October 17, 2012

46% say Clinton [I mean Obama!] won the debate, 39% say Romney.

The CNN poll:
The president's edge on the question of who won the debate appears to be the result of his much better than expected performance and his advantage on likeability. But the poll also indicates that debate watchers said Romney would do a better job on economic issues. And the two candidates were tied on an important measure - whether the showdown would affect how the debate watchers will vote. Nearly half said the debate did not make them more likely to vote for either candidate, with the other half evenly divided between both men.
The return of likeability! I'd say the first point there is the most important one. Obama, having done badly in the first debate, faced a specific need to do better than he had in the first. In that view, he could win by beating his first-debate self, and the comparison to Romney is secondary. Romney's goal was only to be good again. He actually did have a difficult project: being the same while facing an opponent who was sure to be different. But different in what way?

The poll shows that 70% thought Romney did better (37%) or the same (33%) as they expected, so Romney met what I imagine was his real goal. Obama also clearly met his goal, as 90% thought he did better (73%) or the same (16%) as they expected. Everyone's a winner.

But, good lord, it was nasty! What a strange world we live in where men of the highest stature make the center of a town hall meeting feel like like a boxing ring. They paced around each other, poking pointy fingers. Were you listening to what they said or wondering aloud whether they'd come to blows?
By a 49%-35% margin, debate watchers thought that Obama spent more time attacking his opponent.  
Is attacking bad or good? I think it hurts you with people who don't like tension and unpleasantness, but Obama's supporters beat him over the head with the demand that he fight. I thought Romney did a great job of maintaining a calm but dominant presence in that fight, at least until he got rattled by that "act of terror" confusion.

ADDED: Wow! What a Freudian slip in the title! I had just posted about Chelsea Clinton, but jeez!

IN THE COMMENTS: Bob Ellison said: "It could be argued, though, that Clinton won the debate...."

That reminds me of a crazy old game I used to play with my sons when they were kids. It was called "What if you had to argue?" I'd come up with some strange statement and the challenge was to come up with the arguments they'd make if they had to argue that. What if you had to argue that Bill Clinton won the debate?

94 comments:

The Farmer said...

Clinton?

Icepick said...

Beuller?

Bob Ellison said...

"46% say Clinton won the debate"? I didn't know any Clintons were even in it!

Bob Ellison said...

It could be argued, though, that Clinton won the debate. Maybe not Hillary, but maybe Bill. He looks more Presidential after last night.

Kev said...

(the other kev)

This surrogate thing is getting out of hand . . .

Oso Negro said...

Did you mean to say "act of terror" subversion? YOU, Ann Althouse, need to be a moderator of a presidential debate in 2016.

Auntie Ann said...

It is amazing how deep an impression Clinton made, that he still pops up like this 12 years after he left office.

Matthew Sablan said...

Is this like the Debate Commission's transcript of the Biden-Romney debate?

Icepick said...

Also, it really ought to be 47% thought Obama won the debate. THAT would be funny!

marshall2twr said...

Politics is not supposed to be puppies and rainbows. These men are vying for the job to run the most powerful nation in the history of the planet, and this election stands as a large marker on where they country will go in the future.

There is to much on the line for either of them to sit back and play it like it is no big deal. It is a BFD, and they are acting like it.

Emery Calame said...

Are you sure that Bush didn't lose the debate and everything else is proxy ?

Matthew Sablan said...

I do think Obama met his goal; he fired up his base by calling Romney a liar. It does not matter that he was wrong/lying about it; the base never listens to fact checks that hurt their side. So, he's got his base solid again. Who cares if it came at the cost of alienating more independents (according to CNN, people -hated- how nasty he was on their dial-meters and really did not like bringing up the 47%), he needs his base.

Icepick said...

Alternately, Romney is gaining ground. Despite the announcement yesterday that food stamp usage continues to go up, Romney has peeled off 1% of Obama's support!

AF said...

Of course in the last debate when Romney was aggressive and Obama wasn't that reflected poorly on Obama too. Consistency is not your strong suit.

The most aggressive moves were Romney's when he tried to directly cross-examine Obama on the pension issue and Libya. Obama never did that. And both times Romney tried it he got smacked pretty badly.

Jay said...

Clinton who?

Matthew Sablan said...

AF: Obama never -engaged- Romney because when he tried it, he lost. For example, on oil/gas, we now know Romney was right, Obama wrong. On Libya, we know know Romney was right, Crowley was wrong. Obama tried to engage Romney in the first debate and lost, bad. That's why he saved his 47% jab for the last thing in the night; he is a coward and unable to attack people who can defend themselves. See: Paul Ryan and the Supreme Court.

john sager said...

Hillary or Bill?

gerry said...

"46% say Clinton won the debate, 39% say Romney"

Clever, Professor.

It's a good thing I'd swallowed the coffee before I read that.

Jay said...

I found it interesting the former Constitutional Law professor so brazenly lied about Lilly Ledbetter's lawsuit:

for nearly two decades before discovering that for years, she was paid less than her male colleagues for doing the very same work.

Which is such complete & utter bullshit one wonders how he became a professor of constitutional law.

MayBee said...

I just see my lefty facebook friends trying to make a big deal out of the "binders full of women" comment.
It's the usual suspects, and I'm glad they are having fun, but their complaints about it don't make any sense to me.

Fprawl said...

the Obama camp can't be happy that there will be another bite at the Benghazi apple Monday.

pm317 said...

heh, Clinton won the debate? Your post title is misleading in more ways than one.

Here are the internal issue numbers:

CNN:
Better on Economy: R-58% to O-40%
Taxes: R-51% to O-44%
Health Care: R-49% to O-46%
Deficit: R-59% to O-36%
Who are you more likely to vote for after the debate 25% each
Stronger leader Romney 49% Obama 46%
Who did more attacking the other Obama 49% Romney 35%
Who answered questions better Obama 43% Romney 45%
Who would handle Foreign policy better O 49 R 47 seriously crap for Obama after the Libya question

but i think a very serious question internal was this

Did Obama have solutions for countries problems Yes 38% No 61%
Did Romney have solutions for countries problems Yes 49% No 50%

CBS also had Obama losing the economic question by 31% last night with Romney at 65% to Obama’s 34%.


Matthew Sablan said...

Binders full of women was a funny, misspoken line. I like Romney and think it is fine to goof on him for it. It is goofy sounding.

Icepick said...

Matthew Sablan, I looked over at Andrew Sullivan's site last night to see his reaction to the President's whopper. Turns out that the President ALWAYS insisted it was terrorism, and no video has ever been mentioned at all, ever. In fact, video hasn't even been invented yet, or something. So Romney is definitely the Liar McLyingPants on this issue.

It was a very strange thing to read. I'm half tempted to click over again today to see how badly he denounces Crowley for "changing her mind" on this issue. I expect him to be extremely harsh, questioning whether or not Crowley actually gave birth to Trig Palin. You just can't trust a uterus, you know....

Emery Calame said...

"46% say Clinton won the debate, 39% say Romney."

Aaaand Freud pulls back, there's a set up, and....he kicks a field goal! It's GOOOOOD! Three points! That's how you do it when the running game fails!

Lem said...

In the midst of the Monica Lewinski scandal Clintonistas kept referring to Clintons likeability and Job performance numbers.

Same here.

(credit for the Althousian spell)

Matthew Sablan said...

Icepick: Best tweet of the night came from Politico (not one of their bloggers/reporters, the actual website's Twitter feed):

"Andrew Sullivan backs away from the ledge."

Shouting Thomas said...

Since it was really the ghost of Clinton vs. the ghost of Bush...

Hagar said...

"Politics ain't beanball, lady!" or something like that.

Especially when you are dealing with someone like Obama, who is not just running to be President, but wants to be the Messiah leading to a "fundamental tranformation" of America in a direction it does not want to go.

MadisonMan said...

Hilarious typo.

Did they really say Clinton won the debate?

LOL!

pm317 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

That's why he saved his 47% jab for the last thing in the night;

The best thing his defenders point to Obama still reluctant to debate it.

Icepick said...

Matthew, it will be funny if Sullivan is backing away from the ledge, only to discover he's standing on a 2x4.

MayBee said...

I like Romney and think it is fine to goof on him for it.

Yeah, but I don't think they are just goofing on him. They are trying to make the point it is one more reason women should be ashamed to vote for him.

MadisonMan said...

Nearly half say Obama won showdown

Obviously a landslide victory for the President.

pm317 said...

at least until he got rattled by that "act of terror" confusion.

My first impression of that was bad and our camera angle was not great. But listening to Romney finish his sentence in this RCP video, it does not look like a bad finish for Romney. Of course, Candy was disgusting.

Johnula said...

Typo! I think you meant to say "Crowley won the debate".

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Jay said...

...Which is such complete & utter bullshit one wonders how he became a professor of constitutional law.

Which is such complete & utter bullshit one understands how he became a professor of constitutional law.

FIFY

pm317 said...

I am a big fan of Clinton and Obama is no Clinton.

Matthew Sablan said...

Who is the moderator for the third debate? After the last three fiascos (though, you know, Jim Lehrer is not looking all that bad after Raddatz and Crowley; at least he was dignified), I kind of think that the RNC, next go-round, needs to insist on people like Tapper instead of wherever we're getting these people.

Jay said...

Which is such complete & utter bullshit one understands how he became a professor of constitutional law

Heh.

EMD said...

Who is the moderator for the third debate?

Bob Frikking Scheiffer.


Jay said...

Who is the moderator for the third debate?

Bob Schieffer!

Totally unbiased!

EMD said...

Jake Tapper would be much much better than what we've had.

Matthew Sablan said...

... That's depressing. But, then again, the new guy on the debate commission is ex-Clinton; I really think anyone who has worked for either party shouldn't be part of the commission. It just looks bad, especially after these moderator screw ups.

Ann Althouse said...

I wish it was always so easy to be hilarious.

Lem said...

Clinton won because if you play her Benghazi take from Peru and Obama's Benghazi take last night... Clinton sounded more presidential.

EMD said...

Those deeper issue numbers don't bode that well for Obama.

They fall outside the "did he win this specific debate" territory into "who will I vote for and why" territory.

LilyBart said...


Wow - that's really a slip.

Obama is NOT Clinton. I'd take Bill Clinton everyday of Barack Obama. Every Day. Any Day. Clinton seemed to actually *like* America and her people. He also seemed to really want our economy to do well. Obama just wants to muscle in and take over - insulting our values along the way

kcom said...

Here's the top story on Google News right now, "Obama supporters in Ohio encouraged by president's debate performance".

In the tank much? Is that really the most important story the morning after a presidential debate? Is it even really a "story" at all? Did we have stories from the Washington Post two weeks ago about Romney supporters being encouraged?

Roger J. said...

I doubt this "debate" changed anyone's mind. There may still be a few undecided folks out there, but if they are still undecided they have problems making choices.

At this point in the election cycle, the numbers appear to me to be moving toward Mr Romney. And the CNN poll re the debate seems to confirm that.

That said, these "debates" are obnoxious. The format is geared for TV and rather stupid "moderators" who appeal primarily to their MSM colleagues. If debates are important, lets do them Lincoln Douglas style, mano a mano between candidates with a "moderator" serving only as a time keeper.

This debate was absolute bullshit./

chickelit said...

That reminds me of a crazy old game I used to play with my sons when they were kids. It was called 'What if you had to argue?"'

That is Garage and Inga's life here everyday. It can't be easy defending the POTUS's shifting stance on Benghazi day after day. I predict that by Nov 6 the video tape will be forgotten (but the guy will still be in prison).

Matthew Sablan said...

I think "undecideds" are like the one from the panel that was highlighted. She's not undecided between Romney and Obama; she was undecided between Romney and not voting.

Lem said...

What if you had to argue that Bill Clinton won the debate?

Obama would delegate the debate to him if he could.

MadisonMan said...

Inasmuch as Obama's performance will make Democrats long for the halcyon days of the Clinton Presidency -- because obviously the passage of time has erased Monican memories -- I would say that certainly Clinton did win the debate.

EMD said...

Bill Clinton won the debate in my heart.

Matthew Sablan said...

Clinton won the debate because Obama can't take responsibility for Libya; she already did.

Wait, am I thinking the wrong Clinton?

AJ Lynch said...

Maybee:

I saw attorney, Liz Wiehl, lamenting Romney's use of the phrase "binders full of women" on the IMUS show. Wiehl indicated the phrase horrified both her and her daughter but they were both cheering during the debate that "Obama was back".

I wonder if Althouse thinks women like Wiehl are wimps if thet fret about such an innocuous phrase?

SteveR said...

Bad debate format (hate it), stupid questions, non-answers, terrible moderation.

Fprawl said...

There is one question that has not been asked yet that I feel would clearly define the candidates for the American people, basically cut through all of the chatter.
If they came down on opposite sides, it would give instant clarity to voters.

The question is:
Do you agree with the New York City policy banning Big Gulp Sodas?

Bonus for a Crowley followup:

Do you think this ban should be extended to all of the United States?

Matthew Sablan said...

I just wonder how they vetted these "undecided" voters. Really: "Romney, how are you not like Bush" and "Obama, how badly did you screw up Libya" are not good questions. I can't wait for the Google machine to start up and people start digging into the questioner's public background; I wonder if it'll be as bad as the last time Republican's trusted CNN to get undecided voters.

MadisonMan said...

And as to the moderators: Why do they have DC establishment "journalists" moderate, when those "journalists"'s very jobs hang on currying favor with the Administration in Power so that they can maintain a stream of information, and show to their bosses that they are paycheck-worthy? This is a conflict of interest.

You know what would be better? A Democratic Governor, and a Republican Governor, each from a swing state, co-moderating. Imagine Susana Martinez being the person interpreting Obama's answers, and John Hickenlooper or John Lynch interpreting Romney's answers.

Icepick said...

Bill Clinton won the debate in my heart.

Is that how you got that stain on your shirt?

Lem said...

Wait, am I thinking the wrong Clinton?

The Clintons are of one mind..

When they married they went to Volcan and their minds melded.

deborah said...

It was dirty pool for the camera to come in tight when he was challenging Obama on the terror comment. It made him look unpleasant and confrontational. I don't think it was an accident.

Icepick said...

Bad debate format (hate it), stupid questions, non-answers, terrible moderation.

And no football game to switch over to.

But other than that, it was AWESOME!

Icepick said...

Is that how you got that stain on your shirt?

Seriously, Bill REALLY "loves" America and her people!

creeley23 said...

Last week I watched the JFK-Nixon debate on Youtube. It was shocking how civil the candidates and moderators were. No one talked over anyone. All were on their best, most earnest presidential behavior, including the moderators. The pace was waltz-like compared to today.

The debate's set was laughably minimal -- it may have as well have been taped in the back corner of a high school auditorium with furniture from Repo Depot.

Nixon looked better than I expected, considering the narrative since about his five-o'clock shadow etc that supposedly lost him the debate. He did not have JFK's affable, star quality but Nixon was young and looked decent enough, though not comfortable, and one did catch a flickering, glowery scowl on his face occasionally in the cutaways when JFK was speaking.

The substance of the debate was surprisingly familiar -- the role and size of government, the questions of economy, debt and deficit, and relations between the races.

The main difference was that Democrats no longer speak of freedom and the necessity of its defense.

Freeman Hunt said...

That reminds me of a crazy old game I used to play with my sons when they were kids. It was called "What if you had to argue?" I'd come up with some strange statement and the challenge was to come up with the arguments they'd make if they had to argue that.

I love this idea. Copying it. (Literally copying it down on a notecard. I file parenting/education ideas on notecards.)

My father used to always take the unpopular view of something and ask what the arguments for it were. Similar but not exactly the same. He was probably the most fair-minded individual I have ever known.

Lem said...

It made him look unpleasant and confrontational.

See thats funny... I thought Romney was being too deferential in that facial expression.

Men and women see two different things in the debates.

Matthew Sablan said...

Romney is this weird mix of willing to defer to the moderator and also knowing he is being given a raw deal, repeatedly. He -wants- to have a fair fight. Denver was the closest thing to it, and he won. Here, where nothing went his way, with even the moderator lying about him, he still came in striking distance, winning on the important issues.

Imagine what a fair debate would look like.

Lem said...

Romney had also the task of not efing up like Bush 41 looking at his watch... or Ford saying "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe"...

Romney was trying to be extra careful and it might have cost him... at least on Benghazi.

Basil said...

They were arguing about Bill Clinton, specifically living with the intended result of NAFTA. Loss of American manufacturing, outsourcing, decline of unions, increasing debt and American decline.

Basil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
X said...

And no football game to switch over to.

don't you believe in the Mean Green?

Peter Hoh said...

Romney supporters and detractors seem focussed on the silliness of the "binders full of women" rather than the substance, which was a full-out affirmation of affirmative action.

_Jim said...


Oh boy ... does anybody REALLY want a 'bully' like The O in the top office of the land, especially after a performance like last night?

Fair, balanced, impartial, not prone to anger, thoughtful, respectful to opponents?

Remember, he has the full power and force of the fed gov behind him ...

Yea or no?

_Jim

Hagar said...

Beanbag - social game similar to horseshoes or quoits (or skothelle.

Beanball - baseball term referring to the pitcher pitching at the batter's head.

So, "Politics ain't beanbag" (Peter Findlay Dunne) is the quote I meant to use.

X said...

rather than the substance, which was a full-out affirmation of affirmative action.

I'm sure they are so disgusted they'll vote for the guy who's not just President of Affirmative Action Club, he's a client too.

Christy said...

Any chance the winner will change in the spin this week? Saturation ads with Obamaa saying it was Terrorism played repeatedly against his comments on The View, David Letterman, his words over Amb. Stevens' body, Amb. Rice's words that Sunday, etc may make a difference. Or is it worth the "mean to Obama" feedback when Romney clearly won the economic and jobs part?

That reminds me of a crazy old game I used to play with my sons when they were kids. It was called 'What if you had to argue?"'

My mom, when we were arguing, would suddenly switch sides and I, being naturally contrary, would do likewise. I realize now how funny that must have been to her.

Oso Negro said...

I am surprised Ann has resisted commenting on Obama's boyish rush to be saved by a woman. If Obama's mother was still alive, she might look a lot like Candy Crowley.

EMD said...

don't you believe in the Mean Green?

Any game versus LA-Lafayette is a barn burner!

I had it on only because it was won after the U.S. played Guatemala in a World Cup qualifying match.

SteveR said...

Any game versus LA-Lafayette is a barn burner!


U La LA

Bob Ellison said...

I wish it was always so easy to be hilarious.

It is easy! Just be yourself, post whatever you're thinking, throw the net wide...oh, wait; you already do that.

Bob Ellison said...

One recommendation: hit the "publish" button before re-reading what you've just typed. That always works for me!

edutcher said...

7 points is not the kind of win they wanted, so it's something of a loss.

Then again, Breitbart calls it a blowout.

jr565 said...

Back to the issue of Benghazi, Obama fans, you can't deny that he and his surrogates took to the airwaves in the days after the rent and attributed it to a spontaneous attack in response to a video and not a coordinated effort from al Qaeda. You know this, but are refusing to acknowledge self evident truths. If we go back to althouse conversations at the time we have the usual suspects toeing the party line and saying it was because of a video (Inga I'm looking at you). It wasn't till two weeks later that they came out and definitively called it an act of terror.
If you watch Susan rice, jay carney, Obama, Hillary Clinton, they all downplayed the idea that it was a terrorist attack.
In Susan rices case in an interview with chris wallace he actually said to her " you can't possibly believe this" and she said she did because it was the truth.
And Obama was coy as to describing this as a terrorist attack for weeks, even appearing on the view and not calling it a terrorist attack.
Tat simply did not happen the way he says it did at the debate. He used the word acts of terror, but that is not definitionally a terrorist attack. Spontaneous attacks are not considered terrorism by the CIA, definitionally.

Now, you could argue that they were trying to be especially cautious and not calling something a terrorist attack till they were 100% sure it was, and not simply a riot that went bad over a video. But the facts appear to be that they in fact knew it was a terrorist attack with al Qaeda involvement within 24 hours. So then why did they take to the airwaves, despite knowing this and argue that it was because of a video?

Texan99 said...

Exactly. It's not a question of whether the President used the word "terror" (who knows what he means by that word these days, anyway), but whether he and his people lied their asses off, repeatedly, for two weeks, attributing the attack to a sudden, unpredictable upwelling of crowd frustration with a video, vs. a pre-planned, well-armed, fully coordinated paramilitary attack by people about whose activities we already had some alarming intelligence.

Hagar said...

He pointed to criticism of Romney’s term at the helm of Bain Capital, which Obama said amounted to, “take a company and bankrupt it, lay off the workers, strip their pensions, and you still make money.”

That was indeeed a "beanball!"

jr565 said...

What was the date of the speech on the rose garden I ga. (9/12

Here is Jake Tapper on the 14th, TWO DAYS LATER talking to Jay Carney.
ABC’s JAKE TAPPER: “While we were sitting here, Secretary Panetta and the vice chair of the joint chiefs briefed the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the senators came out and said their indication was that this – for the attack on Benghazi – was a terrorist attack organized and carried out by terrorists, that it was premeditated, a calculated act of terror. Levin said – Senator Levin, I think it was a planned premeditated attack, the kind of equipment that they had used. There is evidence it was a planned premeditated attack. Is there anything more you can – now that the administration is briefing senators on this, is there anything more you can tell us?” WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: “Right. Well, I think we wait to hear from administration officials. Again, it’s actively under investigation, both the Benghazi attack and incidents elsewhere, you know. And my point was that at – we don’t have and did not have concrete evidence to suggest that this was not in reaction to the film.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, Washington, DC, 9/14/12)

In other word, by the 14th pancetta had already come before the armed services committee and said it was a coordinated attack, and yet Carney when answering the question is telling reporters that they think there is no concrete evidence that it wasn't in reaction to the film.
Unless Carney (and Rice, and clinto, and Obama) are out of the loop then clearly the Obama administration was suggesting that it his incident was in response to the video.
Which undercuts the idea that Obama was calling this a terrorist attack on the 12th. Are Inga and co. Arguing that in the Obsma administration the left hand doesn't know what the right ah and is doing and no one is getting their story straight? That's incompetence, at the very least. You have to wonder why rice and carney were on the airwaves with this narrative, when as far back as 9/14 panetta had told a different story.
Is this another one of those cases where no one told the president personally that more security was needed therefore they can't be responsible for anything that happened at the embassy? Is Obama so out of the loop, or are his surrogates so out of the loop that they aren't getting basic information a d aren't operating from the same playbook.
Don't blame Romney for pointing out this flat footed ness. It played out on the air waves for all to see.
My personal opinion is Obama wanted to not call this terrorism, because it undercuts his argument that Al Qaea is all but dead and that therefore his foreign policy arguments are based on lies. But ok, let's go with the alternative. Obama has one incompetent administration who can't disseminate basic information, who are weeks behind on intel and telling the American people a story that they know isn't true. It's like they,re two weeks behind the narrative.

TosaGuy said...

My lefty friends on FB love to crow about politics. They were pissed off two weeks ago and were happy with some Obama feistiness yesterday, but are pretty silent today.

Obama, in their eyes, may have done better, but they know he didn't hurt Romney.

I mentioned a week or so ago about how Obama can't regain the offensive if Romney doesn't give him an opening. That opening was not provided last night.

Talk of binders, pensions and transcripts are rabbit holes that will keep the Obama campaign occupied and unfocused.

MayBee said...

MadMan- great point, great idea!

AJ- I hope Weil isn't really teaching her daughter to be so ridiculous.

craftygirl said...

Romney was on the defensive the entire night. He had to keep interrupting to explain himself. He was the one who got in Obama's face first btw. GOP didn't like the debate or the moderator because Romney lost.

Icepick said...

Sorry for the late response, but my daughter and I had very important play grounds to go to.

I just want to say "DAMN IT!" Somehow I missed that a U La LA game was one. I hate missing that! They've been fun this year! GRRRR! Damn my unobservant schedule scrolling!