For me, things started off shakily for both Obama and Romney. I think they were trying a bit too hard to get a gauge of each other. Romney spent a little too much time on pleasantries on his opening. Obama, went right to the point, though maybe a little courtesy was in order. It took him a while, but he made valid arguments about Libya and Syria in good time. Romney’s responses to Obama were CLEARLY rehearsed and memorized. Again, the “talking-points robot” we’ve all come to know and love, springs to action. Does he still not realize how ridiculously canned he sounds when he’s in this mode?
He did change his schtick, however slightly. Now, Mali shows up on his radar as a haven for Al Qaeda. So much so, he has to mention it at least four times during the debate, with the same exact sentence. By the end of the first quarter, he’s back to his same, tired, ridiculous talking points spiel… AGAIN!! (*insert head explosion here*)
Not long after, Romney started appearing strangely unsure of himself and his responses. I think he saw early on that things were not going well. His way of dealing with that? Just KEEP ON TALKING… he babbled on endlessly with this grating staccato cadence, that was giving me a headache. He was practically barking his answers, then his disruptive interjections at Obama.
All this went on, despite poor old Bob Scheiffer’s (somebody please give that geezer a bowl of soup and put him to bed. He was completely out of his league in this debate) feeble efforts to keep control. Romney just rambled on and on, ignoring Schieffer virtually every time. Schieffer was practically roadkill by mid-debate. Most times, Romney’s ramblings were repetitive and incoherent. It went beyond annoying. All I kept thinking was that if he stammers on again on how Iran is “four years closer” to a nuclear weapon (aren’t we all four years closer to something?) … I swear… shit’s gonna blow, and it won’t be Iran.
Romney seemed desperate to get Obama trapped into some “gotcha” situations. But his attempts were so ill-conceived they were laughable. Maybe he thought he had to avenge Obama’s almost accidental coup last debate (which was largely self-inflicted). Yet, despite his efforts, he just seemed to leave himself wide open for some VERY clever zingers by Obama. And these were no ordinary zingers, mind you. Especially when we’re talking about a presidential debate.
To be modest, Obama just pummeled him. It was a verbal rope-a-dope. Jab with facts, hook with a zinger, fact-zinger combination. Pop-pop, bam-bam, lather, rinse, and repeat. Romney literally had no idea what to do, other than protect his face. It was almost pitiful. Almost. By mid-debate, Romney was clearly: shaken; flustered; nervous; pissed off (with his trademark “heh-heh-heh” nervous laugh cracking about every 5 minutes); so blushed, he looked sunburned; and finally, lost. All at once, defying all science. It was like watching a puppy dawdling on a busy freeway.
Obama, as with the previous debates, stuck to the facts. He did let some democrat hyperbole seep through this time, but I think that was some strange rhetorical payback more than anything else. Most times, he just cleverly let Romney ramble on. Especially since Romney was just childishly trying to dominate the conversation. No doubt, he had to realize just how STUPID Romney was making himself look. His incredibly funny (and sarcastic) retorts regarding Romney’s complaint of the US’s shrinking navy under Obama’s watch (horses and bayonets shall forever be ingrained in political/military vernacular thanks to Obama), should go down as the the debate-slams of the fucking century. That was clearly a major turning point, from which Romney never recovered.
Yes, despite my apparent glee, there were some downers…
The debate went severely off the tracks several times, mostly due to Schieffer’s nonexistent moderating. This was supposed to be a foreign policy debate, but Romney (and Obama, though less so), kept trying to get the subject over to domestic policy. They were obviously trying to tie the two together in some very creative ways. It worked more for Obama, but failed MISERABLY for Romney, who just kept spouting off his tired and WRONG statistics/talking points almost every chance he got. Anyone who watches all three debates will see that Romney has been essentially saying the same thing over and over again during all three debates (save “Mali” being thrown in to spice things up in #3)
Things especially backfired badly for Romney when he tried to show how tough he wanted to be with China. All Obama had to say, which Romney couldn’t dispute, was how Romney’s business dealings with China directly contradicted the stance he was trying to present now. All Romney can say, was how he thought Obama’s attacking him wasn’t him discussing his policy. In other words, “Waaaaaa”. His fate was sealed by then.
What I found amazing, was that HE HAD TO KNOW the subject of his dealings with Bain/China was going to come up. And neither he nor his incompetent dog-trick trainers couldn’t even prepare him with some kind of witty retort? Fail. Another sign of failure on Romney’s side was his disturbingly increased trend of AGREEING with a huge chunk of Obama’s foreign policies during this debate! Of course, Obama thanked Romney for agreeing with him, then would just go on to eloquently smack the shit out of him on his stance-changes in the very next sentence. By then, it just seemed just too easy for Obama. He seemed to be laughing to himself quite a bit during the latter half of the debate, no doubt, thinking this very thing.
My biggest complaints about this debate? No mention of relations with Latin America, no mention of the miserably-failed drug war, no mention of opening up to Cuba. No mention of economic development in Africa. These are all MAJOR foreign policy topics that have a huge bearing in the future of the US. For whatever reason, however, neither the candidates, nor the debate commission could come up with even one question about them. No star on the blackboard.
It’s shamefully shortsighted to think that the middle east is the only place where US foreign policy counts. This ridiculous view is costing the US BILLIONS of dollars a year, and tens of thousands of innocent lives a year. Despite my support for Obama, I am incredibly disappointed that he didn’t even try to mention any of these subjects. Not even in passing. Let’s hope that changes.
Obama maintained his cool, calm, steadfast, and VERY presidential demeanor through the entire debate. He made no illusions about his record, and clearly stated that there were still some tough times ahead, but going back to the policies that got the US in that position was definitely not the way to go.
By the end of what seemed to be the longest 90 minutes of his life, it was painfully obvious Romney was just glad it was over. In his closing statement, he did a poorly-recited medley of his greatest-hits robot talking points. He practically begged the viewing public for their vote. He looked castrated, tired, spent, and beaten. He had absolutely ZERO confidence, not an iota of statemanship, nor any dignity left, after the verbal bitchslapping he got from Obama.
So rejoice all ye’, that this debate season, and soon, the entire election season, is over. All any of us can hope for, is that enough people show up to the polls to put an end to the GOP stupidity yet again.