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Breyer writes in clear English. His arguments (signed with Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan) are as informed and articulate a defense of campaign finance laws as you will find. It's better and more efficient to read his words, than to read about them, imho. For the non-lawyers/scholars, just skip over the legal references, detailed case arcana, and anything else that isn't obvious -- you'll still get the basic ideas.

If we arm ourselves verbally, we can help push back against the madness wrought by the Roberts/Scalia/Thomas/Alito/Kennedy court. These 5-4 decisions may well be overturned in the future -- as has happened in the past with bigger majorities. Teaching ourselves, our children, and our friends and foes alike, will help bring that day closer.  

The following are selections from Breyer's dissent, which begins on page 52 (of 94) in the Supreme Court's PDF file (after Roberts' majority opinion). Breyer writes:

[Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Kennedy & Thomas's] conclusion:
* rests upon its own, not a record-based, view of the facts.
* Its legal analysis is faulty: It misconstrues the nature of the competing constitutional interests at stake.
* It understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institutions.
* It creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign. ...

Today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.

[continues... after this cartoon by Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press:]
cartoon by Mike Thompson, <em>Detroit Free Press</em> (c) 2014

Have you skimmed Breyer's dissent, in the McCutcheon v FEC case? (Or at least read the excerpts, above?)

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I'm not sure which is worse: the hype and disinformation on mass media about the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, the irresponsible lack of candor, clarity, and timely information and responses from the Malaysian authorities, the flood of conspiracy theories, or the frustration and mystery of not knowing. Any number of hypotheses explaining the disappearance could potentially be true, but for now we just don't know. It is difficult for us to withhold judgment amid uncertainty.

A cockpit fire, as happened on EgyptAir flight MS667 in 2011, is one such possibility. There is no evidence of this for MH370; this diary is offered purely as information about a previous event, in case this sheds light on the current situation.

A severe cockpit fire occurred in July 2011 on the same make and model airplane (Boeing 777-200, a.k.a. B772) as MH370, while it was sitting at the gate, destroying most of the cockpit within minutes, destroying nearly all instruments, and burning a 2' hole through the fuselage. (See pictures.) The pilots were not able to extinguish the rapid, hot, oxygen-fueled fire using their cabin fire-extinguisher. Fortunately, Egypt Air MS667 was on the ground, and firefighters arrived within three minutes (although it took 90 minutes to extinguish the fire).


Investigators' 'conclusions' about the cockpit fire, some first-hand observations by the co-pilot, and some of my conjecture on MH370, are below the fold.

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Six Amendments (book cover), by Justice John Paul Stevens
As if on cue, US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (ret.) has written a new book, titled Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution (Little, Brown & Co., due April 22, 2014). He helps open up discussion on the US Constitution, including some of the faulty Scalia-led decisions.

It's worth reminding young Democrats that amending the US Constitution has been in our national party platform since 1944, up through the present. This is true even if publicly supporting this amendment might work against candidates in some districts -- no-one forces them to do so, but we continue the dialogue. (Surprisingly, the GOP also supported this Equal Rights Amendment from 1940-1980.) Progressives look forward to achieving what is right, not simply driven by polls of current political expediency.

A full review of Stevens' book will have to wait until publication, but a few passages published in BusinessWeek and elsewhere are already noteworthy.

Justice Stevens served on the US Supreme Court for 35 years -- the second-longest of any Justice in US history. He knows a thing or two about the US Constitution and American jurisprudence. As with Justice Warren Burger, Stevens disagrees with those who (like Scalia) think the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to firearms for self-defense, and who argue that this trumps all other rights and goals.

Stevens writes in this book:

Emotional claims that the right to possess deadly weapons is so important that it is protected by the federal Constitution distort intelligent debate about the wisdom of particular aspects of proposed legislation designed to minimize the slaughter caused by the prevalence of guns in private hands.
[For 200 years], federal judges uniformly understood that the right protected by the [2nd Amendment] text was limited in two ways: first, it applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes, and second, while it limited the power of the federal government, it did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms.
Justice Stevens repeats the comment from Chief Justice Warren Burger (1969-1986), about the gun-lobby's campaign to oppose gun control laws because of Second Amendment rights:
“one of the greatest pieces of fraud—I repeat, fraud—on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.” [quoting Burger]
Stevens wrote the dissent in Heller vs. DC, joined by the three other liberal justices. (Breyer wrote a second dissent, also joined by his three liberal colleagues.)

Reading the majority opinion by Scalia (joined by the four right-wingers), I'm struck that Scalia's argumentative style and repeated denunciation of Stevens is behavior that might be characterized as "dickish." Scalia's rhetorical bullying has been picked up by others who assert his misinterpretation of the 'right to keep and bear arms.' Here are just a few examples of Scalia's arrogant, aggressive, condescending and disrespectful tone, which I've taken from Heller 2008:

Justice Stevens propose is not even the (sometimes) idiomatic meaning...
Justice Stevens uses the same excuse... That analysis is faulty [and] unknown this side of the looking glass.
Justice Stevens flatly misreads the historical record.
Other than that erroneous point, Justice Stevens has brought forward absolutely no evidence...
Justice Stevens’ view thus relies on the proposition, unsupported by any evidence...
Justice Stevens betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of a court’s interpretive task.
Unfortunately for Justice Stevens’ argument ... Justice Stevens’ statement ... is simply wrong.
Nothing so clearly demonstrates the weakness of Justice Stevens’ case.
Justice Stevens can say again and again ... but the words of the opinion prove otherwise.
It is particularly wrongheaded...
It is demonstrably not true that, as Justice Stevens claims...
Justice Stevens is dead wrong to think that...
Justice Stevens resorts to the bizarre argument...
Contrary to Justice Stevens’ wholly unsupported assertion...
Justice Stevens provides no support whatever for his contrary view...
Justice Stevens’ accusation that this is “not accurate,” is wrong.
[T]heir erroneous reliance upon an uncontested and virtually unreasoned case...
Stevens' book is a reminder that this issue is far from over.

Stevens notes in Six Amendments that the Heller decision did not preclude federal, state, or local governments from restricting the ownership of assault rifles (as used in the CT, VA, CO and AZ mass-shootings).

Stevens believes the Second Amendment refers to the threat a national standing army posed to state sovereignty, and not to e.g. hunters' foraging or homeowners' anxiety about intruders. But post-Heller, in order to make this abundantly clear in the face of Scalia's misinterpretation, Stevens proposes that the Second Amendment should be modified by adding five words, as follows:

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Dereck J Simonsmeier
Four days ago, Dereck J. Simonsmeier, 24 (pictured left, wearing grey-black), of Wisconsin whined in an op-ed that he was asked to leave a Pick 'N Save store (owned by Roundy’s Inc.) for openly carrying a .45 caliber pistol on his belt. Another customer felt uncomfortable by him and complained to the manager, who asked him to cover up the gun. He refused, even though he does have a concealed carry permit, and was escorted outside. His op-ed repeated some of the usual GOA/SAF talking-points, e.g.:
I carry it because it is my right and to protect the ones I love. Yet even with the welfare of others in mind, I am scrutinized and mocked for exercising my Second Amendment right. [...]

[The experience] has only made me more determined to familiarize myself with state laws and company policies, so that I will be prepared to confront those who would violate my Second Amendment rights.

He sounds like an upright "good guy with a gun," well trained with his weapon:
I am an American citizen, a college graduate, an Iraq War veteran, a brother, a friend, a role model and very soon I will be an uncle. For each of these people that I am, there is always one constant: I carry a firearm, concealed or open, legally, for the protection of myself, my family and my friends.
His op-ed was picked up and linked to by many thousands of pro-gun sites across the country. Maybe 100,000 or so such links:

For several days he was something of a poster-boy for open-carry advocates.

Well, guess what?  (See him wearing GOS orange, below...)

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At least one of the vignettes from Tom Begnal for Jan 29, 2012 deserves wider attention:

Lilburn, Ga. -- A 22-year-old man was fatally shot about 10 p.m. Saturday after the GPS in his car directed him to the wrong driveway as he went to pick up a girl who lived in the area to go ice skating. On seeing the car in his driveway, a 69-year-old man suspected a home invasion, so he got a gun from his house and shot it in the air, then he shot at the car as it was leaving, killing the victim. The victim’s 15-year-old brother and a female were also in the car, but not hit. The shooter was charged with murder.
This is a tragedy -- and a predictable, preventable one. The term 'stochastic terrorism' has been applied to cases where public-officials are targeted. But I think it applies here, too.

(More after the orange-squiggle.)

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[Update: I'll write more about this when some work deadlines are over, but a quick note for now is in order. For weeks, the poll below reflected that about 70% of DailyKos members support repeal or amendment of 2A, tapering off with a vote around 245 in favor, out of 350 total votes cast. Suddenly, around Jan 6, this diary caught the attention of dozens of right-wing gun-nut websites, tweeters, and email lists (some of which I subscribe to). They encouraged their members to 'freep' the poll. ("Freep, verb, 1) To cheat an online poll by repeatedly voting [clearing cookies, using proxies]. 2) To subject to a mass internet or email assault aimed at pushing a particular point of view.") Google this diary's URL, and you'll see the kinds of sites that did this, and their flagrant appeal to their members to vote multiple times. The sites are places like -- "I just voted 20 times," "LMAO!!! You can vote as many times as you want!". Or -- named after the AR-15 assault rifle, like the Bushmaster XM-15 used at Sandy Hook. On find calls for a "firemission" against this diary and its poll. "Anyone can vote, you don't have to sign up for communist DailyKos." '' -- get it? Time for a second '1776' US revolution, because Obama. -- a 'prepper'/survivalist forum. @SacBlackRifle, "Sacramento's home for all of your black rifle needs. You can order from our secure web site..." Etc. It seems we've struck a nerve. ;-) Perhaps they recognize how paper-thin is the veneer that for the past 3 decades has prevented meaningful gun-violence measures from being implemented.]

For too many decades the NRA, GOA, SAF and other groups which house right-wing gun-nuts have increasingly used the Second Amendment of the US Constitution as an inviolable cloak, that protects their crazy agenda from any meaningful reform.

That time is over. We invite you to join and contribute to our DailyKos group, "Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment" (RASA): . Please share your own ideas for achieving the goal of reducing gun-violence, in diaries and comments.

It is time for Progressives to seize the bull by the horns, stand up to the NRA bullies, and state outright: "The Second Amendment needs to be reinterpreted, repealed or amended."

Do so, raise this prospect in a calm, rational and reasoned way, and the curtain gets pulled back on their 'wizardry'. They're scared to death of this, they know that open support for reinterpeting/repealing/amending the Second Amendment (2A) is their kryptonite -- if too many people start doing it, their whole house of cards comes crumbling down. It shifts the Constitutional burden onto them.

Do you own or like guns? No worries! Private American citizens will still own guns. Always. Even if the Second Amendment were repealed/amended. Private gun ownership will not end. US citizens will always have the 'right to keep and bear arms', even when it's no longer in the US Constitution. (It still is, in 32 states' constitutions.) Really, truly, honestly, and forever. Look at every other Western nation. Their citizens go hunting with private arms, shoot targets with private arms, join gun clubs, have shooting competitions, etc. -- all without a constitutional amendment guaranteeing this right. (They also drive cars, without a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to keep and drive cars. Remarkable!) Furthermore, the US will always have more of a gun-tolerance than other countries -- that's how history works.

What debating reinterpeting, repealing or amending 2A will do is open the doors for rational policies, to help limit gun-violence in America.

How long will it take, to achieve this goal? Decades. That's the bad news. Maybe 20-30 years, a long, slow process of organizing, discussing, rejecting red-herrings and distractions, overcoming infighting (much of it deliberately planted by opponents), forming coalitions and alliances, building institutions, working with each other, encouraging the spread of small, local groups, helping them coalesce, lobbying, letter-writing, social-media networking, campaigning, fighting back, countering attacks on our message-carriers, working towards consensus (repeal? amend? to what?), working on 'message', viral campaigns, fund-raising, mass-media strategies, free media, protests, creativity, doggedness, determination, real-life networking, conferences, referenda, conventions, deal-making, politics, campaigns, elections, myriad local initiatives (ammo tax? insurance requirements? licensing? training? registration?), legal strategies, legal challenges, legal defenses, etc. etc. etc.

None of us can see how this process will unfold, at this point. The challenge is to keep at it, to learn from other episodes in US history (and other countries -- like Australia), to learn from our own mistakes (and others') and to keep going, and to get other people to get other people to get other people to work towards the end goal. It will take a big tent.

Getting a progressive majority in the US Supreme Court who rejects Scalia's (mis-)interpretation of the Second Amendment is by far the easiest, nearest-term, least-disruptive, and most accessible policy measure. And even that will require incredibly hard work, and is far from a sure thing. It emphasizes the importance of winning the presidency and keeping a Democratic majority in the US Senate to ratify SCOTUS nominations.

Outright amending the Constitution would require a 2/3 vote in both House and Senate to formally propose it in a Joint Resolution (or 2/3 of the state legislatures must demand a national convention to propose it -- this has never happened); and then 3/4 of the States (38 states' legislatures) must ratify it. This is an ambitious --  an audacious goal. It will likely not happen within the lifetime of most of us. Maintaining a civil discourse will help.

Just to speculate, as an example, one could add four words to the end of 2A: "shall not be infringed by the Federal government." This opens the door to proper regulation by state and local governments. See? Note: this isn't necessarily the right way to go (many people prefer a Federal policy, that's an open debate), just an illustration, but if it went this direction then suddenly our coalition partners could include some "states' rights" conservatives. 38 states' votes are needed; Obama carried only 28 states in 2008 and 26 in 2012; Reagan carried 49. Among those people who advocate a states' rights approach to gun-violence? Our friend, the good Doctor, Gov. Howard Dean. "Carrying a deer-hunting rifle in Vermont is not the same thing as carrying a semi-automatic pistol in NYC" -- that's Howard Dean's line. Politics will always involve some compromise, as well as standing up for one's principles -- that's what makes it challenging.

Or, it could be a simple repeal: “The second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.” -- as Walter Shapiro urged in Salon in 2007, after the Virginia Tech killings, and as Seattle's former Police Chief, Norm Stamper, urges now.  

What approach to reinterpreting/repealing/amending 2A do you think will work best? What goals <-- strategies <-- tactics, when, by whom, how? What role would you like this DailyKos working-group to play, and what will you do to "make it so"? How would you like the group structured/organized, and how will you help achieve this? What existing groups and individuals in them should we form ties with, and will you invite them to contribute here on RASA-DailyKos? What lessons can we learn from e.g., the failure to pass the ERA? How should we proceed?

Come, join us, take the lead for us -- we're depending on you. Our children and grandchildren depend on you.


Do you think the US Constitution's Second Amendment should be repealed and/or amended?

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Kudos to DailyKos diarist(s) Roosevelt Institute for spotting the article this morning, and succinctly summarizing it, as follows:

Bruce Bartlett explains how he got shunned and excommunicated from the mainstream conservative movement after decades of toeing the party line because he dared to point out that observable economic reality seems to have a strong Keynesian bias.
Bartlett's article deserves wide circulation, imho; worth reading the whole thing. Whoever thought I'd favorably link to American Conservative magazine? Some excerpts follow:
"I’m at ground zero in the saga of Republicans closing their eyes to any facts or evidence that conflict with their dogma. Rather than listen to me, they threw me under a bus.

For more than 30 years, I was very comfortable within the conservative wing of the Republican Party. [I worked for or with: Goldwater, Nixon, Young Republicans (during Vietnam), Ron Paul in 1976, Jack Kemp, supply-side economists, Jude Wanniski, Heritage Fdn, Reagan's White House, Gary Bauer, James Baker, Nick Brady, Glenn Hubbard, Cato Institute and NCPA; and wrote conservative editorials for: WSJ, Washington (Moonie) Times, Investor's Business Daily, NY Sun, etc.]

In November 2003, I had an intellectual crisis...  The [2004] article is best remembered for his quote from an anonymous White House official dismissing critics like me for being “the reality-based community.” ... I was banned from Fox News... extended throughout Rupert Murdoch’s empire. After careful research [in 2007-08], I came to the annoying conclusion that Keynes had been 100% right in the 1930s. Previously, I had thought the opposite. ... I had previously viewed Krugman as an intellectual enemy and attacked him... For the record, no one has been more correct in his analysis and prescriptions for the economy’s problems than Paul Krugman. The blind hatred for him on the right simply pushed me further away from my old allies and comrades.

The final line for me to cross in complete alienation from the right was my recognition that Obama is not a leftist. In fact, he’s barely a liberal—and only because the political spectrum has moved so far to the right that moderate Republicans from the past are now considered hardcore leftists by right-wing standards today."

Take a look at the whole article.

Bob Dylan's well-worn words come to mind, and his performance in May 2012 at the White House (below):
"Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'


I've commented on this elsewhere, but maybe it's time for a short diary.

Every campaign strategist knows that one should lower expectations ahead of a debate, and raise the expectations of your opponent. This is Politics 101.

I honestly don't understand why some Kossacks (of all people) have been trying to 'talk up' President Obama's prospects at the debate. Is it naivete, or lack of discipline, or immaturity, or lacking a political instinct, or what? *sheesh* That's what Romney's team is trying to do, to build overly high expectations for Obama (and to lower expectations for Rmoney).

Why would Kossacks aid the other team's efforts?

I expect that snap-polls and pundits will declare the debate a tie at best, and very likely a "win" for Romney -- something we need to gird ourselves for. The media wants this election to be neck-and-neck.

The expectations for Romney are low ("he's a businessman, foreign policy is not his strength"), for Obama they're so high, and all Romney has to do all day is debate-prep and campaign. For him to even be allowed to show up on a stage for 90 minutes with the President, in front of 70 million viewers, is a big win for Romney. (He'll win some votes just for looking Caucasian, male and pompous.) Meanwhile, President Obama has to govern the US and try to manage world affairs -- hardly a small 'day job', in fact it's perhaps the most demanding job in the world. Oh, and also debate for his re-election, up against the most conniving liar in recent electoral history.

Romney is getting primed full of attacks to make. And he won't limit himself to foreign affairs, he'll try to smuggle in various domestic issues, as well. His advisors will have learned from the second debate, and prepared a counter-attack. You can bet he will try to ambush the President -- using Romney's strength as a liar, his bluster from years as an obnoxious corporate wheeler-dealer, his arrogance, and his palpable lack of respect for the President.

As the debate unfolds we'll all have a chance to Tweet, comment, etc. Until then, let's keep it disciplined and on message.


Let's practice, shall we? Who do you think will win Monday's debate? (Thanks! :-) )

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Just curious, what is the earliest recorded use of this pithy neologism?

The earliest I've found, so far, is from April 4, 2011: the title of a post on A Healthy Blog:     I wonder if it goes back earlier, e.g. to 2007, or his 1994 Senate run, or before. This is just for fun, I'm curious about the spread of new ideas, memes, words.

Jed Lewison, as always, is ahead of our pack on this, complete with video:

[I'll update this diary with a link to your comments, if you find an earlier usage. Thanks!]



Why isn't the media jumping all over the fact that Mitt Romney, former Gov. of Massachusetts, is behind Obama in Massachusetts polls by a 39-57 margin? MA voters know Romney -- and most aren't voting for their 'hometown boy'.

The media jumped all over Al Gore for losing Tennessee in 2000 by 48-51, lashing out that he "couldn't even bring his home state."

Here's just one example, from the 'liberal' New York Times, Nov 9, 2000:

THE 2000 ELECTIONS: TENNESSEE; Loss In Home State Leaves Gore Depending on Florida
Published: November 09, 2000

The cliffhanger in Florida could have been irrelevant had it not been for the disappointment in Tennessee.

If Vice President Al Gore had carried his home state, with its 11 electoral votes [...].

Major presidential candidates rarely fail to carry their states; rarer still is the candidate who loses his home state but wins the election. [ahem - is the NYT saying this about Romney, now? Why not?]  [...]

The last person elected president without carrying his home state was Mr. Nixon in 1968, but only on a technicality. Mr. Nixon, a longtime Californian, had moved to New York a few years earlier, and ran as a New York resident. He carried California but lost New York.

The other [two] candidates to win the presidency while losing their home states were Woodrow Wilson, who failed to carry New Jersey in 1916, and James K. Polk, who also lost Tennessee, in 1844.

Let's hear that again: "Major presidential candidates rarely fail to carry their states; rarer still is the candidate who loses his home state but wins the election." Well, what about Mitt Romney?

Yes, MA is a blue state. And TN is a red state. What's your point, pundits?

"You can't expect Romney to win MA"? Why not?! You expected Gore to win TN and blamed him for it when he didn't.

Yes, Gore was a southerner. So what, Romney is a northerner, he claims from Massachusetts (or Michigan). What's your point, pundits?

Yes, Gore's dad was a politician. So was Romney's -- a candidate for President, even. What's your point, pundits?

The voters in MA know Mitt Romney better than voters in any other state. He was their Governor for four years, from 2003-2007. Romney won the MA governorship largely because he was unopposed in the GOP primary, whereas Democrats battled in a brutal primary election that was not held until September 17 -- less than 7 weeks before the general election. The four Democrats split their vote 33-25-24-18, leaving winner O'Brien crippled for the general election.

Mass voters paid the price by learning about Romney for four years. They know him. And they aren't voting for him, again. Even 16% of self-described MA Republicans are voting for Obama. Despite its liberal reputation, Massachusetts has a large share of racist white voters. (Black friends of mine didn't dare set foot in Irish-Catholic 'Southie', for fear of violence against them.) Obama is winning hands down in MA.

Why is the expectations bar lower for a Republican than for a Democrat?

Romney is getting creamed by almost 20% (h/t Minerva); Gore lost by only 3%.

Maybe it's time the media feature some stories on why most MA voters are rejecting Mitt Romney as President. Is that too much to ask?


Should the media pay more attention to the fact that Romney is losing his home state?

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This poll at is either being Freeped, or (more ominously) their software is off and the results are switched.

Assuming it's the former: some blue attention is in order:

Right now [1:20AM EDT], it shows the results as follows:
Mitt Romney (71%, 1,795 Votes)
Barack Obama (29%, 723 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,518

This is just about the complete opposite of every other online poll I've seen (out of at least a dozen, in red, blue, and swing states).

Something's wrong in .


Update: Kossacks, you rock!

As of 2:15AM EDT:

Who won the second presidential debate?
    Barack Obama (67%, 4,249 Votes)
    Mitt Romney (33%, 2,136 Votes)
Total Voters: 6,385
There's still some see-sawing movement; R$ freepers are trying to recover.

Great job Kossacks!


WOWWW!!  That's my President!!!  

Mitt Romney with his Teflon removed by President Obama, second presidential debate.

President Obama delivered the performance that progressives wanted and felt they needed, decisively beating Mitt Romney in the second presidential debate. From his opening answer, which was enthusiastic, on point, organized, highlighted the 5 million jobs created under his term, and contrasted with Romney wanting to let Detroit go bankrupt. It was an A+ answer.

In his second answer, he lit out and said what the world needed to hear: "What Gov. Romney said just isn't true."  Obama is correct.

He continued in his third response: "Gov. Romney says he has a 5-point plan. Well, Gov. Romney doesn't have 5-point plan, he has a 1-point plan" (let the rich get richer).

On oil, Obama said: "Very little of what Gov. Romney just said is true. What I've tried to do is be consistent."  And Obama is correct.

By contrast, Romney seemed nervous: "Graduate without a college... without a college... job." "B" answer. Romney tried to blame Obama for jobs lost in Year 1 -- that makes no sense, no economist would suggest Obama was responsible for those jobs.

Incredibly, Romney continued to make lies big and small -- it's as though he can't help himself (and I suspect there's a lot to that). E.g., on the immigration question, Obama pointed out that Romney held up Arizona's law as a "model for the nation." Romney tried to weasel out by saying he meant only the E-Verify part of the law. But Obama held his ground, pointing out that the guy who wrote the AZ law is Romney's advisor on immigration. And in fact, in Feb 2012 the GOP-leaning LA Times wrote:

Romney calls Arizona immigration law a model for the nation
  Mitt Romney called the controversial Arizona illegal immigration law a model for the country, and blasted the Obama administration for challenging it in court.
  "I will drop those lawsuits on Day One," Romney said in response to a question on illegal immigration during a GOP candidate debate in Mesa, Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the bill, was in the audience.
  "I'll also complete the fence, I'll make sure we have enough Border Patrol agents to secure the fence, and I will make sure we have an E-Verify system and require employers to check the documents of workers," he added.
That's as clear as it gets, in politics. Romney lies.

A small example: Romney very pompously (arrogantly? 'confidently'?) said "5 million jobs doesn't even keep up with our population growth rate." But the US total population is growing about 3 million/year (just under 1%), of whom no more than half (at most) are job-seekers. So Romney lied again -- it's good for the American public to see just how much of what he says (so 'confidently') is in fact untrue.

Obama, on the other hand, was unflappable and strong: "If someone came to you as an investor, but wouldn't tell you where the money would come from, you wouldn't take such a sketchy deal, because the math doesn't add up. No-one who looks at it who is serious, believe it adds up." Yes! Romney has no plan to balance the budget.

Romney tries to claim that he can balance the US Federal budget because he ran what David Stockman calls "a dangerous form of leveraged gambling that has been enabled by the failed central banking and taxing policies of the state," ran the Olympics, and was Governor. (He doesn't mention that as Governor he got $1 billion from a previously enacted capital gains tax, and $500 million in federal grants.)

Obama is on his game.

Romney is off -- he's much more garrulous, nervous, repeating himself, downright disrespectful of the President, has no specifics -- despite being pressed, and knowing that he would be asked for specifics.

On Libya: Obama TOTALLY DOMINATED!  Wow! This gave the American public a chance to see just how thin is Romney's patina. Romney tried to bully his way into saying that Obama didn't acknowledge the attacks, and then that Obama didn't recognize them as an act of terror. Obama said he did -- and for once, the moderator spoke up and confirmed Obama over Romney! Because the transcript is there. In the Rose Garden, the day after the attack, Obama said: "No acts of terror [!] will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done."

Romney was exposed on this, his Teflon peeled back, for the world to see how he behaves. The photo above shows how Romney looks when his lies are called out. It was just one of many such untruths he's tried to foist on the American public, but perhaps this humiliation of Romney may comem to symbolize all the political falsehoods he has said the past two years.

Obama's ending answer: "private enterprise is the greatest engine of prosperity the world has ever known."  Yes! That's a button he needed to press. He even included with some kind words about Romney as a person; then ended with the 47% quote from Romney, twisting the political stiletto!

The Teflon was removed from Romney tonight: the public could see Romney's modus operandi: lie through his teeth, with great bravado and a smug arrogance. But when Romney gets called out on his lies, he gets uptight and has no defense.

Obama was strong on his Administration's performance over the past 4 years, and on his plans moving forward.

Wow, this was a GREAT performance by the President.


Did President Obama remove Mitt Romney's Teflon veneer tonight?

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