United States

Oct 17, 2012

Rundle: Obama did better, but this was no home run

Republican Mitt Romney exposed his neck in the second US presidential debate in New York today, but Barack Obama didn't sink his teeth in. Our man watched on from a bar in Brooklyn.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


President Barack Obama and Republican contender Mitt Romney fought a gritty, hard-fought encounter, unfocused and bitsy, with none of the freewheeling intensity that made the vice-presidential debate such a gripping encounter. Democrats are still likely to be left underwhelmed by their man after the second presidential match-up in New York.

Though it had none of the walkover feel of the first debate, it was nevertheless far from genuinely engaging, tense and hard-fought throughout, without being pleasurable, like sex. Republicans are likely to score it a clear win for Romney, and I suspect many Democrats, if they are honest, will give him a narrow win on points, with Barack Obama once again unwilling to do what many wanted of him — to skewer Romney’s fantastical claims about creating a magical new economy in four years. Still insisting on defending and proclaiming his record, Obama remained unwilling to do what many people believe is essential for him to do if he is to win the election clearly: instil a deep fear of the alternative in enough of the population to swing key states.

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13 thoughts on “Rundle: Obama did better, but this was no home run

  1. zut alors

    At best Romney comes across as smarmy. I heard most of the ‘debate’ and then asked myself why I bothered – lost time can never be found.

    As for TOSHS, it wouldn’t harm Barry to remind voters he inherited a Bush-Greenspan GFC – they set it up, he’s had to wrestle with it and cop the rap.

  2. michael r james

    “Democrats, if they are honest, will give him a narrow win on points..”

    Hmmm. No. After the first debate you thought it was a draw when clearly Obama had underperformed and Romney had overperformed. This time it was about as good as anyone can expect from BO. He simply never gets into attack-dog mode. But it was good enough for it to be either a draw or a technical win for BO.

    But you list many points on which Obama actually scored.

    Romney made one of the few clear open mistakes about the Libya terror claim–AND it was pointed out by the moderator! The other one was Romney’s rather hectoring of the Prez about his pension which was ill advised and you will have to admit BO won that with a very nice and cool response. He even got applause (since MR had just broken the rules the audience did too.)

    I’ll agree of course that Obama could have and should have said more about the causes of the financial mess. All the spinmeisters and focus groups apparently say that the candidate cannot spend much time on the past–it comes across as making excuses, and the public have no interest in the past. (Clearly not true given the questions on Bush & jobs over the last decade). But this can be framed in a way to hit home for most people: the biggest recession in the US and world since the Great Depression. How long did it take the world to dig itself out of that one? It doesn’t happen in one term. And the US is a supertanker, a freight train etc. .. cannot be turned around on a dime like Romney suggests he can–without giving any credible plan or details of how. Then he should say that Romney is naive about this. (A reference to the last successful milliionaire businessman–Hoover–would be a history lesson too far I suppose?)

    Of course what matters and who matters, are the Hoosiers. On tv last night there was a piece on this, on the small town in Ohio that was saved by the GM plant, but the mayor who admitted BO saved it, still didn’t believe it was the role of government (“to run up the credit card”) and seemed sure to vote Republican! Would he have been changed by this debate? No. How about the 4000 townspeople who all admit the town would now be a ghost town if not for the GM bailout? Dunno. Americans can be pretty thick.

    But I think Obama achieved several things in this debate. Not least stabilizing the vote seepage to MR, and stopping Romney’s (slow) mo. BO is actually still a bit ahead in Ohio. But it has produced lots of talking points for the media and barfly joes for the next few weeks. I thought Romney’s first 2 minutes set the whole tone: tons and tons of promises but so starkly devoid of any detail on how he would achieve any of it. Do they really think the public is so dumb?

    At the end, the camera showed that woman who asked the Bush question handing her card to Romney, but I wonder, was she convinced by MR? I hope the press caught up with her later…

  3. Kevin Herbert

    Both these men a monumental frauds who represent the corporate interests & the one foreign government who own DC.

    It doesn’t matter who wins as democracy is dead and buried in Federal politics in the US.

    For the record Obama has led the US further to the right than Bush 2 ever did.

    With the MIC & the US Fedewral Reserve fully in control over the past 20 years, the US is now over $16 TRILLION in debt with no plan as yet as to how to reduce the debt meaningfully. Unemployment is still sky-high and closer to 20% than the fudged figures of around 9%.

    The U.S. Constitution is held in utter disregard by EVERY branch of government in Washington, D.C.

    In fact, the US Government under ‘George Obama’ now even claims the right to indefinitely detain American citizens – or even assassinate them – without so much as a trial!

    This tragedy didn’t happen overnight.

    Statists in BOTH parties have played their part in pushing the US to the brink. And no single race this November is going to do anything except continue to wage permanent war in the Middle East.

    The US in is deep trouble

  4. Ryan Ratcliffe

    i think maybe Mr Rundle should avoid bars and alcohol when watching these debates.

  5. michael r james

    More bad news for Romney today (in Republican state attorney-general trying to fix the election, again):

    [The Supreme Court delivered a victory to President Obama’s reelection campaign Tuesday, saying it would not set aside a lower court’s ruling that all Ohio voters be allowed to cast ballots in the three days before the Nov. 6 election.
    The Obama campaign had sued the state over its decision to end early voting on the Friday before the election for all but members of the military. The campaign said the decision would disproportionately affect poor, elderly and low-income voters, who are most likely to take advantage of early voting.
    A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit agreed. It said that if Ohio is going to open polls for military voters during the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the election, it must allow all voters to participate.
    “While there is a compelling reason to provide more opportunities for military voters to cast their ballots, there is no corresponding satisfactory reason to prevent nonmilitary voters from casting their ballots as well,” the appeals court said.
    Without comment, the Supreme Court turned down Ohio’s request to revisit the lower court ruling. There were no noted dissents to the decision.]

  6. Kevin Herbert

    The fact that the US Federal Reserve bank – the world’s most powerful institution – is run by private banks and operates in secret will not be discussed by these two lightweight stooges.

    They’re not allowed to question this scenario that’s been in place since 1913, by those corporate interests & the one foreign government’s DC representative who own DC.

    Disagree with them, and you’re out in at the most 2 Congessional terms.


  7. Luke Miller

    I feel that Debate Obama is hobbled by the extremely slick production values and strong narrative he has applied to his campaign and presidency.

    When everyone has been subjected to lots of footage of highly scripted, highly edited footage designed to make him look good, the unfiltered version is always going to come across as more listless and less pithy. A victim of his own success in a way.

  8. moe hassan

    two absolute rotten candidates, it’s essentially a hopkins choice. although I would say obama is slightly better with a hint of populism; but we know judging by his last four years, he won’t deliver. romney on the other hand, is an absolute degenerate with no apparent likability factor at all, masquerading with a brazen class-warfare policies. whomever they choose, I understand their despair, it really is one crapiola of a choice.

  9. Holden Back

    For a Mormon presidential candidate to mention collecting ‘binders of women’ and not realise the public is thinking of the polygamists’ ‘joy books’ mentioned in “Big Love” is amazing.

  10. zut alors

    binders = catalogue

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