This is it. I can’t believe it. This is the last one. I mean, I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little choked up right now. I feel like I know these people. No more debates. It can’t be. Folks this has been going on since spring of 2011 when the candidates announced they were running. I’ve had two birthdays, a daughter, my brother-in-law got a new job and moved from Lexington KY to Raleigh NC, and my mother-in-law has moved here to Knoxville from Lexington KY. All since this thing started.
Alright, I’ve gathered myself. I think. No, no, yeah I’m good, yeah I’m gonna be good.
Ok on to the action. We’re live from lovely Boca Raton Florida. A city so nice they say it exactly opposite it’s spelling. It’s Boca Rah – Tone, even though the O can’t be solid without a vowel following it. Whatever. You say potato, I say potatoe.
Bob Schiffer on to debate moderate. He’s a good choice. Guy has a Sunday show where he’s essentially a moderator for the entire hour. We’ll see if he can control these two.
No fist-a-cuffs tonight sports fans. Just verbal punches. Looks all happy smiley for the final contest.
Lets get some facts out of the way first.
1. This debate will have zero, none, nada, zilch, effect on the election.
2. If you are an undecided voter there is a good chance you are mentally unbalanced and realistically should not be allowed to vote anyway. But this is Merica, so see you at the polls nut-jobs.
3. Incumbents always have the edge in foreign policy debates so the pressure is always on the President.
4. This was debate number 23 for Mitt Romney. 23. This was only Obama’s 3rd.
Knowing that you would think Romney would mow Obama over with his mad debate skilzz. I think that’s how the kids say it. Not the case. The President was the clear visual winner tonight.
Turns out the Pres ain’t no dummy. He’s a bit of a liar though. That was clear tonight. Now if we were on the block playin ball, it would be called gamesmanship. Lying about what a guy said to throw him off is good strategy. In Presidential politics it’s called lying. It’s currently palying well with the pundits who are breaking this thing down as I type. The key phrase they are all using; if you watched the debate, Obama was the clear winner. True enough. But if you read the transcript or just listened without watching, this debate was a draw, maybe even a Romney win.
Obama brought the funny and the condescension tonight. He was channeling a little Newt Gingrich I think. On the issue of the size of the Navy, Romney accused the President of neglect citing the Navy is the smallest it’s been since 1917. Actual fact there. The President’s response: “well Governor, we have less bayonets and horses than we had in 1917 as well. The Navy has evolved in their capability. They have aircraft carries now, that have planes land on them. The have ships that go under the water and they call them submarines.” Wow, a little nasty there.
Most pundits agreed this is the tone of a candidate who thinks he’s losing the race. Agreed. But for a guy who is losing the race, Obama was smiling a lot. But it felt more like that Jeffrey “I’ve got a good place in my freezer for your head” Dahmer smile. It went on like that for several answers. The big lie came at the end and backfired a little thanks to Twitter. Obama repeated that tired line that Mitt wanted the car industry to just go bankrupt. Romney corrected Obama and then the twitter-verse fact checked both men and found Romney was spot on and Obama was dead wrong.
Romney had a good response to the condescension, basically saying “attacking me Mr. President doesn’t spell out your agenda, it’s just attacking me.” Good point. Romney then spun a lie about the President into a winning argument. This so called apology tour the President supposedly went on has been debunked from the beginning. When Romney brought it up, the President jumped on him calling it the biggest whopper of the campaign. But then Romney spelled out exactly why he felt it was an apology tour even though he admitted the President never said sorry or actually apologized for America.
By taking the tour at all signaled weakness according to Romney. By touring all middle eastern countries except Israel gave the appearance of the President trying to curry sympathy from the Arab world while ignoring our biggest ally in the region. It was a good argument. Won me over. It was the only time Romney really articulated a response that left the President with no good comeback.
Other than those few instances the debate was Romney trying to agree with everything Obama said. Literally. I think someone on Twitter scored it at about 90% as far as the President’s foreign policies that Romney agreed with. Romney may have moved the needle with his conservative base, but in the wrong direction.
So Romney’s strategy was to just stay close to Obama, make no big mistake, and come out on top. Obama kept challenging Romney with belittlement and condescension, but Romney would not bite. That is the strategy of a guy winning the election. But I must say for a guy who is winning based on the current polls, Romney sweats a lot. He was “beading up” as they say down here, from the first exchange.
The national average of polls has the men tied, but both men are seeing internal polling that tell them the same thing. Romney is pulling ahead in some key states and Obama has been losing ground for a while now. Both men debated accordingly.
It was a bit of a snooze fest to tell the truth. But it was the last one, the end. I really can’t believe it. Now all we get are e-mail bombs and junk mailers, and ad blitzes for the last two weeks. It just won’t be the same.
Be sure to check back here on election night for live coverage of the results as they come in.