OVERALL IMPRESSIONS:

Mitt Romney:  Consistently explained his ideas and what he intended to do. Firmly corrected Mr. Obama when he often misrepresented Romney’s positions and statements.  Had a strong command of facts and figures, particularly on Mr. Obama’s dismal record and failed policies. Romney kept his cool, and his intensity was focused on causing Mr. Obama to lose his cool, at which he succeeded several times.  Mr. Romney consistently argued for lower and simplified taxes and greater freedom.

However, on several occasions, Mr. Romney missed obvious opportunities or soft-pedaled damaging situations as if he was hesitant to bring them up at all.  Mr. Romney was strongest when he hit Mr. Obama on his innumerable failures and the state of the economy, weakest when he descended to Mr. Obama’s level and dealt with little issues.

Barack Obama: A large part of Mr. Obama’s strategy was obviously the big lie. The definition of chutzpah is the man who killed his parents asking for leniency because he was an orphan.  Mr. Obama went far beyond that in this debate, telling such blatant lies that Lamestream Media fact checkers will have to entirely ignore them or expose him completely.  Another substantial part of his strategy was to dodge questions and avoid answering them directly.  Mr. Obama consistently engaged in class warfare and claimed to be the great middle class protector and tax cutter while pushing policies that must, inevitably, raise taxes.

On the several occasions when Mr. Romney laid out Mr. Obama’s indisputable failures, Mr. Obama was plainly fuming, but said virtually nothing.  There was no way to respond to his record.  Virtually everything Mr. Obama said was either a mischaracterization of Mr. Romney’s words, his plans, or his past, and he often rambled, making little or no sense and actually contradicting himself.

Candy Crowley (CNN, Debate Moderator): Crowley initially appeared to be even-handed, and even asked what appeared to be a difficult question—perhaps two—of Mr. Obama.  However, on two occasions when Mr. Obama was in real trouble, was actually on the verge of losing his temper and blowing up, Crowley stepped in, interrupted Mr. Romney, and even claimed that Mr. Obama was right—he and Crowley were not (more on that later)–which provoked applause from the audience, apparently in favor of Mr. Obama.  Once again, a Lamestream Media figure in the tank for Mr. Obama.

For those interested in the entire debate, a Fox News transcript is available here. 

MOMENTS: 

The GM/Chrysler Bankruptcy:  Mr. Obama began lying early in response to the first question about jobs for college graduates.  He claimed Mr. Romney wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt, and launched into his usual spiel about saving the auto industry.  He also suggested everyone should go to college and talked about that sort of thing as an “investment,” which is his word for “massive government borrowing and spending.”  He also claimed to be investing in oil and natural gas development (and solar, yada yada), and slipped in a plug for higher taxes on the wealthy.

Mr. Romney pointed out that the auto industry did, in fact go bankrupt [they did indeed in fact and law], but that Mr. Obama broke the law and picked winners.  This is, in fact, true.  GM and Chrysler did go through bankruptcy, but Mr. Obama violated the law, stiffed legitimate shareholders and creditors and paid off his union cronies, setting up GM and Chrysler for inevitable future failure.  Mr. Romney pointed out he wanted bankruptcy, but wanted GM and Chrysler to follow the law which would have allowed them to make necessary changes and become profitable again.  Amazingly, Mr. Obama called Mr. Romney a liar again.

Energy Development:  The question was about Energy Secretary Chu’s frequent statements that it’s not his job to lower gas prices.  Did Mr. Obama think it is the Energy Department’s job?

Mr. Obama dodged the question and launched into a number of additional, incredible lies:

(1) He has increased oil production;

(2) He has increased coal production and coal employment (even as coal fired plants shut down and mines close),

(3) He claimed Mr. Romney wants to let big oil write energy policy

Mr. Romney responded well, pointing out the Obama Administration’s cutting of oil and gas permits, and pointing out the Justice Department criminally prosecuted oil producers in the Bakken range in North Dakota because some birds were killed.  He absolutely nailed Mr. Obama with his 2008 comment that people could build coal plants, but Mr. Obama’s policies would bankrupt them (Mr. Obama had no response and was obviously seething).  And Mr. Romney got in a substantial zinger—which also left Mr. Obama speechless–regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline:

How in the world the President said no to that pipeline, I’ll never know.

 You and me both, Mr. Romney.

Crowley Feigned Neutrality:  At this point, Ms. Crowley mentioned $4.00 per gallon gasoline and asked Mr. Obama if this was the “new normal.”  Mr. Obama again dodged the question and reiterated his great work in increasing coal and oil production.

This led to the first direct confrontation in the debate, which caught Mr. Obama by surprise.  Mr. Romney approached him face to face (actually about 10 feet away) and asked him how much he cut energy permits on federal lands.  Mr. Romney told him it was by 50% (which is absolutely correct, even perhaps a bit low) and reiterated his question, which caused Mr. Obama to obviously seeth and try to change the subject.  He did not answer the question, but claimed that oil companies were “sitting on leases” and not drilling and he forced them to give up the leases.

This too was an enormous lie.  Oil companies buy leases on land they hope might produce oil.  When they don’t find it, or it is not profitably recoverable, the government doesn’t pay them back and they end up “sitting” on the lease.  That’s all a part of doing business.  The idea that someone else will find oil where none exists and that Mr. Obama was doing anything worthwhile is a complete falsehood.

Mr. Obama continually tried to interrupt Mr. Romney, but Mr. Romney shut him down and said the proof is in prices at the pump and in higher energy prices overall, which is, of course, true.  This led to another Obama whopper, when he claimed that gas was about $1.87 a gallon when he took office because “we were on the verge of collapse.”

We’re there now, Mr. President.  How does that explain $4.00 per gallon?

Then Mr. Obama, in trying to soften Mr. Romney’s criticism of the Keystone Pipeline debacle made a bizarre comment:

What I want to do is to create an economy that is strong, and at the same time produce energy. And with respect to this pipeline that Governor Romney keeps on talking about, we’ve — we’ve built enough pipeline to wrap around the entire earth once.

And is that around-the-Earth pipeline actually bringing oil to American refineries or in any way helping our economy Mr. President?  And where, pray tell, might one see this globe-encircling wonder?  Even if the Keystone Pipeline is ever completed, it won’t come remotely close to encircling the globe.  Not only did Mr. Obama’s comment make no sense, it explained and clarified nothing.  It was one of those comments that leaves listeners wondering “he…what did he say?”

Experience: Mr. Obama, rather than try to defend his record, kept on the attack, bringing up Big Bird (you knew that had to happen, didn’t you?) and Planned Parenthood, and then scuttling off into the fiscal weeds:

We haven’t heard from the governor any specifics beyond Big Bird and eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood in terms of how he pays for that.

Now, Governor Romney was a very successful investor. If somebody came to you, Governor, with a plan that said, here, I want to spend $7 or $8 trillion, and then we’re going to pay for it, but we can’t tell you until maybe after the election how we’re going to do it, you wouldn’t take such a sketchy deal and neither should you, the American people, because the math doesn’t add up.

And — and what’s at stake here is one of two things, either Candy — this blows up the deficit because keep in mind, this is just to pay for the additional spending that he’s talking about, $7 trillion – $8 trillion before we even get to the deficit we already have. Or, alternatively, it’s got to be paid for, not only by closing deductions for wealthy individuals, that — that will pay for about 4 percent reduction in tax rates.

It made no more sense live.  In one of his stronger answers, Mr. Romney replied:

Well of course they add up. I — I was — I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years, and balanced the budget. I ran the Olympics and balanced the budget. I ran the — the state of Massachusetts as a governor, to the extent any governor does, and balanced the budget all four years. When we’re talking about math that doesn’t add up, how about $4 trillion of deficits over the last four years, $5 trillion? That’s math that doesn’t add up. We have — we have a president talking about someone’s plan in a way that’s completely foreign to what my real plan is.

And then we have his own record, which is we have four consecutive years where he said when he was running for office, he would cut the deficit in half. Instead he’s doubled it. We’ve gone from $10 trillion of national debt, to $16 trillion of national debt. If the president were reelected, we’d go to almost $20 trillion of national debt. This puts us on a road to Greece. I know what it takes to balance budgets. I’ve done it my entire life. So for instance when he says, ‘Yours is a $5 trillion cut.’ Well, no it’s not. Because I’m offsetting some of the reductions with holding down some of the deductions.

A bit wonkish toward the end, but correct.

ObamaCare: This was not discussed in detail, but Mr. Obama claimed Mr. Romney wants Washington politicians to “decide the health care choices that women are making.”  Three sentences later, he claimed Mr. Romney wants employers to make those decisions, specifically mentioning contraceptives.

Blaming Bush: One question asked Mr. Romney to differentiate himself from George W. Bush, who the questioner blamed for much of our difficulty.  Mr. Romney walked a fine line on that one reasonably well, and added one of the best lines of the night:

I want regulators to see their job as encouraging small enterprise, not crushing it.

Self-contradiction: Mr. Obama:

…so the point is the commitments I’ve made, I’ve kept.  And those that I haven’t been able to keep, it’s not for lack of trying and we’re going to get it done in a second term.

Cutting to the Quick: Mr. Romney:

I can tell you that if you were to elect President Obama, you know what you’re going to get. You’re going to get a repeat of the last four years. We just can’t afford four more years like the last four years.

He said that by now we’d have unemployment at 5.4 percent. The difference between where it is and 5.4 percent is 9 million Americans without work.

I wasn’t the one that said 5.4 percent. This was the president’s plan. Didn’t get there.

He said he would have by now put forward a plan to reform Medicare and Social Security, because he pointed out they’re on the road to bankruptcy. He would reform them. He’d get that done. He hasn’t even made a proposal on either one.

He said in his first year he’d put out an immigration plan that would deal with our immigration challenges. Didn’t even file it.

This is a president who has not been able to do what he said he’d do. He said that he’d cut in half the deficit. He hasn’t done that either. In fact, he doubled it. He said that by now middle-income families would have a reduction in their health insurance premiums by $2,500 a year. It’s gone up by $2,500 a year. And if Obamacare is passed, or implemented — it’s already been passed — if it’s implemented fully, it’ll be another $2,500 on top.

The middle class is getting crushed under the policies of a president who has not understood what it takes to get the economy working again. He keeps saying, “Look, I’ve created 5 million jobs.” That’s after losing 5 million jobs. The entire record is such that the unemployment has not been reduced in this country. The unemployment, the number of people who are still looking for work, is still 23 million Americans.

There are more people in poverty, one out of six people in poverty.

How about food stamps? When he took office, 32 million people were on food stamps. Today, 47 million people are on food stamps. How about the growth of the economy? It’s growing more slowly this year than last year, and more slowly last year than the year before.

Immigration:  Mr. Obama’s response to this question was his usual stump rhetoric.  Mr. Romney pointed out—repeatedly—that Mr. Obama promised to completely reform immigration his first year and with super majorities in Congress two years, he did nothing, didn’t even propose a law.  Mr. Obama could not respond.

Mr. Obama lied about Mr. Romney’s support for a portion of Arizona’s multi-part immigration law and completely mischaracterized the law, claiming it allowed the police to stop people if they thought they looked “illegal.”  The law permits questions about immigration status only in the context of other, completely legitimate contacts with citizens, a well-publicized fact.

The Rich Guy: Mr. Obama tried to paint Mr. Romney as an out of touch rich guy with investments in China and other overseas places and Mr. Romney again approached him directly and asked about Mr. Obama’s pension, pointing out that it too had investments overseas and in China.  Mr. Obama quickly became very, visibly angry and clumsily avoided answering.

Libya and The Great Crowley Interference Play:  This was one of the truly on-target questions about a substantial issue.  The question was: “Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?”  Mr. Obama started by talking about how concerned he is about the safety of diplomats and rattled on and on, never coming close to answering the question.  Amazingly, he said:

You can’t turn national security into a political issue.

This from the man spiking the football and giving movie people access to top secret methods and sources immediately after the Bin Laden mission, to the chagrin of the Secretary of Defense.

Mr. Obama claimed responsibility, but also claimed not to know exactly what happened (?!) and vowed to get to the bottom of it.  He then claimed to be very offended that anyone would suggest that he or his administration were putting a political slant on the deaths, affecting a very angry and evil stare at Mr. Romney.

At this, Mr. Romney, who had been tentative and very careful on this issue, began to come alive and started scoring heavy points on Mr. Obama.  Mr. Obama said he stood in the Rose Garden and called the attack an act of terror.

At this, Mr. Romney tried to question him to get him to clarify what he said, making the point that if he said that only a day after the event, why was his Administration saying it was caused by a video for the next two weeks?  Crowley immediately interrupted and cut off Mr. Romney, claiming that Mr. Obama was right and that he did say it was an act of terror in the Rose Garden (he did not, making only a generic point about terror at the very end of his remarks) and actually rescued Mr. Obama just as Mr. Romney was closing in for the kill.  She moved on to a vital question about what Mr. Obama was going to do to reinstate an “assault weapon” ban.

Another Crowley Diving Save: Dealing with a question of how to bring back iPhone assembly jobs from China, Mr. Romney was again demonstrating his superior knowledge of business and the economy.  When he was really rolling, Crowley again intervened to shut him down and save Mr. Obama.

Final Chutzpah:  Mr. Obama denied that he thinks government creates jobs (Mr. Romney made the point that Government does not create jobs—quite true—earlier).

Yeah.  I have no idea why anyone would think that, Mr. Obama.  Perhaps it was the fact that just minutes earlier, you claimed to have created five million jobs?

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Mr. Obama’s performance in this debate was substantially improved over his last performance, so some pundits will no doubt call it a draw, and the Lamestream Media will surely call it a win for Mr. Obama because he did not lose badly and obviously.  However, in terms of substance, style, accurate and direct responses to questions, keeping cool and on demonstrated knowledge and ability, Mr. Romney again outclassed Mr. Obama.

Another striking factor: Even more than in the first debate, Mr. Obama proved he hasn’t the slightest clue about how an economy works, or about the roles of taxes and business.  Compared to Mr. Romney, or even a college freshman who received a “B” in Economics 101, Mr. Obama is utterly ignorant.  Viewers who understood this, even subliminally, cannot help but realize the emperor truly has no clothes.

This debate was marked by the general vapidity of the questions, most of which were on small concerns, matters hardly in keeping with the grave issues facing America.  Yet Mr. Obama was unable or unwilling to respond directly to most of those questions.  Mr. Romney did far better in making direct, coherent responses.

Ultimately, the President didn’t hurt himself nearly as badly this time, and Mr. Romney didn’t help himself nearly as much as last time.  For many pundits, that will likely equate to an Obama win, but likely will not reverse the trend of Mr. Romney’s increasing strength.

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