Alright, guys. We’re going to try a little experiment tonight. Live blogging the presidential debate. This is definitely going to be a challenge, 1) because I might not understand what’s going on. It’s not like I’m live blogging DWTS. 2) I cringe every time Mitt Romney speaks. 3) Sometimes I feel like Barack Obama needs to be smacked in the face.
So Jim Lehrer is out, giving us all the rules. Tonight we’re talking about the economy, health care, and the role of government. The audience has to be silent, which is pretty much the worst kind of debate audience. Also, I feel like I’m watching the live episode of West Wing.
The candidates just shook hands, and I’m pretty sure the President just said “I’m gonna eff you up,” and Romney just laughed awkwardly. Ugh, this is already horrible.
How would you create new jobs?
Obama: So the President decided to answer this question by saying “Happy 20th Anniversary” to Michelle. So that’s a good start. I’m sure the people who lost their job this year are excited for you two. Invest in training. Find new forms of energy. Change tax codes. This is how Obama will create jobs, I guess. “America does best when the middle class does best.”
Romney: Romney is also congratulating the Obamas, and I really think everyone needs to get back on point. Romney wants to get us energy independent, crack down on China, make sure our people have skills, balance the budget, and champion small business. He says this is different from what Obama wants to do, but….that’s kind of exactly what he just said. So I’m already confused. But Romney will “restore vitality.” Why didn’t you just say so in the first place?
Obama: In his rebuttal, Obama says he wants education to be better. He wants to close loopholes giving incentives to countries sending jobs overseas. They agree on energy. We have to close the deficit.
Romney’s taking notes and looking up with a dumfounded grin every 5 seconds.
Romney: “I don’t have a tax cut, I want tax relief.” Middle income Americans are having the hardest time. The rich will do fine no matter who is president. So far these two are like best friends working in a third grade class group. Seriously. They agree on everything. Even Romney is admitting it. So do we vote on who has the best hair? The best wife? I mean I’m not totally convinced this race won’t be based solely on the first ladies. Romney wants to burn clean coal and bring in the pipeline in from Alaska.
Obama The President just won’t let this Romney tax issue go. He’s mad that Romney can’t answer how he’s going to close loopholes, how he’s going to have a $5 trillion in tax cuts and increased military spending. Experts say he must have to burden middle class families. Because Obama went to economists and asked them.
Romey: “Everything he said about my tax plan is inaccurate.” Romney will not let Obama fool the American public by repeating such a lie. He has 5 boys, he knows how to tell if people are lying. For me this is about getting jobs for American people. Romney just went off about Obama being wrong and he actually started to look comfortable at the podium. I wasn’t cringing every time he spoke. So we’re already seeing progress.
Obama: Obama wants to continue tax rates for small businesses. He wants to tax more than $250,000 more. But the two candidates may have different definitions of what a small business is. He says Romney thinks Donald Trump is small business, but that Donald Trump doesn’t like to think of himself as small. What the what?!? How de he get himself into this?
Jim Lehrer has already lost total control of his unit. He says we’re way over the first 15 minutes, and then is all like “keep going” on this nonsense. This thing is going to be ridiculous.
What are the differences between the two of you on how you’d tackle the deficit issue?
Romney: It’s a moral issue. It’s morally wrong to continue to add to the deficit. Raising taxes lowers the rate of growth. Romney wants to limit spending. And he wants everything to pass this litmis test – “Is this important enough to borrow from China?” No? Get rid of it. He’d even get rid of subsidies to PBS, even though he likes Big Bird.
Obama “When I walked into the Oval Office…” Way to mind eff Romney B.O. Obama wants to cut out things that aren’t helping us grow. Obama has a $4 trillion deficit reduction plan, which asks the rich to contribute more.
Romney: Romney thinks the President should have grabbed Simpson Bowles. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t know what that is. But I promise I’ll Google it. “You raise taxes, you kill jobs. You never balance the budget by raising taxes.” It is just me or is Romney getting some swagger? When he starts talking passionately he’s so much less awkward. He needs to capitalize on that.
Obama: You can take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. That doesn’t make sense. Obama met a teacher in Las Vegas. Hmmm. That sounds suspect. He’s going somewhere with that point, but I’m not gonna let that one by.
Romney: Romney is upset about how many breaks Obama is giving to solar and wind power. He’s never heard of these breaks for sending jobs overseas. And he’d like to have the states care for their own poor.
Do you see a major difference between the two of you on Social Security?
Obama: The structure behind Social Security is strong. Ehhhhh. I don’t know about that one B.O. He’s going off on a tangent about his grandmother. She was secretary, and then head of a bank. I’m not sure what the point was.
Romney: No one is proposing any changes for retirees or near-retirees. So they can stop listening. Oh no wait, they can’t, because Obama is going to make cuts to Medicare. That was slick, Mitt. I almost thought it was natural. Romney says Obama will cut $716 billion from Medicare aid to current Medicare users. Romney has proposals to make sure that Medicare and Social Security is there in the future. Would have been nice to hear what that was.
Obama: Romney wants to turn Medicare into a voucher program. Which will ultimately end in the collapse of the traditional Medicare program. And people like Obama’s grandmother will be at the mercy of private insurance companies.
Romney: Romney is still harping on no changes for current retirees. He wants a choice between Medicare or a private plan for future users. Benefits high for low income people. Lower some benefits for high income people. Let’s get competition into Medicare.
How did we get on Medicare? The question was about Social Security, right? RIGHT???
What is your view on the level of federal regulation on the economy?
Romney: Regulation is crucial. Every free economy has good regulation. In some places now it’s excessive. It can also become out-of-date. He doesn’t like how Dodd-Frank notes banks that are too big to fail.
Obama: The reason we’re in this state is because of reckless behavior. We made the toughest reforms since the 1930s. Romney wants to repeal Dodd-Frank. Does anybody out there think that the big problem we had is that there was too much oversight? If you do, Governor Romney is your candidate.
Romney: Romney wouldn’t designate banks as too big to fail. It’s killing regional small banks. Dodd-Frank doesn’t define what a qualified mortgage is. Banks reluctant. It’s hurt the housing market. I will make sure we don’t hurt the functioning of our marketplace.
Let’s talk about the Affordable Care Act.
Romney: Congressional Budget Office says it will cost more than traditional insurance. It’s expensive. It cuts money from Medicare to pay for it. It puts in place an unelected board to tell people what treatments they can have. It makes businesses less likely to hire people. Craft a plan at the state level that meets the need of the states.
Obama: This is part of making sure middle class families are secure in this country. If you’ve got health insurance, you keep your own insurance, but insurance companies can’t jerk you around. You’re gonna have to get rebates if insurance companies are spending more on administrative purposes than care. People can benefit from group rates.
Both candidates have kind of had it with Jim Lehrer. Romney’s talking over him, and Obama’s all like, I’m the mother effing president and I’m gonna keep talking, Jim. Don’t be mean to Jim!
Romney: Romney’s all like “been there, done that,” I know how to get universal health care done, bitch. Then he spiked his microphone. And then he said, by the way, Massachusetts elected a Republican senator to stop Obamacare. And then he picked up his microphone and spiked it again. “Something this big and this important has to be done on a bipartisan basis.”
Obama: Obama can’t say “alternatively.” I just felt like that needed to be mentioned.
Something crazy just happened backstage. I think it was “McSkillet” destroying some University of Denver kids in beer pong. Loud crashes. Romney doesn’t miss a step. Obama is trying to find the noise.
Obama This board can’t make decisions on what care people can get. Massachusetts says insurers have to take everyone. Romney says he’s going to replace Obamacare. At some point the American people have to ask themselves why Romney is keeping his plans a secret.
Romney: The federal government taking over health care is not the course for America to have a stronger more vibrant economy.
Do you believe there’s a fundamental difference as to how you view the mission of the federal government?
Obama: The first rule of the federal government is to keep Americans safe. Awwwwwwww. I melt! Then create frameworks in which the American public can succeed. As Abraham Lincoln understood, there’s some things we do better together. (He also suspended habeas corpus, B.O., so let’s steer clear of that one.)
Romney: The federal government has to uphold the Constitution. The federal government has to protect the life and liberty of its people. Maintaining the rights of individuals to pursue their dreams. We know the path we’re taking is not working.
Does the federal government has the responsibility to improve education at the local level?
Romney: Federally funded students should be able to choose where they go to school. This was kind of a weak answer, Mitt.
Obama: Obama is also kind of wavering on this answer. And now he’s talking about making higher education more affordable. Which I’m pretty sure wasn’t included in the question. Next topic please, Jim. I’m over this one.
Romney: You put $90 billion into green jobs. That would have hired 2 million teachers. The right course is not to become the economic player, picking winners and losers. The right answer is how to make the private sector more efficient. Let’s grade schools! I’ve had that experience. Massachusetts schools are ranked number 1 in the nation (another microphone spike).
If elected, what will you do about partisan gridlock?
Romney: I had to learn on day one that I had to work across the aisle to get anything done. We have to work on a collaborative basis. There’s common ground. People are really hurting in this country. Republicans and Democrats both love America, but we need to have leadership. I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again.
Obama: My philosophy has been, I will take ideas from anybody, as long as they help the middle class. Something, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, something, Bin Laden. You have to have a plan. Occasionally you’ve got to say no. Governing is both saying what you’re for and saying no to things.
There apparently was a coin toss, and Romney goes last. They should have shown this coin toss, football game style. Notes for next time.
Obama: Everything that I’ve tried to do, and everything that I’m proposing, all those things are designed to make sure the American people, their genius, their grit, their determination, is channeled and that they have the opportunity to succeed. I promised I’d fight every single day. I’ve kept that promise.
Romney: I’m concerned about America. This election is about the course of America. There are two very different paths. You can look at the record. If the President is reelected, you’ll see a middle class squeeze. You’ll see rampant unemployment. Obamacare will be fully installed. Health premiums will go up. If I’m elected we won’t have Obamacare. If the President were to be elected, 4 million people will lose Medicare. You’ll see dramatic cuts to our military. I will not cut our commitment to our military. I’ll keep America strong.
Oh my god, you guys. I’m definitely more tired than the candidates. Oh good, the wives are on stage. I’m glad I got to see that before the programming ended. There’s also a bunch of Romneys. Can there be a debate between the Romney boys and Sasha and Malia? Doesn’t anyone else think that would be amazing?? I don’t like when the candidates talk to each other. Someone really needs to break this up.
Ok, I’m going to listen to some George Steph analysis, read some Game of Thrones, and hit the sack. Mayhaps we’ll meet again here on October 11. If my brain can handle it. XOXO.