Blogging the Debates

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I'll update from time to time. For the pregame festivities it is all yours. I have no predictions.


10:36 I think that was pretty bad performance by Obama and an excellent one by Romney. This is exactly what Republicans wanted. Not to refer back to Fallows again, but I keep thinking about this section from his piece, where he outlines Obama's potential vulnerabilities. One stands out:
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.
This certainly seemed to be the case tonight. Obama did not look ready to fight. Victory hath defeated him.

10:20 Mitt Romney is the winner, but I voted for Jim Fallows:
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.
10:17 Sorry John Cook again. I think this is about right:
I can't figure out who gives less of a shit about this debate: Obama or Lehrer.
10:14 I do not think this is the time for Civil War history. 

10:12 John Cook over at Gawker:
Has Obama said anything directly to Romney yet? Romney has been looking at him and lecturing him all night.
10:06 Andrew says Obama "seems to be writing a memo to himself whenever Romney is speaking." It feels like Obama is writing a memo to himself even as he, himself, is talking.

9:56 Romney explaining why Obamacare should be repealed, Obama needs to -- and really should -- do well here. 

9:45 "If you're 54 or 55, you might want to listen..." nice Obama riposte. 

9:41 Scoring this for Romney, easily, thus far. This is probably the best he's since he won the nomination.

9:31 Interesting watching this. Romney is looking really passionate and emphatic. Obama looks like he'd rather be out with Michelle. 

9:25 "The president began this segment, so I think I get the last word." -- Romney. Really small. Vinny Testaverde strikes.

9:20 "Donald Trump is a small business" -- Obama on Romney's tax plans. 

9:13 Romney sounding really good. "I like coal" is mad awkward, but I don't think means much. Mittens is swinging swords.

9:07 Romney sounding crisp. So fresh and so clean.

9:03 Watching with a bunch of MIT kids. Loud bunch. Hilarity already ensuing.

8:41 A bit of Ginsberg for the Horde:
...who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who 
came back to Denver & waited in vain, who 
watched over Denver & brooded & loned in 
Denver and finally went away to find out the 
Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,
We are with you, Carl Solomon!
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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