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Presidential Debate #3 – Open Thread (Updated with live blog)

Posted by The Agonist on October 22nd, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

The floor is open, Agonistas. I’ll be popping in during the debate itself to give a couple of impressions on both style and substance.

And, if you want an even longer winded version, there’s always the DemocracyNow version:

On Monday, Oct. 22. 8:30 p.m. – midnight EDT we will continue our “Expanding the Debate”  series with a special live broadcast of the last presidential debate. We will pause the video after the 2 major party candidates answer each question to include real-time responses from the Green Party’s Jill Stein and the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson. Libertarian Gary Johnson has declined to participate.

Oh wow, could I stand the excitement. Could my ulcer?


Update – Live Thoughts: Here we go, after the break.

First segment: Beghazi (Drink!) Romney bashes Egypt for Moslem Brotherhood, says Iran four years closer to a nuke, well done Obama for killing OBL (Drink!) but “we can’t kill our way out”. Obama talks about responsible transition in Afghanistan (LOL), will “go after” those who killed Americans in Libya (Drink!).

Romney: we must be able to get Muslim world to reject extremism on its own. Who is this guy and what did he do with Mitt?

Mitt Romney recognizes early that he can’t win with FP critique he’s been using for months. #debate

— Conor Friedersdorf (@conor64) October 23, 2012

Obama reminds Romney of his saying Russia is US major foe, quips “the 80′s called, it wants its foreign policy back’. Definitely on attack over Romney’s previous comments on Iraq, Russia etc – not letting Romney do his etch-a-sketch act tonight.

Romney doubles down: Russia is a geopolitical foe, Iran is the greatest national security threat”. Reminds Obama he tried to keep troops in Iraq, but failed.

Next question: Syria. Obama says we’re being harsh, in synch with allies – but Syrians must ultimately decide their own future. warns that a military entaglement would be a serious step. Romney says Syria is an opportunity to get at Iran, by identifying and arming proxies to take out Iran’s ally – but not by US boots on the ground. says Syria is Iran’s route to the sea (huh?).

Obama swings back to Libya, spotting Romney doesn’t want to talk about it after last debate. Tries to out-hawk Romney. Romney repeats – arm rebels in Syria but no US military involvement.

CNN’s dial group spikes up any time Romney says that he doesn’t want to send troops to Syria.

— Daniel Drezner (@dandrezner) October 23, 2012

Egypt: Obama backs the revolution there, says people has same aspirations as people here. Romney wishes we’d had a “better vision”, behaved more aggresively on Arab Spring to guide it.

Next segment: America’s role in the world. Romney – “responsibility and privilege of defending freedom”. (Drink!) But America must be strong (Drink!), strengthen military. Segues to economy. Says he won’t cut military budget. Prez should have spoken out for Iran’s green movement (even though it asked US not to). Obama: “America remains the one indispensable nation.” (Drink!) Talks about education, energy independence, reducing deficit to keep US strong. Obama: Gov. Romney proposed “wrong and reckless” policies, praised Bush and Cheney……got us into this mess. Romney takes his cue from Obama – both now talking domestic economy instead of foreign policy.

We’re not even pretending to debate foreign policy anymore

— AdamSerwer (@AdamSerwer) October 23, 2012

Next: where will the money for a bigger military come from, Mr Romney? Romney: blah, blah, website, Obamacare, blah. Obama: “the math doesn’t work”. Obama proud of spending more on military than next 10 militaries combined, however.

Obama on the Navy having fewer ships: “We also have fewer horses and bayonets.”#ZING

— AdamSerwer (@AdamSerwer) October 23, 2012

Moderator asks if US should extend nuke umbrella to Israel – obama says “I will stand with Israel if it is attacked” – so, that umbrella is already in place. Hang on, doesn’t Israel have its own nukes? “iran will not get a nuclear weapon’ while he’s Prez. Says Romney wants war on Iran as the “first resort” not the last one. Romney says “nuclear capable” Iran is unacceptable – even one that just has nuclear material! then says war should be last resort…bit of a contradiction there.

Wait, now Romney’s agreeing with Obama on Israel and Iran too? What the hell is the point of this debate?

— Michael Grunwald (@MikeGrunwald) October 23, 2012

Sure sounds like Obama is pledging to strike Iran if things don’t go the way he wants them to.

— AdamSerwer (@AdamSerwer) October 23, 2012

Obama now hitting back on the “apology tour” meme – “that’s simply not true”. But Mitt did biz with a Chinese oil company doing business with Iran nyah, nyah, neener! romney responds by saying Obama apologised for America dictating to other nations..then says America has never done that. (Rest of world: finish the bottle!)

Romney’s stuttering again – not doing well here. Smirking when it’s Obama’s turn to speak too – clearly rattled as Obama hits him on etch-a-sketch policy statements.

Next up: Af/Pak. (as moderator shuts Romney interruption down, again). “What do you do if the deadline arrives and its obvious Afghans can’t stand up? Do we stay?” Romney: the surge has been successful, we leave in 2014. talks about Pakistan as a failed state with nukes being a reason to stay active in the region, talks about conditional aid to Pakistan. Obama: time to do some nation building here at home (Drink!)

Didn’t Ryan waste 10 minutes w/ Biden talking about how a 2014 Afghan deadline was terrible, because of deadlining?

— Matt Welch (@mleewelch) October 23, 2012

Obama goes on to talk about putting veterans back to work.

Next: “is it time to divorce from Pakistan?” Romney – No. Says ISI is in charge in Pakistan, it has nukes, terrorists could get them ZOMG! On drones: Romney supports the President and will continue, expand, drone strikes.

5 Romney agreements with Obama on foreign policy now, with the drones question.

— attackerman (@attackerman) October 23, 2012

Next segment: China and future challenges for US. Obama says future biggest threat to US natsec is terrorism (no mention of climate change), and that China can be an ally for trade.

“China both an adversary and a potential partner in the international community.” Obama actually calls China an adversary!

— attackerman (@attackerman) October 23, 2012

Romney: Iran is greaest threat, China wants trade not war. They don’t have to be an adversary, if we’re “strong”.

From this debate you can legitimately conclude America’s foreign policy will be almost identical whoever is the next President

— Katty Kay (@KattyKayBBC) October 23, 2012

Romney: there’s a trade war with China going on that we don’t know about, “it’s a silent one” and China is winning. Obama reminds Romney that Romney helped ship jobs overseas. Both then go into a long argument about the US auto-industry and whether Romney said he’d let it die. Foreign policy, what’s that?

Romney’s 11/18/08 NYT Op-Ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”: #finaldebate

— Sewell Chan (@sewellchan) October 23, 2012

Romney now: “I love teachers”, moderator: “we all love teachers.”

Closing statements. Obama first. Closing by saying Romney is Bush Redux, then moving to economy. Romney: I want to see peace, then onto economy.

Unbelievable. An entire fopo debate with NO mention of Europe, Eurozone, Africa, anywhere in Asia other than China.

— Anne-Marie Slaughter (@SlaughterAM) October 23, 2012

And….we’re done. My verdict: Obama did a better job of being moderate-right than Romney did, but of course Obama’s had more practise at it.

The full transcript is here.

Swing state voters say Obama won the debate 53-42, and are planning to vote for him 51-45

— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) October 23, 2012

The states covered in that swing state poll were CO, FL, MI, IA, NH, NV, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI.

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