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I'm so anxious about the debate tonight I can barely stand it, and I don't want to read any more warnings of how the election hinges on President Obama's performance tonight. In Obama-Romney Debate 2012: Can Cool Hand Barack Dismantle Robomitt? Howard Fineman takes a more upbeat approach providing some encouraging insights from his sources inside the preparation team who assure us that the President is ready and "“He knows what he has to do.”

I’ve been told by a person close to the debate-prep process that whatever the question, he will stress these among other points: the impossible not-to-say cynical math of Romney’s $5 trillion tax cut proposal; his proposed the “voucherization” of Medicare; running mate Rep. Paul Ryan’s (and, implicitly, Romney’s) threat to do the same to Social Security; his support for continued and even more generous rate cuts for the wealthy; the threat his budget-and-tax plans pose to the non-entitlement portion of the budget.

In Howard Fineman's analysis President Obama's prefers "to play the cool, nice guy," perhaps because he moved from "culture to culture" learning how to be "accepted and even admired without taking on schoolyard bullies."  

Fineman characterizes Romney as the quintessential bully:

a ruthlessly ambitious, shape-shifting politician with enormous wealth, even wealthier friends and a proven reputation for using whatever means necessary to destroy anyone in his path and for blithely disregarding numbers, logic and truth in the pursuit of power.  ... In other words, a genteel bully, who has spent a well-born lifetime getting what he wants: the girl, the Harvard degrees, the Big Money, the big houses, the governorship and now, on the second try -– he hopes –- the White House.

Fineman sees hope in the way President Obama dispatched Senator McCain in 2008.


There is precedent for the president taking on his foe in a town hall. He did it to Sen. John McCain in 2008. Obama did it in the manner of one of his heroes, boxer Muhammad Ali. The set-up punch was a compliment. He praised McCain for his sterling reputation as a veteran leader in foreign policy. McCain said a satisfied “thank you.” At which point, Obama hit him with the right cross, ridiculing him for singing “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” and suggesting that it might be time to wipe North Korea off the map.

It was over for McCain.

I can't tell from Fineman's article whether he is clueing us into inside plans from the debate team on the style of our President's approach tonight, or just speculating with some wishful thinking.

My guess is that President Obama will be in top form in terms of energy, and focus, and will directly engage Mitt Romney, refuting falsehoods,  but still be polite and civil, in character with his noble style.

And, our president is so intelligent, knowledgeable, and ... Presidential, I expect he will do well.  

Nevertheless, I'm still anxious about it. So much of viewer reaction depend on things beyond anyone's control.  For example, of all people to choose to broadcast continuous reaction in plots superimposed at the bottom of the main viewing screens, why does CNN choose a small group of "still undecided voters" as if these folks have distinguished themselves as "thought-leaders" for our nation?

With two hours to go, maybe I need to take a walk to work off nervous energy.  We will know soon enough.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:13:05 PM PDT

  •  We already know something else he'll hit on (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, eXtina, NMDad

    How Romney's "12 million jobs" claim has been exposed as a complete fraud.

    Romney-Ryan: America's Rollback Team

    by Christian Dem in NC on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:16:03 PM PDT

    •  Yes, and his deceptiveness on his abortion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eXtina

      positions have been almost comical.  Rachel Maddow documenting Romney making the same "error" four times in a week, where in rallies and in front of crowds he insists his administration will not restrict abortion with legislation, while in the evening reassuring right wing blogs he will appoint Supreme Court Justices to abolish Roe v Wade.

      With such little character how can voters trust him on anything?

      Oh, also remember his lies about how his health program will cover pre-existing conditions.  First of all, he has not health program, and secondly, his campaign reassures right wing blogs he will leave health programs and pre-existing conditions to states, which have not money for it, as he and Ryan are proposing slashing Medicare funds.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:21:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Even if Fineman doesn't have the inside scoop (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, HoundDog, Losty

    on the President's tactics for tonight it'll make the Millard camp think about their lies with some concerns. And now the Romnoids know Obama has got a plan for controlling the spin after the debate and have given them something to chew on beforehand. Awesome. No matter what happens it shows the President has a plan for this debate and while he had a plan for the first debate we didn't feel it. This feels much, much better to me.
     

    Every time Romney and Republicans mention Benghazi it proves they are the sort of opportunists that would mine for gold in a graveyard.

    by ontheleftcoast on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:18:28 PM PDT

    •  So many lies, so little time. I almost started a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ontheleftcoast, eXtina

      list of other Romney lies the President should go after, then stopped realizing I could be adding to that all evening and never finish.  

      Fortunately, Christian Dem in NC started the theme which I hope others will pick up.

      To bad our "journalists" haven't taken more of an interest in truth.  How anyone could declare Romney a winner of the last debate with some 24 lies, and distortions, is beyond me.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:24:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Me too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, bwren
    I'm so anxious about the debate tonight I can barely stand it, and I don't want to read any more warnings of how the election hinges on President Obama's performance tonight.
    And to make things worse, I had to watch CNN at the gym earlier today (where I was for my monthly workout). I am SICK TO DEATH of hearing "President Obama, widely perceived to have lost the debate". Or, reading it anyway. They create the reality, then they report on its being 'perceived'. I can't wait till Nov. 7th and I hope I never have to look at those ugly smug Romney mugs again.

    BTW Newshour just reported that there has been an official format change allowed - Candy gets to ask followup questions.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:18:40 PM PDT

    •  It makes me angry too. How could so many say (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eXtina, bwren

      Romney won a debate with so many uncontested lies?

      Remember when Gerald Ford was pilloried for "just saying" the Polish people are not oppressed by the Russians?

      I guess Romney has lied so much it has warped the "acceptability" field?

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:27:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am sure that is it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, bwren

        I think 'lie fatigue' has taken over and people almost don't care if he's lying. The Obama campaign said earlier this week that Romney has years of experience telling people what they want to hear, as a pitchman, and that pretty much sums up his 'success'.
        What are you doing to try and calm down? Can you imagine being the President? I'm glad he's a much cooler customer than either of us, LOL.

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:32:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  NPR was dismal today, too. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina

          It might be that my anxiety level is up to 11, but every piece about tonight's debate seemed to start with a breathless recount of how Romney had prevailed in the first debate. Even the bloody BBC did it. There was no mention - not a one - of all of the lies Romney spouted in his "victory".

          I'm going to go bake something complicated. No matter what happens later on, there will be something utterly decadent ready to eat.

          (Tried to post this just as the site went offline. Whew. Had me worried for a bit there. Can the scale go to 12?)

          I came for the politics and stayed for the science.

          by bwren on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 05:20:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I am anxious too (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, mangusta, HoundDog, bwren

    I am hoping that in a few hours we all can relax just a tiny bit and feel proud of our president.

    Keep constant watch on your mind. - Dalai Lama

    by redstella on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:20:11 PM PDT

  •  The old Chinese curse... (0+ / 0-)

    "May you live in interesting times".  

    Most fulcrum points in history aren't recognized as such until they pass.  The reason we're all so nervous is that we have a fulcrum point coming up and we know it for what it is.  

    A future where jobs are restored, the economy recovers, the USA retains its place of respect in the world, where rights of all citizens are respected, where green energy begins to take off and prove that it is anything but pie in the sky?

    Or a future where the economy crashes again, jobs are lost, hope diminished, millions sicken and many die, another war or three, and global warming rages unchecked as the Koch brothers laugh in their mansions?

    The fulcrum is almost here.  We're almost standing on it.  

    Not to get everyone all worked up, or anything.  Let's just recognize it for what it is.  Let's have some faith in the intelligence and drive of our President, in the ability of his planners and helpers and political organization (which we have repeatedly lauded as the best in the country).  Let's have some faith in the American people to see a liar and a bully for what he is, and let's have some faith that Rombot hasn't made the last gaffe in a long, long series of them.  

    Hope... wasn't that the watchword of the last campaign?

    Since there's nothing we can do directly, hope is what we have.  Let's feast on it.  Good thoughts, positive thoughts.  I don't pray, but those of you out there who do, do it if it makes you feel better.  

    Here comes the fulcrum, the dance on the razor's edge.

    Which way will history fall?

  •  I wish this stuff wasn't leaked. (0+ / 0-)

    But it has to be an ultimate insider to be involved with the debate prep, so maybe it's a misdirection leak.  Or the "leak" is just to get more focus on the issues because Romney really has no defense other than to lie some more.  

    "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with." Rebecca Solnit The Rain on Our Parade.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:41:03 PM PDT

  •  I don't know why those things are leaked (0+ / 0-)

    I don't get it. Why talk about your lines of attack ?

  •  Whew, I have calmed down, how about you (0+ / 0-)

    Hounddog?

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 07:49:01 PM PDT

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