In the third and final debate of the 2012 election Romney was still speechifying but more subdued and conciliatory about the state of foreign affairs. He still made wide generalizations like Obama had not handled the Arab Spring in the Mid East well, but offered no concrete solutions other than to say he would offer the new regimes support. Obama countered that was exactly what he was doing and that he had decimated the leader ship of al-Qaida. Romney pointed out that there were al-Qaida organizations in Somalia, Yemen, Mali, Libya and other places in the Mid-East that needed to be dealt with. Obama detailed the American response to these small but dangerous terrorist off shoots by assisting the governments where they existed.

Romney continued to seize every opportunity to speechify and give blustering statements whenever possible making gross over statements or misstatements that we needed more money for defense and that he would create 12 million new jobs and cut taxes to 20 per cent. Obama laid out why it was impossible to cut taxes by five trillion dollars and spend an additional two trillion for defense, not asked for, and still balance the budget and pay down the debt.

Overall Obama’s response to the moderator’s topics was more measured and direct, with less bombast and bluster than Romney.

But this time Romney was less aggressive and less prone to making exaggerations and prevarications. It was as if he was out to preserve his bump in the polls that resulted from the first debate where his aggressive behavior seemed to work. Obama kept hammering on his tax cuts and defense spending and what it would do to the detriment of education and spending for medical and scientific research.

Romney said he would designate China a currency manipulator the first day in office to show them we will not tolerate their unfair trade practices. Of course this would be a serious charge usually not lightly made with serious consequences that would sour our relations with China, our greatest creditor, maybe beyond repair.

Many times Obama looked at Romney in exasperation over his wild and untrue statements like when Romney said Obama had been too soft and waited too long to tighten sanctions on Iran. Obama said it took a lot of work to get countries like Russia and China to join in the sanctions and when they did the sanctions caused a huge decrease in Iranian oil exports and caused their inflation rate to rise to unsustainable levels. This was never accomplished under the Bush Administration and now that it has been accomplished it was working.  Obama stated that all cards were still on the table including military action, but  first he would exhaust sanctions and other diplomatic measures with Iran. He clearly said he would not permit Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

Throughout the night Romney would make wild assertions and Obama would rebut them by the facts or show how Romney had changed his position multiple times or was lying about the facts. This didn’t seem to bother Romney who would go on to the next subject in the same manner. Apparently he believes if you make untrue statements before a large enough audience some of it will stick. There were 59.2 million viewers for this debate versus 65.5 million for the second and 67 million for the first.


Bob  Schieffer was a prudent moderator and kept the debate on track but Romney was always asking for more time to reiterate his points contrary to the rules.

Overall Obama came across as the most level headed basing his assertions on the facts and Romney  continued to be a wild man making assertions and accusations that were  not supported by the facts. However most of the audience may not know the underlying facts or that some facts were in dispute.

Overall Obama made the best impression as a responsible man.

Further it seems, given Romney’s attitude and conduct, it is wrong to call these meetings debates in the classical sense. Often the questions were ignored or briefly alluded to and then the candidate would segue in to into defense or jobs in the case of Romney and woman’s health care, Medicare or green energy in the case of Obama. Little was said about Global Climate Warming or the problems of the real estate market.

Overall the debates probably were more beneficial to Romney than to Obama in the sense of exposure. The President was well known to all American’s before the debates Romney not so much. This is always the case in most debates involving and incumbent and a challenger.  Whether Romney will be viewed as a rogue, fool or a serious man with a viable plan will be up to the voters.


2nd PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: OCTOBER 16, 2012: Hofstra University, Long Island, N.Y. THE RUMBLE ON LONG ISLAND













2nd PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: OCTOBER 16, 2012: Hofstra University, Long Island, N.Y.  THE RUMBLE ON LONG ISLAND.

President Obama and Governor Romney met on a red carpet for their second event,  allegedly a town hall forum, where the attendees selected by  the Gallup Organization would ask questions prescreened and known only to the moderator  but not the debaters.  Although there was a red carpet it was not a beauty show but a near pugilistic meet up with the principles physically circling each other looking for a verbal opening. Pre agreed rules like no debater asking a direct question of the other or the moderator, Candy Crowley, commenting on an answer to a question were broken with abandon.

Romney followed his aggressive style exhibited at the first debate, sparring with Ms. Crowley for more than his allotted time. She stood her ground and held the debaters in check most of the night.

When Obama said he called the Benghazi attack a terrorist one on the day after, Romney tried to question the President on that fact. The President replied that it was a correct statement and told Romney to proceed with the next question from the audience member who was waiting.

Instead Romney addressed the audience with a diatribe that the President delayed fourteen days before saying it was a terrorist attack.  Ms. Crowley corrected Romney and said twice that the President had indeed said it was a terrorist attack the next day to the press in the Rose Garden.  Romney went silent and asked for the next question from the audience.

Later Obama his face reddened from anger, controlled anger, said that he was offended that Romney would accuse him or his team of delaying the facts for political reasons when four of their own were killed.

Romney shrugged off the accusation that he was trying to make a campaign issue out of four American deaths.

These were  other facets of his demeanor during the debate: broad generalizations about what he would do if elected, aggressive body language toward the President, misstatement of the facts and a lack of respect for Obama as a man and as the President of the United States. His attitude and physical actions also showed in his disdainful attitude toward   Ms. Crowley, Chief Foreign Correspondent for CNN who was agreed upon as moderator by his handlers.

President Obama was not the subdued participant as he was in the first debate taken aback by Romney’s centrist assertions conflicting with earlier conservative to ultra conservative statements about health care (He would rescind the Affordable Health Care the first day in office) Abortion (He would work to reverse Roe v. Wade) Taxes (He would cut by twenty percent and eliminate loopholes and deductions but not capital gains or dividends) etc. Obama pointed out Romney was not in favor of healthcare providing for woman’s contraceptive or other needs and would defund planned parenthood which provides tests for breast and cervical cancer as well as parenting advice. Romney said he was in favor. Obama said Romney was for leaving it up to the employer to decide whether or not the coverage was provided. (Woman are a  key independent voter group.)

The President pointed out that it was impossible to carry out Romney’s programs of cutting taxes and increased defense spending that added up to eight trillion dollars and at the same time paying down the deficit. The only way to do this was to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid which he has promised to do and to increase taxes on the middle class by eliminating the homeowner interest deduction, the education deduction and other deductions vital to the interests of the average person. Romney  would not touch Capital Gains tax rates or tax dividends by which wealthy persons like Romney receive most of their income. Romney, he pointed out only paid 14% of his 20 million dollar income in taxes under the current system and the wealthy would be protected from a tax increase while the middle class would end up paying for his eight trillion dollar plan that at the same time promises to reduce the deficit.

Romney said he would allow more oil and gas drilling in the United States and offshore. Obama said he had already done this. Romney countered “not on Federal Lands.” Obama explained that private companies had been sitting on leases for twenty or thirty years and had done no drilling. They were just speculating on the value of the leases. He rescinded these leases and leased them out to companies who would drill now.

Romney stated he was for making the United States energy independent by increasing energy production by all available methods including oil, gas, nuclear, wind, solar, ethanol. He would allow the construction of a new Canadian pipeline to Houston for tar sands oil to be refined.

Obama said we had enough pipelines in the U.S. to go around the World. (He failed to point out that tar sands oil is the dirtiest environmentally wise and the oil in question would be refined in Houston but for export only to foreign countries. Also that it would cross the giant Ogallala Aquifer in the Mid- West against the wishes of many states involved and the farmers and ranchers who lived there. Alternate routes have been proposed.)

In the end Romney said he cared about 100% of Americans and that he would work to make life better for all Americans.

Obama pointed out that when he was speaking to a group of private donors he said that 47% of Americans paid no taxes and saw themselves as victims needing government support. Obama said this included retired people on Social Security and Veterans; people who had paid their dues.  Apparently the only Americans Romney cared about was the 1 to 2% of wealthy Americans who abided by different rules than most Americans, they paid less taxes because of Capital Gains or dividends rates, wanted less regulation like Wall Street, wanted to strip American Companies of their assets bankrupt them send their jobs overseas and make money doing it.  That he said was basically Romney’s five point plan for America. It really was only a one point plan to enrich the rich at the expense of the middle class.

In the final moments of the debate Romney appeared crest fallen.

Obama was on his game in this debate and he checked Romney at every turn pointing out his misstatements and prevarications. In the end,  one would have to say it was Obama’s night.






Thursday night’s debate had Ryan, as his predecessor Romney in the first debate did, making loose allegations about Medicare, tax policy and spending that didn’t add up. He named no tax loopholes that the Romney Ryan ticket would close to make up revenue by cutting income taxes to 20% for everyone.  Biden pointed out the only way to give this huge tax cut was to eliminate the mortgage deduction, and other deductions that would have adverse effect on the middle class while the richest Americans would keep their capital gains preference and dividend exemptions.  Basically Ryan’s plan would give the richest Americans a tax cut and increase defense spending at the expense of the middle class who would pay more.

Ryan would cut Medicare benefits by going to a voucher system which would reduce benefits to seniors and basically leave them to try and obtain adequate care from private insurance companies. He argued this would provide more care at cheaper rates and that Medicare was bankrupt as well as Social Security. He bought up the 716 billion dollar cut to Medicare in Affordable Health Care. Biden pointed this was the same proposal  he had made in his budget and the cut would only effect providers not benefits to seniors on Medicare.

Biden pointed out that Social Security was not bankrupt and with some minor tweaks as had been done in a bipartisan manner by Reagan and Tip O’Neil Social Security it would be there for the foreseeable future. As for Medicare it was sound until 2024 because of President Obama’s adjustments. Also Affordable Healthcare would drive down the cost of health care in the future and more people would be covered   with less expense than under Medicare and Medicaid now.

Ryan attacked the administration under its foreign policies particularly in the Mid-East. He failed to note the Arab Spring and the turmoil caused by that or suggest what should be done that wasn’t being done. Ryan alluded to the death of Ambassador Stevens as a security and intelligence failure caused by the present Administration. Biden countered that the intelligence information available did not forecast the attack and that it was a planned attack carried out by terrorists. Ryan kept saying a detachment of Marines should have been stationed at the Benghazi Consulate. (However Marines are not assigned to consulates only embassies.  Also given the overwhelming numbers and fire power of the terrorists it is unlikely they would have made a difference. Also Marines in uniform would have been more inflammatory than the ex Delta force members in plain clothes assigned to the consulate.) Again Ryan failed to back up his general statements with specifics. Biden pointed out Ryan’s proposed budget cut embassy and consulate security by over 300 million dollars.

In the case of Iran, Ryan offered no new solutions other than the sanctions now in place, although he criticized administration policies as being too little too late. Biden asked if he would go to war with Iran now. Ryan refused to answer.

Biden was in control of the facts through out the debate and smiling if not laughing at some of the preposterous statements Ryan was making.

Ryan was pro- life. Biden said his own personal conviction was for pro- life but he would not force his own convictions on others therefore he was pro- choice as a public policy. Women he believed should have control over their own bodies.

At the end of the debate it was obvious that Joe Biden was in control of the facts and for protection of the middleclass while Ryan was selling unsubstantiated pie in the sky policies that benefitted the super wealthy. Defense spending would increase and the middleclass would pay by increased taxes or reduction in health and Social Security benefits.

What Ryan was proposing would throw his own widowed mother under the bus as she is receiving Social Security and Medicare.

It was obvious Ryan speaks for his wealthy 1% backers: banks, insurance companies, hedge funds, large real estate companies and wealthy investors who have supported his career with more than 3 million dollars in campaign contributions. This backing has allowed an ultraconservative to remain the representastive  of a blue collar working class disrtrict for the past fifteen years.



Presidential Debate  10/3/2012. 




A frivoulous prevaricating flip flopper is perceived as the winner?


The October third debate revealed an aggressive Romney making misstatements and statements that conflict with the beliefs held by the Republican Base  and most notably with the Vice Presidential running mate he picked, Paul Ryan. It will be interesting to hear what Mr. Ryan has to say when he debates Joe Biden. I don’t think it is possible for him to move to the center given his Congressional voting record, proposed budget and past statements. There may be a substantial split between the two Republican candidates that will have to be explained at least for election purposes.

Romney on the other hand kept saying he would keep many of the good things in “Obama Care” but he would repeal the federal Affordable Health Care Act turning it over to the states to enact their own medical plans hopefully modeled on the Massachusetts plan enacted while he was governor which the AHCA was modeled on.  How he was going to do this with most states strapped for cash or deadlocked politically over health care he did not say. It brought a smile to Obama’s face perhaps as he thought of his own rigorous fight to get the AHCA passed without a single Republican vote.

Obama pointed out that his running mate was proposing a Medicare voucher system leaving it to the recipients to negotiate their own deal with the insurance plans. This would let the insurance companies cull out the best risks and leave the worst to the care of the federal government. Thus millions would end up uninsured if he abandoned the AHCA which covers almost everyone and not just seniors. Further the states are ill equipped financially to deal with health care on a state by state basis and don’t have the power to control costs.  Essentially he said this is a national problem and had to be dealt with on a national basis.

Romney kept bringing up the argument that the AHCA would transfer 716 Billion dollars away from Medicare to the AHCA resulting loss of care to seniors. Obama made it clear that this provision would only affect providers and hospitals and was a measure to hold down the rise in the rate of costs over a number of years. Further he pointed out that so far it has reduced the rate of increase in medical costs and was working. Romney countered lamely that eventually it would result in a reduction in care.

The strange thing is if Obama said AHCA provides coverage for previous illnesses Romney would say my my plan does that etc. Yet he said he would not have a plan! He would leave it to the states! Despite all his mistatements and flip flopping Romney was perceived as the more effective debater?

(If our health care was made as efficient as the Canadian or some of the European Heath plans the savings would wipe out the National Debt: Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize Winning Economist.)

Obama stated Romney could not reduce taxes by five trillion without reducing essential programs like the ones for education and the disabled. Romney denied that his reduction would reduce necessary benefits and that he  would eliminate tax deductions to make up the difference in revenue. Obama pointed out that if he did that it still would not raise enough revenue to make the tax cuts he was proposing revenue neutral.

Overall Romney seemed to be promising pie in the sky across a wide spectrum without reducing benefits but reducing spending. He would also raise defense spending and eliminate the subsidy to PBS but not the oil companies. Yet he criticized Obama’s spending 90 billion dollars on clean energy and said half the company’s receiving grants went bankrupt. (Not close to true according to the fact checkers.) He was very emotional and aggressive in his arguments as if he knew his alleged plans had little chance of achieving their objectives. Repeatedly he sparred with moderator Jim Lehrer over more time to reiterate points he had already made.  While Obama remained dispassionate and objective. At many times it appeared that he was biting his tongue to contain himself from a more passionate response to Romney’s exaggerations or misstatements of what he would do or could do if elected.

It seemed that President Obama, a vigorous and articulate debater, (witness the his debates with Hillary Clinton) was giving Romney enough rope to hang himself and when the sound bite ads and  the political fact checkers analyzed  the Governor’s statements against the cold light of day  his absurdities would be revealed maybe not to sixty million people at once but perhaps to a majority of those who will vote over time before the election.

Romney on the other hand will say anything to win the election. If he won, the government for the most part would be run by the Republican base now tucked away in conservative think tanks or industries regulated by the government. Think about it do you want someone like John Bolton as Secretary of State or Paul Wolfowitz for Secretary Of Defense? Romney would also appoint conservatives or ultra conservatives like John Roberts or Samuel Alito, now stowed away on Federal Appellate Courts in Washington and elsewhere, to the Supreme Court.