Special Report Online: 10/17/12
Breaking down the second presidential debate
- Duration 27:20
- Date Oct 17, 2012
Breaking down the second presidential debate
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Welcome to another edition of special report on line I'm Bret Bair.
You're right Eric just -- and I didn't mention online -- tonight and you're right Erica did not and I apologized so thank you for coming on board.
And realizing it's Wednesday and there is an on -- show.
And in fact serious.
If you hadn't it been here before.
Type questions comments for the panel also you can vote and whatever scrolling -- here lots of fun and we've also added another -- The own our own chief Washington correspondent James Rosen.
Added to the panel and you're -- here when one has to leave for Lou Dobbs is that right.
The disloyalty the -- We welcome back Ben Feller from me Pete and -- course.
-- -- California weighing in Irvine and also from Okinawa.
Typing -- Oh a lot of people want to talk about the debate and James you can weigh in on the panel.
We spent a lot of time talking about the Libya section and you've spent a lot of time reporting on it you think that that.
What the president said and didn't say.
Takes this story really into Monday's foreign policy.
Debate it will.
Because that'll be the last time probably that that an official that rank at the White House will have commented on -- prior to what is going to be on Monday night -- foreign policy debate.
That set aside from the interaction of of of Candy Crowley marked her first time weighing in as a kind of umpire in the debate.
It was the first time that we saw the crowd erupt in applause during the debate.
But that said I would say that it did that particular moments impact has has been overstated.
An important moment in the debate was when Mitt Romney.
Quite sort of unforced.
Started to say that.
I'm still licking my wounds from when John McCain beat me four years ago.
It would there was no real occasion for him to be talking about that -- that struck me as the moment when he might have ceded control of that debate I thought that up until that point was about an hour in.
Mitt Romney had established -- a notable if not sizable but nonetheless palpable lead.
In the debate and and that kind of unforced -- shifted things at that point before Candy Crowley got involved.
Then you see this president I mean this was.
I thought from the first.
Question that kind of -- still talking.
Kind of president on Red -- I mean I hadn't seen and that sort of animated and long long time well we also hadn't seen had to be.
It's also short of expectations as the first one right -- whole thing was framed by the expectations of a president needing a rebound and so when the first -- twenty years old says.
I -- -- job.
Graduating from college and my parents are worried about it -- and I do.
Right I mean that's kind of the essence of a direct conversation with the voter who needs a job.
And he starts going through his agenda the president does and says manufacturing and by the way.
From militant -- go bankrupt and before you know -- in this rollicking debate about what bankruptcy means -- manufacturing and he he was just a sign that he was ready for fighting was gonna bring an end every question he could he needed to do that.
-- like Charles and hangs -- China also weighing him.
We -- getting all kinds of folks coming in a lot of people asking where Charles is.
You are in the Charles -- Syria aren't there is giving a speech in not Pennsylvania he'll be back tomorrow.
One for the base of the Democratic Party we heard a lot of people today saying they were fired up.
To see the president animated.
For the conservative side.
You also didn't hear.
It was kind of a no hits no runs no errors and they're still fired up about ex governor Romney it seemed today in the fall out.
-- yeah I mean it and we saw that in the poll that was done here -- special report but if you look at the polls.
You know we are very few people who want decided about who they're supporting and who they're voting for in this election.
So basically you're you know there's a lot of anger or -- they can come from the base that either side.
The Democrats their base really I think bed the discontent with president Obama's performance in the first debate when you had number of celebrities and notably left leaning celebrities you know Bill Maher and the like Michael Moore complaining that old where's Obama where's the guy he needs a teleprompter and all -- Very derisive -- threats and I think they -- that -- the idea that he had done so badly and this time around.
It's telling you -- it went to the spin on the first debate Republicans rushed in.
This time the Democrats for rushing in and the Republicans were kind of dragging and saying I was a drive doesn't make that big -- difference again these details if you will the poker table about the way people saw the debate -- the Democrats felt very good about it.
And even in terms of the president's performance.
If you go.
At the idea that he was finally confronting Romney about questions like.
Saying to -- -- is that right didn't you say that you were going to veto the DREAM Act didn't you say.
That you you're you know it your plan you have rerun of a five point playing you're the one point play and help the rich.
That kind of talk I think has really inspired the -- the question is whether it can move women voters.
Especially on the contraception issue.
And whether or not his ability to extend that then two things like pell grants.
Really help to stop the momentum that Mitt Romney had going into this thing you could see it in the polls the last Gallup had Romney up by about five was apparently -- -- South Florida says.
Romney 51% Obama 46%.
Latest Gallup that only included part.
The day today here in that tracks are tracking poll yet -- goes over seven days -- I guess that question to Steve is.
What governor -- kept on hitting.
Was this vision for the next four -- You know what is the vision for the next four years if you look back at the last four years and he listed -- as things as he often doesn't stop.
But he did it again and again again and and when we were listening to it it -- repetitive.
But for people who were just paying attention and it's hard to believe that there are people that are just paying attention that there are.
That's a pretty compelling case on the UConn.
If they're probably not watching online show people wash your online sales have been paying attention yeah why don't do that for quite a while her -- -- Yet you and Edison wanted to and I thought that was different I mean is this is so much and so much to look at so much to talk about in ninety minutes of the debate.
And so what's the people -- said before but one of the things that hasn't gotten as much tensions and maybe should have is the fact that governor Romney every time he went after.
The president Obama's record.
He he indicted the record he gave you know his -- sort of stump speech standard.
-- four years of the Obama presidency.
But -- he always.
Turned toward another argument so at one point he turned and compared.
The Obama recovery to the Reagan recovery and -- this compares not favorably to re -- recovery.
Had another point he turned and made sort of an optimistic picture at the end of his critique.
Before -- as president -- and I think -- -- something that you know conservatives and others have they have criticized president governor Romney.
For not doing enough off.
You know for a long time it felt as if the Romney campaign's.
-- -- campaign strategy was just telling voters in -- -- what they already knew the economy's bad unemployment bad.
We're not growing fast enough manufacturing -- These are things that either either people knew because they read papers -- they knew because they understood it because they're living this life.
-- it wasn't good enough I think for governor Romney to continue did you sort of repeat these statistics.
And I think he did yesterday in a way that's been sort of under appreciated and at least this first 24 hours of analysis after the debate.
Is -- to make that positive and say here's what I would do here's where president Obama's.
And recovery falls short.
Here's the broader case here's who we are as Americans -- it seemed clear to me that that was an emphasis going into the debate and any excuse me.
Analyzing -- I wanna give their name and location not.
The lingering impression.
And you'll love this because it's in your real us.
It's like the Kennedy Nixon debate which Nixon probably won on points while the radio audience rated -- the Nixon victory.
Again the real question is what's in the back -- voters' minds as they drive into -- -- talk about the debate work just this at the end of debate.
It was a sense of the diminished Obama he's -- political argument did rhetorical not overwhelmingly so by the way he wasn't Al war.
But the reaction shots weren't flattering and sometimes he looked.
-- for voters I think -- take away is that he was more likely candidate than oppressed.
Romney on the other hand was poised feisty when he needed to be but dignified and hopeful even as he was effective so more impressive a better leader yes.
But beyond that if I -- comment is someone who is.
Done some things in the business.
Had to acquire a subliminal recognition mechanism Romney came off as president.
All fit into 120.
Tennis -- and its weaknesses.
Could -- -- -- that.
One thing that continued in a minute clip from you know conservative.
Analyst I think that one -- that continued in this debate that we've seen in the first debate.
Was that Mitt Romney in his mannerisms and his sentence constructions.
For the most part and and accessible.
And I defy anyone to look at the tape from last night because I was paying obsessive attention to this.
President Obama Navarro Ben -- -- for a second okay because Obama held the microphone in his right hand the entire time and dissent.
State like this the entire time.
And maybe -- like that.
Can they -- like this.
But the -- stayed right here.
Guarded okay his body language was guarded the entire time and -- when you're O'Reilly right now and even when he sat down.
And finally you would see if you paying careful attention to president.
I use this left arm to maybe grab a drink or something but otherwise he's stayed -- the entire time like this.
It was almost pathological honestly.
And I think and returning that -- tell -- tend to him.
That that Mitt Romney conveyed.
-- a certain openness to the president did not I think the president as he did during his convention speech.
As he did in the first debate appeared -- let's.
-- At no point happy warrior one of Barack Obama's most of probably any -- you -- certain -- You know joyful moment when he was laughing about.
-- around his pension.
Sure got one good line there and what I would say is that one of Barack Obama's most potent assets as a speaker.
And as somebody in the art of persuasion is his use of humor when he uses it and there was almost none of that last night.
He can really get off a few good lines and top the joke several times in the -- only the best comedians can do and humorous incredibly -- If -- that one that was the only looked funny on the whole thing I think but the second point to make you is you'll get your country.
Which is not -- -- it came from Barack Obama came from that room.
-- Simply my thought is that there were to snap polls taken immediately after the date by CBS and CNN as I understand -- there I saw the report of a National Journal.
And they found that in both can both both polls by a very narrow margin.
Respondents thought that President Obama had -- pointed Mitt Romney.
But by a very large margins in both polls they -- that Mitt Romney was better on the issues and the only reason they would've thought that I think -- because of the way in which Mitt Romney projects himself.
And the way in which President Obama did with his guarded physical demeanor and also these complex sentence constructions that the president favors which sounds something like.
That we can do X -- Lindsay.
While still accomplishing 12 and three.
And those kinds of -- look -- -- constructions lose.
Viewers and I think I don't -- circumvent certain look fabulous no I think I think that the viewers who picked it up on pong -- contacts and I want you to weigh in on that and -- fret wrong now.
So -- that might -- yeah it's still not great giving you say I'm Brooke.
No I didn't think and they -- they're all -- in the loved the impression -- moving here it's very action.
And now we have an empty chair at the on the panel unit.
And I won't address -- -- -- wanna dress very relaxed.
I'm forty that -- I.
Think going back to quickly point Steve was making about.
Romney's governor -- his economic argument I think he's effective.
When he goes big picture and he says.
To the disenfranchise voters we don't -- Oval Office.
Candidates got into specific policy points.
But this is not the hope and change election for President Obama.
So the idea that.
He is going to be captivating and sort of summon -- spirit this time that's not what this election is is about and that's -- -- this debate is about his his whole idea is.
You know I have brought us back from the brink and a -- a little bit about that.
I think the other guys dishonest and I talked about that -- -- -- education manufacturing and how to grow the economy and and I think that his tax plan is is gonna bring -- -- the recession and and mine alone and and just stick with me I mean that's sort of the essence of rights before you know it is it's stay -- course but is built on record that he is he doesn't think he's running from he does talk about a lot.
But when you think about the last election and why people who have risen among what is he running for.
You know there are were sort of epic.
Themes and that reflected the context of the times and also anti -- -- running against you know John McCain and this is this is very different so I think.
When Romney tries to go there and says -- and we to a better in this we can do better.
You know I think that works but over the course of an an -- debate and I was watching some of the faces of these voters they look pretty serious I mean they're there to two.
Learn and make up their mind and I think at some level they want more -- -- -- they are sort of taken the measure both these men.
The last I'll make is that.
The analyst you -- talked about Romney and looking presidential candidate in -- -- -- candidates.
You know you won't be surprised to know that the Obama folks today or gleeful about the -- exchange.
Because not only because.
What Romney said he you know you never said that the rose garden and the president actually did.
But they thought that what preceded that was governor Romney saying you know you may have misled the country here.
And Obama's reaction saying I take offense that's offensive you know I know these people.
Ice on the one that creates the confidence on the on the -- the families.
You know if you're really ready to -- gonna be commander -- she if you need to be ready to handle these things.
Today think that was a commander in chief moment vs a candidate and you can expect that to be -- in the next debate.
-- They they were happy with that moment.
The moment that the Romney folks were happy with was the I think them.
The present early on on.
Not only -- China stuff but on the energy stuff and the ability to question.
The leader of the free world on whatever the bankruptcy for the auto industry.
In his face and not you know be Toto.
You know like this guy can take on world leaders.
Like President Obama and not not back down so I -- I think that's it -- It does go both ways and I think real quickly Romney broke through that threshold in the first -- right.
So he -- they came in as it sort of equal candidates and standing in and he's he is clearly cross the presidential.
You know it but that it -- -- -- the president.
Had to be the aggressor.
-- students -- they were they were very of these deals on campaign team was very years.
To raise the Olympic thing right after the demand that was in the center in an -- -- -- today that front along with several of the reporters.
And he took a question from a reporter for -- Turkish television station.
And and -- -- it is it's happened before it happens in the White House in white house press briefing room.
It happens on the campaign where -- reporter from a particular.
Organization has a very parochial question in this particular former -- Turkey's very important you know you didn't talk about Turkey why didn't you talk about Turkey and Axelrod handle it and then got follows with sort of -- -- halfway decent look.
Turkeys and very important now.
He and -- -- this foreign policy debate coming on Monday we are going to be talking about Turkey.
Tell me tell you about what President Obama did Olivia he now and -- heard it turned that the whole entire discussion Olivia and said.
You know Mitt Romney thought that he had a clear win when he went after president -- I thought he Cottam in this moment and in fact he didn't and he made this argument now.
I don't buy what David Axelrod was selling it to me in the other reporters on the substance and I think and it's not my view I think objectively.
David Axelrod last night President Obama in the debate.
Claiming that the president called the Ben Ghazi.
Incident a terrorist attack on September 12 that's not what happened it's just not.
And he did say that they alluded to -- you could say that it was indirectly but the idea that they were straightforward and forthright and said this was a terrorist attack and they were resolute.
That's simply not what happens I think he's rewriting history there but it was very clear.
From that this exchange that they want to be talking about -- that they think is a good thing.
Now I happen to think that that's a miscalculation.
I think that anything you know Mitt Romney I think stumbled on -- who has thrown off by candy Crowley's intervention.
And correction women which she later correct she corrected him in real time and then later corrected herself.
On CNN's there.
And -- led him to stumble a little -- it wasn't a great moment for Mitt Romney but I think every minute.
That we are all talking about Libya that they are all talking about -- is a good minutes.
For Mitt Romney up at minute for the president because there -- so many unanswered questions.
About the -- time.
I agree that there are a ton of unanswered questions and we have an hour special coming up on Friday and it's.
There there's a lot to -- But.
You know the economy tops every poll and everything the governor Romney says is -- it again and again and again.
Is the -- Not so big and this is easier is usually -- -- a good part of it of the online showing particularly had I guess deflects a settlement.
Won't be surprised to -- you guys I believe -- have believed for now more than a year that this is a leadership election not a.
Stewardship exactly they had this is the -- Two cutter and Saudi Arabia that are now being funneled to rebels in some cases al-Qaeda rebels.
Put -- in a defective civil war with the Syrian.
-- story that.
Did not get a lot of attention this week a New York Times story other.
Outlets have now reported it.
Weapons going to Syrian rebels and not always good guys in -- some bad guys getting weapons from the US.
Directly contradicting what the vice president said in the debate on the vice presidential debate if you believe everything in the New York Times article.
Syria that's a big story as well.
The answer to the -- to the the person who posted the question and you don't want to know if we are not in -- the fact a state of war with these Syrian regime simply because we have not undertaken.
Any kind of direct hostilities to bring that regime down the supply of weapons to certain factions itself would not.
Constituted de facto state of war with the regime in the fact that those weapons may have themselves gone to unintended parties.
Would further amplify the point that we're not directs.
State of war with that regime.
However much there may be a valid moral case for going to war with that relations.
I think that this is going to be in there really interest in point in this in the foreign policy debate on Monday because.
Obama and Romney both have big questions to answer if -- if they're held accountable in that format.
The administration has not been able to effect change at all here.
Right they've talked about regime change -- talked about -- the United Nations they've been stymied they'll providing military code to be humanitarian -- did not -- specifically you know we are not putting troops and we are not arming the rebels.
They don't necessarily mind if others are they don't really want to talk about that.
But you know it it is a it is a focus the national security.
Council but they've not been able to effect change.
-- -- has to be I think clear about what is it exactly he wants to do what what would be his policy as president.
And doesn't want to -- the rebels in in what way how you know what kind of heavy ammunition would you need to provide to beat to be inside.
You know military is that what is and it is that with voters want to hear her before election.
This is this is -- you know if if it's happening currently.
If it weapons are going to -- guys and says here.
-- I do it if it's if it's a highly significant issue and I think I think the administration.
Needs to be held account.
To that end and clarify its position but you know -- James is saying we're not and -- effective.
State of war and I and I don't think that I think the president is gonna try to draw the line that says.
I'm the guy that gets us out.
If you want to talk about what your plan is.
In Libya and Syria.
And it and then ran and it means troops and ammunition -- -- -- because he -- he wants that to be out.
Before and they've they've confronted the Romney campaign I believe it was in the first debate there was exchange where there was basically that this.
Kind of as I'm not a -- the president said if you want to take us to where you need to say that -- be basically need to tell the American people.
And this is a very difficult moment for for Mitt Romney I think this is this is one of the things that makes this -- debate so uninteresting.
Mitt Romney it's clear that he doesn't agree with the president's policies on.
A variety of whether it's on Ronald others on Syria whether it's on Libya Afghanistan Russia but he's not Russia from Russia but -- a little different because.
He's very he's not only willing -- he's -- To point out the differences in policies on Russia he's not eager to point out the differences on Afghanistan on a rock on.
And I think that you know the president's argument in my view on Iraq is totally disingenuous -- safe Mitt Romney has way we'd still have troops there.
And isn't this horrible well if President Obama had been more successful in -- diplomacy would still have troops there so it's not exactly.
-- straightforward argument but but Mitt Romney's been unwilling on Syria in particular on Afghanistan and effort.
To drive this kind of wedge that one would do and I think it's because he's afraid of being level the second coming of George W.
Which was also another fascinating question last night that George W.
Bush -- which.
Yeah I called.
Ideological chess game on the air you know because governor Romney.
I'm different from George W.
Bush -- this way this way this way moving towards the senator you know queen the queen level three and then President Obama came in.
And said no your radical extremists this way this way this way.
Let's shift you back this way to the right.
And it was kind of what was -- queen too little -- I don't look back.
And we hope that you that I didn't really -- -- -- be doing.
That's my very handsome chestnut.
San Jose Maria that's streak of your personality we you can look around and it's and -- voter to bring up.
Bush put it took Candy Crowley choosing that voter to bring about anyway -- the money.
Committed voter questions in Nassau county New York people who would say just a little skeptical that.
It's it's fair and balanced perhaps in -- -- New York I'm not sure.
I don't know I asked this question how many of those questions do you think were beneficial to President Obama and how many of those questions you think -- benefit from a let's Lilly Ledbetter.
AK 47 when -- on the campaign trail that's all people are talking to me about it Lilly Ledbetter I mean it comes up all the George W.
Bush -- -- nobody -- does that does that.
It's like yeah it's good yeah.
It's like the most if if the Obama campaign -- write the questions they were before finally got questions and grass on the question that it really should have been the softball for me around.
-- -- yes it was his -- has been with them yes.
But I still think that if he hadn't focused narrowly on that one quote thing.
Right it would just I mean because he is that it goes well who's right about -- yeah -- what I -- today the work.
He he didn't think he said the war you even know what -- did not only president's comments on September 12 that it Obama's largely better informed Romney wouldn't been in a position to say you didn't hall of an act of terrorism the president said he told the American people -- an act of terrorism he did not -- -- the timeline -- on.
Fox News -- -- slash.
Especially one of many reasons to violent thing he's literally just sitting around doing nothing in his hotel watch the watch and watch and -- -- Okay a lot of people have told us that.
Steve you and I look very tired.
Yes I would tell you I have a one hour and ten minutes of sleep I think you have four -- -- that.
And I am president that's great yeah.
It is I thought it's just they didn't really -- I newborn I -- yeah.
-- -- knots which is -- -- login.
As having Krauthammer withdrawals he'll be back tomorrow.
You lord that is -- I don't always.
There is good to have never -- here presents a little sketchy.
OK at that we're going to restaurant food and a always -- they had -- James good addition to a lot of people say you should be on the battle more I don't know I agree that.
We'll have you back I'm here to agree -- As always expressed thanks for tuning in to the online -- me back here tomorrow at 6 PM for special reports have a good night little control room.