Top 10 Points of the First Debate: Aggressive Gov. Romney vs. “Powder Dry” President Obama.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Oct 3, 2012
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Click here for: Governor Romney & President Obama’s Closing Arguments. {Video}

Click here for: Complete Video: First Presidential Debate.


Tweet of the night: Power-dry vs. Steamroller:

Lots of moments for Obama to take a swing at Romney–need a new accountant; know nothing abt deduction for offshoring–but he holds back.

Context: Mitt Romney, most awkward, 47%-of-America-ignoring candidate in history, was in an ideal situation going into this debate against eloquent, popular Obama. You alllways want to have the low bar, low expectations, and Mitt was in position to win or do well if he just did okay.

He did better than okay—his strategy of avoiding specifics and countering facts with his own truthiness played effectively, if not honestly—and his owning the rebuttal again and again helped counter any point Obama brought up.

That said, if Obama looked more passive, he also looked more patient, presidential, mature, and less condescending, rude, smug.

1. Who lost the debate? Jim Lehrer lost the debate. He needed a buzzer, or a gong, or rising music a la the Oscars. He continually got run over by Gov. Romney, which didn’t make Romeny look charming or kind, but did make him look strong.

Again and again:

2. Despite the ending of two wars, “no cuts to the military,” says Romney. And yet we’re trying to rebalance our budget, right? No investments in nation-building here at home?

3. “I like Big Bird, but…”

Neil deGrasse Tyson @neiltyson on twitter:

Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive

4. Health care reform, and Medicare. Medicare will be altered, but…

Romney: “Not for current seniors”

Obama: “Well if you’re 54 or 55, you might want to listen.”

5. Romney said that green jobs, repeatedly, was a bad investment. Is he including “game changer” Tesla in that? An all-electric that just came out with a 4-7 seat car that runs clean, and up to 300 miles before needing a (eventually free, solar-powered) recharge? All new industries—indeed, all established industries—suffer failures and losses. Romney has said exactly this, forcefully, many times re Bain and its “harvesting” companies’ profits that then failed.

6. “Mitt Romney is so good at sounding specific while not saying anything specific at all.”

Romney’s strategy: attack (and make up) facts re Obama, while not providing facts or stats re cuts, etc., played out well. That said, Obama got in this zinger:

“…Is Mr. Romney keeping his policy secret because it’s just too good?”

7. Romney said we’re a nation that believes in the same God. Strange, coming from a Mormon. And untrue, coming from this here Buddhist.

8. Facts were in question throughout the night.

Here’s one.

NY Times: Fact Check: Did Half of Green Companies Fail?

A number of readers, including Patty Freeman-Lynde from Athens, asked about Mr. Romney’s charge that half the companies invested in under the president’s green energy stimulus have gone out of business.

That is a gross overstatement. Of nearly three dozen recipients of loans under the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, only three are currently in bankruptcy…


Q: Do corporations actually get a tax break for relocating manufacturing overseas? — johng158, New York City

Annie Lowrey: It is true. The tax code currently does allow companies to deduct certain expenses when they move operations overseas.

Another: the $716 Billion number re Medicare…if you don’t know why that isn’t a blatant un-truth, you aren’t paying attention (hint: it’s in Ryan’s plan, too, and it’s savings, not cuts)

9. “And as it turns out, winning a debate is surprisingly easy when a candidate decides he can say anything and expect to get away with it.” ( I woke up this morning with one thought reverberating like a bell in the distance: Say Anything. If you can say anything, and play fast and loose with the facts in front of an opponent who knows what you’re playing and a public and media who will fact check, to some extent…imagine how you’d behave when in office, behind close doors.

…more “moments” coming, friends coming over to argue/discuss re The Debate.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | | | | | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom


55 Responses to “Top 10 Points of the First Debate: Aggressive Gov. Romney vs. “Powder Dry” President Obama.”

  1. Osman says:

    Tesla just announced an early repayment on the DOE loan.

  2. MEC says:

    I enjoy Elephant Journal to read information about health topics not to hear what Elephant Journal chooses to spew out about politics. Thanks Elephant Journal.

  3. MLZ says:

    @MEC then why did you read this article?

  4. Gina Murdock says:

    Unfortunately, 'health topics' are extensively political these days. We all have to wake up & tune in to protect our bodies and our environment.
    Yogis must engage!

  5. […] Click here for my coverage: Top 10 Points of the First Debate: Aggressive Gov. Romney vs. “Powder Dry” President Obama. […]

  6. Heather says:

    Romney appeared very strong vs. Obama.

    Romney did say some smart stuff about small businesses…and how hard it is to get one going and/or to restart one. And his point about being told over and over again stuff from his 5 boys/sons, which he is not going to start to believe is just so true of how many of us interact and don't even realize it.

    In my opinion, he looked pretty cool/smooth.

  7. bill says:

    Obama got 4 more minutes than Romney so what are you talking about "got run over by Romney?" Romney made the best use of his limited time.

  8. Heather says:

    According to the great Buddhist monk Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche presidential debates could be effected by how we serve tea. So, let's put them to the ultimate test.

    Each candidate should prepare a cup of tea.

    Whoever's is better ….WINS.

  9. Padma Kadag says:

    Obama was up against the ropes…weight on his heals…allowed Romney to beat him up. Rarely called Romney out when he should have. Fortunately, Romney has televised his alleged "plans" for all to hear and as usual they remain inconsistent from week to week. Now Romney's "plans" are pubic and completely different from his plans a week ago….this wil work to Obama's advantage.

  10. sml1122 says:

    wow, im actually a little surprised EJ.. I thought you wouldve provided a more unbiased report re the debate, but what ive taken away form your article is that you are an obama supporter? as i am clearly still on the fence and considering voting libertarian at this point b/c i truly dont care for either of the front runners.. i went into listening to this debate as open minded as possible to see what i would learn from it, if anything.

    i had hoped your article would provide another perspective re the pros and cons, the good and bad of each candidates performance.

    i'm a littlle disappointed as its hard enough these days to find a media forum that isnt skewing left or right.
    just my feeling and .02 for what its worth.

  11. kate says:

    I was disappointed to find this political spew on your front page today. Have your viewpoint. Refrain from judgement. Respect others.

  12. paul says:

    Romney didn't give a great performance, weak especially considering these issues are all he's been doing for the last year, but also because he kept pushing his "the market" ideology without specifics. And Obama didn't do as bad as some think, he was sticking to his own strategy of playing it safe and saying he shares many of Romney's positions but has a plan. He played it safe because he's in the lead. I wonder though if Obama didn't bring up any of the expected "attack points" because of the contract the "debate" is run under (the Commission on Presidential Debates was created by the two parties, and party insiders run it). Lehrer certainly didn't loose, there is no way any moderator could win as the two parties have made it game and rigged it in their favor.

  13. yogi henry says:

    dear waylon,

    According to a CNN/ORC International survey conducted right after the debate, 67% of debate watchers questioned said that the Republican nominee won the debate…what is really amazing/disturbing (depending on your preference) is “No presidential candidate has topped 60% in that question since it was first asked in 1984,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. So, I think the conclusion would be that the President didn’t prepare; didn’t know his material well enough to refute the challengers material with counterpoints; wasn’t strong enough to rebut the Governor or a combo of the 3. Making excuses after the game is over reminds me of a saying: “would you like some cheese with that whine?” Perhaps, the next 2 debates will be different.

  14. john says:

    obama had jet lag and it was his anniversery, give him a break

  15. Xerxes says:

    Gore said it was the altitude (LOL!). Seriously, though, a poll today of undecided voters indicates that the vast majority of them remain undecided after the debate. THEY will determine the election, and it must drive both sides crazy.

  16. […] That’s not me being partisan, that’s me being partisan based on the facts of what both gentlemen have said they’d do. […]

  17. Ben_Ralston says:

    I don't actually understand how it is that half the people in America are considering whether or not to vote for a) a lying, cheating, selfish, greedy, manipulative, weak, and corrupt individual, or b) a man with great integrity.
    I really, really don't get it.
    When I look at Obama alongside Romney, it is clear as daylight to me that one of those two is not fit to lead a group of boy scouts, let alone a country, let alone one of the most powerful countries in the world.

  18. Ramesh says:
    This morning new data needs to be added, he never said 'the 47% thing'

  19. Linda V. Lewis says:

    I appreciate elephant journal's write-up here in Canada. The news bites here on radio and TV also said Obama "lost" to Romney because Romney was more aggressive if less factual. (!) Obama is a statesman. He is also a gentleman who has care for the elderly, the poor, and the sick. Romney has never had to worry about money for one day in his life. Therefore he doesn't value health care, etc. Aggression in debates actually turns me off. Consistent reliance on facts coming from a statesman who cares opens my ears and heart as well as my mind. It is too bad that competitive aggression in debate is now seen as "winning", rather than consistent reliance on facts!

  20. […] more. There’s plenty more by way of fact checking out there from the first debate, […]

  21. […] first hour-and-a-half long debate between President Barack Obama and ex-governor Mitt Romney ended without a single reference to […]

  22. […] you’re a Democrat, tonight felt good—like seeing your favorite baseball team learn from a tough first outing, and come back swinging. Either way, it was a real debate—well moderated, with plenty of real […]

  23. […] Jim Lehrer, as everyone remembers, kicked ass as moderator in the first debate, not letting Romney get away with anything more than 27 lies. “Silent! I’m Jim Lehrer.” […]

  24. […] Remember, only recently, when being polite and patient was considered weak, the reason President Obama lost the first debate? […]

  25. […] called first one for Romney (click here for Top 10 Moments, video), on style. Called VP debate for VP Biden. Calling this one for President Obama. ~ Waylon Lewis, […]

  26. […] the first debate, where Obama played patient grownup to Mitt’s alpha wolf, Obama’s offered some eye-to-eye trash talk and zingers, along with responsible policy and […]

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