I'll update from time to time. For the pregame festivities it is all yours. I have no predictions.
He faces the temptation not to prepare. A president has every reason to postpone or avoid mock-debate sessions. The schedule is full; the necessity to play-act is demeaning; emergencies crop up. And thus a president avoids practicing skills that are indeed different from what he does day by day. "This is one of the reasons incumbent presidents tend to lose the first debate," David Axelrod told me. "Generally, they have not had a debate for four years. You do your press conferences, but there are no time limits or rebuttals. We went through the most gifted sparring partner anyone has ever had last time, in Hillary Clinton. We don't have that this time." Even allowing for possible flattery of a former foe who is now an invaluable member of the Obama team, the point remains: an incumbent president is never challenged the way a mere candidate is.
Mitt Romney is far less effective as a big-speech orator than Barack Obama, and in many other aspects of campaigning he displays what appear to be laboriously studied moves rather than anything that comes naturally. But debates are and have been his strength. He grew up enjoying "big, boisterous arguments about everything around the dinner table," according to his campaign strategist and main debate-prep specialist, Stuart Stevens. "He loves the dialectic of arguing the different sides, and he's most uncomfortable when no one is disagreeing with him." He will enter this fall's encounters with very recent, successful experience in a very wide range of formats and challenges.
I can't figure out who gives less of a shit about this debate: Obama or Lehrer.
Has Obama said anything directly to Romney yet? Romney has been looking at him and lecturing him all night.
9:31 Interesting watching this. Romney is looking really passionate and emphatic. Obama looks like he'd rather be out with Michelle.
...who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, whocame back to Denver & waited in vain, whowatched over Denver & brooded & loned inDenver and finally went away to find out theTime, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,