Friday, October 19, 2012

Hofstra Debate

First some data. FactChecking the Hofstra Debate

Wonkbook: The second presidential debate in graphs. "Both President Obama and Mitt Romney tossed out plenty of statements and figures in the second presidential debate on Tuesday. Many of them were ripe for charting. So we’ve compiled some graphs that help add context for some of our favorite moments in the debate."

Ezra Klein read through the transcripts to get to the details better. Here's part 1 and part 2. "After the first debate, President Obama’s supporters comforted themselves by saying Obama’s deficiencies were stylistic, and Romney’s victory was the result of confident lying. But reading the transcript, it quickly came clear that President Obama’s stylistic shortcomings were connected to his substantive shortcomings. His answers were rambling, his case for his candidacy was vague, and his attacks on Romney were often confused. So I sat down tonight with a rush transcript of tonight’s debate. The same thing was true. The candidate who struggled on style also struggled on substance. But this time, that candidate was Romney."

"Moreover, conservatives should find tonight’s transcript worrying. Romney’s answers were worst when he was describing how he’ll accomplish his key conservative goals. He’s clearly not committed to the kind of tax reforms needed to pay for his tax cuts, and given his insistence that he won’t pass any tax cuts that increase the deficit or cut taxes on the rich, it’s hard to see how he’ll be able to pass large tax cuts at all. The same is true on his spending cuts, where he’s been, if anything, vaguer than on his tax cuts. Again, it’s hard to see a candidate this afraid of trying to sell the American people on the details necessary to make conservative policies work actually following through on those policies. "

A young man told Obama he voted for him in 2008 but was disappointed. I thought Obama's answer was really good. I didn't think much of Romney's answer but I've heard repeatedly that it was Romney's best moment. Here's Ezra's analysis of Romney's answer:

"This was, on first viewing, a devastating indictment of Obama. On rereading, it’s still harsh and effective. But it’s also telling. Most of what’s in here either wasn’t under Obama’s control or flatly isn’t true. Unemployment isn’t 5.4 percent because the recession, which predated Obama’s presidency, was vastly worse than anyone knew when that December 2008 estimate was made. That basically covers the food stamp and unemployment and median income charges, too. Obama could have done a bit better around the margins. But the bulk of the blame here goes to the recession — and, for the record, our economic performance, given the kind of recession we had, is a lot better than most people realize.

Obama hasn’t put forward a plan on Social Security, but between the Affordable Care Act and his 2013 budget, he’s put forward a much more ambitious and detailed Medicare plan than Romney has. The promise to cut health insurance premiums by $2,500, while audacious and probably unlikely, is tied to the Affordable Care Act, which doesn’t begin until 2014 — so that’s best understood as in progress.

Finally, to compare the recession we just went through to the Reagan recession, which was deliberately induced by the Federal Reserve as a way to break inflation and solved when it lowered interest rates, is ridiculous. "

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