Milbank: Debate debacle the price for Obama’s refusal to engage press

posted at 2:51 pm on October 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier, I wrote that Ronald Brownstein had the best explanation for Barack Obama’s debate flop on Wednesday, but Dana Milbank has a pretty good analysis at the Washington Post, too.  Incumbents tend to live in White House bubbles, surrounded by people who tell them what they want to hear, as I noted before the debate.  However, this particular incumbent has spent the last three-plus years deliberately avoiding the press, which means he’s not at all used to having his wisdom challenged:

In the hours after the Republican challenger Mitt Romney embarrassed the incumbent in their first meeting, Obama loyalists expressed puzzlement that the incumbent had done badly. But Obama has only himself to blame, because he set himself up for Wednesday’s emperor-has-no-clothes moment. For the past four years, he has worked assiduously to avoid being questioned, maintaining a regal detachment from the media and other sources of dissent and skeptical inquiry.

Obama has set a modern record for refusal to be quizzed by the media, taking questions from reporters far less often than Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and even George W. Bush. Though his opponent in 2008 promised to take questions from lawmakers like the British prime minister does, Obama has shied from mixing it up with members of Congress, too. And, especially since Rahm Emanuel’s departure, Obama is surrounded by a large number of yes men who aren’t likely to get in his face.

This insularity led directly to the Denver debacle: Obama was out of practice and unprepared to be challenged. The White House had supposed that Obama’s forays into social media — town hall meetings with YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and the like — would replace traditional presidential communication. By relying on such venues, Obama’s argument skills atrophied, and he was ill-equipped to engage in old-fashioned give and take.

We’ve been talking about this for months.  Obama hasn’t had a full press conference in over six months.  He’s been focusing his individual attention on hard-hitting political news outlets like, er … Entertainment Tonight, People, and Glamour, a particularly apt outlet.  The White House press corps got so fed up in August that open rebellion broke out, with Jake Tapper taking the lead.  Obama briefly appeared without notice at a White House press briefing and took a few questions, only to return to the Tiger Beat circuit.

Milbank offers an optimistic assessment of Obama’s future debate performances:

Luckily for Obama, the debates are, as one adviser put it Thursday, “a three-game series.” Romney’s after-debate glow will likely fade as he attempts to explain his dubious assertions that he would not reduce taxes paid by the wealthy and that his tax cuts wouldn’t increase the deficit. But even if Obama ultimately prevails, he should remember Denver as a warning: He does himself no favors by hiding from tough questioning.

No doubt, Obama will prepare better for the next two debates. However, this isn’t something that can be fixed overnight, if Obama intends to fix it at all.  Has he held an open press conference in the last two days?  Will he do so before the next debate?  Obama is delivering the kinda-snappy comebacks literally a day late and figuratively a dollar short that he needed Wednesday night, but he’s putting them up on the Teleprompter to do so, too.

Obama has to be able to ad-lib those lines, not wait for them to scroll up.  He’s out of practice, and I doubt seriously that he’s going to subject himself to any tough questioning in the last four weeks of this election to bone up on how to do it.  And with the Obama administration finally getting around to admitting that terrorists successfully conducted an attack on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi, resulting in the first US Ambassador to be killed in the line of duty in 33 years, isn’t it very, very curious that our President has not appeared before the media and the American public to answer questions about that, at least?


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No worries. On Monday Uncle Joe will rescue him.

aunursa on October 5, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Unemployment rate – Squirrel!

Chip on October 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

If Bush hadn’t had a press conference in that long, Impeachment hearings would have already started.

Del Dolemonte on October 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Very pleased that the “emperor-has-no-clothes” term (common here) has finally hit the MSM.

JRCash on October 5, 2012 at 2:55 PM

I find it amusing most on the Left are saying “wait til next time”. Seriously, they think he will do better? Here is a guy who can’t talk without a teleprompter, can’t standed being questioned, and ultimately is on the wrong side of all the issues.

Tater Salad on October 5, 2012 at 2:55 PM

This is rich coming from a member of that same media that has catered and pandered to Obama at every possible turning. Dana Milbank has been so bad at it that I’ve actually referred to him as ‘Maureen Dowd in drag’. Interesting that there are now those in the liberal media who are thinking of things like attempting to lay down markers to try and salvage their own tattered credibility.

thatsafactjack on October 5, 2012 at 2:55 PM

BTW, our Trolls here are orgasming over what they see as a 1 point Gallup “bounce” for O’bamna.

“Today’s” Gallup is of course a 7 day rolling average, and covers the period running from 9/28 to 10/4.

In other words, it doesn’t fully reflect what happened Wednesday night, as “reliable” post-debate polls need at least 3 days’ worth of data to be credible. We won’t see any halfway accurate “polls” on the debate itself until next Monday at the earliest.

Del Dolemonte on October 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Obama was only at the debate for Eye Candy

faraway on October 5, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Mitt and Paul are consistantly being challenged which is why this shouldnt be very difficult come time to debate.

brut4ce on October 5, 2012 at 2:57 PM

But Obama has only himself to blame, because he set himself up for Wednesday’s emperor-has-no-clothes moment. For the past four years, he has worked assiduously to avoid being questioned, maintaining a regal detachment from the media and other sources of dissent and skeptical inquiry.

How convenient for the MSM. Methinks Obama got a lot of help from the media in building/constructing/furbishing/insulating that bubble.

Mr. President, how does it feel to be on the cover of (fill in the blank) magazine?

Mr. President, how wonderful does it feel to be you?

Mr. President, …

parke on October 5, 2012 at 2:57 PM

What a surprise. An agitator who never argued cases in court, persuaded people in legislation or made his case in the boardroom turns out to be a little pansy chickenshit when the light is shined.

arnold ziffel on October 5, 2012 at 2:57 PM

I find it amusing most on the Left are saying “wait til next time”. Seriously, they think he will do better? Here is a guy who can’t talk without a teleprompter, can’t standed being questioned, and ultimately is on the wrong side of all the issues.

Tater Salad on October 5, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Historically, town halls are rough on republicans, where the press can stack the audience with socialists.

Remember, 1992 and the pony tailed guy “treat us like your children?”

Oy vey.

lorien1973 on October 5, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Tater Salad on October 5, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Exactly. It’s like running. You’ve been on the couch all summer, and you suddenly sign up for a race and get destroyed. How to fix that? A few days later… run another two races!

Prep time is long, long gone. Barack plays with the skills and attributes that he’s carefully groomed in himself. No switcherooing now, dude.

JRCash on October 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

‏@realDonaldTrump Now America knows–the Emperor has no clothes. Why would Obama do better in a 2nd debate? #Debate

kevinkristy on October 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Obama has to be able to ad-lib those lines, not wait for them to scroll up

Obama Supporters Say It Wasn’t “Fair” He Couldn’t Use Teleprompter During Debate…

My face hurts.

JPeterman on October 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Will the legacy media ever take any responsibility..?

d1carter on October 5, 2012 at 2:59 PM

A distraction…
Air is too thin…
His anniversary…
Didn’t feel good…
Bad moderator…
Kerry was his coach…
Bush’s fault…
Not enough press conference…
No hard questions for 4 years from his lapdog press…

Now the latest is Mitt was cheating…

How about he just plain sucks and is in over his head…

PatriotRider on October 5, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Not that I’m interested in defending Obama, but the truth is the truth.

Obama could hardly be expected to answer the difficult questions from the press… when the press persistently failed to have the courage or the inclination to ask the difficult questions.

thatsafactjack on October 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

That president puppy-muncher is an awful debater who has been coddled his whole life, is a given.

But it’s the truly abysmal record of failure in these four years of the 0bama regime, which simply cannot be defended, which is the real nail in the coffin.

Rebar on October 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

He’s a king.

Would God have made his ears big enough to wear a crown if he wasn’t a king?

Don L on October 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

The press never pressed for the pres to be present to be presented with pressure to forge a good president out of him.

astonerii on October 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

The predident king

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

A distraction…
Air is too thin…
His anniversary…
Didn’t feel good…
Bad moderator…
Kerry was his coach…
Bush’s fault…
Not enough press conference…
No hard questions for 4 years from his lapdog press…

Now the latest is Mitt was cheating…

How about he just plain sucks and is in over his head…

PatriotRider on October 5, 2012 at 2:59 PM

To be fair, the ‘air is too thin’ excuse is probably the closest to reality – high altitude will affect you when your head is full of nothing but air.

tdpwells on October 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

The debate flop had nothing to do with being out of practice, or being surrounded by apparatchiks.

It had everything to do with being an affirmative action poster boy, who cut his teeth being the only thing he could be – a community organizer.

Community organizers know nothing about foreign policy. They know nothing about economics.

The only thing they know is the combination of Communism, Racism and hatred for America.

There’s your debate preparation.

OhEssYouCowboys on October 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM

I find it amusing most on the Left are saying “wait til next time”. Seriously, they think he will do better? Here is a guy who can’t talk without a teleprompter, can’t standed being questioned, and ultimately is on the wrong side of all the issues.

Tater Salad on October 5, 2012 at 2:55 PM

This.

Nicole Coulter on October 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Obama assumed that cutting-and-pasting sentences from his standard stump speech combined with his natural brilliance and the MSM covering his back was more than enough to let him slide through the debate. That’s why he was so uninterested in the whole thing. After all, all that mattered was the tallying up of the score and the fix was in, so why put any effort into it anyway? Such an outlook can’t be fixed in 4 weeks. I fully expect him to come out yelling in the next debate, but once Romney takes the discussion into areas that can’r be answered by regurgitating sentences from Obama’s old speeches he’s back in deep, deep trouble.

Fred 2 on October 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM

To expect this little from the first half black president is the ultimate form of racism.

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM

So, Dana, does this mean that reporters, specifically MSM, will start asking those tough, pointed questions regarding Fast and Furious, and the consulate attack in Libya, and about the Administration leaking secrets to boost Obama among other things?

Enquiring minds …

parke on October 5, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Never underestimate Dan Rather’s former employer to stack the next debate deck. CBS has two weeks to game it out.

Limerick on October 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Milbank is seeing the light.

The ‘analysts’ all wrong. Woodward will be proven right. A way more damning piece of Obama stupidity will come out soon, way more damaging, and he knew about it on the night of the debate.

Obama, Axelrod and Cutter have looked/acted ashen ever since the night ahead of the debate. It c/b that the Rev. Wright will throw Obama under the bus, or some such. He might be upset that he was dismissed in 2008 and that Obama turned out worse for the blacks than any ohter president in history.

Something big rattled them.

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM

I see this a bit differently. I think that the fact that McClathey and Millbank have written basically the same article that they are looking for plausible deniability. These guys would have investigated Obama any time the last five years instead a bunch of them form an exclusive group called JournoList to coordinate positive press. They can’t make Obama a better debater but they will write their critiques adjusted accordingly to make Obama appear in a better light. These people have sold their souls and will not allow him to fail.

Cindy Munford on October 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM

To think Obama will do better in the next two debates assumes that he will actually do more work to prepare. “Work” is not in his vocabulary. This is a guy who makes decisions based on one-page memos with boxes to check. He wants to go speak to the adoring masses and hang with the celebrities, not hole up in a hotel with John Kerry beating on him for two hours.

rockmom on October 5, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Obama has set a modern record for refusal to be quizzed by the media

..oh please!…when we do see a press conference…we see him throw a BS answer to a question…with no following questions…asking about the BS he just answered with….that’s why lying is a way of life with that man…the MSM are enablers!

KOOLAID2 on October 5, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Nice self reflection there, Millbank. I guess it never occurred to you propagandists that you invited Obama to treat you like saps by refusing to vet him four years ago, and then sweeping every piece of bad news under the rug over the past four years.

Are you actually making the argument that because Obama avoided you, you were unable to properly report on things like Fast & Furious, Black unemployment, stimulus money going to big donors, GM & Chrysler bondholders getting screwed, etc, etc.

ardenenoch on October 5, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Fred 2 on October 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM

0bama has the next debate in the bag.

Rebar on October 5, 2012 at 3:07 PM

It would be nice if Romney would announce the fundraising haul for September and post-debate.

It would be even nicer if the campaign would announce some major ad buys.

It is ridiculous for the Romney-RNC campaign to be sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars. Either the money has been wasted by overhead, which I don’t believe, or they don’t have the advantage claimed for them all summer and beyond.

Another danger of waiting until the 4th quarter for a massive assault: ad fatigue, compounded by early voting in many states.

I want Romney to move into the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia markets, move the needle, and force Obama to react. DRAIN Obama dry. Obama is spending money faster than it is coming in; find and exploit the point of exhaustion.

matthew8787 on October 5, 2012 at 3:07 PM

He has never had a snappy comeback in any press conference…. there are 5-7 minute soliloquies

cmsinaz on October 5, 2012 at 3:08 PM

EXACTLY ! He could have been practicing daily for the last 4 years instead the only practice he’s had was the one Univision interview couple of weeks ago !

alQemist on October 5, 2012 at 3:08 PM

But he did so well on the view. What happened?

Oh yeah it was the AL-Gore-titude

SparkPlug on October 5, 2012 at 3:08 PM

The Fool in his Glory

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2012 at 3:08 PM

When Bush was debating they were looking at every bump in his clothes as evidence of a secret receiver telling him what to say. Now 0 falls flat on his face and it is simply his lack of press conferences. Try lack of genuine intellectual ability.

pedestrian on October 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

I hope the RATS and their media handmaidens conjure up a new public excuse every day; the diarrhea of words keeps the focus on the debate, which Obama lost, and badly.

matthew8787 on October 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

He is the president for the last 4 years. If he needs any preparation he’s a dummy, alas.

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Something big rattled them.

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM

It’s the contriubtion scandal that is about to hit. The campaign has been working 24/7 trying to spike it but it’s hitting this weekend. The Obama campaign changed the domain of its online contribution server on September 28, so they’ve known since at least then that an investigation was afoot and the story was going to break. (h/t Jon Ekdahl, via Twitter.) Thousands of illegal contributions and others that are impossible to trace to verify their legality. This is why the campaign has not trumpted its September fundraising results, because it may have to cough up half of it.

rockmom on October 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

It’s funny – I went all these years assuming Dana Milbank was a woman…

..and then I click through and there’s his ugly mug right there next to his name.

Professor_Chaos on October 5, 2012 at 3:11 PM

If Obama loses the two of them will make billions “America is racist”.

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2012 at 3:11 PM

He is the president for the last 4 years. If he needs any preparation he’s a dummy, alas.

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

It is the ‘I am not replaceable’ virus.

Limerick on October 5, 2012 at 3:11 PM

I suppose now the new meme will be that the over indulgent media ruined the Unicorn Prince… because, of course, the Light-bringer, could never be accountable for failure… even failure of these epic proportions.

Suddenly, the media begins to sense that there’s room under that Obama bus for all of them, too, and they seek to mitigate their obsequious behavior by saying it was Obama’s fault for not answering those tough questions.

The tough questions the main stream media, those with opportunity to ask those tough questions, never had the courage or the inclination to ask of him.

Being in the tank for Obama has consequences for the main stream media, and those consequences are only just beginning to become evident.

thatsafactjack on October 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Obama Supporters Say It Wasn’t “Fair” He Couldn’t Use Teleprompter During Debate…

My face hurts.

JPeterman on October 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Thanks for that.

The only answer close to rational was the last young lady who at least was smart eough to realize someone else was at the debate.
No one else even considered that to the point that one person said he should be allowed to give speeches from the prompter.
Not really sure what they were expecting to watch.

Jabberwock on October 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

The Fool in his Glory

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Many in that audience forgot to bring their a drool-bibs. Shameful.

SparkPlug on October 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

It was the magic handkerchief that Mitt brought to the debate…

d1carter on October 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Only Nixon more secretive, and for the same reasons.

Speakup on October 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Obama is delivering the kinda-snappy comebacks literally a day late and figuratively a dollar short that he needed Wednesday night, but he’s putting them up on the Teleprompter to do so, too.

Yep, much like the hilarious jerk store episode from Seinfeld :)…

jimver on October 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

OF COURSE THE BUCK STOPS SOMEWHERE IN THE MOST TRANSPARENT ADMINSTRATION EVAH…
IF YOU CAN’T SEE IT YOU’RE JUST STUPID! RACIST!

/s

Marcola on October 5, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Obama Supporters Say It Wasn’t “Fair” He Couldn’t Use Teleprompter During Debate…

My face hurts.

JPeterman on October 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

The most appalling aspect of this revelation regarding the mindset of some of Obama’s supporters, to me, is that these individuals clearly don’t know the difference between a speech and a debate.

thatsafactjack on October 5, 2012 at 3:15 PM

I’ve read a lot about how Obama can bounce back after one bad debate performance. Ok, that’s possible. However, if Biden screws the pooch during the VP debate, then Obama has the weight of two lousy debates on his shoulders. Now, I don’t think that a Biden debate-implosion is a guarantee, he didn’t mess up that badly against Palin. I don’t think he won that debate, he played prevent defense the whole time, but he didn’t have the ‘these aren’t my pants’ moment that everyone’s expecting this time around. I think an awful lot rides on the Ryan/Biden debate, and not for policy and ‘vision’ reasons. Two really bad debates on the Dem side will be hard to ignore and harder to overcome.

joejm65 on October 5, 2012 at 3:15 PM

You could tell that every time Romney zapped him he looked like he had been punched in the gut. Supposedly this guy is “brilliant” and “quick on his feet,” but he was so stunned that someone was actually calling him on his “facts” that he couldn’t collect himself enough to manage any kind of a coherent comeback.

If there is anything this debate proved, it’s that Obama is neither quick nor brilliant. Got that, O’Reilly?

Obama’s disdain for being questioned and the MSM’s obsession with coddling him have backfired big time. What delicious irony that his worshipful media lackeys are largely responsible for his debate meltdown.

Meredith on October 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Breaking: Romney’s dog being interviewed for Sunday on 60minutos.

Limerick on October 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Not really sure what they were expecting to watch.

Jabberwock on October 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

The clueless fools in that video scare me even more than the idiot in the White House.

JPeterman on October 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM

because it may have to cough up half of it.

rockmom on October 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Thanks for clearing up for me why they care so much, I know it wasn’t because they got caught doing something illegal.

Cindy Munford on October 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM

OMFG… Obama just said “if you are independent, Republican, Tea Partier, I want to be your President too.”

Think Romney’s leap to the center in the debate and those high voter responses to his bipartisan record had an impact?

Romney’s in his head now.

rockmom on October 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

“He is a president, not a king.”

However he sees himself as a Pharaoh.
– One who shall be worshipped not questioned.

hoakie on October 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Obama Supporters Say It Wasn’t “Fair” He Couldn’t Use Teleprompter During Debate…

My face hurts.

JPeterman on October 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Leftists are painfully stupid. I guess maybe it’s a good thing they are aborting themselves out of existence.

As to the topic, was Milbank one of the reporters who yelled at the guy from the Daily Caller who shouted out a question to Obama as he was running away from a press conference recently? They said he was being disrespectful. Now they say Obama shielded himself from them? Why would he have to do that, since they never asked him tough questions in the first place?

Night Owl on October 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

speaking of living in a bubble, Mr Morrissey, there’s no more staunch liberal-democrat-apologist-stenographer than Dana Milbank. If you are accepting ANYTHING that apparatchik states at face value, then it is YOU that is living in a bubble. An MSM methane bubble, as bilious as Gore’s excusatory ‘altitude’ nonsense.
Obama failed because he’s an empty suit. A marxist ideologue whose policies are antithetical to and ruinous to America. He had no answers because HE HAD NO ANSWERS. Had nothing that was not simply furtherance of his deconstruction agenda against America’s strengths. Capitalism. Independence. Personal Responsibility. Ethics. Freedom. Everything Obama does moves AGAINST those strengths. And when called upon to explain his failures he can only stand mute, rather than admit those failures were his deliberate intention all along. His remarks and associations throughout his career make it plain. His stated goal of socialized medicine (euphemistically termed ‘single payer’). His stated goal of bankrupting the fossil fuel market and making energy prices skyrocket. His stated goal of redistributionism. His incessant marxist class warfare, driving or creating divisions between every possible fracture line. His repeated advocacy of third world interests and welfare, at the expense of these United States. His deliberately broken program of arming mexican drug gangs with ZERO effort to actually track the arms provided or communicate / coordinate with the Mexican government. His repeated facilitation of fraudulant campaign donations. His incessant rhetoric against success.
From that background, he has NO answers that are palatable to the majority of Americans who have seen their lives upturned over the last four years.

rayra on October 5, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Only Nixon more secretive, and for the same reasons.

Speakup on October 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Nixon loved this country and fought to keep subversives out of our government, Obama is a subversive and has loaded the WH with his fellow travelers.

Rio Linda Refugee on October 5, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Give the MSM some slack. They aren’t accustomed to having their Donk called by a more generic name.

Limerick on October 5, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Something big rattled them.

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Reality?

Nothing will change with BO, because there’s nothing to change.

He’s the same guy the MSM and their idiot minions voted into office. The only thing that may have changed is the realization that there was never anything there.

Cody1991 on October 5, 2012 at 3:20 PM

JPeterman on October 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

For some odd reason my computer is not letting me view that video.

Cindy Munford on October 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Obama Supporters Say It Wasn’t “Fair” He Couldn’t Use Teleprompter During Debate…

My face hurts.

JPeterman on October 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Maybe the next debate should be Romney vs. TOTUS. On an otherwise empty chair.

BobMbx on October 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Remember, 1992 and the pony tailed guy “treat us like your children?”

Oy vey.

lorien1973 on October 5, 2012 at 2:57 PM

and pop bush gave a stupid answer. Mitt needs to find a way to spank these dumb town hall plants without it being too apparent.

Sadly, I would fail miserably in the tact department.

arnold ziffel on October 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM

To quote Sir Percy in “The Scarlet Pimpernel”, Obama has “Naught but ‘carriage wit’ “….he thinks of the perfect retort as he’s driving away…or the next day.

Watching Obama at his rallies yesterday I was wondering where I had seen his performance before..the I remembered….Billy Ray Valentine.

The_Basseteer on October 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Obama is delivering the kinda-snappy comebacks literally a day late and figuratively a dollar short that he needed Wednesday night

Call it “0bama’s jerk store moment.”

UltimateBob on October 5, 2012 at 3:22 PM

OT: Romney closes gap with Obama to 2 points after debate: Reuters/Ipsos poll

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/05/us-usa-campaign-poll-idUSBRE8931E420121005

sentinelrules on October 5, 2012 at 3:23 PM

….that these individuals clearly don’t know the difference between a speech and a debate.

thatsafactjack on October 5, 2012 at 3:15 PM

“how are you supposed to memorize a 90 minute debate?….”

Obviously a PoliSci grad student at UW.

BobMbx on October 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

No worries. On Monday Uncle Joe will rescue him.

aunursa on October 5, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Unless the VP debate is seriously rigged, and I won’t put it past them, it’s going to be very ugly….

It’s going to be a balancing act…Completely crush the doddering imbecile or let Joe score a few so you don’t come off as a complete pri*k picking on a stupid old man…..

BigWyo on October 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

And, especially since Rahm Emanuel’s departure, Obama is surrounded by a large number of yes men who aren’t likely to get in his face.

Not being challenged by the media is one thing, but having no one on your staff challenging you as well is just leading to disaster after disaster, in both domestic and foreign policy.

rbj on October 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Debate debacle the price for Obama’s refusal to engage press

You know that could just as easily read “Debate debacle the price for Press’ refusal to engage Obama.”

It took how many years for the “Tapper Rebellion” to materialize? And it lasted, what, less than half an hour before they were back to worshiping the Emperor with No Clothes?

All I can say is the schadenfreude of the Press’ pain is wholly fulfilling. Now I’d just like to see them go out of business and let real reporters and journalists repopulate the industry.

AnonymousDrivel on October 5, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Yes, he’s out of practice. But, in searching for explanations with a frenzy matched only by a Vegas conventioneer looking for his wedding band the morning after, the punditry continues to miss the point (the same point they’ve missed since 2008): there’s nothing there to practice.

Is was not that the Man Playing The Part of POTUS in this fantasy didn’t bring his A Game; it’s that he doesn’t have an A game.

Would obfuscating, pontificating, lecturing and filibustering the press a couple of times a week have helped his debate performance? I don’t think so. Because (1) the press can ask questions but can’t engage or cross-examine him, and (2) he has nothing cogent to say.

Barack Obama was a PR creation, a brand created, gift wrapped and delivered by Axelrod’s firm, just as they did with Deval Patrick, and just as you would a new brand of cereal. And, just as the cereal stops selling when people realize it’s not very good cereal in spite of the snappy commercials, the more people try this President out, and find out he goes to mush in milk and is full of sugar and no fiber, the more they are beginning to stop buying him. They’re beginning to look at the man behind the marketing campaign. And, bad news: There’s not much there. There never was. His problem is not strategy, it’s peeling paint and deteriorating cardboard on his facade.

It’s an old story. The snake oil doesn’t cure my whooping cough. The magic potion doesn’t grow my hair back. I can’t listen to a CD and grow muscles in my sleep. And unprepared community organizers do not wake up one morning knowing everything about everything in the world and prepared to ascend to the Presidency of the United States with a crown, a cape and a magic scepter.

Presidents of the United States are not made of paper mache; they are made of sterner stuff.

At least they are supposed to be.

IndieDogg on October 5, 2012 at 3:25 PM

There’s no need for Obama to hide from tough questions from the media, Milbank, when the media refuses to ask him any.

Gator Country on October 5, 2012 at 3:26 PM

OMFG… Obama just said “if you are independent, Republican, Tea Partier, I want to be your President too.”
Think Romney’s leap to the center in the debate and those high voter responses to his bipartisan record had an impact?

Romney’s in his head now.

rockmom on October 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Interesting slip there.
He doesn’t think he is our president right now.
I wonder why ?

Jabberwock on October 5, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Is was not that the Man Playing The Part of POTUS in this fantasy didn’t bring his A Game; it’s that he doesn’t have an A game.

I disagree. That was his A-game. “Just doin’ the bestest he can”

BobMbx on October 5, 2012 at 3:26 PM

jimver on October 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Beat me to it!

UltimateBob on October 5, 2012 at 3:27 PM

OMFG… Obama just said “if you are independent, Republican, Tea Partier, I want to be your President too.

Think Romney’s leap to the center in the debate and those high voter responses to his bipartisan record had an impact?

Romney’s in his head now.

rockmom on October 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

LOL! For what, the next three weeks?

Night Owl on October 5, 2012 at 3:27 PM

For some odd reason my computer is not letting me view that video.

Cindy Munford on October 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Just as well Ms.Munford, I wouldn’t want you to damage your eyes when blood comes flying out while witnessing the stupidity of these people.

JPeterman on October 5, 2012 at 3:27 PM

BigWyo on October 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Meh. Joe has only one sthtick and that is ditch digger in an Armani suit. The question is will Ryan throw knuckleball or lazy curves?

Limerick on October 5, 2012 at 3:28 PM

To paraphrase the Eagles, “there ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ ads” in a debate on live TV in front of 70 million people.

Obama has been running hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of false ads for months, with very little rebuttal on TV, and the press has largely kept Romney out of sight, unless they want to play his “gaffe” about the British Olympics or the Libyan consulate or 47%.

How is it that we who follow the dextrosphere never heard a peep about Romney’s alleged $5 trillion tax cut until Obama pulled it out of a hat (or his rectum) on national television? Did Obama really think he could get away with such a whopper with Romney standing next to him with 45 minutes of speaking time to 70 million people?

Obama hasn’t had much practice at political debates, and only against weak opponents like Alan Keyes and John McCain–his toughest opponent was Hillary Clinton, who WON most of the Democrat primaries in 2008, and Obama got the nomination by winning low-turnout caucuses and Southern primaries where the Democrat party is dominated by black voters.

Romney has had PLENTY of practice at debates, having debated 22 times earlier this year against tough opponents like Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain. As a Republican Governor in a heavily Democrat state, he also knows how to handle criticism from liberal politicians and a liberal press.

In baseball, a player who swings a hot bat during the playoffs and World Series is sometimes called “Mr. October”.

Mr. Obama, meet Mr. October.

Steve Z on October 5, 2012 at 3:28 PM

This is rich coming from a member of that same media that has catered and pandered to Obama at every possible turning. Dana Milbank has been so bad at it that I’ve actually referred to him as ‘Maureen Dowd in drag’. Interesting that there are now those in the liberal media who are thinking of things like attempting to lay down markers to try and salvage their own tattered credibility.

thatsafactjack on October 5, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Indeed. And Milbank’s own Washington Post has been especially servile to Obama. That paper is at the forefront of truly wacko left wing nuttery. It’s little different from any of the weird hard-left blogs.

Django on October 5, 2012 at 3:28 PM

OMFG… Obama just said “if you are independent, Republican, Tea Partier, I want to be your President too.”

rockmom on October 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Really? No, I’ll decline. I’d rather be called a racist tea bagger than to sign on to four more years of this bullshiite.

Cody1991 on October 5, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Hey, I bet Beyonce’ and Jay-Z asked some really hard questions.

SouthernGent on October 5, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Cripe Jpeterman

What idiots

cmsinaz on October 5, 2012 at 3:30 PM

JPeterman on October 5, 2012 at 3:27 PM

I finally pulled it up on IE, I assume the adblock on Firefox was stopping it, although I still had to try a couple of times. Hey, at least some of them thought both parties should be allowed to use teleprompters. Why would we need a leader who can think on his own? //

Cindy Munford on October 5, 2012 at 3:30 PM

In order to successfully debate, you have to master the subject matter. In order to defend your policies, your policies must be defensible. To make spontaneous and pointed responses, you have to be comfortably familiar with the subject and your position.

I don’t think Obama can possibly master the subject matter in the time left, even if he had the self-discipline to work hard. Foreign policy in particular requires a familiarity with world history, a subject Obama has admitted he disdains to study. And if he had a functioning understanding of the subject matter, he still has nonsensical and failed policies that are impossible to defend.

This guy is a poseur. Romney is going to expose him repeatedly.

novaculus on October 5, 2012 at 3:32 PM


No doubt, Obama will prepare better for the next two debates. However, this isn’t something that can be fixed overnight, if Obama intends to fix it at all. Has he held an open press conference in the last two days? Will he do so before the next debate? Obama is delivering the kinda-snappy comebacks literally a day late and figuratively a dollar short that he needed Wednesday night, but he’s putting them up on the Teleprompter to do so, too.

Obama can practice answering hard questions and zipping off “snappy comebacks” all he wants, but his biggest problem isn’t style or presentation. His biggest problem is that it is hard to have a good debate when you have to defend bad facts. The economy, the deficit, gas prices, the debacle in Libya: all of these are bad facts for the President, and all the snappy comebacks in the world can’t make them go away.

Hayabusa on October 5, 2012 at 3:34 PM

That article is a laugh riot. Dana Milbank? Are you kidding me? Obama never had to avoid the press to avoid tough questions; except for Tapper, they never asked him any. Even Bill O’Reilly turned into a little wimp when he sat down with this President.

What has happened is that the liberal press is now in CYA mode. The guy they have been slobbering over and covering for for four years has just been exposed to 70 million people as a complete incompetent boob. The entire image the press helped Obama construct and maintain fell to pieces, in 90 minutes, like those statues of Lenin that were pulled down after the Soviet Union collapsed. Now they look like fools, and they don’t like that!

“If only he watched more MSNBC!”, screams Chris Matthews. “If only he had let us ask him the tough questions,” pontificates Dana Milbank.

Please. You broke it, you own it, *ssholes.

Mr. Arkadin on October 5, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Obama just said “if you are independent, Republican, Tea Partier, I want to be your President too.”

Shorter Obama: “Me love you long time”

BobMbx on October 5, 2012 at 3:37 PM

… not hole up in a hotel with John Kerry beating on him for two hours.

rockmom on October 5, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Would you want to be locked up in a room with hatchet-face…for even 5 minutes?

belad on October 5, 2012 at 3:37 PM

The picture in this article tells a million realities.

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Interesting slip there.
He doesn’t think he is our president right now.
I wonder why ?

Jabberwock on October 5, 2012 at 3:26 PM

That was my reaction when I saw that quote.

We’ve been negligible to him. He’s never really seen himself as President of the entire country—only there to help out himself and his cronies.

INC on October 5, 2012 at 3:38 PM

No worries. On Monday Uncle Joe will rescue him.

aunursa on October 5, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Unless the VP debate is seriously rigged, and I won’t put it past them, it’s going to be very ugly….

It’s going to be a balancing act…Completely crush the doddering imbecile or let Joe score a few so you don’t come off as a complete pri*k picking on a stupid old man…..

BigWyo on October 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

I seriously doubt GaffeTastic Slow-Joe Biden, whose mouth has no connection to his brain, can rescue Obama in the VP debate. Paul Ryan will deliver him an azz-whuppin’ so bad he’ll wish he was back against Sarah Palin, when at least Biden could enjoy the view.

Hey Joe, how does the broken middle class like your trillion-dollar tax hike?

Steve Z on October 5, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Milbank has obviously been overcome by his racist inner demons.

stout77 on October 5, 2012 at 3:40 PM

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