Some Thoughts on the Debate

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Tonight’s debate will be acclaimed by both sides as a victory, and that’s a loss for the president. Mr Obama will show up for tonight’s debate, an improvement over the last one where he largely phoned it in, and that will probably yield a draw (hence, both sides being able to cite their guy’s highlights, claiming victory). But that’s not enough to stop the bleeding. The president needs a decisive win, and he won’t get that tonight.

This “town hall” is the most contrived of the three debates – the questions have been pre-submitted to the moderator, who has total control of who asks what question – and the least confrontational – the candidates will be responding to audience questions, not directly to each other (although the second candidate to answer will have a chance to respond after the other has spoken). Ms Crowley will have a chance to follow-up, and the fairness of those questions will have much to do with public perception of the outcome (Ms Crowley is a CNN correspondent that has been openly critical of the Romney-Ryan ticket). She is a competent journalist that is capable of being fair, the question is, will she be?

I don’t look for any news to be made tonight, either on style or substance, and again, that’s a loss for the president. This will be more dueling campaign stops than actual debate – both guys are very good face-to-face with people, and I look for both to do well.

The real risk for both candidates will be the Boca Raton debate on foreign policy, October 22. It’s uncharted territory for Mr Romney, and a fresh embarrassment for the president. It could be shark-infested for both of them.

4 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on the Debate

  1. I think your conclusions on last night’s debate turned out to be correct. I’d call it a toss-up.

  2. It was actually more confrontational then I thought it would be, but yeah, the president did better this time around, but didn’t deliver a knockout blow. It all boils down to Boca Raton and the minefield (for both sides) of foreign policy.

  3. I was going to ask you how you think that the Boca Raton debate will go and how you thought Mitt Romney would approach it. But I think I don’t need to since you have now posted “BenghaziGate”.

  4. As I have said elsewhere, Benghazi is an important issue, but hardly the only one. Our utter mishandling of Russia, our do-nothing approach to Iran (a blame to be shared with GW Bush), our distancing from Israel during a time of increasing danger to Israel, the emasculation of our military in an unstable international environment, and so on. Our ignorance (or indifference) to the degrading situation in Libya is important, but not a centerpiece.

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