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 4 46

Andrew Kaczynski ‏@BuzzFeedAndrew

MT @dgjackson: Photo of Gov and Mrs. Romney before the debate. pic.twitter.com/UN9qziUE

Mitt’s Body ManVerified ‏@dgjackson

Great photo of Gov and Mrs. Romney pic.twitter.com/hNBfPANU

https://twitter.com/dgjackson/status/253639484267196416/photo/1

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Guinness. Gotta pace yourself…

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

One in each hand..
And you will catch up..

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:38 PM

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Hi GG’s dad!!

KCB on October 3, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Hey SW!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Man we are all really really nervous or a bunch of boozers.

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

A nice single malt

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

Chocolate? Strawberry? Banana?

HornetSing:Tea…….great to see ya!:)

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Mmm! I could actually go for some hornetsting tea right now.

Lanceman on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

BuckeyeSam on October 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Romney bested Gingrich in the debates. Gingrich even suggested, by way of friendly advice to Romney that he ‘do to Obama what you did to me.’

We’ll be alright.

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

(\__/)
(>’.'<)
(")_(")

Look its GG

SparkPlug on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Mitt is gonna blow it tonight!

davemason2k on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

A bunch of us got together and made a big party out of this tonight. Lots of food and stuff. Just hoping I don’t vomit half way through the debate.

JellyToast on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Hola scrumpy… Como?

SWalker on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Good evening Canopfor!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

This thread is flying! Can’t catch up.

KCB on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

The bullet hasn’t been removed yet.

Curtiss on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

I saw Obama talking about bullets in one of those tapes. What’s that referring to?

BuckeyeSam on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

SouthernGent on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Lord hear our prayer.

Curtiss on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Man we are all really really nervous or a bunch of boozers.

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Can I vote for..
All of the above?

:)

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Guinness. Gotta pace yourself…

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

There’s no pacing in debates.

JPeterman on October 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Saw Jackie out there!

KCB on October 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Thanks, canop!

MustLoveBlogs on October 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Man we are all really really nervous or a bunch of boozers.

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

That or after four years of Obumbles… you just have to drink :)

Hi GG’s dad (cyber wave)

uncommon sense on October 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

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

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Only if their moms are not busy with their
AAAuuubaaymmmaah Faauns !

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

I’m going rogue…

Watching Steve Schmidt on MSDNC.

idesign on October 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Guinness. Gotta pace yourself…

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Started with kettle-one martini set-ups…rocks.

Then I read JohnGalt23′s drinking rules….

(I’ve switched to bud light)

Tim_CA on October 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

I hope Obama’s shirking of debate prep shows. Please.

DrStock on October 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Did you all see this that Flora Duh posted on the Bacon thread?

It is awesome!!

Obama and Romney to face real lie detector test during debate

Flora Duh on October 3, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Link: http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/03/obama-and-romney-to-face-real-lie-detector-test-during-debate/

bluefox on October 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Could O’reilly BE any more irritating? He really hates sharing the spotlight. Also, has anyone else developed a real dislike for Brit Hume in the last few weeks? It kind of breaks my heart, but I could swear I heard him say Romney can’t catch up to Obama, tonite. He’s been very negative lately.

BettyRuth on October 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

davemason2k on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Trolls have arrived!

Barred on October 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

KCB on October 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Good evening, Ken! Here we are… at last!:)

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

This thread is flying! Can’t catch up.

KCB on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Do what Canopfor does..

3 monitors and 2 secretaries..

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Mitts Opening statement was leaked: Thanks PBS for giving me the opportunity for this time honored debate process, and Id like to remind everyone to see the movie 2016, Thank you.

malkinmania on October 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

I’m going rogue…

Watching Steve Schmidt on MSDNC.

idesign on October 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Why would you purposely do that to yourself?

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Chocolate? Strawberry? Banana?

Lanceman on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

hmmmm, no. Those don’t age to well, unless you are making pruno in prison LOL! :)

uncommon sense on October 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

I’m watching BOR.

Dennis Miller for Romney press secretary?

BuckeyeSam on October 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Could O’reilly BE any more irritating?

BettyRuth on October 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Sadly yes, Bill can really be a jerk when the mood takes him…

SWalker on October 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

I am gonna ignore da trolls!!

SW: I am doing great and you?

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Chambord, Kahlua, and cream. Yum! (A pinko Putin in a glass??)

Sasha List on October 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

lets face it – the deck was stacked the minute the moderators were agreed on. I cant watch it – the last few weeks have proved that they only way Mitt can win is if there is another terrorist attack in the USA and I am quite sure the MSM can conspire to make it look like some fireworks escaped from the factory and accidentally killed thousands.

iam7545r on October 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Sharpton, on msnbc, thinks the only thing Mitt can sell to the American people is Romneycare, and but for the “far right” he’d be able to sell it.

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Trolls have arrived!

Barred on October 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Oh, good! Canape!

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Apollo 13!

Lanceman on October 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM

So nervous for Mitt.
Praying for him and praying for America.
Need a beer. Or two or three.

bailey24 on October 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Uh Huh……………….

D Wasserman Schultz ‏@DWStweets

Perhaps we’ll see another Romney reinvention. But no matter which Mitt shows up, he’ll be well prepared & disciplined. http://j.mp/T16TzB

https://twitter.com/DWStweets

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM

van jones is an idiot….that is all

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Everyone, make sure to turn off your cellphones Kappa face

GW_SS-Delta on October 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Bishop will never see this post. ;-)

*clink*

pambi on October 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM

CNN is featuring a 9-11 Truther on its show tonight

What? No Birther?

faraway on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Look its GG

SparkPlug on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

(_!_)
Look it’s a troll

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Rosary beads: Check
Holy water from Lourdes: Check
St. Jude medal: Check (patron saint of impossible causes for the non-Catholics)
Maalox: Check

TxAnn56 on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

SW: I am doing great and you?

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Spent the last 5 days working my ass off out in the blazing 105 degree sun, got my full fledged redneck colors glowing like a neon light and generally feeling beat all to heck… But glad to be here tonight…

SWalker on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Turn yer cell ph’s OFF!! Lol!!

No txt no email no tweets!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

thanks to you and the rest of the HA crew watching msdnc tonight…just can’t do it….

wolfie and the gang for me

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

I saw Obama talking about bullets in one of those tapes. What’s that referring to?

BuckeyeSam on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

It was part of an anecdote he told at the beginning of the speech, so he could use the “bullet hasn’t been removed” phrase every time he said something clever. Or racist.

Curtiss on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Why would you purposely do that to yourself?

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

For the intertainment..:)

idesign on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

I’m watching BOR.

Dennis Miller for Romney press secretary?

BuckeyeSam on October 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Sounds good to me. And O’Reilly is crazy for thinking that Romney should bring up the Obama tape. That would be a disaster.

GOPRanknFile on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

(_!_)
Look it’s a troll

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

SparkPlug isn’t a troll.

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Yep. Seat belt fastened an my tray is in the full upright position. And it is great to see you!

KCB on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

van jones is an idiot….that is all

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM

And a creep.

Barred on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Betting on Romney is like betting on the Chicago Cubs

davemason2k on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

NEWT is gonna tear him a new one!

El_Terrible on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

The bullet hasn’t been removed yet.

Curtiss on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

I saw Obama talking about bullets in one of those tapes. What’s that referring to?

BuckeyeSam on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

…earlier reference in JugEars speech of a woman shot in the womb who had a baby…they found a bullet in the babies arm….

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

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!

Eren on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

(_!_)
Look it’s a troll

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Blush… I thought that was boobies sitting on a table… o_O

SWalker on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

van jones is an idiot….that is all

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Van was right on one issue..

We don’t need to change the battery on a broken system..
We need to get rid of Obama..

I am paraphrasing here.

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

SWalker on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Sounds like you could use a nice massage!

Grab a brewski, munchies, kick back n chillax!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

NEWT is gonna tear him a new one!

El_Terrible on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

lol.

Tim_CA on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

…Maddows blabbering on about Gerry Ford and Poland.

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

missed that

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Take no prisoners!NONE!!

SMACKRUNNER on October 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Barack is praying…

Dear Barack…

faraway on October 3, 2012 at 8:46 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

I pray a lot and have already said a prayer that the Lord give Romney, understanding, skill and wisdom.

I’m sure my family have done the same.

bluefox on October 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM

SMACKRUNNER on October 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM

hear hear

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM

#debates

Insider perspectives and your opinions on the presidential debates
*******************************************************************

Sarah Palin ‏@SarahPalinUSA

Many of you have seen the 2007 speech in which then-Senator Obama suggested that because of racism the federal… http://fb.me/13rgb2JZl

Sarah Palin ‏@SarahPalinUSA

Many of you have seen the 2007 speech in which then-Senator Obama suggested that because of racism the federal… http://fb.me/13rgb2JZl

https://twitter.com/hashtag/debates

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Blush… I thought that was boobies sitting on a table… o_O

SWalker on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

I thought the same..

Just that they were begging to get out..

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Earl Grey Time!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:47 PM

wolfie all a tingle they have their own fact checker on air just for tonight….

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Messrs. Crown and Royal and I are locked and loaded.

*clinks to all*

TXUS on October 3, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Blush… I thought that was boobies sitting on a table… o_O

SWalker on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

heh.

you said boobies.

Tim_CA on October 3, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Blush… I thought that was boobies sitting on a table… o_O

SWalker on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

lorien, is that you? b :D

One thing I haven’t looked for or heard about, but what’s the polling on independents/undecideds out there?

JetBoy on October 3, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Sounds like you could use a nice massage!

Grab a brewski, munchies, kick back n chillax!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Nope, I’m already beer’ed out for the day, time for some nice ice tea…

SWalker on October 3, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Evening Canopfor!!

told everyone you would be the linky man tonight

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:47 PM

I saw Obama talking about bullets in one of those tapes. What’s that referring to?

BuckeyeSam on October 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Race baiting.. like white people have been shooting all the black people or something. Poverty is being forced on the black by the whites and it’s like a bullet or some other garbage.

I nearly blew up at a family dinner party Sunday. Lots of people were there and we were out at a nice restaurant… and my sister in law, who normally has a brain, said out of the blew “Ever since I saw this movie I have never been more ashamed of being white. I never realized how much “white privilege” I have experience.”
I about puked.
I know what movie she saw but don’t know the name of it. I think Hot Gas posted some clips of it awhile back “White Privilege” or something. We went back and forth for some time until I realized I was hot and everyone had stopped talking and were just looking down at their plates.

JellyToast on October 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Meet the new troll. Same as the old troll!

22044 on October 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

This is IT!!!! HERE WE GO!!!!! ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE!!!

BoxHead1 on October 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Stuck at work during the debate, so i will pop in from time to time for some non troll reports on how Mitt is doing. Thanks in advance!

Jack_Burton on October 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

missed that

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM

I just altered the last part of one of his speeches..

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Curtiss on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM
KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Thank you, both.

BuckeyeSam on October 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

I’m not even going to try to keep up with the thread. I’ll just watch the debate, and read what I can. Too fast and furious.

predator on October 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

12 minutes

Tim_CA on October 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

michelle in blue, anne in white

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

thanks to you and the rest of the HA crew watching msdnc tonight…just can’t do it….

wolfie and the gang for me

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

I decided for wolfie too :)..

jimver on October 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Earl Grey Time!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:47 PM

ROTFLMAO… that is exactly what I am drinking…Earl Grey Iced Tea… ;)

SWalker on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Oh it was just the wives :(

BoxHead1 on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Drudge has a headline up about today being the Obama’s 20th wedding anniversary. Michelle said “I’m going to make him write ‘ Love you, honey.’ on his hand.”

He even needs prompting for that…

Imagine what she’s like in the bedroom!

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

SparkPlug isn’t a troll.

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

I know, I just want everyone to look at a troll’s face
which looks like this :

(_!_)

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

…LET’S MAKE A PACT!…IGNORE THE FLUKE OUT OF THE TROLLS TONIGHT…AND LET THEM O N L Y TALK TO EACH OTHER TONIGHT…!!!

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

LETS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL!!!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

candy just lied…she said michelle came over to anne…but it was anne that came over to michelle…

cripe lying already

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Can anyone see anything on CSPAN.org, yet ??
Usually works on iPad, but I got nuthin’ yet.

pambi on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4 46