As Walter Cronkite once said: "Well, that debate was one flaming pile of rancid cat shit."*
For those of you who didn't suffer through last night's 90-minute cojone-eating contest between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, here's your 10-second summary:
- Romney won
- Obama lost
- Romney snorted Ronald Reagan's ashes before going on stage
- Obama performed like John Kerry on Quaaludes
- Moderator Jim Lehrer was about as useful as an egg timer
In all seriousness, Romney won the debate hands-down. His strategy was clear: sew a steady, syphilis-like drip of confusion and then attack with whatever bullshit came to mind.
For instance, he repeatedly denied his own very well known plan to cut taxes (mostly for the rich) by $5 trillion. He also denied that his plan would force cuts in education, which as Obama labored to point out, is a completely bogus claim.
After the debate, pundits immediately criticized the president for not hitting Romney harder. But how can you hit what isn't there in the first place? By denying his own platform and refusing to put forward a new one, Romney left Obama with nothing to aim at.
Meanwhile, Jim Lehrer sat at the moderator's table like Milton from Office Space mumbling about his stapler. A journalist hasn't crapped himself this badly since Geraldo Rivera stained the seat of his khakis dodging bullets in Kosovo. A quivering mound of head cheese could have done more to reign in Romney ridiculous claims.
Freed from the burden of facts, Romney was even more effective on offense. While Obama was in explaining mode (e.g. No, Obamacare doesn't appoint a death panel to pull the plug on your grandma. Oh, those pesky policy details!) his Republican counterpoint was barfing bogus political bullshit across the Denver stage. Not surprisingly, a lot of it stuck.
- Romney claimed that Obama had added as much to the federal debt as all previous presidents combined. This is completely false.
- He claimed that Obamacare had killed jobs. Not true, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
- Romney said all increases in oil and gas production under Obama came on private -- not public -- land, meaning the president could take no credit. Again, this is false.
- Romney claimed at least five times that Obama had cut $716 billion from Medicare benefits. As Obama explained, this is simply not true.
Whether you saw it as slinging Bain CEO bullshit or speaking truth to socialist power, there is no doubt that Romney won the debate. He pounded away at simple (if misleading) messages.
Take Romney's most damning line:
I just don't know how the president could have come into office, facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis at the -- at the kitchen table, and spend his energy and passion for two years fighting for Obamacare instead of fighting for jobs for the American people. It has killed jobs.
It's not really true (Google "stimulus"), but it sounds really bad.
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Romney was so comfortable he didn't even seem to care about coming across as a dick. At one point during a discussion of budget trimming, he said he liked PBS personas like Lehrer and Big Bird but would cut the station's funding anyways.
Overall, Obama looked unprepared for Mitt's mental acuity and sheer mendacity tonight. The president better prepare for round two.
*Cronkite is not on record as ever saying this, but we're pretty sure he thought it often. Little known fact: Spiro Agnew even smelled like cat urine.