The First Presidential Debate: Trampled Time Limits, Zingers (?) and Poor Big Bird

No, that wasn’t a really long, Gloria-lacking Modern Family episode you watched Wednesday evening. It’s election season, kids, and the presidential race is officially on.

The first presidential debate of the year brought President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney together at the University of Denver’s Magness Arena. NewsHour‘s Jim Lehrer moderated a 90-minute conversation centered on domestic policy in which the candidates made their points, lobbed their well practiced zingers (such as they were) and maybe even won themselves some new supporters.

At TVLine, we watched to see who delivered the night’s best lines. Below is our fair, balanced, non-partisan take on the event’s top moments, strictly from an entertainment point of view. My fellow Americans, here’s your civic duty: Read through our list, take our poll and then hit the comments to make your voice heard! In closing: God bless you, and God bless TVLine Nation.

OBAMA

• Called First Lady Michelle “Sweetie” as he mentioned that it was their anniversary (aww) and promised her that “a year from now, we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people.”

• Took a dig at Celebrity Apprentice‘s head honcho by saying that, under Romney’s definition of millionaires and billionaires, “Donald Trump is a small business. Now, I know Donald Trump doesn’t like to think of himself as a small anything, but that’s how you define small businesses if you’re getting business income.”

• Rolled with his opponent’s mention of Obamacare, a term Romney said he used “with all respect.” The prez genially replied: “I like it.”

• During a discussion of Medicare, acknowledged that the audience’s attention might’ve drifted during the less-than-thrilling event by directly addressing the viewers at home: “If you’re 54 or 55, you might want to listen, ’cause this will affect you.”

ROMNEY

• Wished the Obamas a happy anniversary and got a laugh with his follow-up: “I’m sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine — here with me.”

• Simultaneously argued Obama’s take on his tax plan and painted himself as a down-to-earth dad: “Look, I’ve got five boys. I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it.”

• Seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself when Lehrer admonished the candidates that they were “way over” the first 15 minutes. “It’s fun, isn’t it?”

• Alienated Downton Abbey fans when he said funding for PBS would be one of his first cuts. “I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too,” he told Lehrer (whose NewsHour airs on PBS). “But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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157 Comments
  1. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    Romney thrashed him.

    • iMember says:

      Don’t forget to mention Romney’s lies now.

    • Michael says:

      I think it depends on what the remaining undecideds buy into. Romney did lie. He basically disavowed the tax plan and medicaid plan he’s been progressing for months. That said, Romney was stronger and seemingly more present in delivering those lies, which will influence some voters. I don’t think that he bulldozed Obama nearly enough to make up the difference in the race but the race will tighten.

      • DL says:

        This. For a year and a half, Romney ran on an extremely conservative platform to win the Republican base, even going so far as to characterize himself as an “extremely conservative governor” in Massachusetts (blatantly false). Now he’s suddenly pandering to the middle and acting as if the last eighteen months never happened. Granted, the Romney we saw last night was much, much closer to the Romney who was in office in MA, but the promises he made were at times antithetical to the far right plan he’s been espousing heretofore.
        That said, he did come off looking very strong. This is still a very tight race.

  2. Gorm says:

    Its a shame Leher is so timid and captured by his decades of close access to power. A moderator with spine would have asked substantiative questions like, “Why is the United States down at 34th place, behind Croatia and Cuba, in infant mortality rates and how will you change that” Instead you get soft-serve questions without any accountability for lying in your previous answer.

  3. Kimberley Weir says:

    i think Romney was the better speaker (shockingly) however I know more about what he doesn’t like about the past 4 years than I do about exactly what he wants to do or more so how he is going to implement his plans. Obama on the other hand explained specifics which regardless of whether or not you like them, it at least eases my mind that he is planning ahead

    • Gorm says:

      You do realize that Romney’s long term plan involves worship of the ruler of the planet Kolob and ascending to godhood himself to in turn rule over a planet. Is your mind at ease with that?

      • Kensy says:

        A+ comment!

      • Anna says:

        Dude, The Book of Mormon is great, but it hardly captures the subtleties of the Mormon religion. That’s a very, very, very superficial way of looking at their beliefs…and the idea of Kolob and ascension to Godliness is becoming a fringe one at that. And I say this as an atheist.
        Besides, one can mock non-Mormon Christians for “crazy” beliefs just as easily if you look at them objectively. Non-Mormon beliefs are just better known and seem more palatable.

        • Loni says:

          Thank you Anna!

        • Suzie says:

          Take a good look at other religions. Does it make sense to go into a dark wooden chamber and tell a pedophile how many times you swore this week? Or to swear a jihad against anyone who mocks your deity? Or to bury a bread knife in the yard because someone used it to slice meat? IMO all organized religion is about power over the masses. I believe in God, but don’t believe in any organized religion. All you need to get through life is the golden rule.

        • Britta Unfiltered says:

          Thank you so much for your comments. I grew up Mormon, and while I have fallen pretty far from the church, I believe everyone still has the right to believe what they want in regards to religion without being mocked for it. I also don’t think religious beliefs make any difference in a presidential candidate. I could easily vote for a Buddhist, atheist, or Mormon as long as they shared my beliefs in what direction this country should follow. If people are going to mock Romney and try to encourage others not to vote for him, they should do it based on his politics and policy ideas, not what religion he chooses to follow. And there is plenty of ammunition to use for his policy ideas. Trying to say he shouldn’t be president because of his religious beliefs just makes people look ignorant and bigoted, and it makes me think Mormons who claim they’re discriminated against are right. And I hate thinking Mormons are right. So I hope people will practice tolerance for others’ religious beliefs in this election.

          • David Hayes says:

            For anyone old enough to remember, some made a really big deal about John F. Kennedy being Catholic. People said that electing him would be the same as voting the Pope into office because President Kennedy would have to do whatever the Pope told him to do. And some feared that Jimmy Carter as a born again Christian couldn’t fulfill his obligations as President.

          • Angela says:

            Well said.
            People can follow whatever religion they want, or none at all, if they so wish. I don’t care one bit-whatever makes people happy. Just don’t try and force your religious beliefs on me and we’ll call it good.

    • lily says:

      I totally agree Kimberley, and Gorm thank you for the BSG reference! :)

      • Erin says:

        Sorry Lily, but that wasn’t a BSG reference. Kobol is BSG, Kolob is actually a part of the Mormon religion….after a quick googling: “Kolob is a star or planet described in Mormon scripture. Reference to Kolob is found in the Book of Abraham, a work published by Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. According to this work, Kolob is the heavenly body nearest to the throne of God.”

  4. Fan says:

    Romney did great tonigh

  5. Kate Garner says:

    Poor Big Bird. Just so you know Mr. Romney, if I had any questions left, your stance on eliminating PBS, an important educational, informational and entertainment tool, gives my vote to Mr. Obama.

    • Emgee says:

      And that’s not all he’d eliminate.

      OBAMA 2012!

    • Alyssa says:

      He wouldn’t eliminate it. They’d just have to find funding from other sources besides the federal government.

      • Emgee says:

        Republicans ten year plan is to eliminate the government entirely.

        • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

          No it’s just to reign it in to a manageable size so the rest of us can stop paying for people like you that think the Government should have absolute control over every aspect of our lives.

          • moobear says:

            Red states are the welfare states, Mississippi, Alabama, etc., they all take more federal dollars then they give. The concept of welfare queens and food stamps going to inner city colored folks is also flawed, as whites get more welfare.

          • moobear says:

            Oh and government size grew under Reagan and George W Bush, while it has shrunk under Clinton and Obama.

          • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

            I live in the Red State of Texas and our economy is one of the strongest in the country. So move on to the next pointless liberal lie. It’s amazing how fast the liberals are flocking here for all the jobs, but with that they are bringing their ideas with them so it may become a welfare state in no time…

          • Michael says:

            @chuck finley…And texas, obviously, represents the rest of the country. More importantly, if your economy is running so well, what case do you have to vote for Romney?

          • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

            Texas is doing well in SPITE of Obama. Not because of him. I’ll vote for Romney because business will only get better here under him. It’s ice living in a state that will tell Obama to take Obamacare and shove it.

          • moobear says:

            Your state gets .94 cents on the dollar, my state gets .88, but 91% of Republican states are welfare states.

          • moobear says:

            What about Romneycare, Romney has flip flopped on every major campaign issue, he might flip flop on this one.

            Items he’s flip flopped on:
            His stance on Reagan
            NRA
            Grover Norquist pledge
            Gun control
            Abortion
            the list goes on, but you get the idea.

          • Britta Unfiltered says:

            AJ–can’t you argue politics with someone without accusing them of being on welfare and living off your hard-earned money? Why do you assume just because they’re not Republicans they must be happily living off welfare when they made no indication that’s what they do? For all you know, this person could be working their ass off doing double shifts waiting tables just to support themselves and their kids. You really don’t know what their situation is and you shouldn’t make stereotypical assumptions. What you said to Emgee was really rude.

    • It’s all about perspective. Keep Big Bird employed and keep the recession off of Sesame Street, or keep (maybe GET) you and I employed and get the recession off of Main Street.

    • Essadee says:

      I think it’s time that PBS paid for itself. As much money as “Big Bird” has he can pay for his own network. Why should the American public pay for that?

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      I agree, it’s a horrible thing to do. Many really good, educational documentaries (like the incredible Nature series) would never get a chance to have an audience without PBS. The thing that kills me is he says we’re borrowing money from China to pay for PBS, when really the vast majority of money we’re borrowing from China goes to pay for the military and our wars in the Middle East. But Romney wants to increase military spending and absolutely favors no cuts there. We’d still be borrowing a tremendous of money from China even with cuts to PBS and other worthwhile causes.

  6. Sarah says:

    I was really impressed by Romney. He got my vote tonight.

    • KSM says:

      just out of curiosity – why? He never articulated anything about his plan for the country. He discussed abstract concepts, but no hard facts. Nothing convinced me that he had any idea what he was going to do once he got in the White House except try to repeal laws that he has little chance of being able to repeal.

  7. Forwarddad says:

    The most boring debate. The moderator never had control. #savebigbird.

  8. Abi says:

    Mitt Romney sucks pass it on

  9. Kon says:

    @Kate He didn’t say he would eliminate PBS just not pour so much money into it. Plus he said liked Big Bird so….

    • He actually did say that one of the first things he would cut would be PBS. Not reduce funding, cut. Last time I checked, that means he’ll eliminate it.

      • moobear says:

        Hey those $70,000 tax breaks for Ann and her friends horses won’t pay for themselves!

      • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

        PBS is free to seek it’s own funding. Just like NPR.

        • moobear says:

          Ann Romney’s horse is free to seek it’s own funding. I had horses growing up and my parents weren’t able to deduct the expense.

          • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

            If they were an investment then they sure could have. Maybe your parents just weren’t bright enough to do their deductions correctly?

          • moobear says:

            Or maybe that deduction didn’t exist, did you know that companies spend more on lobbyists then they do on lawyers and they work hard at not just getting laws passed but those giant tax loopholes.

        • Tess says:

          How many more “Viewers Like You” do you think PBS is going to need to make up the difference when Romney cuts their funding completely?

          Perhaps he could take that massive tax cut he’s going to give himself and donate it to PBS, then write it off on his taxes so he can get even more of a break. Course, then the channel would have to relocate their studios to the Cayman Islands.

    • Michael says:

      Yeah, Kon…he also basically said that he likes old people but wants to leave them to their own devices. He likes the middle class but he rater see a greater divide between the rich and poor. Great arguments.

      • Essadee says:

        The divide in this country is fostered by the left who want the poor to continue to need government hand outs so they will continue to vote for them.

  10. murley says:

    while i feel more aligned with the actual policies and information obama put forward i thought romney was a stronger debater this evening. he was certainly more aggressive and obama seemed unwilling to rise to his attacks.

  11. Rach says:

    I’m only 16 and still too young to vote, but I had to watch the debate for homework tonight. And even though I support Obama, Romney did do most of the talking (mostly because he kept interrupting the poor moderator) and seemed to get his point across better than President Obama did.

    • moobear says:

      You can also point out to your class that Romney got the last word on almost all the questions, but Lehrer wouldn’t let Obama ever respond.

    • Tess says:

      Actually, Obama did most of the talking. He spoke for more total minutes than Romney did. Romney’s droning just felt longer.

    • DawnK says:

      Romney didn’t say anything new in comparison to the GOP talking points the past 12 years. He’s also a flip flopper but then that’s not new. Where were the specifics of his plans?

    • Essadee says:

      I am glad to hear that you were given the homework assignment of watching the debates. I remember doing the same when I was in high school.

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      That’s really excellent, Rach, that you’re doing your civic duty at such a young age and following what’s going on in politics. I applaud you. You must be a very bright kid. I’m sure most of your classmates just watched 10 minutes worth and probably tried to wing it through class today. :)

  12. Megan says:

    I wish the President would have been more specific on his future policies, but Gov. Romney was so aggressive and disrespectful to the moderator. It was very frustrating to watch. So I drank some wine – that helped. A lot!

  13. guest says:

    Though I agree Romney was the better speaker tonight, he in no way earned my vote. The “facts” he mentioned were easily discredited, I cannot handle blatant lies (I expect spin but not a flat out lie). I’m still considering my options, but the more research I do the more blatant lies I find on Romney’s side.

  14. Romney kept repeating the same things himself. He said a lot more about what he’s not planning on doing than what he is planning. He also doesn’t seem to understand that state government is still government to the citizens, just not at the federal level. And the whole reason the federal government was created was to regulate and maintain certain standards across the various states. He also conveniently ignored certain aspects of the President’s comments, like the unasked for military spending. We just got out of one war and are still working on getting out of the other. Maintaining the military is good but why to we need to increase it’s strength?

    • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

      So you obviously don’t have any idea what a soldier gets paid to risk his life so you can sit on the internet and suggest that they don’t really need to get paid more because Obama said they haven’t asked for the money. Not all money goes to wars you know. A soldier could actually just get a raise now and then considering how little they make. If you don’t know why our military needs to be strong I suggest you actually pay attention to current events.

      • moobear says:

        Chuck you need to look at where Romney wants to spend that money and it’s for buying new weapons, like the millions Congress is forcing to spend on tanks that were designed to kill other tanks, even though the generals say those tanks are worthless in the modern warfare, and are worthless against IED.

        Under Obama, pay has increased and most importantly veteran care has massively been increased, under Ryan’s plan he would cut $11 billion from the VA.

      • It would be nice to give soldiers a raise, but they do receive government benefits for a lifetime. But the issue isn’t soldier pay or military spending during peacetime, the issue is why Romney wants to INCREASE military spending during peacetime. Why, when there is no demand for a bigger budget, to increase it just for the sake of increasing it? Lockheed Martin and other manufacturers of war hardware are still going to develop new jets and other technology, we just don’t have to purchase them when there is no demand for it. I don’t know how you can scream about small government but ask for billions for something we clearly do not need.

        • Essadee says:

          What peacetime?

        • Retired SFC in Colorado says:

          All military personnel (soldiers included :D) do not received government benefits for a lifetime. The only ex-military that receive a lifetime of benefits (such as they are), are the ones who retire after 20 plus years, or get a medical discharge which is rated at a percentage based on the amount of disability (now days from injuries sustained on the battlefield). Retirees get 1/2 of their base pay only). Plus we pay healthcare premiums and deductibles (Tricare, btw it reverts to Medicare when we turn 64) along dental insurance. Please know of what you speak before you do so.

          • Well aside from the 20+ years pensions, there are many benefits available to veterans including special discounts for various kinds of purchases and services. I’m also certain that every tax software I’ve used has asked if I’m a veteran every time I file income taxes. I don’t know if veterans get special deductions and I won’t pretend to be an expert on the subject, but my main point was that an increase in the military budget would go towards hardware. I know the F-22 costs $150 million each and that the number of Raptors the government has ordered is being reduced every year. I do know, however, that President Obama sponsored a bill to help bolster veteran jobs, but it was defeated by Senate Republicans. A different bill with the same goal was passed last year.

      • KSM says:

        They get raises every year just like every other federal employee.

        • moobear says:

          I worked with an a retired navy guy and I asked him who did he prefer and he said that with a republican in office they got new toys and when they have a democrat they get a pay increase. My older brothers served under Clinton and Bush, but we never discussed the differences between the administrations, so I don’t know, but I do support our men and women who are serving our country and I applaud the great work that Senator Patty Murray (D) is doing to look out for them.

          • Walrus says:

            I served under Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama. While your co-worker’s summary is generally correct, the largest pay raise came under Reagan (mainly because there hadn’t been any in years) and the smallest came under Clinton (not every year, just once). Having said all that, the percentage of the pay raise is largely controlled by Congress, not the President. I recall everyone grumbling at the time of that small pay raise that it was ‘so considerate’ that Congress voted to give us a 2% raise while at the same time giving themselves a 50% raise. They really did!

          • Walrus says:

            I forgot to include that now, as a 100% disabled vet, the Dems definitely have my back more. Just as far as raises are concerned, VA disability compensation cost of living increases are legally tied to Social Security increases. No doubt which party has more concern for Social Security and disabled vets.

      • David Hayes says:

        I think someone needs to look at EVERYTHING to see how much sense the spending makes. I hear all the time about military men disabled in the line of duty that can’t get medical help without going through tons of red tape. Those soldiers need an advocate to see that they get what they need. On the other hand is my step son. When he found out that the Navy would pay off his college loans if he signed up to get trained to be a nuclear engineer, he took out more college loans that he blew on high living then signed up. He got paid to go to school for years for a profession that easily pays $100,000 a year in the private sector. Then he developed psoriatic arthritis. He was given medication for it and asked if it helped. It did, but he said it didn’t. He was given a desk job for a while and, at intervals, asked if his condition was any better. It was, but he said it wasn’t. I hadn’t known this, but a person can not be in the military unless they are deploy-able. There must be thousands of desk jobs in the military, but I guess everyone in the military must be fit enough to go to the battlefield. If not, they are let go as disabled. Even if the condition is so mild that it wouldn’t quality for social security disability or any domestic disability insurance, the military would consider the person disabled. So, my step son had his college paid off, was paid to get a second education in a lucrative field, qualified for a THIRD PAID college education under the new GI bill, got a decent salary and health coverage for life from the military that continues whether or not he is employed elsewhere. He didn’t ever do anything by school work and some clerical work. A lot of money was spent on him and will be spent on him for the rest of his life and he never once put his life on the line for the country … AND the Navy couldn’t even get the last 4 years of the service that he signed up for in return for what they paid. Why couldn’t he at least be at a desk doing something the Navy will have to hire someone else to do? What BS!

  15. lara says:

    Not a Romney fan, but he won the debate. Partly because of time logistics, because in many instances, Romney was given the opportunity to debate Obama’s rebuttal, but Obama wasn’t given the chance to debate Romney’s rebuttal. Having the last word (literally) helps a candidate seem more correct than he really is. Obama also relied too much on anecdotes (I met so and so…) and tended to get into digressions that didn’t really help.

    Still voting for Obama!

    • murley says:

      this is true. romney ended up with the last word a lot of the time which made him seem like he was “winning”. i just got increasingly annoyed that obama wouldn’t correct the false claim about cutting medicare. that was driving me NUTS.

  16. My favorite bit on my timeline this evening, retweeted by Cougar Town writer/co-creator Kevin Biegel:
    Neil Tyson: Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive

    • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

      Neil Tyson is the same guy that likes to tweet about how bad the “US sucks at science” because he is butthurt over CERN finding the Higgs Boson. Nevermind that the US is putting Rovers on Mars.

  17. margaret cochran says:

    does Romney know how to tell the truth?

  18. chas holman says:

    Mitt Romney wants to hold Big Bird down and cut off his feathers.

  19. Sg. Grant says:

    Neither of these clowns answered the questions. We need Will McAvoy to moderate the debate and yell at the candidates when they don’t answer questions.

    • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

      These questions were all softball general questions. I wasn’t too impressed with them. The moderator even made it clear that his only goal was to highlight difference between the two. He wasn’t that interested in specifics. If you leave politicians to their own devices with a broad question you are going to get a fluff answer.

  20. RuRu says:

    Romney did well, Obama didn’t do s good as expected but keep in mind this was a debate on the economy which is Romney’s strong point. Of course he was going to feel confident and in his element. I don’t think he will do as well in the town hall, which is with ‘real people’ and many of whom are of the 47% he do dislikes, and the second debate on foreign policy, in which he will be out of his element entirely. Lets see how he does then. Asside from that, I don’t know how much the debate will swing people. Yes he spoke well, but he also seemed arrogant, lied and acted like the rules don’t apply to him.

    • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

      Obama got himself elected with exactly 0 foreign policy experience lol. And look what he has done with foreign relations. Hatred of Americans is at an all time high abroad and his apologizing has only made attacks more brazen. Considering the economy is the single most important issue of this election cycle, people should be concerned that Obama failed to deliver.

      • kateshomesick says:

        That is simply not true. I live “abroad” and believe me…if you people vote for Romney our picture of America and Americans will be back to what it was whilst Bush No. 2 had his “reign”…”Obamacare” alone and the steps the steps the country made towards equal rights for homosexual couples etc., also dealing with the lost war(s), somebody started based on a lie, and dealing with the outcome of that great mission…

      • Martina says:

        You couldn’t be more wrong, the foreign view on Romney or ‘Mitt The Twit’ as he is referred to “abroad” is that he represents Corporate America that led the world into this recession, his anti Obamacare hasn’t gone down well either, as the view from outside the US is that no one should go bankrupt or lose their home due to getting sick. He went to Britain and insulted them, he travelled on to Poland and insulted them too. His views on Women & LGBT would take the US back to the 50’s.

        • kateshomesick says:

          Thank you Martina ;-). I’m sometimes so sarcastic that I fail to express myself correctly on the internet. That is exactly what the main opinion over here is…!

      • Emma O'Neill says:

        I actually live “abroad” and here in the UK, while studying the elections, we are genuinely dumbfounded that a man such as Romney could get to the number 2 position with his terrible policies and hate crimes. The perceived notion is that you’re hated now? No, we LIKE Obama. Hatred will be what you will feel if a right-winged, homophobic, racist prat like him gets into power.

      • RuRu says:

        That’s not true. 1.) It doesn’t matter if Obama had o forgein policy experiance 4 years ago, it matters that he has it NOW. 2.) I’m from overseas and the image of America is by far better now than it was 4 years ago. It was at an all time low during the Bush years and has increased steadily with Obama.

  21. Madeline says:

    I uh… Uh well umm uh… Couldn’t have said it better Mr. President.

  22. Amanda says:

    Siiiigh. I don’t come here for political debate.

  23. Angela says:

    Romney just bugs the ever-loving crap out of me. He stammered a lot and kept interrupting, his “I love Big Bird” thing was hilariously random and weird, and after that recent video surfaced of him implying 47% of the country felt they were entitled to things like food and housing (or what most people know instead as basic necessities for survival) and were nothing but freeloaders, to hear him talking like he genuinely cared about the small business people and the working class just made me roll my eyes. He’s a total phony who kept trying to dance between appealing to the conservative base and the center at the same time and it’s not working.
    That said, however, while I’m planning on voting for Obama, he definitely could’ve done better tonight, too-he needs to be tougher and fight back more. So ultimately I called it a draw overall.

  24. Jo says:

    It took me 15 minutes before I realized I wasn’t watching Supernatural. I just thought it was an episode about a creepy millionaire who was trying to use his magical underwear to take over America.

    • AT says:

      That’s a bigoted statement perhaps coming from ignorance rather than actual hatred for Mormons. At least I hope so.

      • But, isn’t the magic underwear thing a true thing? Also, getting to be the god of your own planet when you die? I’ve read quite a few disturbing things and Mormonism seems as far removed from Christianity as Scientology.

        • Britta Unfiltered says:

          Sigh. Having been Mormon for the younger part of my life, I feel the need to comment here, because I despise religious intolerance and ignorance. There is no such thing as magic underwear in the Mormon religion. What you are referring to is the practice of temple-endowed LDS members wearing garments, which is like underwear. But it is not magic. The idea that it is magic is like a….well, let’s call it an urban legend. It’s nothing more than folklore. What I learned in my church history classes at BYU was that wearing the garments is nothing more than a symbolic reminder of the promises you made in the temple to live your life in a moral way. It is also a guide for modest dressing. If your clothing can’t cover your garments, then they’re too immodest to wear. It’s all just that simple. And they really look no different than what men wear when they put on undershirts and boxer-ish whitie tighties. Which is an unfortunate thing for women, I believe, and I never could have worn them after seeing my mother in them, but according to my mom, they’re the most comfortable thing she’s ever worn in her life and she likes them, so…to each his own.

          • I’m totally on board with tolerance and respect of others’ personal beliefs, and I would otherwise be a hypocrite for deriding the insane, xenophobic people accusing the president of being a Muslim. But I don’t think we should ignore Romney’s beliefs if they’re an every day part of his speech and would heavily influence his policy (such as civil rights for gays). When he said, “We’re all children of the same God,” that felt really, really icky to me. Bush 2 actually claimed God spoke to him directly. “I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.’ And I did, and then God would tell me, ‘George go and end the tyranny in Iraq,’ and I did.” And that is truly disturbing. George, go and bankrupt the country. George, start a conflict that would kill millions of civilians. It will probably be at least 200 years before a secular president is even considered electable, but I wish more politicians would serve all of their people and not just those with the same beliefs.

  25. My problems with the debates is most people just believe whatever the nominees say. Guess what, they can lie! It isn’t until the debate is over that they are fact-checked, but everyone may not go look for that. All the debates really show is how well-spoken a candidate is, and considering they’re both running for President, they should both be that.

  26. cjeffery7 says:

    going off your examples, matt, i gotta go with obama. mitt may have been more enthusiastic overall, but his zingers seemed more forced, and like cover-ups. obama’s didn’t seem quite as scripted. and yes, mitt lost me as cutting gov’t funding for PBS.

  27. Sean says:

    Frank Luntz’s focus group that included undecided voters was absolutely devastating for Obama,

  28. Meredith says:

    Obama is leading in the tvline.com poll, I haven’t been this surprised since the sun rose this morning at the same time it does every morning…

  29. Polly says:

    The more i listen to Romney the more i think that, compared to him, Bush jr had a MENSA level IQ.

    Hey Mitt did you figure out how to open the windows of airplanes to get breathable air in case of fire onboard? You know since it sounded a big concern to you last week.

  30. Shelli says:

    That douch Mitt’s blaming on Barack on the medic care & jobs,but Barack’s trying to help people. Mitt’s making things worse for him on his Anniversity.
    Mitt’s against gays & single parentality. What a jerk!!! Gays and Blacks are supporting Barack. I have a best friend’s bisexaul. But Mitt got support from sick millionaires & rednecks.

  31. Wendi says:

    My vote is for Obama. I don’t think we could survive four years if Romney won. I just hope when people go to vote that they actually know who they are voting for and what they stand for and believe in.

  32. DawnK says:

    If Romney wins rest assured jt will be worse than a repeat of the George W.Bush years. Corporate welfare paid by everyone but the wealthy. They line their pockets with government money on everyone else’s back. And if you’re poor, they’ll throw you out on the street. We’ll move closer to a third world society where the rich live behind walls guarded by their vigilantes and for everyone else it will be Lord of the Flies as youth, uneducated and jobless, fight for survival.

  33. DawnK says:

    And Jim Lehrer was terrible last night. I hope he’s done moderating debates. Good riddance to him.

  34. D says:

    Romney is the worst kind of politician. Atleast Obama knows what he stands for and has a plan for the future. If Romney is elected, you can be damn sure the country will be ruined more than it already is.

  35. Gwen says:

    I have many other reasons not to vote for Romney, but even if I didn’t, he would have lost my vote with his plan to cut funding for PBS. When I think of the generations of children who have learned reading skills and life lessons from “Sesame Street,” that alone makes PBS worth saving.

    • Suzie says:

      And how many of your charity dollars have you sent to PBS? I’m betting zero.

    • Sean says:

      Go to ANY Walmart, Target, etc & go to the toy aisle. You will see many, many toys from Sesame Street. Why should my tax dollar be sent to this network when they surely can be self-sustaining? What does PBS actually give us for our dollar? Yes, my kids love Sesame Street, but they also love some of the Disney shows, some of the Nick Jr shows, etc. These networks are able to be viable without my dollar – it is time PBS does the same.

      • Essadee says:

        Couldn’t agree more! There is no reason in this age that my hard earned money should be used to fund any type of entertainment unless I choose what I want to pay for.

  36. John says:

    I am split down the middle and voted for Obama last time….but come on people regardless of whether you support him or not he got crushed last night by Romney. It’s okay to give him props and still support Obama.

    Neither candidate was all that specific in true plans but I did like that Romney gave some specifics about the regulations he wants to get rid of and at least acknowledged the importance of some regulations. Up until that on that issue I thought his position was embarrassing.

    Maybe Obama was out late the night before because he looked old, tired, and grumpy. Was expecting more of him knowing how capable of a speaker he can be.

  37. Liz says:

    The comments here make me depressed. Romney’s a liar? And not one post saying what he’s lying about. Infant mortality rates? You’re aware that each country has different definitions of what is defined as an infant mortality? And the kicker, mitt Romney will set back women and the lgtb community to the 50s? Look abortion isn’t going to be made illegal. You had bush for eight years and a republican controlled congress for 4, and there wasn’t one move made in that direction. As for birth control, no one is taking it away. They simply object to the government mandating that your employer pay for it. Think of it as being pro-choice. It’s amazing how no one wants the government in their bedroom unless it’s to pay for what goes on there. And yes, mitt doesn’t believe in gay marriage. That holds for a lot of people, I’m more of a civil union person myself. And sure Obama had some great revelation, but he hasn’t done much but to say that he’ll leave it up to the states. Again, Bush said repeatedly he wanted to define marriage between a man and women, and again it never got anywhere close to being
    done. I’ll give obama props for don’t ask don’t tell, but that’s it. And again no one is going back to the 50s, all
    that is is rhetoric that makes it easy to dismiss your opponent. I’d continue, but I’m on iPhone.

    I think Romney made some up some ground tonight. And while he’s not my first choice, I have my fingers crossed for November.

  38. Kosha says:

    I find it interesting that Mitt wants a smaller federal government until it gets to your bedroom or exam room door. Then he wants the government to dictate who you can marry and which medical procedures you are able to receive. He also was very good at saying which programs he would eliminate, but didn’t have very many specifics as to what he would replace them with.

    • Liz says:

      I’ll give you the marry part, but not the which medical procedures you can receive. Unless you’re referencing abortion and trying to bury it under more mundane language.

      The current debate is more in protest of the government forcing institutions to pay for those procedures that are in severe conflict with their stated beliefs. I would like to reiterate while there is a strong core group of people whose ultimate goal would be to outlaw abortion the reality is it’s not going to happen. I also find the anti-abortion crowd understandable. If you believe that we’re talking about a life, and that each life has meaning, to not stand up for it is morally reprehensible.

      I’d also like to say

      • Mary says:

        Liz – Please explain to me why Republicans are so threatened of same sex marriage. You may not agree or understand it, but why shouldn’t a same sex couple have the same rights to marry as a hetro couple. If they choose to live their life together why shouldn’t they be allowed the same benefits, tax deductions as a hetro couple.

        • Suzie says:

          This is only my opinion. I don’t think most people object to civil unions giving same sex partners the rights that marriage conveys. I believe years of religious conditioning [brainwashing] have them objecting to the word “marriage”. Yet another example of the evils of religion.

          • Mary says:

            You are probably right; however I believe there is no room for religion in politics. Everyone should be free to believe what they choose but not infringe on the rights of others. I don’t care what religion you it has no place in politics. No president or government group should preach their believes. Sorry.

        • Liz says:

          I tend to favor civil unions because marriage is an institution that has both religious and state/government implications. I think we’re at a point where in terms of government benefits same sex couples should have the same legal rights and privileges.

          I think if you try to deny that there is a religious component to marriage for many, as it has been historically, you’re not being honest with yourself. It’s all well and good to use terms like brainwashed, but it’s not changing anything. I think if you define a homosexual union as a marriage you will eventually run in to a lot of church and state conflicts that aren’t needed if what’s really being sought is legitimacy and rights from a legal standing.

          I’m not a biblical scholar or particulary religious. However being from the south I know a lot and have come into contact with a lot of deeply religious people. And like with anything my experience has been a mixed bad. I will say there’s a lot less hate than people like to think. And for many the sin of homosexualty is no worse than adultery or sex before marriage, or other sins commited at large by the heterosexual community. It is still a sin though, and they feel called upon to address it.

      • John says:

        RomneyCare includes abortion services.

        • Sean says:

          Ummm …. It was NOT included in the initial Romney passed program. In 1981, the Mass Supreme Court mandated this, not Romney.

  39. DN says:

    What’s the purpose of a debate like this? To learn where the candidate and incumbent stands on an issue? In addition to the 24 hour news networks, there are plenty of websites that give you all that information.

    How about the rebuttal to the stance being challenged? Both debaters have weeks to prepare and rehearse those rebuttals so saying them on TV is just for performance on how they are delivered.

    For gosh sakes, it’s been well covered that Mitt Romney had ‘zinger’s planned and rehearsed months in advance! The whole point of a ‘zinger’ is that they’re are spontaneous.

    These types of debates are simply antiquated. If we want debates to continue, they should be surprise debates (a spontaneous phone debate would be more meaningful than what we saw last night). How many time during a term will any President have weeks to prepare their answers? President Obama did not have weeks to comment on Ambassador Steven’s assassination?

    The challenger should always win because that person has time to rehearse. This is a show where we see who was better rehearsed and, like a stage actor performs, better. So it’s time to end these shows or make them a lot more spontaneous, so we can see how the candidates respond without knowing well ahead of time what the question is.

  40. Loni says:

    This poll is a joke. All the media I have seen recognizes Romney soundly won the debate. Obama came off as a pentant child and Romney was by far the presidential one.

    • Mary says:

      I will agree the Romney was a better speaker than Obama. However, I look at the debate on what the candidates said or in this case didn’t say. Romney did not answer my questions on what he plans to do if elected. He is going to eliminate, replace but never once said how. I personally didn’t put a lot of creedence to this debates, an open forum both parties going in blind
      then I really pay attention. I would hardly say that Obama came off as a pentant child but if that is what you believe than so be it.

  41. Todd says:

    I’m still waiting to hear wht the Romney Plan entails… (Is there one? – other than to get into the White House.) If that’s his goal, his wife should just become a part of the Real House Wives of Washington DC cast. Otherwise, tell us what you WILL DO. Education and training is fine, but the United States needs jobs and income NOW!

  42. David Hayes says:

    I pretty much wanted to watch anything but the debates but there wasn’t much in the way of choice. I remember years ago when I thought the debates really mattered when Carter quoted Reagan in a debate and Reagan said something to the effect that he never had such a thing and how dare Carter put words in his mouth. Carter’s people were really on it because they ran ads the next day showing Reagan saying he never said what Carter accused him of saying followed by a speach where Reagan said exactly what he denied saying in the debate. I thought it was a great victory for Carter, but the next day at work people were laughing about how great Reagan was at putting Carter in line for putting words in his mouth. I told them about the ad showing that Reagan had said exactly what Carter had quoted, but it didn’t matter — they enjoyed how Reagan had put down the President and believed that he had won because of how good of a performance he gave , whether or not he had his facts straight, And he did win where it mattered — the election. Not many people will let a debate change what they believe to be the case.

    Last night, with the opening question, the President spent more than his time saying what he wanted to say rather than addressing the question at all and Romney did pretty much the same. I didn’t like the way that the President says what Romney would have to do to pay for his plans when Romney says he won’t, but I understand the frustration when someone says they are going to provide a list of things and don’t say how it will be paid for. Is it by a miracle or magic or taxes or will it just be an unsecured debt passed on to the next Democratic President and blamed on the President that acts to pay it off? I also don’t like it when people say their plan is to create jobs. Just because that’s your plan doesn’t mean it will work. Leaving an employer with more profit doesn’t mean that employer will hire more people. The employer will probably get by with just as few employees as he can no matter how much money the company is making. There is always the temptation to cut the number of workers to see if it effects profits at all. Many profitable companies are cutting workers and freezing wages if they can if it improves their bottom line. I don’t know of any employer that hires more people just because it is a good thing to do for the country.

    • Nicholas Mason says:

      I just want to say that your last point (job creation) was pure perfection. As a former Walmart employee, I’ve seen the practice firsthand: cut hours even on full-timers, make all new hires part-time, and don’t replace employees who get fired/quit until absolutely necessary, therein expecting the same (if not more) work to be done by a skeleton crew. Whatever yields the most profit. But, hey, that’s the beauty of capitalism, right?

  43. Mary says:

    Both parties kept repeating the same rhectoric. Romney kept saying he would eliminate this, change that but never once said how he would do it. Yes our country is in debt but you cannot blame that totaling on this adminstration. Who put us in two wars, one which we never should of been in BUSH. Mark my words if Romney gets elected we will be in another one. Sorry I do believe the middle class, if there is really a middle class anymore, will take the hit if Romney is elected. I guess I am one of the 47% but sorry I have worked my entire life and have not lived off the system. There is no easy solution but until both parties in the congress work together and realize that it is a privilege to be elected nothing will be accomplished.

    • Suzie says:

      With the turmoil in the middle east, we may be in another war regardless of who becomes president. Owing to the world’s reliance on oil, there will be someone UN, Eu etc., getting embroiled in that mess over there.

      • Mary says:

        That is why both candidates agree we should be self sufficient; however, Romney attacked Obama for the money spent for green products. US must find and alternative to fuel green products should be the way to go.

  44. http://factcheck.org/2012/10/dubious-denver-debate-declarations/
    Here’s what Fact Check says about the debates. Both candidates exaggerated, but to me, it looks like Romney was guilty of outright lying at times.

    During the debate, whenever Obama accused Romney’s tax plan of increasing the deficit, Romney would always respond with a rehearsed 2-3 paragraph statement that basically just says, “No it’s not.” This is the first thing they debunked in the post-coverage on NBC.

  45. Brando says:

    tie? BS. 18-29 in here? no jobs, going back home? IT’S OVER. DONE. NO, YOU CAN’T POS. YOU CUT CORNERS. ROVE HAS THE INTERNAL NUMBERS (BREAKDOWN OF STATES, COUNTIES, PRICINTS AND DEMOGRAPHICS). NOT EVEN GALLUP AND RASMUSSEN HAVE THOSE. YOU DON’T BEAT ROVE. GORE COULDN’T. OBAMA’S CHILD’S PLAY. AXELROD, MESSINA AND PLOUFFE = DONNA BRAZILE IN 2000. SILENT MAJORITY. GO MITT! :)

    • Shelli says:

      Get a life!!! You Hillybilly!!! Why you idiots Kissing That douchbag’s butt anyway!!!! Mitt’s a Liar & Cheater!!!! X-(

  46. David Hayes says:

    As to funding PBS, it may be a small amount but it all adds up. I was more concerned when I heard about the US aid to Pakistan. What I heard was that we where withholding $800 million in promised aid because aid money was used to fund anti-American activities. The with holding of aid wasn’t what bothered me, it was an accompanying statement that ‘not to worry’ because Pakistan would still be getting most of the billions of dollars promised. WHAT?! We borrow money from China in order to send aid to countries that hate us so they can fund terrorist action against us? Would a sane person mortgage their home to give money to someone who had vowed to kill their family? NO! So, why do we do this as a country? We have sent Pakistan about $29 billion since 9/11. I have heard of countries that we send money to build roads and hospitals, but when people visit those countries to see those roads and hospitals … they don’t exist and aren’t being built. The money just disappears! Americans can’t afford needed medical care and we are sending money to foreign countries for hospitals they never build? I believe in charity, but not without accountablity … especially when the money to provide the charity has to be borrowed. I guess if we didn’t give billions to our enemies, we couldn’t threaten them to stop doing what we don’t want them to by saying that we’ll stop sending them money.

  47. Shelli says:

    I hate Mitt guy. Maybe he’s freaking gay because he afraid who he are. I really really freakin’ hope that jerk lost. If he wins,the world will be h**l. X-(

  48. David Hayes says:

    Something just dawned on me about letting companies pay less taxes so they can hire more people. As I’ve already posted, why would an employer hire more people than he needed to do the work just because he made more profit? But secondly, the math doesn’t make the concept work. Let’s say a company’s taxes were reduced my enough that they made an addition $100,000 profit and did indeed hire someone for $100,000. Now that person is paying taxes and, according to Romney, having the additional taxpayer offsets the tax break given to the business. Well the lost revenue of $100,000 pays the salary of a person who will now pay (let’s say) 20% of his salary on taxes. So the return for the $100,000 in lost tax revenue is $20,000 in new revenue. To be more fair, let’s say the person was being supported by the government to the tune of $20,000 a year before he got hired, so the government saves $20K by not supporting him any more and got $20K in taxes and lost $100K to do it. So, the country loses $60K a year in revenue but there is one person off the employment roster. It doesn’t math out as an advantage. The employer will hire someone when he NEEDS to hire someone, not because he gets a tax advantage that doesn’t even require him to hire a person.

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