Videos | Post Presidential Debate Wrap Up: What Folks Are Saying

Statement from Campaign Manager Jim Messina on Tonight’s Debate

CHICAGO — Obama for America released the following statement from Campaign Manager Jim Messina in reaction to tonight’s debate:

“President Obama clearly won tonight’s debate. The American people saw their leader tonight – a strong, steady and decisive president with an affirmative vision to move this country forward and build the economy from the middle out, not the top down. He pointed out that Mitt Romney is offering the American people a ‘sketchy deal’ – his plan to spend $5 trillion on a tax cut for the wealthiest that they don’t need and $2 trillion for a defense buildup the Pentagon says it doesn’t want, without explaining how he’d pay for it. Romney misfired on his attacks and fired blanks on his own proposals. When he was exposed on the emptiness of his own plans, he was rattled, lashed out against moderator and refused to explain his indefensible ideas.”

Mark Halperin: “I don’t think anyone can say Governor Romney won this debate… His answer on Libya was the closest thing to a moment, a horribly weak moment, I think that the debate had.”

Neil Cavuto:“The President put in a better performance tonight.”

Mike Allen: “There were a number of painfully awkward moments for Governor Romney. This was one of them. American Bridge, one of the liberal groups, has already bought the website”

John Kerry:“I’m telling you, in the next days, all of these inconsistencies and untruths we’ll see. Tonight the Mitt Romney campaign began to unravel formally and publicly and dramatically.”

John King: Romney on Libya: “That one moment, there, just a little bit of deer in the headlights.”

Jim VandeHei:“I’m getting an email from Lois Romano who’s on the floor in the spin room, and it says that Romney people are very defensive about the performance. She said that Ed Gillespie is red-faced and defending Mitt Romney’s performance.”

John Harris:“I sensed that this time Mitt Romney’s competitiveness sometimes made him seem a little peevish… I did feel that he was slightly annoying, frankly.”

Charles Krauthammer:“I think on points, if you’re scoring it on points, Obama wins on points.”

Ed Schultz: “I think the President had a stellar performance tonight … the dagger came out, the dagger of truth: Mitt Romney this is who you are behind closed doors, and the President hit him with the 47% comment in just the right tone, just the right way.”

Jim VandHei: “He seemed to get irked early on.”

Brit Hume:“[The President] will probably be declared the winner of this on most cards.”

David Brooks: “If we go by winners and losers, I guess I’d have to say Obama won this debate.”

Matt Dowd:“Yeah, very clear victor. President Obama gets the victory in this.”

Juan Williams:“I think Obama won the debate.”

ABC Fact Check: “Mitt Romney, when he says the President doubled the deficit – that’s just false.”

Lois Romano:“The sense of the room is that Obama knocked it out of the park.”

NYT’s Andrew Rosenthal: “When George H.W. Bush looked at his watch in a 1992 debate with Bill Clinton and Ross Perot and absolutely bungled a question about how the national debt had affected him personally, he cemented the impression that he was out of touch with real Americans’ lives. When Gerald Ford denied in 1976 that there was any “Soviet domination” of Eastern Europe, he cemented the impression that he was out of touch with pretty much everything. Tonight, Mitt Romney may have had a similar moment, during a back-and-forth about the attack on the Benghazi Consulate.”

Taegan Goddard: “Obama won the debate decisively. The president had a simple formula: Defend and explain his record while insisting that Romney wasn’t being truthful. He kept Romney on the defensive and came prepared with counter-punches to nearly every topic. It was devastatingly effective.”

Chris Cillizza: “In trying to catch the incumbent in what he thought was a clear mistake, Romney was hoisted with his own petard by Crowley in what will be the single most memorable (and replayed) interaction of the debate.”

New York Times:“The most devastating moment for Mr. Romney was self-inflicted. Continuing his irresponsible campaign to politicize the death of the American ambassador to Libya, he said it took two weeks for the president to acknowledge that it was the result of an act of terror. As the moderator, Candy Crowley of CNN, quickly pointed out, the president referred to it as an act of terror the next day, in the Rose Garden.”

What were some of your debate highlights? DO SHARE & DONATE TO POTUS’ CAMPAIGN, PLEASE.

rikyrah here: just had to add these pics.

text from The Maddow Blog:

One other thought: last night featured plenty of emotional highs and lows, but Romney’s criticism of Benghazi on political grounds seemed to offend the president on a personal level. Take a look at Obama’s face during his response:

Romney tried to exploit the deaths of Americans for partisan gain the night of Sept. 11, and then he tried to do it again in last night’s debate. The president, displaying more passion than we’re accustomed to seeing, was determined to make the Republican pay a price for this, and he did. Romney ended up looking small, with even less credibility on foreign policy than he did before.

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68 Responses to Videos | Post Presidential Debate Wrap Up: What Folks Are Saying

  1. Debate questioner voting for Obama

    The presidential debate on Tuesday helped one undecided questioner from the audience make up her mind.

    Susan Katz, who asked GOP nominee Mitt Romney how he would operate differently than former President George W. Bush, said Wednesday she is going to vote for President Barack Obama.

  2. Romney ‘Binders Full Of Women’ Female Hiring Boast Falls Apart

    In response to a question about equal pay for women during the presidential debate Tuesday night, Republican nominee Mitt Romney boasted that as governor of Massachusetts, he was so frustrated by the lack of qualified female candidates for positions in his cabinet that he sent women’s groups out to actively recruit them.

    “I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’ and they brought us whole binders full of women,” he said.

    Romney’s account of that story is false, according to two women who led an effort in 2002 to recruit female candidates to high-level appointed positions in Massachusetts. MassGAP, a bipartisan coalition of women’s groups dedicated to increasing the number of women appointed to top government jobs, approached Romney and his Democratic challenger Shannon O’Brien before the 2002 gubernatorial election and pressured them to sign a pledge to appoint more women if elected.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:57 AM ET, 10/17/2012
    How Romney lost by swinging and missing on Libya
    By Jamelle Bouie

    Barring a disasterous performance, the winner or loser of a presidential debate is almost always decided in the days following, as pundits, reporters, and partisans work to shape a narrative of what happened. And judging from the chatter this morning, Mitt Romney’s losing (but generally solid) performance might — by the end of the week — transform itself into a terrible loss.

    His answer on Libya has a lot to do with it. Romney began with a little Republican boilerplate: Asserting that the “buck” stops with the president, hitting the White House for not providing additional security, and hitting Obama for taking his time before condemning the attack as an act of terror.

    As has been the case throughout the campaign, Romney’s problem is that this rhetoric lacks a firm foundation in the truth. The day after the attacks in Libya, President Obama gave a short address in the Rose Garden, where he described the events as an “act of terror” and pledged to “hunt down those who committed the crime.” Obama pointed this out during the debate, and was immediately challenged by Romney, who claimed — in short — that Obama was lying: “I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.”

    At this point, the moderator, Candy Crowley, stepped in and explained that yes, Obama did describe the attacks the next day as an act of terror. Obama asked Crowley to say this “a little louder,” and the audience responded with clapping, as if to say “Thank you for fact checking Romney.”

    It was the mos t brutal moment of the debate. More to the point, though, it was a direct product of Romney’s foreign policy convictions, and his substance-less view that the best way to project American strength is to label things as “terror” at every opportunity. What’s more, it was fed into Obama’s (somewhat self-serving) critique: That Romney was and is too eager to politicize a tragedy.

  4. rikyrah says:

    TOWN translating that Libya bitchslap moment as only Town can:

    Collapse Expand It went down like this (paraphrasing & embellishing):

    OBAMA: I stood in the Rose Garden on Sept. 12th and called it an act of terror.

    ROMNEY: Oh, you sure about that? You sure? (looks at Obama with the YOU BETTA KNUCK IF YOU BUCK look)

    OBAMA: (smile) Please proceed, Governor.

    ROMNEY: Cuz I wanna make sure this is on the record. You actually claiming you said “act of terror” on Sept. 12th?

    OBAMA: (calmly sips water) Please proceed, Governor.

    ROMNEY: I KNOW you ain’t trying to say you said “act of terror”on Sept. 12th, when it took you 14 days to say anything about it. (juts out chin)

    OBAMA: Get the transcript.

    CANDY CROWLEY: Well, Governor, Obama actually DID stand in the Rose Garden on Sept. 12th and call it an act of terror.


    OBAMA: Say it a lil’ louder, Candy.


  5. rikyrah says:

    Why Obama Won, and What Next
    by BooMan
    Wed Oct 17th, 2012 at 09:49:17 AM EST

    The proof that the president had a bad first debate came in the immediate deterioration of his lead in the polls. I can’t dispute that he did a bad job in the first debate because the evidence in incontrovertible. But understanding what he did wrong is harder to pinpoint. My guess is that it was a combination of things that mostly came down to two. He didn’t have enough energy and he let Mitt Romney be the Alpha Dog. As a matter of substance, Obama did fine. He didn’t commit any gaffes or factual errors or even say anything he had cause to regret. He just didn’t stand up for himself and his record or take on his opponent with sufficient rigor.
    Last night’s debate was different for a lot or reasons. The president let himself get pushed around a little bit early on, but not without some resistance. And he eventually found the perfect moment to rope-a-dope Romney into the threshing blades with his comments on terrorism in Benghazi. Thereafter, Obama was the undisputed Alpha Dog of the debate, which was capped by his good fortune in having the final say of the night. If it were a boxing match, Romney was knocked down at least two times and the fight ended with Mitt on the ropes taking a pummeling from the champion. The judges’ cards were not close.

    Romney came into the debate with two purposes. First, he wanted to repeat his performance as the stronger male on the stage, which involved bullying the moderator and stealing extra time for himself to speak. This didn’t work as well the second time around for at least three reasons. The town hall format meant that he was stealing time from audience members. The moderator being a woman, his pushiness was more alienating. And the president wasn’t going to let him go unchallenged again.

    Second, Romney was less concerned with creating ‘zingers’ than with repeating certain poll-tested themes. He wanted to let people know that he “knows what it takes to turn the economy around” and that he “knows what it takes to create good jobs again.” Through repetition, Romney wanted to burn an impression of economic competence into the viewers’ minds. And he probably was modestly successful in that task. In my personal opinion, his repetition began to have diminishing returns later in the debate because it started to seem non-repsonsive to some of the questions.

    The bigger problem with his strategy is being seen this morning on the television. While he was occasionally effective during the debate, no one wants to show him repeating himself five times to demonstrate how he hammered home some theme. All of the debate highlights are either of Mitt Romney making mistakes or of the president blasting him with effective rejoinders. Last night, all the ‘zingers’ belonged to the president.

    And, so, it is not hard to know why the president won the debate last night. It wasn’t anything subtle like a lack of energy or apparent desire. It was because Romney committed gaffes and the president delivered big body blows.

    Winning the second debate is certainly preferable to losing it, but we shouldn’t expect the polls to snap back to the way they looked before the first debate. Some of the damage caused by the first debate is permanent, and we’ll pay a price for that for the next two years, at a minimum, with smaller margins in Congress. Romney reversed a trajectory that had us easily winning a second term for the White House, picking up seats in the Senate, and probably winning back the House. All of those things are still in doubt because the first debate did not go well.

    The president did a fine job of righting the ship last night, but we all still have a lot of work to do to get us back to where things should have been. So, find your local folks and volunteer to help them out in whatever capacity you can. We need all hands on board.

    • TyrenM. says:

      Good Morning 3Chics,
      A few thoughts on Booman. “My guess is… he didn’t have enough energy.” No. 1) He let Mitt go after seeing the Moderator (Lehrer) wasn’t moderating. So he took notes. The whole 1st debate was to set up the 2nd debate knowing Mitt would like his tail off. 2) It was on his anniversary. I think Mitt was an afterthought. 3) After Libya pre-mature ejaculation and smackdown by Candy Crowley, Bush people all by Romney’s side (Condoleeza Rice with Paul Ryan yesterday, et al.) and Bin Laden dead – Romney will be eaten alive in “Foreign Policy Debate” Monday. Stick with the program and GOTV. Have a good day.

  6. rikyrah says:

    These are two parts from the debate, from Balloon Juice (it’s a really good, but long post about the debate):

    Obama stands up, presumably because he has been spoken to, and right there, Mitt pretty much loses the debate.

    ROMNEY: You’ll get your chance in a moment. I’m still speaking.

    OBAMA: Well –

    ROMNEY: And the answer is I don’t believe people think that’s the case –

    OBAMA: – Governor, if you’re asking me a question.

    ROMNEY: That wasn’t the question.

    OBAMA: OK.

    ROMNEY: That was a statement.

    Charles Pierce aptly described the moment last night.

    Outside of street protestors, and that Iraqi guy who threw a shoe at George W. Bush, I have never seen a more lucid example of manifest public disrespect for a sitting president than the hair-curling contempt with which Romney invested those words. (I’ve certainly never seen one from another candidate.) He’s lucky Barack Obama prizes cool over everything else. LBJ would have taken out his heart with a pair of salad tongs and Harry Truman would have bitten off his nose

  7. Ametia says:


    ThinkProgress brings you “five ways Romney alienated women in the second Presidential debate”:

    For months Romney refused to take a position on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which President Obama signed into law to help ensure women get equal pay for equal work. This morning his campaign clarified that Romney would not have signed the bill as president:

    “Is that leadership?” asked Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood. “If [Romney] was president, we wouldn’t have equal pay. I think that’s the point. He doesn’t lift a finger to do anything for women.”

    In an effort to avoid owning up to his extreme positions on women’s rights, Mitt Romney last night tried to tout his efforts to hire women as governor of Massachusetts, claiming that he reached out to women’s groups who brought him “whole binders” of women qualified to serve in his cabinet.

    But the facts show that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006:

    And Romney did not have any women partners as CEO of Bain Capital:

  8. Ametia says:

    President Obama effectively made the case that Mitt Romney is more extreme than President George Bush. On the economy, the President noted, Romney’s trickle-down approach is troublingly similar—but when it comes to social issues, “There are some things where Governor Romney is different from George Bush. George Bush didn’t propose turning Medicare into a voucher. George Bush embraced comprehensive immigration reform, he didn’t call for self-deportation. George Bush never suggested we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.”

    The Raw Story breaks down the President’s devastating critique:

  9. Ametia says:

    And the hits just keep on coming!

    Steve Benen on why the “ridicule is still going strong 12 hours later”:

    And overnight, a meme was born:

    In yet another attempt to brazenly politicize the attacks in Libya, Romney falsely attacked President Obama for refusing to call the attacks terrorism. Romney was immediately corrected by the moderator—the exchange is worth re-watching in full:

    Plunderbund: “There are several things about this particular debate exchange that are going to haunt Romney.”

    DailyKos: “Note to Mitt: When Obama calls something an ‘act of terror,’ he’s called it an ‘act of terror’”:

  10. Ametia says:

    OCTOBER 16, 2012, 11:32 PM
    Romney’s Rose Garden Moment

    When George H.W. Bush looked at his watch in a 1992 debate with Bill Clinton and Ross Perot and absolutely bungled a question about how the national debt had affected him personally, he cemented the impression that he was out of touch with real Americans’ lives.

    When Gerald Ford denied in 1976 that there was any “Soviet domination” of Eastern Europe, he cemented the impression that he was out of touch with pretty much everything.

    Tonight, Mitt Romney may have had a similar moment, during a back-and-forth about the attack on the Benghazi Consulate.

  11. Ametia says:

    Don’t call it a Comeback
    Author: J. Christian Watts-JJP

    The President started out strong and he never looked back. The room had an energy to it, he had charm, and his points had reach and depth to them. He commanded the room and he demanded of the moderator, that she do her job. It took her a couple of tries but when she did, boy did she. Anyone who has ever played poker with an amateur, someone without the general skill set to be really good at it, knows what this moment looks like. A rookie beats you drawing to an inside straight, or calls your bluff when he’s holding a ten as a high card, when the only reason he stays in to catch that last card that makes his hand is that he’s too bad at the game to know he should have folded after the flop. What good players say when that happens, when they take a “bad beat” or when they lose when they shouldn’t is, “try me again and I’ll bust you.” Well guess what folks. Mitt Romney tried the President again, and Obama busted him. Right in the mouth.

    Read on here:

  12. Obama camp buys Twitter ad for ‘binders full of women’

    Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment from last night’s presidential debate trending all over the Internet.

    Even the Obama campaign has jumped on the band wagon with a Twitter ad.

    Governor Romney’s comment came when he was asked to respond to a question about women being paid less in the work force.

    The presidential candidate chose to speak on a personnel problem that he faced as governor of Massachusetts, when he was trying to hire members of his cabinet.

  13. Jeff Gauvin‏@JeffersonObama

    POLLS BREAKING: YouGov Economist #POlls
    Iowa: Obama +4,
    Colorado: Obama +3,
    Florida: Obama +1,
    Michigan: Obama +10

  14. 7.3 bee.itches.

  15. John Kerry on presidential debate prep: I need ‘exorcism’ to be rid of Mitt Romney

    Sen. John Kerry joked Wednesday that he’ll need an “exorcism” after the final debate next week to purge Mitt Romney after playing the GOP presidential nominee for weeks in debate prep with President Barack Obama.

    “It’s been an interesting exercise,” Kerry said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I’ve decided next Tuesday I’ve got to have an exorcism of Romney out of my being.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments at POU

    PBO gave that look of

    “If all these people weren’t around with this tape rolling, I would fuck you up. You say me and my crew are some Chicago thugs ….I’ll show you a Chicago ass whupping by way of Hawaii with some ancestral Kenyan beatdown in the mix. Oh and Ann bet not think about moving, Michelle is already in position.”


  17. Ametia says:

    President Obama: “But the last point I want to make is this. You know, there are some things where Governor Romney’s different from George Bush. George Bush didn’t propose turning Medicare into a voucher. George Bush embraced comprehensive immigration reform. He didn’t call for self-deportation. George Bush never suggested that we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.

    So there are differences between Governor Romney and George Bush, but they’re not on economic policy. In some ways, he’s gone to a more extreme place when it comes to social policy, and I think that’s a mistake. That’s not how we’re going to move our economy forward.”

  18. The Boss of Townhall

  19. rikyrah says:

    Looking forward to the foreign policy debate. The Commander-In-Chief vs. Guy Who Ate Baguettes In A French Chalet During Vietnam. #p2

  20. Ametia says:

    America Has Now Met the Many Romneys, and America Knows They Can Get Their Asses Kicked: At the Debate
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 1:15AM

    But not even I expected Romney to let his entitled, Lord-of-the-Manor freak flag fly as proudly as he did on Tuesday night. He got in the president’s face. He got in Crowley’s face. That moment when he was hectoring the president about the president’s pension made him look like someone to whom the valet has brought the wrong Mercedes.

    “You’ll get your chance in a moment. I’m still speaking.”

    Wow. To me, this was a revelatory, epochal moment. It was a look at the real Willard Romney, the Bain cutthroat who could get rich ruining lives and not lose a moment’s sleep. But those people are merely the anonymous Help. The guy he was speaking to on Tuesday night is a man of considerable international influence. Outside of street protestors, and that Iraqi guy who threw a shoe at George W. Bush, I have never seen a more lucid example of manifest public disrespect for a sitting president than the hair-curling contempt with which Romney invested those words. (I’ve certainly never seen one from another candidate.) He’s lucky Barack Obama prizes cool over everything else. LBJ would have taken out his heart with a pair of salad tongs and Harry Truman would have bitten off his nose.<b.

    Read more:

  21. Thank you, Candy Crowley!

  22. Ametia says:


  23. Ametia says:

    David, obviously you’re not watching the same clip nor reading the same script as we are, or you are refusing to face the facts. On this matter, the President is truthful. Take your “Obama” is lying shit to Red State. We don’t want or need it here at 3 Chics. Got it.

  24. Here’s to the wingnuts who are mad b/c President Obama KICKED Mitt Romney’s ASS!

    Sexy Girl Middle Finger

  25. RNC chair accuses Obama of lying about Lybia, says Crowley aided and abetted.

  26. Obama jumps back into campaign with feisty debate

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama leaped back into the presidential campaign Tuesday, aggressively challenging rival Mitt Romney in a tense debate likely to reset the contest as it heads into the final weeks.

    Obama was all the things he was not in his first faceoff with Romney – energetic, engaged, quick to defend his record and even quicker to tear into Romney. At points, he even jumped off his seat to challenge Romney.

  27. ThinkProgress‏@thinkprogress

    Obama actually referred to Libya as an “act of terror” on Sept. 12 AND Sept. 13

  28. rikyrah says:

    Obama Strikes Back

    The president put Romney on the ropes with a fiery debate performance—and ended with a climactic 47-percent punch.

    —By David Corn

    | Tue Oct. 16, 2012 10:46 PM PDT

    Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine where the presidential race would be if the Barack Obama of Debate 2 had appeared at Debate 1.

    Obama entered the second of three rounds with many tasks to accomplish. He had to display vim and vigor—at least look as if he wants to be president and fight for that privilege. He had to offer a passionate defense—or explanation—of his presidency to date, outlining his accomplishments in what-it-means-for-you-terms. He had to convince voters he has a strong idea of what he will do in the next four years to build on the improvements of the past four. He had to cast the election as a stark choice between this vision and Mitt Romney’s back-to-Bush intentions. And he had to call out the say-anything Romney on several fronts: being out of step (or touch) with the priorities and needs of middle- and working-class Americans, and refusing to own his policies and positions.

    Romney had a much simpler task: repeat his charge that Obama has not done enough to bolster the economy and proclaim “I can do better.” Romney demonstrated in the first debate that he would not be burdened by any of his inconvenient or mathematically-challenged stances. He could toss them aside, just like dumping a bad stock.

  29. rikyrah says:

    The moment when Romney lost
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:45 AM EDT.

    The question came towards the end of last night’s debate, and Republicans were no doubt thrilled. After an event featuring questions Democrats enjoyed — equal pay for women, outsourcing, Bush comparisons — an undecided voter finally brought up an issue the right has been desperate to talk about: the attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.

    But after weeks of teeing this up as a devastating issue for President Obama, Mitt Romney blew it. It was, as Rachel noted last night, a “political disaster” for the Republican

    As the moment unfolded live, it was obvious Romney thought he’d finally found a brutal new criticism. The Republican began by accusing the president on Sept. 12 of flying “to Las Vegas for a political fundraiser” — that wasn’t true; there was no such fundraiser — instead of addressing the attack. Obama responded, “The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror.”

    Romney hadn’t done his homework, and didn’t realize that the president was telling the truth. He thought he’d tripped Obama up, but even moderator Candy Crowley felt compelled to fact-check Romney in real time: “He did call it an ‘act of terror.'”

    The president added, “Can you say that a little louder, Candy?” The moment that Romney expected to be triumphant had backfired — and the crowd of undecided voters ended up applauding Obama.

    “[T]he Romney camp laid the trap,” Josh Marshall noted. “And tonight Mitt walked right into it.”

  30. rikyrah says:


    Last night @MittRomney said children raised by single women had a poor chance of success. Pres. Obama proved that comment to be hogwash

  31. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney’s second debate was far worse than Obama’s first debate: Obama had no memorably bad moments on 10/3. Last night, Mitt had many

  32. rikyrah says:

    Once again, Mitt’s largest personal weakness is his decades-long sense of entitlement. Obama exploited that expertly.

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