Shorter Question Everything
He’ll get rid of regulations on Wall Street — but he’s going to crack down on Sesame Street.
- Obama, in Madison, Wisconsin, after the debate
The debate is over, and cooler heads begin to prevail. A more serious going-over of what actually happened in the debate and one of the few real details that came from Romney is ….firing Big Bird.
• We already knew that Mitt Romney likes to fire people. Sure, it’s a line he says was taken out of context, but it’s one of those lies that increasingly seems to have more than a kernel of truth. And now we know that if elected president, Mitt Romney will fire Big Bird.
• Former “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton is PISSED after Mitt Romney threatened to cut PBS funding last night — telling TMZ, Romney would be stealing an invaluable educational resource from underprivileged children. LeVar tells us, “I am personally outraged that any serious contender for the White House would target as part of his campaign the children of America in this fashion.” “Educators across the country, as well as millions of children and adults know that the programming on PBS has been responsible for significant improvements in education, literacy, math, science and life skills for generations of our children.”
Cheater? Okay, maybe not
UPDATE: Just watched Rachel Maddow [Friday night] and it turns out that it may have been a handkerchief. Still funny that he manages to look so sneaky about it Anyway, this one may be a bust.
• No doubt at all: Did Willard break the rules? Did Willard cheat? The candidates are not supposed to bring notes of any kind to the podiums, but if you watch this youtube video, he clearly, and surreptitiously, slides a folded piece of paper from his pocket and puts it on the podium. And, he looks right at the camera with a look like he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
• Extensive: A Compilation of Fact-Checks following first Debate
• West Wing actor Richard Schiff on Thursday night said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had the demeanor of a “car salesman.” “It’s so easy to pick a lie and stick to it,” he told Current TV host Cenk Uygur. “It’s much harder, if you have any semblance of wanting to tell the truth, to be able to look that in the eye and deal with it, because it makes your jaw drop.” “I think the president was taken off guard by the audacity of the lies, the repeated make-believe that Romney was throwing at him. It stuns you when it happens to you,” added.
• Romney Admits Pushing Misinformation In Debate: During Wednesday night’s president debate, Mitt Romney claimed that “half” of the green firms Obama invested “have gone out of business” and noted that “a number of them happened to be owned by people who were contributors to your campaigns.” Fact checkers — including this blog — quickly pounced on the claim, explaining that only a tiny percentage of firms that received grants or loans from the Recovery Act have actually filed for bankruptcy. And now, the Romney campaign itself is walking back the GOP presidential candidate’s claim.
• Mitt Romney turned in a polished performance in last night’s presidential debate – and revealed himself to be an accomplished and unapologetic liar.
• I’m more and more confident that President Obama will ultimately be viewed as the winner of last night’s debate, for multiple reasons — six, to be exact:
- Mitt Romney lied. A lot. And the media is already starting to do its job and fact-check Mitt’s nonsense.
- President Obama answered the questions posed: During a press conference call this morning with top Obama campaign advisers, David Axelrod was asked why President Obama didn’t do more to point out and highlight the myriad Romney falsehoods. Axelrod responded that Obama’s strategy going in to the debate was to answer only the questions posed.
- The Gish Gallop fallacy: The Gish Gallop, you see, is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer every falsehood in real time.
- Uncle Joe: Joe Biden is up next, and he will be able to take out Paul Ryan aggressively (should he choose to) without having to worry about being called an angry black man.
- The Backfire Effect: The shortest version I can give is this: when a conservative lies and a liberal refutes the lie, conservative observers become more likely to believe the lie. This effect does not work in reverse–because liberals have better thinking skills, I say, but I’m biased. This is part of the reason why an alarming number of American doofuses are still shambling about thinking that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, and why the vast majority of them are Republicans.
- President Obama in Rally Mode: Today at a rally in Denver, President Obama was back to his “FIRED UP! READY TO GO!” self, as he mocked Romney for apparently believing that firing Big Bird will solve the deficit, and pointed out (rightly so) that last night’s Mitt Romney was a new iteration that we’ve never seen before.
• This is why Obama left this out of the debate: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has described his disparaging remarks about the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes as “not elegantly stated.” Now he’s calling them “just completely wrong.” Initially, Romney defended his view, telling reporters at a news conference shortly after the video was posted that his remarks were “not elegantly stated” and that they were spoken “off the cuff.” He didn’t disavow them, however. “Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right,” Romney said. “In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong.”
• Mitt Romney campaign surrogate Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) admitted that the GOP presidential candidates was changing his positions and moving towards the middle in order to win over voters, during an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point on Friday morning. Gingrey’s comments, reminiscent of Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom’s claim that Romney would “Etch-A-Sketch” his positions after the GOP primary, came in response to the candidate’s recent claim that his 47% remarks were “completely wrong.”
• Romney surrogate Jon Sununu just said the problem for Obama last night was that Obama is simply too “lazy” to do debate prep. Doesn’t like to work.
• Mitt Romney campaign co-chair and former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R) appeared on Fox News on Thursday and took a victory lap following last night’s first presidential debate. Sununu described Obama’s performance as “babbling,” “lazy,” and “disengaged,” and dismissed the possibility that he could do better in the future. “When you’re not that bright you can’t get better prepared,” he said.
• The word Sununu was fishing for was “shiftless“.
About the debate
• Incumbent presidents nearly always lose their first (and in some cases, only) debate. It happened to Ford in 1976; it happened to Carter in 1980; it happened to Mondale in 1984; it happened to Bush in 1992; it happened to the other Bush in 2004; and it happened to Obama this week. The exception was Clinton in 1996, but as Rachel noted, the scorecard for sitting president — one win, six losses — points to a trend. With this in mind, the Democratic handwringing over the last 36 hours is a bit much. As Rachel put it, “In terms of the nationwide Democratic bedwetting that’s going on today over the challenger having won this first debate against the incumbent president, Barack Obama — come on, kids. Buck up. Challenger wins first debate is not a headline that should surprise anyone. Let alone cause anyone to tear their hair out in disbelief.”
• Good point: Predictably, the Mainstream media is declaring Mitt Romney the winner of last night’s debate. If the debate was between Romney and Jim Lehrer, Romney definitely won. He took over the debate, as a CEO would in a boardroom. If this indicative of how he would “listen” to Democrats during those weekly bipartisan meetings Romney talked about in the waning moments of last night’s performance, he will be getting the first word, the last word, and every word in between. Compared to a calm President Obama, Romney came across as hyperactive and ready for a fight. Post debate discussion focused on Romney’s energy and ability to take down Jim Lehrer. One problem: he isn’t running against Jim Lehrer.
For a year, the Republican National Committee has portrayed Democrats as the villains when it comes to voter fraud.
In a provocative article on CNN’s Web site, the committee’s chairman, Reince Priebus, said, “Democrats know they benefit from election fraud.”
The tables have turned, however, and Republicans are now playing defense over the role of a well-paid operative, Nathan Sproul, in a voter registration scandal that emerged in Florida and has spread to other states.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said it was reviewing “numerous” claims involving a company that Mr. Sproul runs to determine if a criminal investigation is warranted. Complaints have surfaced in 10 Florida counties, among them allegations that registrations had similar signatures or false addresses, or were filed under the names of dead people. In other cases, party affiliations appeared to have been changed.
In recent days, similar claims against Mr. Sproul have arisen in Nevada and Colorado. Mr. Sproul, 40, a former executive director of the Arizona Christian Coalition and the Republican Party in Arizona, is well known in political circles there. Since 2004, Mr. Sproul’s companies – he has operated under several corporate names – have collected more than $17.6 million from Republican committees, candidates and the “super PAC” American Crossroads, mostly for voter registration operations, according to campaign finance records.
The Republican Party, which paid Mr. Sproul about $3 million this year for work in five states, has severed its ties with him, saying it has no tolerance for voter registration fraud.
But questions about Mr. Sproul’s methods first emerged in 2004, when one of his companies, Sproul & Associates, was paid nearly $8 million during the election cycle. The payouts made the company the seventh-biggest recipient of campaign expenditures by the committee, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.
• Networks, AP cancel exit polls in 19 states: Breaking from two decades of tradition, this year’s election exit poll is set to include surveys of voters in 31 states, not all 50 as it has for the past five presidential elections, according to multiple people involved in the planning. Voters in the excluded states will still be interviewed as part of a national exit poll, but state-level estimates of the partisan, age or racial makeups of electorates won’t be available as they have been since 1992. The lack of data may hamper election night analyses in some states, and it will almost certainly limit post-election research for years to come. All 19 of the states with no exit polls are classified as either “solid Obama” or “solid Romney,” and there is only one “toss-up” gubernatorial or U.S. Senate race not on the list: the competitive North Dakota match-up of Heidi Heitkamp and Rick Berg. Two other contests in the “leaning” Democratic category aren’t on the list: the U.S. Senate race in Hawaii and the governor’s race in West Virginia.
• A federal judge in Fort Lauderdale ruled Thursday that Florida’s purge of potential noncitizens on the voter rolls can go on. U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch said federal law does not prohibit the state from removing voters who were never lawfully eligible to register in the first place. Florida has identified 198 voters as potential noncitizens — among an estimated 11.4 million registered voters — and sent the names to independent county elections supervisors for their review.
• Authorities in Austin are investigating claims that black, Hispanic and Asian students at the University of Texas have been attacked with balloons full of bleach — but many at the school are insisting that it’s not a hate crime.
• The unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to 7.8 percent in September, reaching its lowest level since President Barack Obama took office and providing a boost to his re-election bid. Of course, the right wing nutcases freak out.
• Citizens United: Restore Our Future, the super-PAC supporting Republican Mitt Romney’s run for president, received a $1 million donation in mid-August from reinsurance company OdysseyRe of Connecticut, a “wholly-owned subsidiary” of Canadian insurance and investment management giant Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited.
• This is kind of bizarre. Apparently Republicans in Maine have decided to attack a Democratic candidate and DKOS participant for… playing World of Warcraft. What a truly bizarre avenue of attack- “YOU CAN’T ELECT HER, SHE PLAYS… VIDEO GAMES?” It’s like some shit out of Footloose. To donate to her campaign, click here. Help a gamer dork out.
• NRA endorses Romney. Because freedom, and Obama, or something: The NRA’s support of Romney is somewhat controversial in that Romney once favored a toughening of some gun laws. In 2004, while governor of Massachusetts, he signed off on a permanent assault weapons ban for the state. “These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense,” Romney said at a July 1, 2004 signing ceremony, according to non-profit group Media Matters, which posted a copy of a state press release on its website. “They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people,” Romney said. Romney’s 2012 political platform, however, states that “Mitt does not believe that the United States needs additional laws that restrict the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
• The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating an oily sheen spotted in the Gulf of Mexico last month near the site of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill 40 miles south of the Mississippi River, a spokesman said Wednesday. Samples of the sheen taken near the site of the failed BP Macondo oil well have been sent to the service’s Marine Safety Lab in Groton, Conn., to determine whether the oil is from the BP spill, said Lt. Commander Michael Wolfe.