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Politico:

The weaknesses are bad enough. But it’s worse for Romney: These flaws have left him struggling to defend himself against and rebut the relentless Obama campaign attack — an attack designed to overcome the weaknesses in the incumbent’s own record by rendering his opponent an unacceptable alternative.

For those in the political class, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest tactics or economic indicators. But it’s important to step back and consider the broad-brush images that voters who aren’t following the race that closely are receiving courtesy of President Barack Obama’s assault and Romney’s own missteps.

Greg Sargent:
Politico is leading with a much-discussed story today that quotes a lot of Republicans lamenting that Mitt Romney is losing because he just isn’t a good politician. These folks just know Romney is very qualified to be president; his poor skills as a candidate are the problem, as are his pedigree and stiff personal style, which are ill suited to the moment.

Sure, Romney is a bad candidate. But to ascribe his problems only to his failures as a salesman for himself obscures a key aspect of all this: For now, at least, Romney’s problem is also what he’s selling.

Nate Silver:
After a secretly recorded videotape was released on Sept. 17 showing Mitt Romney making unflattering comments about the “47 percent” of Americans who he said had become dependent on government benefits, I suggested on Twitter that the political impact of the comments could easily be overstated.

“Ninety percent of ‘game-changing’ gaffes are less important in retrospect than they seem in the moment,” I wrote.

But was this one of the exceptional cases? A week and a half has passed since Mr. Romney’s remarks became known to the public — meaning that there’s been enough time to evaluate their effect on the polls.There’s a case to be made that they did damage Mr. Romney’s standing some.

Gerald Seib speaking to GOP pollster Whit Ayers:
“He’s got to win day after day, play after play, so he can march back down the other end of the field to kick the field goal he’s going to need to tie the score.”

Mr. Ayres insisted that is possible because undecided voters, in a race against an incumbent president, are more likely to break for the challenger:  “You would expect the remaining undecided voters to break not exclusively but disproportionately for Romney rather than Obama.”

How important are the debates starting next week? “I think particularly the first debate is crucially important and will have a huge viewership,” Mr. Ayres said.

Oh, really?

Chris Cillizza:

Everywhere you look these days in the political world, you see stories touting just how important next Wednesday’s debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney will be to the final outcome of the race.

But, at least according to data gathered by Gallup in 2008 and covering the last five decades of presidential campaigns, there are relatively few examples of times in which the general election presidential debates fundamentally altered the course of a race.

Check out this pair:

John Sides:

Why Is It So Hard to Get the Fundamentals Right?

He’s not a “natural candidate.” He didn’t air enough positive ads to make voters “comfortable” with him.  He should have taken Rubio’s position on immigration to win Latinos.  He shouldn’t be having a discussion of Medicare.

Maybe those things are true.  Or maybe the economy just doesn’t predict that Obama should be losing.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: many an  unduly complicated interpretation of an election began with a misreading of the fundamentals.

John Sides:
Do Presidential Debates Really Matter?

Remember all the famous moments in past debates that changed the outcome of those elections? Well, they didn’t.

And then check this out from Francis Wilkinson:
Anyone who has witnessed a presidential campaign or two will find this premise familiar. As long as there are newspapers to sell, web traffic to juice and TV ratings to increase, we'll have incentives for an "October surprise" or a "game changer" or whatever cliché comes next.

But look around: This sacred tradition is increasingly imperiled. In fact, the media's capacity for creating self-serving, fanciful political narratives is more constrained today than ever. An army of spoilsports -- many with Ph.Ds in political science -- has established camp on the banks of the Web, from which it takes aim at whatever diaphanous journalistic concoctions float past.

Take John Sides, a political scientist at George Washington who runs the annoyingly excellent Monkey Cage blog (and who co-authored this for Bloomberg View). The guy is a total downer.

Speaking of reality and political scientists, Simon Jackman on unskewing the polls:
It has been largely one-way traffic in national and battleground state polling in the last several weeks. My model-based poll average puts Obama's lead over Romney at just over four percentage points, nationally. Indiana looks like the only 2008 Obama state that is an "almost sure" loss for Obama at this stage. North Carolina and Virginia remain interesting. States considered must-wins such as Ohio and Florida look increasingly safe for Obama; indeed, Ohio and perhaps even Florida too could even be bucking the national trend, swinging towards Obama relative to his vote share in the 2008 election.

Set against this context, it is not unreasonable to ask if the polls could be wrong. But based on the evidence, it would be unreasonable to conclude that the polls are giving us a qualitatively incorrect impression of how the election is shaping up.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Debates don't change? How old is John Sides (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deben, laurnj

    IIRC Gerald Ford's "Poland is not under the communist sphere of influence" did....

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 04:44:34 AM PDT

  •  RAND poll (20+ / 0-)

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 04:46:25 AM PDT

    •  Well that's a data point for "The Tape" having an (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aarrgghh, Texdude50, Hohenzollern

      Impact.

      The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

      by JML9999 on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 04:49:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  here's another (15+ / 0-)

        check out the seniors

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 04:59:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yup. It is Seniors, and the Medicare issue, (19+ / 0-)

          which is driving this election to Obama  and the Democrats.  How's that pick of Paul Ryan working out for you, Mitt?

          Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

          by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:03:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What happened on 9/24 that started Mitt's (5+ / 0-)

          surge and Obama's drop with the under 40 crowd? Guess the same question could be asked about the over 65 contingent even though Obama held on to a big lead with that group.

          Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

          by ratcityreprobate on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:13:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wondering bout the big under 40 change for R&R too (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coffejoe, Amber6541

            any insight there Greg?

            "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

            by jakewaters on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:21:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I guess they have been brainwashed (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DRo, Amber6541

              they aren't getting SS and Medicare. It doesn't make sense especially since younger people are more "green".....Some can't find jobs and are living with parents that are on SS. So, hopefully they will analyze it more. Of course when I was young I wasn't a political junkie.......

              Government isn't the answer to all our problems, but tax cuts, deregulation and greed are the source of many of them.

              by coffejoe on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:55:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Under 40's children don't have parents on SS (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Amber6541

                unless they're on SS Disability.  It's their Grandparents who are collecting Social Security retirement benefits.

                "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

                by SueDe on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 06:37:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Searching #obama on Twitter turns up some (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AmazingBlaise

              horrifying things.

              The Twitter account where I found this despicable thing has nearly 36,000 followers (I couldn't bear to download the image itself).

              It doesn't seem to be political activism; just casual racism. But there's a considerable proportion of under 40s, particularly the 18-30 age-group who take only a very casual interest in anything outside their social sphere.

              And websites like this; who knows how many there are, anyone can do it.

              Isn't Dinesh D'Souza's movie claiming that Obama's father was a communist still in theaters???

              What about the sequel - another D'Souza movie which takes the further step of painting Obama's mother as a whore, and has been mailed to a million voters in Ohio?

              After what I've seen in the last week, I don't wonder that so many people will vote for Romney anymore. I sometimes do wonder about America's internal security, assuming Obama wins the election. The right wing money machine has been working at full stretch for four years to pump up these fantasies.

              Extreme Liberal posted today and took an interesting point about these fantasies from a NYT book review:

              But his systematic exaggerations demonstrate that the right’s rage against Obama, which has seeped out into the general public, has very little to do with anything the president has or hasn’t done. It’s really directed against the historical process they believe has made America what it is today. The conservative mind, a repository of fresh ideas just two decades ago, is now little more than a click-click slide projector holding a tray of apocalyptic images of modern life that keeps spinning around, raising the viewer’s fever with every rotation.
              How many books like that one have been written in the few years?

              But this is my favorite, a diarist from Red State:

              It is beyond me why relatively competent, normal people would vote for Obama. I truly believe they have no idea what life would be like should his agenda be fulfilled. Those who are old enough to remember need to be reminded of the bread lines in Russia and those even older, the bread lines in the United States during the depression. Those who are too young to remember any of this need to be shown what their textbooks obviously have had erased. We live in a visual world. Pie Charts and graphs are not going to cut it – those are just pretty colored lines and geometric shapes on white boards. We need explicit, in your face video of how the government would ‘take care of us’. These people need to see what it would be like to live in an America that is nothing but one giant ghetto. No longer would there be pretty neighborhoods in every city for miles and miles. Those would be torn down and thousands of square blocks of one-room cell like “apartments” would be erected. Only those who are in favor with Obama and his cronies would be allowed to have decent homes. Things that are taken for granted, even by our ‘poor’ would become black market luxuries. Forget having a cell phone, a TV, a computer or any device that would allow the freedom of communication.  They need to understand that NEVER AGAIN would the TEA party or even the Occupy movement be allowed to protest their government.
              I attempted to post a simple factual answer to a question asked in a comment on a different diary on the Red State website. In fact I posted it three times; each time it was removed.
          •  Don't know of any specific event (4+ / 0-)

            Could just be noise or receding bounce.  The senior data looks compelling because it matches FL and OH polling suggesting movent to O.

            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            by Greg Dworkin on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 06:06:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I have these chairs made by Rand in the 1950's (6+ / 0-)

      or 1960's that were in a college library and were being thrown out recently due to an update of the library furniture. They were made in a plant Rand operated in Rochester NY I believe. They are solid as rocks and more dependable than anything I could buy today....I sure hope their polls have the same quality.

    •  That's heading towards Reagan '84 territory (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hohenzollern

      ....though we won't see it in the electoral college, the percentage differences are headed that way. Nate Silver expects the race to tighten. I'm not so sure about that.

  •  Just GOTV (13+ / 0-)

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 04:49:26 AM PDT

  •  C-Span cites Gallup poll saying more people are (11+ / 0-)

    amenable to one-party government. Callers cite Grover Norquist and Filibuster and Obstruction in general........Boehner, you may be orange but you are also transparent.

  •  Ah, these Republicans (12+ / 0-)

    Mitt would be such a great president!  Such a great chief executive!  If only he knew how to press the flesh a little better.

    So many layers of denial and self-deception.  So many rich, selfish trickle-down enthusiasts.  Just gut taxes on the wealthy and eliminate regulations, and all will be great.

    He's such a great guy, in an arrogant, I'm a CEO and you're a peon kind of way.  Who ties his dog to the roof of the car, eats before his grandchildren, doesn't give a flying fuck about women's health issues, etc., etc., etc., etc.

    Meanwhile, poor Mitt is just trying to get a deal done, so he can lead us to better times.  And of course, when you're working a deal, you often (well, almost always) have to lie through your fucking teeth about everything.  That's the art of the deal.  

    My favorite part of the politico article is the bit about Mitt's advance team, thinking through his first 200 days.  I hope they'll find time to design a couple of neocon cathedrals for the Mall.  Maybe figure out where Mitt goes on Mount Rushmore.  

    Wholly-owned subsidiaries are people, too, my friend.

    by deminva on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 04:57:09 AM PDT

  •  Some debates that mattered (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj, coffejoe

    Kennedy vs Nixon
    Ford vs Carter
    Carter vs Reagan
    Admiral Stockdale vs Gore vs Quayle

    Kennedy more than held his own against Nixon's experience.  Kennedy won the election.

    Ford said, "Poland is free."  Ford lost.

    Jimmie Carter glared in anger as Reagan said good naturedly, "There you go again."  Carter left office.

    The goofy Admiral said, "Who am I? Why am I here?" And went downhill from there, destroying any respect for the man who chose him as his running mate, Ross Perot.

    It's more complicated than one thing said in one debate, of course; but I remember those debates as significant events.

    Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

    by deben on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:06:12 AM PDT

  •  The ritualistic slaughtering of Romney (11+ / 0-)

    ....by republicans/conservatives/teabaggers will start immediately after he loses on Nov 6th. It cannot be otherwise. They know that for their brand to survive Romney has to sacrificed. Mitt Romney will be branded Jimmy Carter, as the weakest candidate ever. And we'll hear this decades to come. The major differences this time is those criticisms will be true.

  •  I'm chuckling at this from Jackman (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greg Dworkin, maryabein, jakewaters
    Set against this context, it is not unreasonable to ask if the polls could be wrong. But based on the evidence, it would be unreasonable to conclude that the polls are giving us a qualitatively incorrect impression of how the election is shaping up.
    Maybe this is why political scientists aren't more effective at debunking: a lie will go round the world while we're still double-knotting our bootlaces! (I have no problem at all with Jackman's statement; it just struck and amused me how the habits of mind here contrast with all sorts of CT.)

    Not that I'm very worried about the "skewed polls" argument. People will believe it if they want.

    Election protection: there's an app for that!
    Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

    by HudsonValleyMark on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:06:52 AM PDT

    •  Simon says Mitt can't Unskewer the Pooch (0+ / 0-)

      and shows why very effectively.  I think he too kind to Rassie but whatayagonnado?

      "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

      by jakewaters on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:26:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  oh, I agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jakewaters, Greg Dworkin

        For anyone who cares about evidence, Jackman is great.

        As for Ras -- if I ever get a really slow day, I'll sharpen my opinion on that. My impression is:

        (1) They do lots of robocalling that isn't especially good,  and probably has an inherent R bias because cell phones are excluded.

        (2) Their party weighting method isn't good, and probably further biases the results when the Democratic candidate is pulling away (but might work in the opposite direction if the Republican were pulling away).

        (3)  I haven't seen good evidence for all the allegations that Ras deliberately torques their numbers to support a narrative. I tend to treat the whining about Ras in this vein (e.g., "yeah, they're cranking up Obama's number now, so they can turn around and show a huge Romney bounce after the first debate!") as background noise that isn't even worth rebutting. Maybe I should look. There's a huge difference between saying that Ras is a mediocre pollster and saying that they invent their numbers.

        Election protection: there's an app for that!
        Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

        by HudsonValleyMark on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:39:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I really must say that this APR (13+ / 0-)

    is one of the best features here. It's a must read in the morning. I really appreciate your analysis Greg! Thanks!

    In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

    by vcmvo2 on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:07:20 AM PDT

  •  The problem with Romney (10+ / 0-)

    isn't just that he lacks personal skills.

     Devising and executing a campaign strategy and running a campaign all call for executive type skills..weighing options, analyzing strengths and weaknesses, anticipating your competitors, hiring competent personnel, managing the details while providing a long term vision.

    Interestingly, Romney seems to suck at all of those things, too.

    Newt Gingrich: Believes marriage is between one man and a series of ever younger women. Wife #1 born ~ 1936, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #2 born ~1947, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #3 born ~1966.

    by trillian on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:08:18 AM PDT

    •  The thing is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shippo1776, drmah

      the candidate doesn't run the campaign, per se. Mitt seems like the kind of guy who has "people" around him who do everything for him, and just tell him what to do and where to go.
      And his only vision is to get elected, I don't really think he's all that interested in being president and actually doing the job. He'll have other "people" for that.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 06:16:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The media want a horse race (9+ / 0-)

    Just like retailers are telling us it's going to be an enormous Christmas season in hopes of boosting sales in a sluggish economy, the media want us to believe that this race is neck and neck so they can boost their traffic. I don't remember who it was but somebody in the msm floated the absurd idea that Biden was at a disadvantage in a debate with Ryan, presumably to lower expectations or to boost conservative viewership. The facts are:
    A) Rmoney is a crappy candidate
    B) Rmoney is a crappy person
    C) Rmoney hasn't even attempted to shun the teabaggers
    D) Ryan has nothing but lies and heartless Randian dogma
    E) One thing none of the polling makes clear is that many of the Ron Paul supporters are going to sit this one out. Being in Texas, I hear that a lot.
    The reason Rmoney is going steadily downhill since the convention is because this is when low information voters finally wake up and start looking at the candidates and the more they see of Rmoney, the less they like him. The debates are only going to cement that view. This isn't a horse race unless by "horse race" you mean a thoroughbred going up against a poor old lame nag who got lucky once but has since injured a leg and been put out to pasture.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:11:51 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the roundup, Greg (5+ / 0-)

    It's a great way to start the day. It generally makes me feel better.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:17:33 AM PDT

  •  Plus his wife said (10+ / 0-)

    that he's probably emotionally unstable. So there's that.

  •  his wheels came off when he landed in london (8+ / 0-)

    #romneyshambles

  •  Taking Sides: I love the comment in response (5+ / 0-)

    to his question:
    “Why Is It So Hard to Get the Fundamentals Right?”
    by  Sorcerer Mickey

            I'm guessing, too many fundamentalists?

    "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

    by jakewaters on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:36:24 AM PDT

  •  "...an attack designed to overcome the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jakewaters, skohayes

    weaknesses in the incumbent’s own record by rendering his opponent an unacceptable alternative."

    Romney made himself unacceptable.  And frankly, would there be a candidate where he could be an acceptable alternative?  I think not.

    God be with you, Occupiers. God IS with you.

    by Hohenzollern on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:36:48 AM PDT

  •  Big Front Page Story in New York Times (10+ / 0-)
    Shifts on Libya Attack Could Cost Obama Politically
    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    Another desperate attempt to keep the horse race alive a little longer.  Hard to believe they would publish drivel like this.  Does anyone really think that if/maybe State and Security analysts were a little slow in confirming what happened in Benghazi anyone gives a shit? When did verifying facts get a bad name?

    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

    by ratcityreprobate on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:42:03 AM PDT

    •  'My Kingdom for a Scandal......any Scandal' (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffejoe, skohayes, Remediator
    •  Perhaps Susan Rice got too far out front (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, Greg Dworkin, Sleepwalkr

      of the facts, but I don't fault her for it. There is a presidential campaign on so these things get magnified. Comes with the territory. President has to deal with it.

      Fair game in my view.

    •  Are you as mad as me on this title? (5+ / 0-)

      Then to read Kerry, who voted for the Iraq war on false intelligence, is demanding a response from the WH.  Typical Dems. Why did Bush become popular after ignoring reports on 9/11 and a terrorist attack on our soil...but Obama may be harmed by an attack in Libya????? It was tragic but is it really Al Qaeda? Or is it war drumming again.

      Then to top it off NYT puts the scandal with GOP fraud on Pg 13. That should be page 1, since the GOP is making election fraud the number one issue.  Just irks the crap out of me.

      We had fraud in our congressional district in Michigan by a republican and our AG didn't pursue it...but they are putting the ex-mayor of Detroit on trial again! Then complaining about the cost.

      Ugh.......

      Government isn't the answer to all our problems, but tax cuts, deregulation and greed are the source of many of them.

      by coffejoe on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 06:02:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've been trying to figure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jakewaters

      out the angle the RW is trying out in this Libya thing.
      Jennifer Rubin is particularly outraged, and I guess the meme going around is that Obama hid the attack by terrorists to benefit his campaign somehow.
      Or it could be, that they wanted to keep that information secret so that they could track down the ones responsible.
      Because it was only a few weeks ago that the RWers were complaining about all the leaks coming out of the administration. Now they're being accused of witholding information.
      Go figure.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 06:25:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The President's first utterance was 'Terrorism' (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drmah, skohayes

        they seem to forget this.

        The RW also seem to conveniently forget that from the perspective of the folks in the consulate at the time it was a protest that seemed to careen out of control.

        "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

        by jakewaters on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 08:40:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I took a glance at this article and recognized it (0+ / 0-)

      For the garbage that it is.

      Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

      by khyber900 on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 06:37:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  At this point, two interests coincide. (0+ / 0-)

      The media need us to keep reading/watching.

      Team Romney needs donors to see it as winnable.

      I don't think we should mind. An exciting, close, race is what our voters should see, too.

      Democrats win if they show up
      Dr. Dean

      But they didn't show up in 2010.

  •  I don't know whether (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deben

    the fundamentals changed, but there were at least three debates which had memorable moments that resonated through the remainder of the campaign.  The classic one of course is Kennedy-Nixon, where those who saw the debate on TV thought Kennedy won and those who listened to it on the radio thought Nixon won.  In 1976, Gerald Ford's praise for the liberty-loving Polish totalitarian government raised the national eyebrow.  In 1984, Ronald Reagan's one-liner about his challenger's relative youth and inexperience reassured a nation which was wondering whether its leader was growing senile (he was, of course, but that revelation only became official after he left office.)

    •  Q is not "were they memorable" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, tb mare

      q is did they change the election results? Ford maybe. But most debates do not , just  like most gaffes do not matter (47% was much more than a gaffe)

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 06:11:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't disagree with what the question (0+ / 0-)

        was.  I just disagree that debates don't influence the dynamics of the race.  Clearly, a good debate will serve the President better than a mediocre or a bad one.  And I am hoping the President will have good debates.

        •  true but not to the point where (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DCDemocrat

          it's a game changer.

          The Sarah Palin Joe Biden vice presidential debates drew a massive 69.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen, beating the Barack Obama John McCain debate by 17.5 million.

          Nielsen just released the ratings for the Biden/Palin debate (see press release below). Some interesting observations:

          69.9 million people watched the debate, tying it for second place among all Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. (The second Bush/Clinton/Perot debate of 1992 also have 69.9 million. The all-time debate leader is the Carter/Reagan debate of 1980.)
          This is 17.5 million viewers more than the McCain/Obama debate last Friday.
          More women (35.7 million) watched the debate than men (30.4 million)

          Compared to the McCain/Obama debate, viewing was up among all ethnic groups, including African American, Hispanic and White.

          http://blogs.suntimes.com/...

          but what difference did it really make?

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 08:49:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Pundits Analyze (7+ / 0-)

    that Romney's path to victory lies in his ability to make the election a referendum on President Obama's first term.  Unfortunately, that has not proven to be a winning strategy.

    What the pundits fail to analyze is that Romney is not the problem for why this is not working.  The problem is the Republican Party.  It is not that candidate Romney is not a better alternative to solving this country's problems than the president is.

    The problem is that the Republican Party is not offering solutions to the country's problems that are better than those offered by Democrats.

    In fact, quite the opposite.  What the pundits ignore, the voter discerns.  Hence, Intrade and the polls' numbers reflect the voters' sentiments and not the pundits.

    This is not a close election..

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:44:03 AM PDT

  •  Romney Has Built A Campaign Out Of Lies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deben, a2nite, Remediator

    and has a long history of flip-flopping.  Obama surely has an inventory of all of them.  Do you go into a debate with confidence when your opponent knows all your lies and hypocrisies?

  •  Romney's warped vision of America costs him (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffejoe, a2nite, drmah

    Mitt's campaign is doomed so long as he continues to insist that half of the country is ungovernable and are worthless victims. Voters are not going to stand for this kind of rhetoric. Romney is losing grips on the race and on reality. Mitt Romney has repeatedly made the case that America needs to reelect Barack Obama in his own words and actions. The GOP's nominee simply isn't ready for the real deal, and his campaign has degenerated into a jumble of talking points and delusion. The only time Mitt has shown his true character has been to write off half of the country in the most demeaning way imaginable.    -  progressive

  •  The republicans always have an excuse (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite
    Do Presidential Debates Really Matter?
    Remember all the famous moments in past debates that changed the outcome of those elections? Well, they didn’t.
    Remember, budgets don't matter, who cares about OBL, better to fight over there then here....

    The media always repeats republican garbage. They should really be asking..."with all the negative press and us repeating every republican lie why is Obama ahead in the polls WTF? Of course the polls are wrong. Just can't believe it...He isn't Jimmy Carter. OMG OMG.....panic, panic. We can only smile in the hopes that the are all wrong and I wan't to see the smirks off their faces on November 8, 2012! The day after the election.  Because I think it will be close and the republicans will yell FRAUD.  I just hope Obama contest more then Kerry, if it is close.

    Government isn't the answer to all our problems, but tax cuts, deregulation and greed are the source of many of them.

    by coffejoe on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 06:15:01 AM PDT

  •  Great tweet last night (6+ / 0-)
    The decline of American conservatism, summed up: William F. Buckley Award for excellence, meet Andrew Breitbart. http://bit.ly/...
    @ggreenva  (Greg Greene)

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 06:30:56 AM PDT

  •  Seib needs to back up that claim... (0+ / 0-)

    Gerald Seib wishes on his favorite wishing star that this remains a horserace until the bitter end. He can pin his hopes on that, but inventing a fantasy that "undecided voters" love the underdog (no matter what he is selling) is ridiculous. I would encourage Mr. Seib to show some examples of this Rainbow Unicorn Fantasy.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 06:44:35 AM PDT

  •  rasmussen starting to cave? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah

    He has Obama up 49-47 today and says there are few undecided. Maybe he is feeling the heat of  being the outlier plus he has to change his party ID Monday and it has to be more democratic.
    I think after the first debate if Romney doesn't hit a home run he falls in line.

  •  Do debates matter? At best they give a temporary (0+ / 0-)

    Bounce to a candidate that quickly dissipates.  In most cases that i can recall, the loser of the debates actually finishes stronger on election day as compared to the post debate polls.  Ford nearly beat Carter despite his Poland gaffe.  Reagan  won by a larger than expected margin so he might be an exception but Reagan was ahead for most of the race so it isn't clear to me that the debate had the impact that everyone claims.

    Mondale had a great first debate but still got killed by about the same margin he was losing pre-debate.  Dukakis won the first debate over Bush I but Bush end up expanding his margin of victory.  Clinton beat Bush I soundly in that second town hall debate, yet Bush shaved 5-10 points off Clinton's lead and ended up losing by a narrower 5 point margin.

    Dole finished his 1996 race against Clinton much stronger than the post debate poll indicated.  He turned a double digit race into a high single digit one.  

    In 2000, Bush won the debates, got a big bounce, but Gore won the popular vote.

    In 2004, Kerry won the debates, got some polling boosts, particularly in swing states, but ended up underperforming polling on election day significantly in key states like Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, Wisconsin among others.

    In 2008, Obama won the debates, got some boosts in key states, but McCain finished a little stronger than his post debate polling in some contested states.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 06:51:07 AM PDT

  •  People will watch the debates and see what they (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ratcityreprobate, drmah, Sleepwalkr

    want to see.  Remember how the Republicans thought Sarah Palin did such a great job in the debate with Biden in 2008. Democrats saw an empty shell.  I suspect, most people have already made up their minds about how they are going to vote and the debates will just reinforce their pre-existing opinions.  Barring a catastrophe, I just don't think the debates can alter the outcome of the election this year.

    However, there is the possibility that Romney could get a bit of a bump in the polls if he does well or even fails to self-destruct. If so, prepare yourselves for another media frenzy the likes of which we have yet to see. This election could still get very ugly. Vote early and often!

  •  I think the polls, taken collectively, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Outraged Mom, DSPS owl

    are generally accurate to very accurate in assessing the presidential campaign, which suggests that the mostly conservative pundits arguing otherwise are trick-or-treating as Baghdad Bobs this Halloween.  

    Romney's team, looking at their electoral college conundrum, must be getting a big sad.  

    I was glad to see Jim Webb making strong, clear points in the president's behalf at the rally this past week.  

  •  But how are my Rick Perry shares doing? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remediator, Amber6541

    Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

    by Bush Bites on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 07:48:16 AM PDT

  •  Yes, really. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541
    How important are the debates starting next week? “I think particularly the first debate is crucially important and will have a huge viewership,” Mr. Ayres said.
    Oh, really?
    I can see the debates, especially the first, getting enormous audiences.  They will, after all, be better than SNL for comedic potential, and a lot of us want to see the President mop the floor with Mittens.

    If I didn't have a gig that night, I'd be glued to the set.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 08:26:14 AM PDT

  •  COULD WE PLEASE READ THIS ANN ROMNEY QUOTE (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    One Opinion

    WE ARE WITH YOU ANN..... WE ALL WORRY ABOUT MITT'S MENTAL WELL-BEING:

    Asked what her primary worry would be should her husband succeed in defeating President Obama on Nov. 6, Mrs. Romney replied, "You know, I think my biggest concern, obviously, would just be for his mental well-being."

    "I have all the confidence in the world in his ability, in his decisiveness and his leadership skills, in his understanding of the economy, in his understanding of what's missing right now in the economy - you know, pieces that are missing to get this jumpstarted," she continued. "So for me I think it would just be the emotional part of it."
    ...
    In answering the question of "what her primary worry would be should her husband succeed in defeating President Obama on Nov. 6," Ann Romney starts with her worry about whether Mitt can withstand the pressures of being president, which of course must be tremendous, then talks about other things that she thinks he would be good at—and finishes by reiterating that she worries about his mental/emotional ability to handle the pressure.

    The nine most dangerous words in the English language:
    I AM MITT ROMNEY, WHERE ARE THE LAUNCH CODES

  •  I'm wondering how in the world does the media (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    give Romney the slightest chance of winning ANY debate.  Have they forgotten the endless number of lies this man has spewed upon this nation?  The doubletalk, the backtracks, the misstatements, the flipping and flopping on every conceivable issue, do any of these things factor into Romney's ability to properly answer ANY question he is asked?  Churchill couldn't come up with a way to weasle out of all of the lies.

    So, I am of the belief that the media KNOWS this, and they are stacking factcheckers to lurch upon Romney immediately after the debates to debunk every lie he tells during the debates. At least I hope so.

    If anything, Obama will be ready to call out every lie Romney has told and to not back down on what I am sure will be lie after lie that will undoubtedly fall out of his lying lips.

  •  AOL is leading online with Ann's concern for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    Romney's mental health.  That certainly can't help his campaign.  

  •  bahahahahaaahaa (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    condorcet
    As a public service we have decided to release the unskewed results version of our recent Florida poll: http://t.co/...
    @ppppolls via web

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 09:04:29 AM PDT

  •  Romney is an empty suit...always has been.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    It is the idiot Republicans and tbaggers who nominted him and expected him to win that should be pointing the fingers at themselves....!!!!!

  •  Debate question 1 for Romney.....: What would (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    you do differently than GW Bush to grow the economy...!?!?!

  •  What's with Politico? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    The article basically says that Romney is only in bad shape because of mean ol' Obama doing the Rovian Shuffle and deflection of his own weaknesses.  

    Obama's relentless attacks, ooooh, poor, poor mitty!

    Seriously?

    Romney's drowning on the weight of his own words and behavior.

    If anyone is attacking relentlessly in order to deflect their own weaknesses it's not Obama.  

    Why is it that a 3% tax increase for the wealthy is considered "socialism" and an 8% wage cut for the middle class is "doing your part"? MartyM

    by delphine on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 09:13:20 AM PDT

  •  Although Ryan might (0+ / 0-)

    well get a sympathetic response after election day from righties (for having tried getting out the message, though Mitt was just so awful), I don't think that gives him heir-apparent status for 2016 at all - my 10K right now is on Santorum, who I think would be the heavy favorite to win Iowa (followed by low expectations in NH), and go on to win SC.

  •  Kennedy-Nixon debate (0+ / 0-)

    The Kennedy Nixon debate may well have changed the outcome of that election.  But they were so close that a butterfly waving its wings in Brazil could have changed the results.

    My dad wrote a newsletter for some past and current consulting clents. In the issue before the election, he wrote that it would be close. In the issue after the election, he wote a retraction: "I didn't know what 'close' was."

    The point that the PolSci boys are making is that debates don't shove the results strongly.

    •  indeed (0+ / 0-)

      every debate is not a game changer.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 12:17:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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