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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Comment pages: 1 2 3 46

Yee haw!

DrStock on October 3, 2012 at 8:22 PM

First!

The Count on October 3, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Doh!

The Count on October 3, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Not First!

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Third!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Let the circus begin…

Barred on October 3, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Obama
Ears are made for listening

Nothing will change.

seven on October 3, 2012 at 8:24 PM

oh fourth…tee hee

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:24 PM

What would have to happen at the debate for us to get either the Melting Bunny or the Humpbot tonight?

acasilaco on October 3, 2012 at 8:24 PM

*CLINK*

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:24 PM

well here we go

Jackalope on October 3, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Obama
Ears are made for listening

Nothing will change.

seven on October 3, 2012 at 8:24 PM

But his hears double as handlebars..

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Good evening one and all!!!

Got the ol’ C-SPAN on…

Wish I could participate in the Drinking Game!

Have fun!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:25 PM

ears..
That is….
:(

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Thanks all for watching so I don’t have to!

22044 on October 3, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Four Looooooooooooong years are upon us,er the US!

D-Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Ah… fashionably late. Perfect.

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:26 PM

hmmmmmmm I am in the mood for some hot chocolate, melting bunny or otherwise! :-)

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Time to take an outside smoke break!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:26 PM

OMG Mitt is mopping the floor with Barky.

/getting warmed up

SparkPlug on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Time to take off the “Mitt”ens, and put on the gloves!! Let’s roll!!!!

Sasha List on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

I already can’t stand O’rielly tonight. I feel like my head might explode in 2.2

Jackalope on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Four Looooooooooooong years are upon us,er the US!

D-Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:26 PM

It’s like Apollo 13..
Waiting for communication during that re-entry black-out..
T minus 4

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Watching with my Dad – dad waves hello

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Are these threads still overrun with trolls?

Captain Kirock on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

HI GG’s DAD! *Waving* :)

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:28 PM

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Well let me get that door for you. What a lovely hat and handbag and other God given accouterments you have.

SparkPlug on October 3, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Watching with my Dad – dad waves hello

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

[waving back]

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Only kahlua coffee, but “CLINK” back at you

Barred on October 3, 2012 at 8:28 PM

How many trolls are we gonna see tonight?

wargamer6 on October 3, 2012 at 8:29 PM

“I WON”- Bark

Sasha List on October 3, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Are these threads still overrun with trolls?

Captain Kirock on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Just wait…

Don’t want to ruin the ending..

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:29 PM

I hope Mitt is ready for anything.

Kataklysmic on October 3, 2012 at 8:29 PM

HI GG’s DAD! *Waving* :)

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Ditto. Hi Dad. GG is a fine Girl. You must be proud.

SparkPlug on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Are these threads still overrun with trolls?

Captain Kirock on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

I hope not.

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

What are we drinking?

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

SparkPlug on October 3, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Why thank you, Mr. Spark, good evening. I brought you a bottle of very good single malt Scotch, just as a sort of nightcap. :)

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Breaking news: Obama’s talking points for tonight’s big debate have been been released.

Seriously, think I am going to sit this liveblogging out on this one. Going to miss it here though.

the new aesthetic on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

“Clink”

d.l.johnson on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Let me be clear! Uhhh…uhhh…let’s spread the wealth around!

22044 on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

so far scotch and beer

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Hi Scrumpy. Nice smoke rings.

(¯`v´¯)
.`·.¸.·´ ???
¸.·´¸.·´¨) ¸.·*¨)
(¸.·´? (¸.·´ .·´ ¸¸.·¨¯`·.?

SparkPlug on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Mitt MItt MITt MITT MITT MITT!!

Wipe the floor with bho…

Take one for the Gipper!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

What are we drinking?

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Whiskey…

with a beer chaser…[optional]

I may not make it to the end :)

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Are these threads still overrun with trolls?

Captain Kirock on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

You’d better believe it, buddy.

Lanceman on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

What would have to happen at the debate for us to get either the Melting Bunny or the Humpbot tonight?

acasilaco on October 3, 2012 at 8:24 PM

Melting Bunny–Romney drools
Humpbot–Obama wets his pants

DrStock on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

0dumbo kicks Mitts arse!- lsm What? It hasn’t started yet, you say…..

Sasha List on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

What are we drinking?

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Skinnygirl Margarita

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

so far scotch and beer

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

White Russians. Putin in a glass.

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:32 PM

SparkPlug on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Awwww that’s very sweet!! :-)

Howdy!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:32 PM

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Careful HS here comes a butterfly

(¯`v´¯)
.`·.¸.·´ ???
¸.·´¸.·´¨) ¸.·*¨)
(¸.·´? (¸.·´ .·´ ¸¸.·¨¯`·.?

SparkPlug on October 3, 2012 at 8:32 PM

I’ve had to bypass the liquor tonight in favor of an extra anti-anxiety pill. Still not sure I’ll be able to watch, but I know my HA community will keep it rockin’!

MustLoveBlogs on October 3, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Watching with my Dad – dad waves hello

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Do we have to change our behavior?
/

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:32 PM

(¯`v´¯)
.`·.¸.·´ ???
¸.·´¸.·´¨) ¸.·*¨)
(¸.·´? (¸.·´ .·´ ¸¸.·¨¯`·.?

Ohhhhhhhhhh it copied!!

Back to you…Sparky!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:33 PM

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

yum!

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Not sure how much of it I’ll be able to take, but I’m going to try.

changer1701 on October 3, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Eating nachos and later a burrito. I could see an adult beverage making an appearance later.

22044 on October 3, 2012 at 8:33 PM

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/03/magazine/double-lives-on-the-down-low.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Lots of people in Chicago to testify….

hillbuzz.org

mountainaires on October 3, 2012 at 8:33 PM

6 pages before the debate…
or bust.

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:33 PM

What are we drinking?

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Whiskey…

with a beer chaser…[optional]

I may not make it to the end :)

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Yum. Except the beer.

What are we drinking?

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Skinnygirl Margarita

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Is that any good?

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Do we have to change our behavior?
/

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:32 PM

LOL- he is no where near the computer but he’ll be swearing along with us.

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

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

Bet on it.

Tim_CA on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

HornetSting!!!

Stray Cat on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

I think Romney has to do well in showing how Obama lied/failed/broke promises, but also explain to stupid Americans what he’ll do different and why he’ll be better.

Either way though, he could do great but if people watch commentary or read the news after, the media will say it was a tie or he lost.

He really needs a big turn around though because he is not going to win Ohio or Michigan. He’d have to win every other battleground state and that’s just not going to happen. I hope for a miracle but if people are still undecided and the race is still close, even with Obamas lies and failures, I don’t think we have a chance to pull this off.

Obama has survived lies and cover up of a terror attack, for Gods sake. There’s little hope

bucsox79 on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

General Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) D-Day Message
Order of the Day: Oct. 3 2012
******************************

Republicans,Conservatives, and Tea-Party Patriots of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
*******************
**********************

You are about to embark upon the Great Debate, toward which we have
striven these four years. The eyes of the world are upon you. The
hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.

In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on
other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the Progressive/Democrat War
machine, the elimination of Obama tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well
equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 2012! Much has happened since the Obama triumphs of
2009-2012. The United Nations have inflicted upon the ObamaBots great defeats,
in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their
strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground politically.

Our Home
Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions
of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.

The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to
Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in
battle. We will accept nothing less than full Debate Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great
and noble undertaking of tonights Debate.
=========================================

http://www.kansasheritage.org/abilene/ikespeech.html

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

I could see an adult beverage making an appearance later.

22044 on October 3, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Make that two..:)

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

…popcorn…18 pack of bottles… not cans I can crush…and a small bottle of almost frozen LIMONCELLO…so I’m ready!

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Hi GG’s Dad :)

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Journolist has been working the narrative all day…they know who won and that the race is over…

d1carter on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Is that any good?

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

First time trying. Haven’t cracked it open yet.

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

LOL- he is no where near the computer but he’ll be swearing along with us.

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

:)

Cool.

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

I don’t normally pray, but…

Dear Lord,

Please be with Mitt Romney tonight. Guide him. Give him wisdom.

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN!

SouthernGent on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Goose and Gatorade, let’s do this!

hollygolightly on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

…you think all the trolls will have fresh diapers on?

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

My drinking game.. When Romney refuses to give details on budget cuts. DRINK 2 BOTTLES OF VODKA, PASS OUT

davemason2k on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

What are we drinking?

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

A nice single malt

uncommon sense on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

What are we drinking?

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Kiwi+Peach+Banana+Mango smoothie
in a Big Gulp cup

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

The bullet hasn’t been removed yet.

Curtiss on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

What are we drinking?

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

HornetSing:Tea…….great to see ya!:)

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Anyone else pregaming it with MSNBC?

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

FIRST!

See ya later.

Bishop on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

AMEN!

SouthernGent on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

AMEN!

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Hiya Jackie! 22044 cmsinaz EG Hey Lanceman :-)and the rest of the HA gang!!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

What are we drinking?

HornetSting on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Vodka. I’m going all in.

JPeterman on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

I don’t normally pray, but…

Dear Lord,

Please be with Mitt Romney tonight. Guide him. Give him wisdom.

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN!

SouthernGent on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Amen!

22044 on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

I don’t normally always pray,

Dear Lord,

Please be with Mitt Romney tonight. Guide him. Give him wisdom.

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN!

SouthernGent on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

…you think all the trolls will have fresh diapers on?

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

no, but they should have fresh Choom and blow! :)

uncommon sense on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Good evening, Scrumpy!:)

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN!

SouthernGent on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Amen.

Obama will still hasn’t learned that from his Reverend yet.

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Vodka. I’m going all in.

JPeterman on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Guinness. Gotta pace yourself…

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

;;;;;;;;.¸_______________¸;;;;;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;:¸___________, :;;;;;;;;;¸
:;;;;;;;;;;;;__________, :;;;;;;;;;;;¸
_ :;;;;;;;;;;;, , _______, :;;;;;;;;;;;¸
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____.•¸:;;;;;;;;;¸_____¸;;;;;;;;;;
_______•¸:;;;;;;¸_____¸;;;;;;;:´
___________•¸:;;;;¸., .¸;;;;;;•
______¸.•;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
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_______•.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
__________.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;.
______(*•.¸ (*•.¸ ¸.•*´) ¸.•* )

Look its Twerp.

SparkPlug on October 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM

don’t normally pray, but…

Dear Lord,

Please be with Mitt Romney tonight. Guide him. Give him wisdom.

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN!

SouthernGent on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

…I’m folding my hands too!

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM

I’m going to be sick.

Tonight is the night when I wish we could substitute Gingrich for Romney.

Obama wouldn’t have any skin left.

I hope Romney is ready with more than platitudes.

I have to go throw up.

BuckeyeSam on October 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Red wine, followed by whiskey with seven, straigth if necessary.
“clink”.

MontanaMmmm on October 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM

FIRST!

See ya later.

Bishop on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

The first to leave?

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Hi Scrumpy and everyone!

22044 on October 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Amen Southerngent

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM

That Twerp is so cool!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Kiwi+Peach+Banana+Mango smoothie
in a Big Gulp cup

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

throw in some rum, a pineapple slice and a little umbrella…..and maybe.

Tim_CA on October 3, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 46