Friday, October 19, 2012
Belated Post-Debate Musings
Well, here it is a few days after the second (and second to last) of the 2012 Presidential Debates and lord knows most of the other places on my blogroll have already commented, but I figured I should weigh in before the third and final debate on Monday night.
I missed the first debate at Denver University earlier this month- partly because I typically work evenings and partly because I was becoming burned out on politics altogether [not because I think Mitt Romney is such a shoddy candidate, but because I find it hard to believe there are people out there willing to defend President Obama's record over these last 3 years- NANESB!].
Apparently I missed a doozy, though. Romney repeatedly hammered President Obama over his economic record while Obama looked disinterested and even asked the moderator Jim Lehrer to change the subject at one point. Since then, Romney has been surging in the polls and gaining ground or pulling away in a number of battleground states while Obama's high-profile supporters have been blaming everything from the high altitude in Denver to the notion that Obama was being 'nice' and pulling his punches.
There was also a debate last week between VP Joe Biden and Romeny's VP nominee Paul Ryan that seemed to de derailed by the Vice President's facial tics and wierd grinning at the most inappropriate times.
The second Presidential debate took place on Tuesday night at Hofstra University in Long Island. The town hall format for this debate was different from the first, with Obama and Romney taking questions from an audience in a Q and A session that was moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley. I missed the first part of the debate- and I was told after the fact I didn't miss much at the time- but I caught most of the second half on radio.
I caught the moment everybody [who was paying attention- NANESB!] was talking about after the fact. Fielding a question about last month's terrorist attacks in Libya. Almost as soon Romney pointed out that it took nearly 2 weeks for the White House to acknowledge the attacks were the result of a planned terrorist action, not a spontaneous demonstration over a YouTube video, Crowley jumped in and said that Romney was wrong and at the Presiden't urging, produced a transcript of a September 12th statement to the press in the Rose Garden of the White House before flying off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas. After the debate, Crowley later walked back her words and said the Romney's statement was in fact correct.
Ignoring the fact that either the President and his proxies were lying to the press about the first terrorist attack to have killed an American diplomat in more than 30 years or he was callous enough to jet off to a high-end Sin City fundraiser while our diplomatic mission in Benghazi was still burning, there was something else I noticed that seemed to be overlooked by others in light of Crowley's blatant attempt to run interference for Obama.
Referencing the theater shooting in Aurora, CO, a member of the audience asked both candidates about revisiting the assault-weapons ban, which had lapsed under George W Bush. Gov Romney gave a fairly lengthy answer that mentioned enforcing laws already already on the books, before bringing up the Department of Justice's Operation Fast and Furious gunwalking program. Romney basically took a minute or so to explain what exactly was Fast and Furious to the audience of undecided voters, but as soon as he started mentioning the Obama Administrations' role in the ATF's gunwalking program, Crowley interrupted the governor in an attempt to steer the discussion back towards domestic gun control policy [most likely the original intent of Fast & Furious, according to some- NANESB!].
Apparently taking a cue from Joe Biden, President Obama apparently decided to start smiling at REALLY inappropriate times before Crowley allowed him to speak. Obama's long and rambling answer sidestepped Fast and Furious altogether and instead talk about the need for more teachers and funding for community colleges.
This likely won't be the last we hear from Fast and Furious at the debates- the third and final debate is scheduled for Monday, October 22nd and is slated to revolve around foreign policy. While some feel that this may be a strong suit for the President, there is not only the matter of Fast and Furious, the Libya terrorist attacks as well as the proposed KeystoneXL pipeline from Canada, there's also President Obama's persistent refusal to meet with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, the continuing threat from Iran's nuclear program, an increasingly aggressive Russia and China and deteriorating situations in Pakistan, Yemen, Syria and Turkey