January 19, 2022

"Trump got his ass kicked in these debates, so they want to change the rules. It’s like a football team that can’t pass, so they want to make it illegal to pass."

Said Stuart Stevens, "who was Mitt Romney’s chief strategist in 2012 and who worked against Trump’s reelection in 2020," quoted in "Trump blows a hole in 2024 presidential debates/The RNC's move stamps former president’s imprint on future debates" (Politico). 

What is the rule change that is the equivalent of outlawing passing in football? What was Trump so bad at that it corresponds to "a football team that can’t pass"? 

What Trump opposed was the use of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which he accuses of bias, to set up the debates, so I think the analogy should be something more like a football team that believes the referees systematically favor their opponents.

Republicans have long complained that debates and their media moderators are biased against them — what Saul Anuzis, a former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, called “a very serious frustration among Republicans in general, and many of the candidates in the campaigns, that we don’t necessarily get a fair deal.”

I pause my reading this long article and just search the page for "candy." Finding none, I decide not to plow through the entire text. 

ADDED: Stuart Stevens was Mitt Romney’s chief strategist when Romney suffered the most egregious display of moderator bias in the history of televised presidential debates, the thing that made me do the search for "candy." Speaking of getting your ass kicked in the debate! And now he turns around and trashes Trump for directly speaking out about the bias. I guess what Stevens wants is for Republican candidates to endure and just keep trying harder... or maybe enjoy the pleasures of serving in a party that is systematically in the minority.

118 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Republicans have "grumbled" about this for decades, Trump did something about it. That's why they hate Trump.

Christopher B said...

Guy whose candidate got shafted by a completely obvious setup in a debate sez whut?

Mr Wibble said...

Anyone who worked for Mitt Romney is suspect.

Anyone who worked for Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign and isn't furious with the Debate Commission is an idiot and should be ignored.

Big Mike said...

A level, unbiased, playing field is too much to ask for? Trump isn’t just asking, he’s demanding. Good for him.

rehajm said...

It's another nail in the legacy media coffin. Change approved...

Big Mike said...

Said Stuart Stevens, "who was Mitt Romney’s chief strategist in 2012 and who worked against Trump’s reelection in 2020,"

Can’t be very good at campaign strategy if your candidate got his butt whipped.

Achilles said...

Stuart Stevens is just another GOP strategist in DC working for the uniparty.

The GOP is really angry because republican voters have caught on to them.

Well most of us have.

And I look forward to the GOP tightening up "Party Affiliation" requirements in the primary to keep working class people and minorities out.

rhhardin said...

They're not debates.

TreeJoe said...

The idea Trump got his ass kicked by Biden is laughable. He didn't win much in the debates and he definitely lost some opportunity, but it was all him and his style rubbing more people wrong than right.

He also brought attention to major things deserving attention, such as the Biden family apparent corruption - at the best, enormous conflicts of interest ignored. At worst, literally selling our country for family enrichment.

The Presidential Debate Commission has plenty of evidence it is skewed. More importantly though, the RNC's demands of it are eminently fair and reasonable....and rejected. That response by the PDC shows the reality of the situation.

rehajm said...

...and where'd he get the 'Trump got his ass kicked in the debates' stuff? Is this supposed to be a journalist?

rhhardin said...

I've noticed in podcast interviews with an old guy host and a young guy expert that the young guy expert can't shut up about his knowledge and intelligence.

Two old guys just trade quips in the corresponding interview shows.

The former is unwatchable (need for a two minute limit) but the latter can be entertaining. There's sort of an automatic two minute limit. Old guys can trim stuff down effectively.

Mike Sylwester said...

The debate moderators should not pose any questions. Experience has shown that the Commission's moderators are pro-Democrat.

The moderators should simply time a series of general subjects -- foreign policy, the economy, COVID, and so forth.

Each such subject should be allotted a certain time -- for example, ten minutes. Within that time, each candidate would get half the time to speak -- for example, five one-minute segments.

The moderator's only function would be to control the time.

tim in vermont said...

"When they compared results across participants, the pandemic-born babies scored almost two standard deviations lower than those born before it on a suite of tests that measure development in a similar way to IQ tests." - Nature

Oh shit, another tranche of Democrats in the pipeline.

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

Even some Democrat pundits can find nothing objectionable in the RNC's requests, the wholesale rejection of which by the Commission led to cutting ties with the Commission. But that's not enough for Mitt Romney's people. And he can't even rile us up with specifics. He has to make vague comparisons to football.

mezzrow said...

"or maybe enjoy the pleasures of serving in a party that is systematically in the minority."

Ya think? It seems to be working for him, after all.

Talk about your luxury beliefs... I think this one has met Stein's law.

After you've lived through 'so much winning' it's hard to go back to being Everton. (*this is my most obscure comment on this forum to date.)

Amexpat said...

I can't see a debate with Trump having much of an impact one way or another. Everyone pretty much has a strong opinion about him and a poor or excellent debate on his part would change few minds.

traditionalguy said...

DJT has won the hearts and minds of the majority of Americans. But since the DC deep state sees him as their mortal enemy, 100% of the elites hates him. The miracle is he is still alive. I guess that is seen as cheating too.

Menahem Globus said...

Romney won the first debate with Obama. I remember a lot of shell-shocked Dem friends afterward who couldn't understand what happened. Credit to Stevens for whatever assistance he offered there. In the second debate he left his backbone at home and lost. I wonder how much influence Stevens had in that loss. Since Stevens is now affiliated with the Lincoln Project I can only assume he was in charge of debate prep.

RMc said...

the analogy should be something more like a football team that believes the referees systematically favor their opponents.

As a Detroit Lions fan, I can relate.

Mr Wibble said...

Romney won the first debate with Obama. I remember a lot of shell-shocked Dem friends afterward who couldn't understand what happened. Credit to Stevens for whatever assistance he offered there. In the second debate he left his backbone at home and lost. I wonder how much influence Stevens had in that loss. Since Stevens is now affiliated with the Lincoln Project I can only assume he was in charge of debate prep.

Romney was winning the election until the second debate. I fully believe that the GOP conslutants he surrounded himself with were so insulated from the general population that they didn't understand this and told him that he was coming across as "too aggressive."

MikeR said...

Every side always thinks their side won the debates; it's always been that way. But no one at the time thought that Biden did awesome or wiped the floor with Trump. At least one of the debates there was pretty general agreement that it was the other way round.
Actually, the most egregious thing I remember was that they decided not to include foreign policy in the debates. Even at the time, the only reason I could imagine for that was that it clearly favored Trump, and that it would have allowed him to say a lot of things that no Democrat could afford to have him say. It was just wrong.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

So Mitt’s former flunky can’t read the explicitly detailed reasons that Mitt’s niece explicated in her letter rejecting the CPD manipulation of future “debate”? No need for speculation or wild sports analogies.

rehajm said...

If the debates were ever constructive the sentiment is long gone. Why whinge except to telegraph you liked who they were rigged against?

Mike Sylwester said...

One stupidity of the Commission's "debates" is that the moderators ask each candidate different questions.

The "debates" are more like the moderator conducting two separate but concurrent interviews of the two candidates.

Mr Wibble said...

Actually, the most egregious thing I remember was that they decided not to include foreign policy in the debates. Even at the time, the only reason I could imagine for that was that it clearly favored Trump, and that it would have allowed him to say a lot of things that no Democrat could afford to have him say. It was just wrong.

Yup. They spent three debates asking the same questions about COVID because anytime it veered away from COVID and Biden's talking points, Trump had the advantage. It was blatantly skewed against Trump.

Leland said...

I heard about this issue earlier in the week. Republicans are upset that a former campaign employee of Biden's was a debate moderator, which is definitely a systemic bias referee. Republicans are also upset that the commission refused to have a debate prior to the start of early voting. The football analogy here is starting the game clock and then preventing the teams from taking the field.

Personally, I'm upset that in none of the debates were the top 5 issues of voters brought up. Climate change and abortion were mentioned, but these are not even in the top 10 concern of voters. They didn't even discuss covid lockdowns. This would be like watching an American football game and the referees keep tossing in a soccer ball or rugby ball.

Rollo said...

I think it was the teams that didn't want to die on the field that invented the forward pass.

Trump was the guy who wasn't satisfied with a win. He didn't want to prepare or discipline himself. He wanted the attention more than the win. Biden didn't beat Trump in the debates. Trump threw away his chance to beat Biden.

But then people are what they are and not something else. I suppose if Biden weren't Biden, he might have won, too.

Bob Boyd said...

The Washington Generals got their ass kicked by the Harlem Globetrotters.

Sebastian said...

"I think the analogy should be something more like a football team that believes the referees systematically favor their opponents."

Why have "referees" at all if you can directly negotiate terms?

"Stuart Stevens was Mitt Romney’s chief strategist when Romney suffered the most egregious display of moderator bias in the history of televised presidential debates . . . Speaking of getting your ass kicked in the debate! And now he turns around and trashes Trump for directly speaking out about the bias. I guess what Stevens wants is for Republican candidates to endure . . ."

Is there a better illustration of the old GOPe? What does it say about a party that its nominal leaders like getting their ass kicked?

Why not have actual debates, as in, real back and forth? (Advantage: Cruz.)

Achilles said...

Remember how the debate commission implemented it's bias.

If put in fake Republicans like Chris Wallace as moderators.

The problem is the fake republicans in the party.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

8:17 - interesting. I do remember those debates.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Leland 8:28 - scores.

Drago said...

Mr Wibble; "Anyone who worked for Mitt Romney is suspect."

Stuart Stevens = Nicole Wallace = Bill Kristol = Democratical

Stevens has openly rooted for democraticals at all levels to win for at least the last 5 years.

Another fake republican "expert" grifter.

lys said...

One of the first stories I remember from Trump's 2016 run is when he didn't want to go on CNN for a debate. He accused CNN of giving Clinton the questions before hand in the primary debate. He was raked through the coals and called a liar - making baseless accusations. Shortly after, he was found to be absolutely correct. The media learned nothing and I feel like that cycle repeated itself a 1,000 times throughout his presidency. Not a big Trump fan, be he exposed a lot of news organizations as the hacks they were.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

The debate commission is just a front for the Democrat candidate. The results over the years prove this; Chris Wallace and Candy Crowley are just two examples of biased moderators.

Two moderators, one picked by each campaign. The commission does the logistics work of hosting the debates, but has no role in actually asking questions.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Anyone involved with the Lincoln Pedophile project - has zero credibility.

Achilles said...

Mr Wibble said...

Romney was winning the election until the second debate. I fully believe that the GOP conslutants he surrounded himself with were so insulated from the general population that they didn't understand this and told him that he was coming across as "too aggressive."


Romney lost the 2012 election when he went scorched earth against the field and the Republican base.

He needed to convince half of the base he wasn't a lying bush clone scum weasel and he failed.

Republican voters noticed he went after Gingrich and Cain 10 times as hard as he went after Obama and stayed home.

And thank god we did because Romney would have passed climate change legislation and expanded Romneycare and the Republican party would have been blamed for it.

Romney would have done much more damage to our country than Obama did.

Misinforminimalism said...

Trump got his ass kicked in the debates? Which debates?

Also, what's a Romney guy doing using words like "ass"?

Iman said...

Who are we to believe, Stuey Stevens or our lying eyes and ears?

Temujin said...

Stuart Stevens apparently missed Candy Crowley's coming out party. Which makes you wonder what he was doing that night.

Wince said...

Inside the camp: How Mitt stumbled
Politico, By MIKE ALLEN and JIM VANDEHEI 09/16/2012

Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s top strategist, knew his candidate’s convention speech needed a memorable mix of loft and grace if he was going to bound out of Tampa with an authentic chance to win the presidency. So Stevens, bypassing the speechwriting staff at the campaign’s Boston headquarters, assigned the sensitive task of drafting it to Peter Wehner, a veteran of the last three Republican White Houses and one of the party’s smarter wordsmiths.

Not a word Wehner wrote was ever spoken.

Stevens junked the entire thing, setting off a chaotic, eight-day scramble that would produce an hour of prime-time problems for Romney, including Clint Eastwood’s meandering monologue to an empty chair.

Romney’s convention stumbles have provoked weeks of public griping and internal sniping about not only Romney but also his mercurial campaign muse, Stevens. Viewed warily by conservatives, known for his impulsiveness and described by a colleague as a “tortured artist,” Stevens has become the leading staff scapegoat for a campaign that suddenly is behind in a race that had been expected to stay neck and neck through Nov. 6.

This article is based on accounts from Romney aides, advisers and friends, most of whom refused to speak on the record because they were recounting private discussions and offering direct criticism of the candidate and his staff, Stevens in particular...

Stevens enjoys little of the internal affection that surrounded the brain trusts of the Bush and Obama campaigns. “I always have the impression Stuart must save his best stuff for meetings I’m not important enough to attend,” said one Romney campaign insider. “The campaign is filled with people who spend a lot of their time either avoiding him or resisting him"...

Some Romney loyalists think Stevens never fully appreciated what a good and unique candidate they had in Romney, and pleaded early on to showcase what they saw as a generous, wise and gifted leader. Still, for reasons not fully understood by those around Romney, the candidate not only went with Stevens but gave him tremendous authority.


https://www.politico.com/story/2012/09/inside-the-camp-how-mitt-stumbled-081280

Browndog said...

Democrats change their own rules constantly, from super delegates to their own debate rules to keep certain candidates off the debate stage.

When they rush to accuse others of what they themselves are doing, "our side" rushes in to defend our honor. Fighting battle after battle on their battlefield, wondering why we keep losing.

Pathetic.

rcocean said...

Those debates were so stacked against Trump that even Bob Dole spoke out against it. Scully from CSPAN was supposed to be neutral but then got bounced because he was emailing a Trump enemy. Chris Wallace constantly interuppted Trump, asked loaded questions, and tried to debate Trump. The third person - a woman - was the best of the lot, but still asked Biden friendly questions, and there was a strict rule against Trump cutting Biden off and showing how weak he was.

The whole idea was to avoid topics that would make Trump look bad and protect Senile Biden. As i written before, the candidates should write the questions and moderator should do nothing but ask the questions and keep the time. But for some reason, people LOVE some unelected media personality bascially being a Co-debater.

madAsHell said...

Trump got his ass kicked?? As I recall, there was one debate, and Biden looked liked a fool.......as he does today.

gilbar said...

It’s like a football team that gets tired of consistently bogus calls, deciding that playing ALL games at their opponents field, with the opponents referees... was NOT a wise idea
fify!

rcocean said...

Trump wanted to the 2nd debate, and Commission refused to do it because of CV-19. As if they couldn't have done it remote or with social distanncing.

doctrev said...

Mr Wibble said...

Romney was winning the election until the second debate. I fully believe that the GOP conslutants


1/19/22, 8:22 AM

Nice and accurate. Anyways, the fact Trump can effortlessly spark this attention- and seriously enjoy the fight- is a further sign he's the right candidate. A debate without Trump is simply a non-event and no one will care. Can some governor top that? They could, but it would take serious work.

Joe Smith said...

Giving your opponent the questions ahead of time is totally Kosher.

Christopher B said...

But for some reason, people LOVE some unelected media personality basically being a Co-debater.

It's not hard to guess the reason. The media loves the attention and influence the moderator has under the CPB format, and the CPB loves the publicity and back scratching from the media.

If the candidate's teams set the ground rules in direct negotiations then they might as well use an Alexa for a moderator.

Big Mike said...

And by the way, NeverTrumpers like Stuart Stevens have a lot to answer for. given Biden’s inflation, foreign policy failures, COVID policy failures, supply chain problems, and, especially, the border. Before he gets on his high horse, he needs to admit his own failures.

Kevin said...

The best thing about the Trump Administration was forcing the RINOs into an easily-recognizable herd.

rcocean said...

As stated above, Stuart Stephens is part of Pedophile friendly Lincoln Project and is now working to elect Democrats.

People forget that Mitt Romney voted Democrat in 1992, and didn't register as a Republican until 1993 - at the age of 45. He did not - repeat did NOT - support Reagan or Bush. He ran to the LEFT of ted kennedy in 1994 on many issues and was pro-choice. He dropped out of politics after the loss and didn't re-emerge until 2002 when the Mass Republicans asked him to run for Governor.

Since then Romney's gone through a pattern of being at Conservative at Primary time, and being a moderate/liberal the rest of the time. It seems to work because Republicans are stupid.

narciso said...

we know now both mccain and romney were willing to take a dive, against obama, we know the former from the jones memo, that he commissioned, and romney hired the author, we know the huntress was the only one that cared about the stakes of the former race,

rcocean said...

As shown by his liberal, hate Trump actions since 2016, Romney would've been an awful POTUS. He would've destroyed the Republican party and given us wars in the Middle east, open borders, bad trade deals, and liberal judges. His whole Presidency would've been "reaching across the aisle" to work with the Democrats.

That's what he's doing now.

Spiros said...

Maybe Trump can launch a youtube channel or something where he "debates" his most virulent enemies!

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

"he exposed a lot of news organizations as the hacks they were"

Are

gspencer said...

Mittens is a apt descriptor.

Browndog said...

Ew, boy. CNN going after Biden on today's 5G rollout disaster.

Drago said...

rcocean: "That's what he's doing now."

You may have noticed that in the last several weeks, suddenly, out of the blue, Romney The Boneless has gone from consistent Biden praiser and pal to "Biden critic" (wink wink).

The insider scuttlebutt sez Romney The Boneless has made the decision to seek reelection in 2024 and absolutely needed to start right now, not 2023, to begin to rehabilitate his damaged image with republican base voters in Utah as Romney staring directly at a Liz Cheney scenario.

You can expect to continue seeing Romney employing a Lindsay Graham-like strategy to reposition himself as a "true blue fightin' conservative" while continuing to serve the democraticals and establishment deep staters behind the scenes.

Remember, Romney only ran for the Senate Seat in 2018 to vote to impeach Trump and help his democratical allies after Romney's attempt to get appointed to Trump's cabinet in 2017 so that Romney could lead the vote to remove Trump via 25th Amendment failed.

I guess Romney ended up enjoying Senatorial privilege too much to leave...while making sure his position enabled his sons to go the Clinton/Biden/Pelosi children route.

Ann Althouse said...

If Romney had had some Trump in him, he would have leveraged the Candy Crowley moment into a big takedown of Obama. In the first debate, Romney was aggressive. Why did he stand down the way he did? He was afraid of being technically wrong about what Obama may have said, once Crowley indicated maybe she had the answer right there in a transcript? I'd love to see how Trump would have handled that on the spot.

cassandra lite said...

You know who got his ass kicked during the debates? Mitt Romney...coached by Stuart Stevens not to bring up Benghazi forcefully.

Drago said...

No discussion involving Romney The Boneless and the horrific and moronic failed candidacy and campaign of 2012 would be complete with mention of the astonishing and utter incompetency of Romney's "systems experts" (LOL) and the monstrous "ORCA" failure.

You have to read it to believe it.

But always keep in mind that idiotic construct routed lots and lots of campaign dollars to the fake con/pro-dem grfter class of political consultants, like Stevens.

GRW3 said...

This is long overdue, the news media "moderators" have participated in the debates on the Democrat side for far too long. Personally, I'd prefer the moderator ONLY introduce the topic and manage the time. Failing that, let each candidate select a moderator, of their choice, who will only speak to the opponent's candidate. The moderators will only pose the question and not interact with the candidates at any time.

Rollo said...

Says the guy who made Romney play with deflated balls ...

narciso said...

a media that has delivered the nation to this gang of pirates and rustlers, who talked up the Russian hoax, who covered the summer and spring of strife 'with a pillow' who enabled China to wage a biological attack on the world, and hide it's hand,

Leland said...

If Romney had had some Trump in him, he would have leveraged the Candy Crowley moment into a big takedown of Obama. In the first debate, Romney was aggressive. Why did he stand down the way he did?

Indeed. Candy Crowley's interjection was straight from Obama's talking points on Benghazi. Later that night, Crowley admitted that Romney was correct. Even later, we would learn that her employer at the time, CBS News, edited their interview of Obama to hid a segment that showed Romney was correct about the administration's messaging on Benghazi.

Romney never spoke of the matter again. Trump would have made it a center piece of his stump speeches.

Martin said...

Washington Generals tired of losing decide to stop playing until they get referees not supplied by the Globetrotters.

Readering said...

I'm thinking that if Biden and Trump run in 2024 they will both consider themselves incumbents and it beneath their dignity to debate a primary opponent. Then, unless one side's polling leads him to think he needs debates, both sides will be content to skip debates. A lot of folks predicted Biden would not debate Trump in 2020, but he wanted to and did, and with primary debate experience was less rusty than the incumbent, as is usual. I think it will be different next time. Of course, as several here have noted, they are not really debates.

Drago said...

Ann Althouse: "If Romney had had some Trump in him, he would have leveraged the Candy Crowley moment into a big takedown of Obama. In the first debate, Romney was aggressive. Why did he stand down the way he did? He was afraid of being technically wrong about what Obama may have said, once Crowley indicated maybe she had the answer right there in a transcript? I'd love to see how Trump would have handled that on the spot."

Romney wasn't even wrong.

But he knew his place, "his place" having been taught to him by his democratical and media superiors, and so, in front of a world-wide audience, when a perfect moment was presented to him to take a stand and take a desperately needed shot at both the democratical candidate and his sycophantic media helper, Romney surrendered in the meekest and mildest way any candidate has ever surrendered a debate point ever.

And the entire world saw it.

Every normal person who watched that debate knew immediately after that moment that Romney was a complete quisling and spineless.

Interestingly, for NeverTrump fake republicans like McCain et al, that moment was one of their "proudest" moments as it demonstrated perfectly how a "good" and "respectable" "republican" is supposed to conduct themselves on the path to "losing with dignity".

rcocean said...

Trip down memory Lane. Althouse during the Romney-Obama debate:

I've gotten behind in the recording after getting distracted by that "act of terror" business. And now, I'm so outraged at Crowley's intrusion to make an incorrect assertion to side with Obama that I can barely pay attention to the rest of this. (But I will keep going and get to the remainder of the material.)

Drago said...

Readering: "I'm thinking that if Biden and Trump run in 2024 they will both consider themselves incumbents and it beneath their dignity to debate a primary opponent."

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Oh, yes, I'm sure that would be a mutual decision (wink wink) by both candidates if the old "protect Biden's Earpiece At All Costs" "rules" of debates are tossed out!

I wonder, do you ever stop to re-read what you've written to see if it would pass the laugh test?

Cuz this last one didn't.......

narciso said...

lets recall what was happening at that time, a group of rebels, that had been trained by gitmo detainees, had assasinated an ambassador, they were training to fight assads forces in syria, that was kinzinger's brief, the result caused a river of blood that fled into the niger river valley, this presaged what happened in boston, san bernardino and later orlando,

around this same time, they had purged the dhs and the company, putting johnson and brennan in charge,

Yancey Ward said...

There should be no moderator asking questions- the two candidates can ask the questions of each other- all the moderator needs to do is to keep the time.

And, yes, the debates are biased towards the Democrats- this has always been true, but is getting worse in each election cycle. We are supposed to pretend that the moderators selected are above partisan politics. Bullshit!

Chris of Rights said...

I'm not sure that Trump "lost" these debates, but that's an argument for another time. However, the author is not entirely incorrect. It's much harder to win a debate when it's you vs. your opponent AND the moderator AND the rules for the event.

The Commission arbitrarily changed the rules midstream in 2020 without consulting either candidate, and these changes clearly worked to the benefit of one side. Add to that a biased moderator, and Trump is going into a boxing match (to switch to another sporting analogy) with one arm tied behind his back and his shoelaces tied together.

If he did lose, that's not the surprising part. It's that he even managed to land a few punches first.

Achilles said...

Readering said...

I'm thinking that if Biden and Trump run in 2024 they will both consider themselves incumbents and it beneath their dignity to debate a primary opponent. Then, unless one side's polling leads him to think he needs debates, both sides will be content to skip debates. A lot of folks predicted Biden would not debate Trump in 2020, but he wanted to and did, and with primary debate experience was less rusty than the incumbent, as is usual. I think it will be different next time. Of course, as several here have noted, they are not really debates.


These people just live in an ever shrinking bubble.

Even Ann has escaped that bubble Readering.

rehajm said...

In the first debate, Romney was aggressive. Why did he stand down the way he did? He was afraid of being technically wrong about what Obama may have said, once Crowley indicated maybe she had the answer right there in a transcript?

I’ll repeat what I mentioned at the time- Our family office works closely with Bain and my spouse has worked with Romney and others and sat in on countless Bain investor presentations. We watched the first debate live together and saw what everyone else did- a Romney with an impressive mastery of the facts and details presenting a very articulate and convincing case for his policies and positions. My wife recognized it as something she hade seen often from the Bain guys. They get in this ‘mode’ she said and it’s very impressive.

So impressive Romney’s opponents didn’t try to spin it- Romney had won and their sound bite, lightweight faith healer Obama had come off as inferior.

So flash forward to the second debate and Romney is being gang tackled by the other two on stage when he knows he’s right and they are wrong- what should he do? It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback and say he should have fought harder but then the headline would have read ‘Romney loses it at debate’ ‘Romney prices, when faced with adversity he’s not Presidential material’ etc etc…

Given the times when most people still accepted legacy media as fair, it was over either way. The fix was in….

Rollo said...

Why the football analogies?

Will the 2024 candidates be wearing helmets?

And radio receiver headsets?

mikee said...

Here's hoping Chris Wallace, who dragged Biden to the completion of one debate by making it a 2 on 1 game against Trump, gets at least 12 viewers on his pay to view CNN+ channel.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

If anyone on the right demands fair debates - it's TRUMPIAN!

The left hide behind this.

rcocean said...

Romney won the first debate according to the polls by over 67%. A record. But then, Mittens wasn't a threat to the Establishment and the MSM, debate Commission, etc. were only SLIGHTY biased against him, as opposed to Trump who was attacked 24/7/365.

The reason that Romney went passive and didn't do a Trump is because Mittens isn't really a Republican or a Conservative. He only gets angry at Right-wingers or people like Trump. He hates TRump with the passion of 10,000 Suns and that was even before Trump started saying Mittens was a "loser" who "lost like a dog". He considered running 3rd Party in 2016, and eventually got Egg McMuffin to do it.

So, Mittens couldn't really get upset at Obama or Crawley. Deep down, he agreed with them on most things. He got pyched up for the 1st debate, but after that he went back to his true nature, which was to be a moderate, and pick around the edges. Mittens does have "Fire in the Belly" but that "Fire" is only directed at Trump and the enemies of the establishment.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

“Romney suffered the most egregious display of moderator bias in the history of televised presidential debates”

Is this the egregious display? You will notice that Romney turns his back on Obama and approaches Crowley, and even though she corrects him on one point she gives him the other point on it taking the Obama administration two weeks to get the story straight, twice. The transcript:

ROMNEY: I — I think interesting the president just said something which — which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.

OBAMA: That’s what I said.

ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror.

It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you’re saying?

OBAMA: Please proceed governor.

ROMNEY: 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.

OBAMA: Get the transcript.

CROWLEY: It — it — it — he did in fact, sir. So let me — let me call it an act of terror…

OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?

CROWLEY: He — he did call it an act of terror. It did as well take — it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.

ROMNEY: This — the administration — the administration indicated this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction.

CROWLEY: It did.

That was brilliant Obama when said, “Please proceed governor.” He knows Romney doesn’t know what he said in the Rose Garden speech on September 12 but he doesn’t take the “spontaneous demonstration” bait. Obama says, “Get the transcript” - that is so Althouse. And for those watching, Romney physically approaches Crowley rather than Obama - it’s like he has forgotten who he is debating or is appealing directly to her. Crowley very hesitantly confirms Obama on one point but Romney on the other. Obama has her reiterate the point in his favor, but she also comes back to the point in Romney’s favor. Romney fails to deliver the punch to Obama after Crowley confirms the 14 days point.

rcocean said...

The problem with the 2020 Commission was they had Republicans who hated Trump and were perfectly willing to go along with Democrats and fix the debates.

In any case, we shouldn't need some unelected, obscure people rigging our debates or setting the rules.

Browndog said...

In 2020, the committee limited each debate to a handful of specific topics. Ronna Romney signed off on it.

Aside: remembering how Sarah Palin kicked Biden's ass in the 2008 VP debate.

Christopher B said...

@rehajm

I get what you're saying but how would those headlines have been much worse than what actually happened?

Obama hits back in fiery second debate with Romney - BBC
Oct 17, 2012 — A more aggressive Barack Obama buries the memory of a poor first showing as he and challenger Mitt Romney clash in New York at the second US ...


Obama Judged Winner of Second Debate - Gallup News
Oct 19, 2012 — Americans who watched the second presidential debate say Barack Obama did a better job than Mitt Romney, by 51% to 38% ...


Obama, Romney Get Testy in Second Debate | PBS NewsHour
Oct 17, 2012 — Mitt Romney and President Obama go on the offensive during Tuesday night's debate at Hofstra University.


The demoralization of the GOP base was real. Obama got fewer votes in 2012 than he had in 2008. He won because Romney barely got more than McCain.

rcocean said...

Reading that Romney Obama debate transcript was such a hoot. Mittens was such bore, handing out pap like this:

And you ask how — how are we going to do that? And there are a number of things. He mentioned good schools. I totally agree. We were able to drive our schools to be number one in the nation in my state. And I believe if we do a better job in education, we’ll — we’ll give people the — the hope and opportunity they deserve and perhaps less violence from that. But let me mention another thing. And that is parents. We need moms and dads, helping to raise kids. Wherever possible the — the benefit of having two parents in the home, and that’s not always possible. A lot of great single moms, single dads. But gosh to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone, that’s a great idea.

JK Brown said...

These Republican campaign strategists and managers all seem to favor Obama rather than their candidates. See how McCain's sabotage his running mate. They are just mad because Trump didn't hire the same losers as McCain and Romney. I remember Scott Walker hired a bunch of DC Republican campaign "experts" who spent his campaign into the ground before he could get off the ground.

rcocean said...

If you read the transcript, Romney said he was "totally Different" from Bush in Five ways.

1) He'd create more jobs than Bush
2) He'd favor small business than Bush
3) He'd give us more trade (aka he was in favor of even worse trade deals)
4) He'd reduce the deficit (how? unstated)
5) He's make us Energy independent.

But on the Middle East or Immigration or social issues? Just more of the same. No wonder we got Trump.

Dude1394 said...

Always remember. What EVER democrats are accusing someone of doing is what they are ACTUALLY doing. You can never go wrong with it.

Drago said...

Left Bank: " You will notice that Romney turns his back on Obama and approaches Crowley, and even though she corrects him on one point she gives him the other point on it taking the Obama administration two weeks to get the story straight, twice."

Hey dummy, we actually have the obama video from CBS that proved Romney correct.

But then again, its Left Bank here, and he's still going on about he debunked collusion lies, the hoax dossier, the drinking bleach lie, the "fine people" hoax, the hoax "insurrection", etc.

Impenetrable ignorance.

Drago said...

mikee: "Here's hoping Chris Wallace, who dragged Biden to the completion of one debate by making it a 2 on 1 game against Trump, gets at least 12 viewers on his pay to view CNN+ channel."

And woe to those hapless 12......

Real American said...

is it really surprising that Mitt Romney’s chief strategist wouldn't even realize that the debates have long been biased against Republicans?

Drago said...

Real American: "is it really surprising that Mitt Romney’s chief strategist wouldn't even realize that the debates have long been biased against Republicans?"

He knows perfectly well the debates are and have been biased against Republicans, and he fully supports that. And always has.

Readering said...

AA posted about her son JAC's blog series about his favorite movies of 101 years. For 2014 one was the documentary Mitt. I'd never heard of it, but watched it. Quite affecting.


Lewis Wetzel said...

The complaints that I heard from the GOP official who made the decision was that the commission continues to insist that they can choose the moderators, including people who have been or are democratic operatives, and that the moderators of the debate, the venue, and the dates, would be selected before the GOP convention, meaning that the eventual GOP nominee would have no input on these matters.
These sound like reasonable requests to me.

cubanbob said...

Trump is right. Why play a rigged game? The only debate rules should be as noted above five topics and each candidate get five minutes. Same topic for each candidate at the same time and each topic the first to respond is the last to respond to the prior topic. The five minutes for each candidate to summarize their positions on what was debated.

Early voting should be limited to the three days prior to the election, mail in ballot schemes should be banned along with ballot harvesting, absentee ballots to require a request from the voter and received by election day. No changing of the election rules in the year of the election and that no precinct results are to be released to the public until all of the votes have been counted by every precinct has submitted it's vote tally to the state secretary of state. All ballots cast to be held at the secretary of state's office for one year minimum for examination if there are allegations of fraud and irregularity.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Drago, if you are keeping a list of “hoaxes”, the Crowley bias hoax should be on your list:

“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”

Skeptical Voter said...

What you think you see is what you get. Did Trump get his behind kicked in the debates? Well if you are a true blue progressive Bidenphile--maybe.

OTOH no football team can win a game if it has to play both the opponent and the zebras.
And the zebras have been on the side of the Democrats in all these debates so it's basically two against one. And Chris Wallace and Candy Crowley I'm looking at you--and Donna Brazile as well.

tim in vermont said...

Sorry Left Bank, but what was Crowley doing taking sides anyway? She violated the rules of the debate, the moderator, to take sides. It's interesting that the left is fighting any attempts to make the debates less under the control of the Democrats and their operatives in the press hammer and tongs. Almost as strongly as they are fighting any attempts to make election integrity accountable.

Almost as virulently as the Democrats are fighting voterID, which is overwhelmingly supported, even by black Americans, which is why Democrats never mention what they are actually trying to do.

wildswan said...

Consider the terrain. An election now is dominated by the kind of thinking done by campaign managers and media owners. In White's original analysis of the 1960 election, this was thinking that pieced together coalitions like a tessellated floor, the Detroit workers piece goes here, the Jewish vote goes there. But now it's a limited, short-term, tactical kind of thinking, e.g., have "impartial" debate moderators who over the years always side with the candidate from one certain party. This has ruined the reputations of the "impartial" moderators and of the debates. It's all been like that the last twenty years and the result is that the tessellated pieces are getting broken or defaced or lost and the whole, looks like the floor of a long lost Roman ruin, recently dug up and patchily re-assembled. Must we pretend we don't notice? Isn't what's needed strategic thinking? Suppose the strategy was to make America a great place again for the common man to live, a democracy for the 21st century, better than before. For instance, suppose every equity seminar ended with a commitment by those adults to tutor those school children who lost ground due to disparate impact school closings? Suppose we restore manufacturing in this country so that those we do not go to college can get a good and productive job? Suppose we take power from bullying Federalista "experts" and masked judging and return it to its origin - to parents, to voters and to states? Suppose we say - a great lie shall only stand for so long and then it shall fall like Goliath.

tim in vermont said...

Not to mention that Crowley sure seemed to have that "fact check" handy, as if it were planned in advance.

We have seen other cases where Hillary was given questions in advance by 'reporters.' The system as it stands, stinks, and the Republicans have a right to fair play.

tim in vermont said...

Did Candy point out that Obama had lied in that speech of Sept 12?

Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.

It had nothing to do with that video. He knew it, but politics was to blame the video. That's the video where Obama threw the filmmaker in jail, like he did another fimmaker who crossed Hillary. Obama violated norms before violating norms was a thing.

tim in vermont said...

OK, so now I read up on it, the statement does not directly call the act terrorism, it only uses the word 'terrorism' in a general way, why is this more than a quibble? Because for the two weeks following the attack, when provided with many opportunities, Obama refused to label the attacks terrorism, and insisted that it was simply a demonstration that had gotten out of hand.

So what happened during those next two weeks? President Obama was asked directly and repeatedly if terrorism was to blame. Each time, he claimed that he didn’t know. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, was sent out on five Sunday morning talk-shows, five days after the attack, and repeated the story that the attacks stemmed from an overzealous mob. Both President Obama and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, blamed the infamous anti-Islam YouTube video for inciting the violence.

The idea that Candy Crowley could settle a debate like this with a simple pronouncement that failed to take into account all of the facts, and in fact injected herself into the debate as a partner working to get Obama off the hook on what every sentient being knew he actually did, and that the debate could still be called 'fair' is ridiculous.

Leland said...

Chop blocks in football are not masterful. They are against regulation and are penalized.

Static Ping said...

Using football as an analogy is very odd. One of my main peeves with football is the referees can and do decide who wins games. A penalty or a non-call at a critical juncture can decide the outcome. There are egregious examples of absolutely horrible calls that decided the winner, and there are documented examples of overt bias when the referee was trying to rig the outcome. However, perhaps more insidious are the judgment calls: a certain play is called a penalty in one game but pretty much the exact same circumstances are a non-call in another game. Penalties are not minor things; they can take points off the board or stop a drive in its tracks. A penalty late in the game can end a game right then and there, or give one team a massive advantage. If you goal is to state that the moderators do not matter, using a football analogy is bizarre. It is not as bizarre as, say, an Olympic boxing judge but still showing rather poor judgment.

Thank you for this latest installment of proven failure giving his opinion.

Drago said...

Left Bank, as with his many other hoaxes, is just going to keep doubling down.

This is another bottomless pit.

rcocean said...

Romney's chief strategic voted for Hillary and Biden and now works for the Left-wing hate Trump "pedophile friendly" Lincoln Project.

Why would anyone be surprised he doesn't support the Conservative/Republican position on anything?

reading the romney debate transcript Mittens says he will run a "bi-partisan" adminstration, will pass Amnesty for illegals in the first year, and will focus on a "Trade deal" with Latin America. If you remember Mittens wasn't too upset about Obamacare either. Not to mention he bragged about how he made Education No.1 in Massachutes by working with the D's.

How was he "severely conservative" again?

narciso said...

after ubl's encounter with lead, we were told 'al queda was dead, and gm was alive' this was despite general flynn's assessments that the franchises were growing in west africa, in north africa and elewhere

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

Dude1394 said...

What EVER democrats are accusing someone of doing is what they are ACTUALLY doing. You can never go wrong with it.

Verdad.

Left Bank is so insistent that Crowley's "fact check" is correct. Most reasonable people can see, even giving her the benefit of the doubt, that her "fact check" was debatable. And she should not have been the one debating it.

It reminds me of people who deny that the legacy media has a bias in favor of Democrats. Or a friend of mine who disputes that there is a bias against conservatives in universities, because that's not what she remembers from her stint 30 years ago.

When you realize that these are the same people who think they should have the right to force masking, quarantines, vaccine mandates and the like on you, it's not surprising that there is so much resistance.

Tim said...

Two moderators, one from each party. Alternate asking questions. Other than that, they have only one function. They each have one button. That button controls the mike of the opposing debater and becomes enabled 5 seconds after the buzzer indicating end of time goes off. At that point they can mute the mike of the opposing debater. Optionally, 15 seconds after the buzzer goes off, it sends a shock through the mike if the debater is still trying to talk.

Jim at said...

"Mitt Romney’s chief strategist in 2012"

That made me LOL.

Yeah. Let's listen to this guy.

Narayanan said...

Tim said...
Two moderators, one from each party. Alternate asking questions.
--------
why not animatrons + AI + algorithms

Left Bank of the Charles said...

“Sorry Left Bank, but what was Crowley doing taking sides anyway?”

You can see in the transcript by the way Crawley answered that she felt trapped into answering, and she waffled by taking both sides. That’s where Romney should have pounced but didn’t.

“If Romney had had some Trump in him, he would have leveraged the Candy Crowley moment into a big takedown of Obama.”

Trump wasn’t there because he dropped out of the race in 2011, after Obama beat him down over the birth certificate nonsense.

I’m not saying that President Obama’s 9/12 speech was entirely truthful. For example, it was a half-truth when he said, “Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi.” The two CIA contractors who were killed, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, died in the attack on a secret CIA facility not a diplomatic post. Perhaps it was technically a diplomatic post, or two diplomatic posts, … I don’t know. Romney didn’t even touch on that.

Mikey NTH said...

So the RNC - the organization that issued the complaint and made the decision - is now equated with Donald Trump? Then that would mean that the GOPe is not in control as much as the media would have you believe.

Drago said...

Left Bank wisely abandons his previously indefensible position and shifts the goalposts to a discussion around what Romney hypothetically should have said and when he should have said it!

LOL

A perfectly Left Bankian performance.

tim in vermont said...

Romney should have been prepared for that response, no question, but that doesn't excuse Crowley from tag teaming with Obama against him.

The Godfather said...

Romney: Hit me again Candy! Hit me again!

Greg The Class Traitor said...

"Trump got his ass kicked in these debates, so they want to change the rules.
Said Stuart Stevens, "who was Mitt Romney’s chief strategist in 2012


So the guy whose supposed candidate was screwed over by a dishonest moderator, is attacking Trump for objecting to dishonest moderators.

The stupid of that is just amazing.

Let's start with the basics: when you're a poster child for the problem the person you hate is attacking, you need to take a hearty cup of STFU and sit in the corner.

who worked against Trump’s reelection in 2020,"
I wonder if this guy is one of the crap people who conned Romney into using the new ORCA voter engagement system? A system so bad it quite possibly lost the 2012 race for Romney.

And, if so, I wonder if he pushed ORCA because he was a corrupt shill, or because he was working against Romney?

quoted in "Trump blows a hole in 2024 presidential debates/The RNC's move stamps former president’s imprint on future debates" (Politico).

More extreme stupid. AS this move demonstrates, the rules can change. So it "stamps" Trump's "imprint" until someone else comes along an "stamps" a different one.

OTOH, it's great advertising for Trump. because pretty much every honest Republican has hated the format, and the dishonest left wing "moderators" forced on the candidates, ever since it came out.

So making the case that "this is only changing because of Trump" is making the case "Trump's teh only Republican who doesn't have his head up his backside".

What Trump opposed was the use of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which he accuses of bias, to set up the debates, so I think the analogy should be something more like a football team that believes the referees systematically favor their opponents.
Yes, but that's because you're trying to look at things honestly. Stuart Stevens and Politico are not

Lurker21 said...

Stuart Stevens was a weird guy who could talk a good line of bullshit, like the spacy marketing or management guru you see in a movie. He convinced Romney to hire him based on his supreme self-confidence and his belief in his own bullshit. Stevens was a little like Romney himself, the rugged preppy guy who somehow wasn't all there and had problems connecting with reality, so he and Romney would naturally have had a rapport.