Where Romney actually has a more detailed proposal, as he does on immigration, his rebuttals were crisper and more convincing, and he also won several exchanges just by turning the conversation back to the economy’s performance under Obama. (He also had to deal with what the liberal pundit Jonathan Chait rightly described as a slate of “friendly questions from an audience that obviously leaned left.”)
Yes. The audience leaned left, by how they didn’t ask Obama why he doesn’t just go back to Kenya already.
This botch looked worse because the moderator, Candy Crowley, jumped in inappropriately to fact-check Romney’s characterization of whether the president initially characterized the Benghazi incident as a terrorist attack – inappropriately because the president’s language was actually open to competing interpretations, and also because Romney’s broader point about the White House’s evasions was clearly correct and she seemed to be taking sides against him.
Romney said Obama refused to say one thing. Obama demonstrably did say that thing. By pointing out reality, Candy Crowley was unfairly and unjustifiably “fact-checking” Romney. Which is apparently what we call it now when someone has the temerity to point out that the sun is yellow in our world.
For fucking fuck’s sake. Crowley is not a personal hero of mine or anything, but all she did was say look, you are contradicted by REALITY, and I’m sorry if that made Romney look bad, but so does gravity at this point because it keeps him tethered to the earth where he can say stupid shit.
Obviously she should have left the fact-checking to the fact-checkers, who could fact-check later and thus not be noticed by anyone watching the debate. Which is where fact-checking belongs.
But Romney would have lost that exchange even without her intervention. He seemed at once underinformed and overaggressive, as he often does on foreign policy: He did a poor job of explaining what exactly the Obama White House had done wrong (he barely mentioned the administration’s fixation on the offensive YouTube video), seemed ill prepared for the president’s obvious, dudgeon-rich, I’m-the-commander-in-chief counterpunch, and then fell back on right-wing boilerplate about Obama’s supposed “apology tour” that can’t possibly resonate with swing voters.
Then again, it’s not clear that the Libya issue in particular, or foreign policy in general, really resonates with swing voters either.
Anything Romney sucks at doesn’t matter. Dead Americans, whatever, nobody cares.
The question now is whether that kind of straightforward reassertion is all Obama needed, or whether the public’s post-Denver willingness to consider Romney anew shifted the dynamics of the race in a way that a closely fought debate can’t quite reverse. That’s something that no snap survey can tell us. The proof will be in the polls a week from now.
I don’t actually know shit about shit, but the New York Times pays me, so joke’s on you, motherfuckers!