Open thread: The first debate

posted at 8:21 pm on October 3, 2012 by Allahpundit

9 p.m. ET all across the dial and streaming live at C-SPAN.org. Yesterday’s WSJ/NBC poll had 22 percent of likely voters saying that the debates will be “extremely important” to their vote. Today, Rasmussen finds 17 percent saying they’ll be “very important.” Either way, you’ve got roughly one-fifth of the electorate signaling some willingness to shift based on what happens tonight (and at the next two face-offs) in a race that’s statistically tied at the moment and arguably only now just beginning. To paraphrase “Honest Joe,” this is potentially a big effing deal.

Also a big effing deal? The media’s post-debate “narrative-building”:

Consider this experiment. In 2004, Kim Fridkin and other researchers at Arizona State University showed people footage of the third presidential debate, the debate plus 20 minutes of post-debate commentary on NBC, the debate plus 20 minutes’ time to read commentary on CNN.com. So who won the debate, Bush or Kerry? It depended on whether you watched the news…

People watching the debate tended to think that Kerry had won, as did those who read analysis on CNN. But those who watched the NBC post-morten had the opposite impression. Fridkin et al. write:

“Our findings suggest that voters’ attitudes are influenced by the arguments presented directly by the candidates during the debate as well as by the media’s instant analyses of the candidates’ debate performances….the impact of the candidates’ messages was often altered by the media’s instant analyses.”

The idea of NBC boosting Bush doesn’t compute for me any more than it does for you, but there you go. It’s not just the post-debate yammering that might influence viewers, either:

Through the art of video production, one candidate can be portrayed more favorably than the other. On October 7, 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain met for the second of three presidential debates. The format was a town hall debate. Both men roamed the floor and locked eyes with the audience members who asked questions. Numerous cameras were placed around the room to capture the candidates regardless of where they stood.

While equal time was given to each man for questions, the audience, when viewing the televised debate, experienced subtle differences in the camera angles for each candidate. Typically, when Obama spoke, the camera displayed a close up, eye-level image, filling the frame with his upper chest and face. This presented to the viewer a strong image of Obama. In contrast, when McCain spoke, the camera often showed a waist-up, medium shot, filling the frame with as much background as McCain himself. These shots made McCain appear small, which was exaggerated from time to time by camera angles that looked down on him. In addition, because of the wide shots of McCain, Obama had more face time on camera, as he was often shown in the background when McCain answered a question.

No one expects Romney to get a fair shake tonight in the aftermath, but one potential complicating factor is that not all of the media’s biases are strictly ideological. Ross Douthat (and Jon Chait) made a fair point recently about how their bias towards horse-race coverage casts a shadow of hopelessness over the candidate that’s fallen behind in the polls. Highly motivated, strongly partisan voters won’t care about that but low-information undecideds who pay attention only sporadically may be led to perceive the trailing candidate as, in Chait’s words, “faintly ridiculous,” which destroys the air of presidential viability that he’s trying to build. In Romney’s case, the ideological and horse-race biases overlap to work against the GOP, but they don’t always: John Cook of Gawker argued a few days ago that the media’s doing to Romney what it once did to both John Kerry and Al Gore, namely, pigeonholing him as a weird, stiff, hapless loser because his slight personal awkwardness is an obvious contrast with the confident charm of his opponent. It’s all about the narrative, and if they’ve got a narrative staring them in the face involving a guy who’s good at retail politics and a guy who’s not so good, that’s one that they’re going to grasp.

The punchline is that the media’s also biased for professional reasons towards having an exciting race to cover, and a post-debate “Romney comeback” narrative would serve that end. I’m not expecting it — I think ideological interests will trump all given that the race is so close — but if Mitt is sharp and composed, which he’s likely to be, you may see some “he helped himself tonight” chatter later even if there’s a reluctance by the press to pronounce him the winner. If you’re interested in watching the narrative sausage being made in real time, I recommend opening up a separate tab and following this feed of political journalists compiled by Matt Lewis. As with all Twitter communities, most of those people follow each other so there’ll be a plenty of perception insta-reinforcement afoot.

Tonight’s debate is supposed to be devoted to domestic policy but Libya likely will be mentioned. So will George W. Bush’s record, maybe by both sides. The 2007 Obama speech at Hampton U likely will not. Here’s the handy dandy Hot Air/Townhall Twitter widget, which should be buzzing until the wee hours. Enjoy.



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They get a nice lifelong vacay to Hawaii from what I hear, so I wouldn’t be too sad.

OxyCon on October 4, 2012 at 12:05 AM
That thought is destroying the moment.

Cleombrotus on October 4, 2012 at 6:49 AM

Plus he’ll be like Jimmy Carter and NOT keep his mouth shut… Its a curse and a blessing, but it will be “worth it” to see him out of my White House…

Khun Joe on October 4, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Some are saying that Obama was just too nice. The fact is that he tried going after Romney early in the debate but was so flattened by the counter attack, that he gave up on that tactic.

Johnny 100 Pesos on October 4, 2012 at 7:01 AM

Now, as in war and a street fight, Romney must exploit the initiative. Cut Obama no slack, keep him on his heals, render a decisive knockout punch and prepare to move in to the White House. No more Mr. nice guy.

rplat on October 4, 2012 at 7:08 AM

Wow, 4500 posts. And oh yeah, this was no contest.

chewmeister on October 4, 2012 at 7:10 AM

This will go down as one of the best/worst debate performances in history. Profession man vs. amateur boy. But to Obama’s credit, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a crooked president stand up straight for so long! Quite the feat!

TheAudacityofNOPE on October 4, 2012 at 7:24 AM

Obama’s debate coach-”Mr.President,can you call in sick next time?”

redware on October 4, 2012 at 7:26 AM

Very..very strong debate for Romney.

Obama looked like he was expecting moderator to take up defense for him. Lack of eye contact, poor body language, too much hesitation in responses.

Perfect example of bringing knife to gun fight. Tried to “townhall” a debate, did not work on any level.. Very good night for Romney.

NextGen on October 4, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Plus he’ll be like Jimmy Carter and NOT keep his mouth shut… Its a curse and a blessing, but it will be “worth it” to see him out of my White House…

Khun Joe on October 4, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Likely he would become perm member of the view or replace Chris Matthews. Perhaps he and Sharpton could team up and start a show called “The disenfranchised”….

Bradky on October 4, 2012 at 7:33 AM

After a long stretch there of negativism its great to see Romney really turn this around! Its like a weight has been lifted. Lets hope he can keep it going!

RAB on October 4, 2012 at 7:56 AM

4,510 Comments

Is that a new record?

If not, what is the record number of comments for a single post at HotAir?

ITguy on October 4, 2012 at 8:01 AM

It’s about defining Romney publicly before the 10% of the voters who will decide the election start paying attention and make up their minds
 
urban elitist on July 19, 2012 at 9:40 PM

rogerb on October 4, 2012 at 8:17 AM

Some of you may enjoy this little wishful fantasy. More prophecy in it that I realized.

http://tinyurl.com/933mpjk

dhimwit on October 4, 2012 at 8:21 AM

Does anyone know who moderates the ryan biden debate?

jimver on October 4, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Well that didn’t take long.

New RNC Ad: Smirk

Flora Duh on October 4, 2012 at 8:25 AM

Someone predicted this here last night…Lurch goes under the bus…

This is what happens when u pick John Kerry as your debate coach.

Folks, that is a tweet from Michael Moore!

Brat on October 4, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Does anyone know who moderates the ryan biden debate?

jimver on October 4, 2012 at 8:24 AM

ABC’s Martha Radditz IIRC.

Flora Duh on October 4, 2012 at 8:26 AM

I just want in on this epic thread.

eforhan on October 4, 2012 at 8:29 AM

ABC’s Martha Radditz IIRC.

Flora Duh on October 4, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Thanks, will have to look her up some more, the name doesn’t ring a bell..oh, yes, somebody here mentioned that she is a foreign affairs correspondent and they were worried that she would pull the debate in that direction…

jimver on October 4, 2012 at 8:32 AM

Does anyone know who moderates the ryan biden debate?

jimver on October 4, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Ryan.

claudius on October 4, 2012 at 8:32 AM

Don’t let the “he was tired” or “he was unprepared” meme go unanswered.

How the hell could he be unprepared? He’s been President for nearly 4 years. Those are his policies. How could he not be able to defend or discuss his own agenda?

BacaDog on October 4, 2012 at 8:34 AM

So will the LSM deathstar go into hyper drive against Romney now? Will the next polls show Zero up by 15 as a couple laughable ones in NH falsely claimed?

Congratulations Mr. Romney. Pour it on. Don’t let up.

dogsoldier on October 4, 2012 at 8:36 AM

Does anyone know who moderates the ryan biden debate?

jimver on October 4, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Ryan.

claudius on October 4, 2012 at 8:32 AM

Lol :)

jimver on October 4, 2012 at 8:37 AM

THAT was my President on stage last ?

( Jimmah Carter asking the mirror on the wall last night)

FlaMurph on October 4, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Does anyone know who moderates the ryan biden debate?

jimver on October 4, 2012 at 8:24 AM
Ryan.

claudius on October 4, 2012 at 8:32 AM

LMBO!!

dddave on October 4, 2012 at 8:39 AM

I’m sure this has been put out there, but I’m not going to review 56 pages of comments, so…
What are the odds that Obama’s internal polling shows him to be a dead duck and he just showed up because he was expected to? Does he still even want the job title?

swinia sutki on October 4, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Epic. Best part? Flipping over to MSNBC 5 minutes after the debate had ended and watching Chris Matthews and Rachel Madcow having a colossal meltdown. It was quite a funeral! LMAO!

Urban Infidel on October 4, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Romney boxed himself in on taxes last night.
He said he won’t reduce taxes without offsetting with spending.

The “Bush” tax cuts expire Jan. 1.
When Romney wins the election, Obama and the lame duck Senate will refuse to address this “fiscal cliff”.

So how does Romney stop the 2013 recession if he can’t reinstate the tax cuts?

Carnac on October 4, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Hey, Obama had told us what a good “debatah” Romney was, and that he was “just OK”.

Well, a good solid “D” kind of OK.

mojowt on October 4, 2012 at 9:15 AM

So how does Romney stop the 2013 recession if he can’t reinstate the tax cuts?

Carnac on October 4, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Continuing the current rates is not a tax cut. Letting them expire is a huge tax increase.

dogsoldier on October 4, 2012 at 9:16 AM

I am walking around today, grinning like a mule eating yellow jackets.
My take.

kingsjester on October 4, 2012 at 6:39 AM

Good write up, kj:-)

bluefox on October 4, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Wow. Almost 4500 comments. This has to be some sort of record, right?

totherightofthem on October 4, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Continuing the current rates is not a tax cut. Letting them expire is a huge tax increase.

dogsoldier on October 4, 2012 at 9:16 AM

I understand what you are saying. Continuing them BEFORE the Jan. 1 increase is not a tax cut.

However, to return to the previous tax rates after Inauguration Day will be regarded as a tax cut to anyone that can do arithmetic.

Carnac on October 4, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Beck said that Romney had one of the best performances in the last 50 years.

LevinFan on October 4, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Epic. Best part? Flipping over to MSNBC 5 minutes after the debate had ended and watching Chris Matthews and Rachel Madcow having a colossal meltdown. It was quite a funeral! LMAO!

Urban Infidel on October 4, 2012 at 9:01 AM

The tingle is definitely gone….

rodguy911 on October 4, 2012 at 9:56 AM

However, to return to the previous tax rates after Inauguration Day will be regarded as a tax cut to anyone that can do arithmetic.

Carnac on October 4, 2012 at 9:39 AM

That’s ludicrous. Restoring them to where they’ve been for eleven years is not a cut. Wow you are delusional!

dogsoldier on October 4, 2012 at 10:01 AM

First….err…never mind.

msupertas on October 4, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Last?

Well, I say this as someone who can’t stand Romney. If he keeps this up, I might have to start liking him.

“You pick losers.” O.M.Gosh!!! That was fantastic!

pannw on October 4, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Well that didn’t take long.

New RNC Ad: Smirk

Flora Duh on October 4, 2012 at 8:25 AM

FaceDURRK’d that ad. Mmmhmm.

Jeddite on October 4, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Where has this Mitt Romney been? Great job!

strangenewworld on October 4, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Great job, Mitt!!! This will probably bump his poll numbers at least 5%.

Romney was very concise and “to the point” in all his answers, while Obama was frequently running overtime, cutting into Romney’s rebuttal time, and Romney was absolutely correct in insisting on time to correct the issues Obama raised.

Early in the debate, Obama got himself into trouble by claiming that Romney wanted a $5 trillion tax cut. Where did that whopper come from? No Romney speeches or ads have EVER mentioned anything close to that!!! Obama seemed to think that he could tell blatant lies (like he does in his speeches and ads) in front of Romney, and Romney wouldn’t challenge him, and Romney quickly set the record straight, and Obama was caught in his lies.

There was one time late in the debate when Lehrer told Obama his time was up, and Obama insisted on making one more point, and rambled on for three minutes about not much. After that, Lehrer intervened and said there were only three minutes left before closing statements, and it became clear to everyone that Obama had overstayed his welcome.

IMHO, Romney won the debate partially by the behavior of each candidate when the other was speaking. When Obama was speaking, Romney was looking at him, listening attentively, with a somewhat friendly look on his face. When Romney was speaking, Obama was either grimacing, shaking his head, smirking, or looking down at the floor (which Megyn Kelly of Fox News noticed). Obama seemed afraid to face either Romney or the criticism of his own record, and it’s possible that LOTS of debate watchers noticed this…

Best line of the night: “I don’t like the government picking winners and losers, but you only pick losers.”

Steve Z on October 4, 2012 at 10:58 AM

4541st!!

(I’ve always wanted to be the 4541st comment. ;-)

SoRight on October 4, 2012 at 11:07 AM

hawkdriver on October 3, 2012 at 11:21 PM

Me fierce? Oh why thank you kindly Sir!!
(Methinks I suck pretty much)…
Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 11:23 PM

I humbly bow admitting my embarrassment.
hawkdriver on October 3, 2012 at 11:21 PM

(Methinks I suck pretty much)…
Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Sigh, so many Grand Canyon size openings and me in too good of a mood to go tickin’ y’all off.
I’m gettin’ too old for this sh..
cozmo on October 3, 2012 at 11:25 PM

Holding my tongue also, LOL.
riverrat10k on October 3, 2012 at 11:31 PM

It was just too easy. Even I had to pass it up Boss. ; )
Bmore on October 3, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Awww come on you guys!! Grand Canyon opening? Holding your tongue?
Too easy?

What? Was it somthing I said?????? ;-) lmao…

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Where has this Mitt Romney been? Great job!

strangenewworld on October 4, 2012 at 10:18 AM

.
If you’ve seen him at a campaign rally- you are not surprised by last night.
This guy is genuine. And he is passionate -about America- not politics.
He’s a businessman, more than a politician.
He does not need to go to DC to increase his personal wealth.

The more important question to ask is-

Just how powerfully, manipulative have the liberal media in this country become?

FlaMurph on October 4, 2012 at 12:07 PM

What? Was it somthing I said?????? ;-) lmao…

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Yes. Good thing I love me some Scrumpy. ; )

Bmore on October 4, 2012 at 12:52 PM

DOUBLE DOWN MITT!!

ultracon on October 4, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Debate 1 – this…
Debate 2 – ONE WEEK LATER Ryan/Biden. (Oct 11)

Debate 3 – 5 days after that. (Oct 16th)
Debate 4 – 6 days after that. (Oct 22nd)

So we’ve got this and Ryan/Biden for about 2 weeks, and half of the debates will be done before Obama gets another chance. There is no reprieve scheduled for Obama for quite some time, this should carry the momentum.

I’m expecting the Ryan/Biden debate to be a win for Ryan (if not, that’ll change things)… once that happens you’re looking at the Dems sitting 0-2 needing 2 wins to reach a “tie”.

Ever seen a team’s fans when they’re at 0-3 in the World Series? That’s the motivation you see when they still mathematically have a chance of winning, not just hoping for a tie.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth for the next two weeks should be impressive to behold… especially if I’m correct and Ryan crushes Biden.

The media will of course try to spin this down in a day or two… but can they really overcome this AND Ryan/Biden until the 16th when Obama gets another try?

And what happens if Obama does worse? Once the Libya data, Jobs data, and GDP data are released in the next week… can anything help Obama?

Yeah, I know. It’s not over and I need to tone it down; but I haven’t been optimistic about this yet. Let me enjoy it for just a little bit longer.

gekkobear on October 4, 2012 at 1:12 PM

First…?

Seven Percent Solution on October 4, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Yes. Good thing I love me some Scrumpy. ; )

Bmore on October 4, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Thank you! But please tell me what I said wrong? So that I won’t repeat it… pretty please :-)

If it was the (sometimes I suck) comment, I know I do… :-(

Glorious night last night eh!

Last?

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Last?

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 2:19 PM

I’m bad not to let anyone claim last. Even you Scrumpy. Lol! You being a delightful female and the (sometimes I suck) comment. Real big opening right there for some of the not so friendly folk hear at HA. Anywhere for that matter. You don’t, so I didn’t, but if you did, I would have enjoyed. ; ) xo Pointing it out that is. Lol!

Bmore on October 4, 2012 at 2:39 PM

hear=here

Bmore on October 4, 2012 at 2:40 PM

I want in on this epic thread also!

I’m still on a post-debate high….man i hope this feeling never goes away!

mperek on October 4, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Bmore on October 4, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Phew!!!! That was it! OMG I thought I came off sounding like a troll somewhere… that would have been horrible!

I can laugh at myself the same as the best of them can laugh at me or with me… :-D

Thanks for tip, no more open ended references!!

I am fairly blushing… ;-)

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Last? Bmore? lol…

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Last? Bmore? lol…

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 3:43 PM

We’ll just have to see. Lol! ; )

Bmore on October 4, 2012 at 7:26 PM

I’ll see your “last” and raise you one comment! :-)

ITguy on October 4, 2012 at 7:53 PM

4500 = comments..Outstanding..:)

Dire Straits on October 4, 2012 at 8:12 PM

4500 + comments..Outstanding..:)

Dire Straits on October 4, 2012 at 8:12 PM

fixed..:)

Dire Straits on October 4, 2012 at 8:13 PM

+1

;-)

ITguy on October 4, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Not quit yet!! :-)

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Epic!!

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Uh Uh Uh….. Scrumpy!!!

Bmore on October 4, 2012 at 9:45 PM

ITguy on October 4, 2012 at 7:53 PM

; )

Bmore on October 4, 2012 at 9:48 PM

Bmore, very nice little ditty… :-)

Catch you over on the QOTD later eh?

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Allah!! Yoo Hoo over here!!

Shut this down!! I just gotta be LAST!!!! Don’t ask me why, silly innit… lol…

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 10:17 PM

I’ll feed the cats! Brush them! Give them treats!! Why, I’ll even clean out the litter box!!

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 10:18 PM

Scrumpy, you will miss being first at QOTD. Last.

Bmore on October 4, 2012 at 10:33 PM

No I won’t!! :-P

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Yes you will. Look here.

Bmore on October 4, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Lmao Bmore!!!!

Scrumpy on October 4, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Scrumpy. don’t look now. ; )

Bmore on October 4, 2012 at 10:42 PM

But if you do look. Look very closely. ; )

Bmore on October 4, 2012 at 11:37 PM

First!(*)

(*) First comment of the day in this particular thread.

ITguy on October 5, 2012 at 9:55 AM

ITguy on October 5, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Nice job as always.. ; ) Last!

Bmore on October 5, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Hehehehehe not so fast Bmore :-p

Scrumpy on October 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Last!

We should set a goal of 10,000 comments on the open thread for Election Night, particularly if Romney wins.

JimLennon on October 5, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Scrumpy, did you look really closely where I told you to look? Look very closely. You can see the forest. Sometimes its hard to see the forest for the trees. Look very closely, you’ll see.

Bmore on October 5, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Bmore, I am looking intently, and as you said, I cannot see the forest for the trees :-0

Scrumpy on October 5, 2012 at 8:37 PM

By Jove I think I’ve got it!!!! :-)

Interesting… :-)

This has been a fun distraction…

I think I know who you are ;-)

Scrumpy on October 5, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Scrumpy, of course you know who I am. I’m your friend. And I’m last. ; )

Bmore on October 5, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Yes you are, and no, you are not!! Hehehehehehe….

Scrumpy on October 6, 2012 at 6:29 PM

I am first and last and second! ;-)

Scrumpy on October 6, 2012 at 6:30 PM

; )

Bmore on October 6, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Comment pages: 1 44 45 46