Friday, October 5, 2012

News Nuggets 1080

DAYLEE PICTURE: Windswept foxtail barley in Alaska.  From National Geographic.

HOLIDAY NOTE: For the most part, the Nuggetsman will be away for the Columbus Day weekend.  While a post may show up during that time, daily postings will resume tuesday.

Obama Camp’s Post-Debate Plan: Expose ‘Serial Evader’ Romney from Talking Points Memo
"President Obama’s top aides didn’t deny on Thursday that Mitt Romney had a strong first debate. But by taunting fact checkers with a vague set of newly centrist claims, they believe the governor has left himself open for a major counteroffensive this week. Obama senior strategist David Axelrod characterized Romney’s debate strategy as “effective in the short term, vulnerable in the long term.”"

Romney’s Successful Debate Plan: Lying (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"Political reporters and pundits lean heavily on the horse race method of coverage, which has badly hurt Mitt Romney for most of the campaign. Last night it helped him. Romney was forceful and articulate and dodged his association with almost all the most unpopular aspects of his platform. But his success at doing so was built upon two demonstrable untruths."

Romney's Performance Is a Test for the Media (Jonathan Cohn) from the New Republic
"... in fairness, it’s difficult to convince viewers the other guy is twisting the truth when the other guy is willing to do so confidently, without obvious remorse or hesitation. And that’s why the media has such an important role to play. Reporting on the state of the campaign is important. Reporting on the substance of the campaign is more important."

Obama’s Ambien-esque Performance (Frank Rich) from New York Magazine 
"The hyperbole on both sides reflects the Twitter-blogging-cable hothouse emotions of an overcaffeinated commentariat. That is a test sample containing perhaps zero undecided voters. Back in the real world, what I think the less committed public saw, especially in the crucial first half-hour, was a mostly tedious exchange of dueling numbers that only the guinea pigs in a Frank Luntz Fox News focus group could get worked up about. "
All of Rich's comments here are worth taking in.

Mitt Romney Debate "Win" Gives Obama a Winning Issue (John Nichols) from the Nation
" Mitt Romney got debate points Wednesday night on style, but not on substance. ... That does not mean, however, that the most outlandish of Romney’s statements can or should be forgotten. Indeed, it is in the post-debate moment that those statements will come to haunt Romney."

Does the Media's Romney Comeback Narrative Matter? (Robert Wright) from the Atlantic
"An online poll conducted by Google found that people who were asked during last night's debate who was winning were much less likely to answer "Romney" than people who were asked who had won shortly after the debate. In fact (if my math is right) the proportion of people answering "Romney" grew by 35 percent after the debate and the proportion answering "Obama" dropped by 53 percent.  ... What mattered wasn't just what people saw on TV, but what experts told them they had just seen. And presumably the media's rendering of the story will matter even more for the many people who didn't see the debate."
This is very much the crux of the matter -- both with debate #1 and most past previous presidential debates.  Whatever colorful object the media fixates on in the post-mortem is far more important than what was actually said.

Obama Fights Back After Debate Setback from Reuters
"A day after a muted performance in a presidential debate, U.S. President Barack Obama fought back against Republican rival Mitt Romney on Thursday and the Democrat's re-election campaign vowed to learn lessons from the setback."

Study: More Young People Will Vote This Year Than in ’08 (Jillian Rayfield) from Salon
"According to one study, more "Millennials" say they'll vote this year."
And, simply as a practical matter, there's MORE OF THEM than in '08.  Remember, we've had four more years of can't-vote 17-year-olds turning into can-vote 18-year-olds.

Tough to Build on First Debate Win (Janet Hook) from the Wall Street Journal
"Reagan, Bush Both Won Re-Election Despite Poor Showings in Initial Face-Offs, as Their Opponents Failed to Capitalize."

Romney Gains After Debate ... with Republicans (Obama with independents) (Markos Moulitsas) from Daily Kos
"Obama's favorables are unchanged from before and after the debate, 56-44. But looking at the crosstabs, Obama stayed solid with Democrats, gained a tiny bit with Republicans, and ... kicked ass among independents. Seriously, flipping his faves among independents from 46-54 to 54-46, a 16-point shift, is a pretty big deal. ,,, Romney improved marginally with Democrats and stayed even with independents. So where did he improve? Among Republicans, where his "very favorable" jumped a solid 10 points, from 36 to 46 percent."

Blame Obama’s Lousy Debate on John Kerry! (Matt Latimer) from the Daily Beast
"Obama’s tepid debate performance isn’t entirely his fault. Matt Latimer on the president’s peculiar choice of surrogates—and why he needs Clinton now more than ever."
I noted yesterday some characteristics of Obama that I think contributed to his lame performance on Wednesday.  Today, a couple of other issues show up, this being one of them.  I suspect Obama's choice of Kerry as a surrogate Romney was a mistake.  Kerry lost in '04 and his debate performances made little or no difference.  More importantly, Kerry has many of the same weaknesses as Obama (a tendency towards aloofness and analytic coldness -- with few of the strengths of Romney (an increasing willingness to say anything and/or ignore contradictory statements he may have made in the past).  Obama was largely sandbagged by Romney's brazenness in ignoring Romney's own record on issues and his willingness to "reinvent" himself on the spot.  Obama will need to do much better in debate #2 -- he should given that the focus (I think) will be more on foreign policy. But he will need to be prepared for an opponent who will fabricate pretty shamelessly.

The Perpetual Failure to Understand Obama's Double Consciousness (John McWhorter) from the New Republic
"The recent uproar over President Obama’s 2007 speech to black pastors is yet another example of how white people—or at least some of them—don't get it about black people. A strange note for me to strike, I know, but the fact is that there’s nothing at all surprising in the fact that the President talks, worships, and even thinks in different ways depending on who he’s around."

The latest from Eldad Hagar:
Dog Rescue: Watson, the Three Legged Dog from Hope-for-Paws

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