First Segment – Debate 10-3-12

Starting with this post, I am going to run through my personal play-by-play of the debate last night, discussing one segment per post. I handwrote notes in a notebook that took the form of what I will call a “Communicated Transcript”.

What this means is that I did not record word for word… but rather key things in what was said and what was communicated by the candidates to me, personally. As such [enter generic disclaimer here]. But seriously, since this is how I perceived what they said, there is going to be a bias. I will lay these posts out with what I took in from each candidate as they spoke… and then, if I have any commentary about a specific line, I will put it in italics. I will then offer a summary analysis of that entire segment.

Opening and SEGMENT 1


1st Presidential Debate

Fox (WCOV)

Moderator (Jim Lehrer): I chose the questions. Neither candidate has seen them beforehand. There will be 6 roughly 15 minute segments featuring 2 minute initial answers from each candidate. 3 segments on economy, one each on healthcare, role of government, and governing. At the end, each candidate will deliver closing remarks.

Candidates were introduced. Both walked on stage looking relaxed and confident.

Segment 1- JOBS

Creating New Jobs, differences between candidates.

Obama: I’ve created 5 million jobs in the private sector. Lot’s of work to still do. Romney says the way to create jobs is by giving tax cuts to the rich. I believe in “Investments”. We need a new “Economic Patriotism” in which everyone pays their fair share.

The President jumped out of the gate with some Progressive/Modern Liberal buzz words like “investments” and the Obama-coined “Economic Patriotism”. Curious that he is sticking with the latter since I would think it has a negative connotation to most people. Fair share and class warfare… nothing new from Obama, not surprised he went there, but I am a little surprised he did it so early.

Romney: This is a tender topic. Here are some anecdotal stories of struggling people I have met on the campaign trail. We need to be on a different path. My path has 5 parts: 1) Energy Independence 2) More Trade, but fair trade 3) help improve skills through training 4) Balanced Budget 5) Champion small business. We are on an unsuccessful path right now. “Trickle-Down Government”.

In contrast to the President, Romney opens with a one-two punch: first he adopts the usual left-wing technique of offering anecdotal, human interest/connection stories. Then he makes the President look a bit out of his league by offering an organized, listed answer. 

Obama: Here are my specifics. Improve education (primary and secondary). Hire more teachers. Lower corporate tax rates. But, how do we pay for tax cuts?

In response, the President gets a little disjointed and shows that he was unprepared for dealing with specifics. this early. Obama wants to hire 100,000 more math and science teachers. My question is: why is primary public education even being discussed at the Federal level? He also trots out the canard of “paying for tax cuts”, when history has proven 9 times out of 10, that tax cuts combined with spending cuts equals economic growth.

Romney: Middle class tax relief. Under Obama, middle clash has been “buried” and crushed. There is an “Economy Tax”. Restate my 5 point plan. In regards to Training/ Job Skills Programs: get them out of Federal Government and give them to States. Oil and Natural Gas production has increased in spite of Obama, by private companies. Public land oil/gas production has decreased. “I like coal”. Under me, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit.

Tiptoeing around some “class warfare” rhetoric. But instead of denigrating the successful, he just focusses on the :middle class”. Good point about the President’s claim that Oil and Natural Gas Production are up under his Administration. Romney definitely wins that point (an unforced error from the President, since he brought it up first). No tax cut that adds to the deficit. Tricky to do in the present political climate… but definitely possible.

Obama: I have given $3600 in tax cuts to the middle class so that they are able to “buy a car”, etc. Romney’s plan has a $5 Trillion tax cut and an increase of $2 Trillion in Defense spending. If you close all tax loopholes on the rich, you can’t even come close to offsetting Romney’s proposed tax cuts. This is the analysis of several economists.

Starting to get into unsourced stats. The (highly partisan) “Fact Checkers” from both sides will have a field day producing their own spin. His analysis of Romney’s plan sounds pretty out there.

Romney: The President’s description of my plan is completely inaccurate. 2 points: 1) Again, I will not allow any tax cut that adds to the deficit 2) I will not lower the share of taxes that the wealthy pay. Some studies say this, others say that. Mr. President, there are all these studies out there. Bottom line is that I want to lower Rates across the board.

Romney hits back regarding the $5 trillion number. Makes a good point about there being any number of different studies that say any number of things.

Obama: I have lowered taxes for 98% of households. Romney has a different definition of small business than I do. His plan would label Trump and other millionaires as small businessmen.

Romney: I agree with a lot of Bowles-Simpson.

Obama: If you cut tax revenue by $5 Trillion and add $2 Trillion in Defense spending, there is no way you won’t add to the deficit. Let’s go back to Bill Clinton era, where tax rates were higher, but economy was booming.

Referring to those ‘magical’ (and mostly mythical) Clinton years. Interesting.

Romney: Again, I have no idea where you are getting those figures about $5 Trillion in tax cuts. That is not a part of my plan.

Translation: stop lying, Mr. President.


Upon going over my scribbles, I am starting to think that my overall impression was a bit too generous towards the President. The first segment did not go very well for him. It will be fun (for me anyway) to continue this review of my initial notes and find out if things get better or worse for President Obama.


It is interesting that my original and immediate reflection was that they both did a good job. That had to have come from somewhere. Perhaps I was just blinded by my exhilaration over the fact that no mud was slung… that we avoided fire-spewing and nastiness.


Well, at this rate, I will be done posting by the time the Vice-Presidential Debate rolls along. 😉


9 thoughts on “First Segment – Debate 10-3-12

  1. It’s too bad that basic math is so hard for Americans, but it obviously is. The 5 Trillion figure is not unsourced information. Romeny’s plan outlines a 20% tax cut across the board. 20% of our current revenue base is 5 Trillion.

    It really is that simple, and Obama was unprepared for Romney lying about that with a straight face and saying “It isn’t 5 Trillion.”


    1. Hmmm. Best I can find, total Federal tax income for 2012 was about $2.1 Trillion. 20% reduction would take about $420 billion away.

      Truly, I am not a math man… but, in my humble estimation, 420 billion is not quite the same thing as 5 Trillion.


      1. To explain further, 20 percent across-the-board reduction in marginal tax rates, plus elimination of the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Do the math on how much money the federal government would forgo as a result of this, and it’s about $456 billion a year. Over 10 years, that rounds up to $5 trillion. The Romney plan is a projection for 10 years out.


      2. And that is assuming zero growth. I guess that’s what we would get with Obama, so a 20% reduction over 10 years would reduce base revenue projections by 5 Trillion. But if we had 10 more years of Obama, there would be a lot more things going wrong with this country than the tax receipts. 😉


      3. Well, scratch that. Looks like it was more like $2.5 Trillion. I guess that would indeed make a 20% reduction ‘cost’ us a lot closer to $5 Trillion. 😉

        Actually, you know what I am thinking? Maybe the President’s folks misread the number. 500000000000 looks like a lot! Must be a Trillion!!

        $500 Billion is easy to mistake for 5000000000000.

        Either that or Obama was channeling Dr. Evil. $5 TRILLION…. Mwahahahaha.


  2. It is hard to make assumptions about what growth rates will or won’t be, I admit. Everyone’s in the dark about it, especially when you try to create fundamental changes in systemic structure.

    I’m very disappointed in Obama’s performance. Unfortunately, I’m flat-out terrified of Romney’s ability to be inauthentic so easily. I have no idea what he would really do if elected, except make Medicare a voucher system and expand coal technology, both terrible ideas.. I guess this year I’ll be voting “against” rather than for someone.


    1. Fair enough. To each their own. You at least are clearly making an informed and thoughtful decision. I certainly disagree with your conclusions, but I cannot fault you for simply having your opinion.

      Off-topic… What brought you to my little Rambling Spot? I am used to having only family and friends drop by regularly.


      1. I was working, so I couldn’t watch the debates live. I tried to catch up by watching the post-game shows and reading articles and blogs about it. I put “debates” into the search box under Explore Topics in the reader. I read about 50 posts, and I thought yours was more substantial than average, so I thought I would try to comment and understand more of where you were coming from. You write well. I respect that across all lines of opinion.


      2. I truly appreciate that. I have always enjoyed political discussion. I am recovering from a recent bout of “Coulter-style” and am trying to return to my roots of more friendly and respectful ‘back-and-forthing’. I hope to be a rhetorical descendant of Burke, Kirk, and Nisbet… but all within the framework of being a fully devoted follower of Christ, first and foremost.


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