it’s fair for him to pay a lower tax rate than a bus driver and he thinks that’s good for the economy, and that’s stupid. Lines are MASSIVELY for Obama here. Obama then says Romney has said he wants to cut taxes a whole lot. Romney responds! Tax plan! He’s not looking to cut taxes for rich people despite having said that’s what he wants to do! Also small businesses! And the last four years have been awful! Then he goes back to his Five Ideas I Really Like and he spent his life in the private sector.
9:32: Obama: Romney’s tax plan and military spending costs 8 trillion dollars over ten years. Romney says this is gonna be revenue-neutral and won’t add to the deficit, but at least Romney doesn’t give you any specifics. Then he points out that Romney’s plan would never fly in the private sector and Romney is just giving him a DEATH STARE. Obama points out that Romney’s plan is a joke and by definition means soaking the non-rich. Candy: “If the numbers don’t add up, would you be willing -” Romney interrupts. “Of COURSE they add up.” He did BUSINESS. Obama has DEFICITS. Thank you, Romney, for bringing Dickhead Mitt into play, we’ve missed him. Then when Candy tries to move on Romney talks over her (and the lines drop).
9:37: Katherine Fenton wants to know about gender-based pay inequality and what they’ll do! Obama talks about his mom and his grandmother, and then talks about the Lily Ledbetter Act, because this is something good he did almost immediately. Lines are nice and high here for both genders. Then he talks about education, and points out that they’ve expanded Pell Grants by not spending money on banks to manage student loans. And discrimination is bad. Romney: “Important topic.” And when he was governor of Massachusetts he tried to hire some women for his cabinet, and he had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state, and he understands about flex-time for women. He has been talking for two minutes and has not talked about a single policy initiative. Instead, the economy will be so awesome that women will get flex-time JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE SO IN DEMAND, which is the biggest line of bullshit he has spread since, uh, the last time he talked.
9:42: Obama: Romney wouldn’t give his support to the Ledbetter Act. Then he pivots to Obamacare and attacks Romney for being against women having contraceptive coverage, and that Romney said employers should be able to decide if women get contraceptive coverage, and also Romney wants to kill Planned Parenthood, which provides low-cost healthcare for women, and that “women’s issues” are in fact “family issues, these are economic issues”. Good pivot.
9:45: Susan Katz is an undecided voter who blames the Bush Administration for a lot and wants to know what the biggest difference between Mitt and Dubya is. Romney first chooses to whine YET AGAIN that the debate rules are against him because SWEET JESUS what an entitled fuck. Romney’s Five Fingers Of Doom are nothing like what Bush would have done! You know the Five Fingers of Doom by now, don’t you? Because Romney is a BIDNESSMAN and also he will crack down on China somehow, and also he finds Obamacare, which is the SAME FUCKING THING as Romneycare, “troubling.”
9:48: Okay, we started off in a recession, remember. 31 consecutive months of job growth (okay, shitty job growth, but still), and also that Romney’s “different economic plan” is tax cuts just like Bush’s, and also he outsourced jobs to China and currently invests in companies that are employed by China, and that Romney won’t get tough on China. Kind of a meh attack, honestly. Also Obama has brought America three trade deals and passed new laws to prevent China from flooding the market with cheap tires and Romney called it “protectionist.” Finally, Romney is different from Bush because Bush didn’t try to voucherize Medicare, favoured immigration reform and didn’t want to kill Planned Parnethood. BAM.
9:51: Candy moves to the next question (ROMNEYSCOWL) and Michael Jones wants to ask Obama why he should vote for him because the basic necessities are expensive. Obama: cut taxes for you, for small businesses, ended the war in Iraq, killed Bin Laden, Obamacare protects you from insurance companies, passed Wall street reforms, five million jobs, saved the auto industry. Admittedly, none of this means YOU aren’t struggling, Mike, but that’s why Obama has a jobs and energy plan, and Obama keeps his promises (oh, be careful, Barack, that’s dicey). Romney has promises too – he promised all during the campaign that he would do everything Team Crazy would do, and he’ll keep those promises. DEATHSTARE FROM ROMNEY.
9:54: Romney: “I know you know better.” NOT PATRONIZING. Also Obama got his unemployment predictions wrong. And he hasn’t reformed Social Security or Medicare, and he hasn’t put forward an immigration plan, and he hasn’t cut the deficit in half. And Obamacare will make your lives worse! More people are on food stamps! And his policies have not made the economy grow! Unlike Reagan, who was balls-awesome. Then he patronizes Obama for only being a pretty talker, and Obama doesn’t give a DEATH STARE but you know it’s on now if it wasn’t before.
9:58: Switch to Lorraine Osorio, who wants to know what immigrants without green cards will get under a Romney administration. Romney’s parents were born in Mexico! Ann’s were born in Wales! Romney wants to give visas to skilled immigrants who graduate from American universities. He wants to crack down on illegal immigration because it’s not fair to people waiting in line, so no amnesty. He’s against driver’s licenses for immigrants, but wants a “pathway” for kids of illegal immigrants to citizenship and basically describes the DREAM Act, which he opposed for months. Then he complains that Obama didn’t pass immigration reform. Obama responds: I’ve done what I can on my own, and tried to get Congress on board but oh well. We streamlined immigration as much as we could, and we increased the border patrol and dropped the flow of undocumented workers to a 40-year-low. He wants to concentrate on illegals who are criminals. Then he points out that Romney promised to veto the DREAM Act and that he was going to make illegals’ lives so miserable they’d want to leave. Then he references the Arizona law as being unjust and points out that Romney LUBS it, and points out that the GOP can’t support immigration reform.
10:05: Romney says he was only for the GOOD parts of the Arizona law, and that Obama didn’t file immigration legislation in his first year like he promised. Then he says self-deportation is just letting people make their own choice, and he doesn’t want to round people up, just make them miserable. Also, he invested in China in a BLIND TRUST and Obama’s pension has investments in China. Obama snarks about their relative pensions sizes, then (after some chatbackandforth) points out that Romney’s immigration advisor is the guy who wrote the Arizona law (and not just the GOOD parts of it either). And points out that the GOP is no longer serious about immigration, because DUH.
10:08: Kerry Ladka (and his friends) wants to know about Libya and why the State Department denied increased security. Obama: diplomats have it tough because it’s a dangerous job and they are MY PEEPS, so nobody is more concerned than me about them. After Benghazi, I gave orders to beef up security, investigate what went wrong, and find out who did the killing and get them. And Romney put out a press release trying to make hay about it and you don’t turn national security into a political issue while it’s happening. Also I ended the war in Iraq and began the transition out of Afghanistan and got Bin Laden, so you better believe we’re gonna get it right because “I’m the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home.”
10:12: Romney snidely says Obama just took responsibility for what happened, then implies that the Obama administration lied about what happened, then says what is most alarming is that Obama went to a political fundraiser the next day. Lines do not really agree with him. Also, Obama’s Middle East policy is a failure: look at Syria! And Israel! And Egypt! And Iran! And he went on an apology tour! Candy asks about Hillary taking responsibility for what happened at Benghazi. Obama says HE takes responsibility, and then says he called it an act of terror the next day, and then says that the notion that his team would play politics with the incident is OFFENSIVE. Romney tries to catch the President and say that Obama’s lying, but CANDY CROWLEY points out he’s wrong. Obama has the DEATH STARE for the first time all debate, truly – this really, really offended him. Romney is FLAILING now.
10:17: Nina Gonzalez wants to know about limiting the availability of assault weapons. Obama: we’re a Second Amendment nation and hunting is great, but we’ve had too many mass gun slaughters lately. Obama wants a “broader conversation” which includes an assault weapons ban, and the NRA just went collectively insane. Obama then says he wants automatic weapons out of the hands of criminals and nutjobs. Romney is against gun control laws, then says it is illegal in the United States to have automatic weapons, which WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS GUY TALKING ABOUT? Then he talks about how it’s important to have a two-parent home, “and we can make changes in our culture” to make that happen, then goes to Operation Fast and Furious because you knew that was going to happen, and that Obama has carried out executive privilege to prevent investigations from happening. Candy asks him about flip-flopping on assault weapons bans because he signed one in Massachusetts, and Romney says that pro-gun people helped out there so it was mutually agreed upon, and Washington is gridlocked.
10:24: Candy asks him if he would sign a bipartisan gun control bill and Mitt goes against it. Obama: Romney was against assault weapons until the NRA said jump, but family is important. And we need education because education is the magic bullet, so to speak. Inner city school reform. Skilled worker training. Higher education. Lines for Obama dip when he asks for a few seconds more because Candy IS TO BE RESPECTED, say the lines.
10:26: Carol Goldberg wants to know about outsourcing. Romney: China is bad and taking all our jobs because it’s not attractive to run a business in America. He uses his “trickle-down government” line again and talks about BIDNESS. China has not played by the rules and artificially keeps the yuan low, which is quite true, and Obama has not done anything about this. Romney promises on Day One that he will talk smack about China and then put tariffs in place if he has to. And also taxes, and he blathers about Canada’s corporate tax rate because FUCK OFF, don’t bring us into your bullshit, Mitt. He wants regulators to ENCOURAGE small business! And also, Obamacare bad! This is Mitt’s same-old same-old.
10:30: Obama wants to kill corporate tax loopholes that make overseas investment attractive, and his policies will create jobs… in China! Or India or Germany. Also, in the private sector, Romney did a lot of outsourcing in the private sector, and also the American dollar has risen while he’s been President, and the pressure he put on China means American exports have gone up. Candy wants to know how America can manufacture iPads and things. Romney: China has been cheating and stealing IP, and BIDNESS BIDNESS TAXES TAXES. Obama: some low-wage, low-skill jobs are not going to come back, so we concentrate on high-skill jobs, and if we’re cutting on investments in science and education to pay for Romney’s tax cuts, we’re fucked. Romney starts shouting GOVERNMENT DOES NOT CREATE JOBS like a crazy man.
10:34: Barry Green wants to know how each candidate thinks he’s been mischaracterized. Romney: I really care about people! I spent my life in the private sector because I want to help people! I believe in God! I served as a missionary for my church (and avoided the Vietnam draft, ooops). Also I brought Romneycare to Massachusetts, because now it’s good. And Obama sucks and the economy sucks. Obama: I don’t think government creates jobs. I think free enterprise and self-reliance create jobs – but I also think everybody gets a fair shot and pays their fair share. I think Romney is a good man (Obama, showing he can indeed lie through his teeth), but that 47% comment shows where the dipshit is coming from. Then he talks about the GI Bill as a good example of what he wants.
10:39: And that’s that. Romney wasn’t as good as he was in the first debate, but with a few exceptions he generally avoided fucking up (other than, you know, the constant lying). Obama CAME TO PLAY, however, and that’s the difference, because when you get down to it he’s smarter than Romney is. Mild win for Obama.