Thursday, October 04, 2012

Who Won the Debate?

If you believe that what is said is less important than how one looks when saying it, then clearly, Mitt Romney won the evening. It's a statement on the pundits that this was their nearly unanimous view. As far as it goes, Barack Obama needs to speak in short, concrete sentences, use periods at the end of sentences rather than dashes, and look like he's actually more interested in being reelected than the average voter is in reelecting him. It would also be helpful if Mr. Obama didn't betray Social Security in the course of the upcoming budget negotiations, as he did in the debate.

On the other hand, the candidate who is not Mr. Obama did the following:
  • Repudiated his own tax scheme;
  • Denied that Romneycare and Obamacare are virtually identical, which they are;
  • Claimed that his own healthcare plan has characteristics that it doesn't;
  • Developed amnesia over the past twelve months of his campaign;
  • Failed at basic arithmetic
And Mr. Obama got Mr. Romney to do all that by, as Paul Krugman puts it, "going for the capillaries."

If one looks at the content together with the optics, it is much less clear who won last night.

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