Annie-Rose Strasser in TruthDig: "Five Facts to Commit to Memory before Watching Tonight's Debate."
Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "the second presidential debate is designed to be a little less stiff -- a free-flowing question-and-answer session between the candidates and a studio audience. But behind the scenes, little is left to chance." CW: and here I was, hoping for a cheesy pizza preference question when the leadership of the free world is at stake (see yesterday's Commentariat).
Zeke Miller of BuzzFeed: "Two weeks ago, Obama tried to stay above the fray, backing down from nearly every attack he and his campaign have been firing at Romney by proxy -- both on television and in solo rallies across the country. Tuesday at Hofstra, will throw all the punches he pulled two weeks ago, his aides promise."
Matt Miller in the Washington Post: "Team Obama shouldn't be planning to refight the first debate. It should be prepared for a Romney who'll show up with new surprises.... Above all, it means laying out a bolder vision for a second term than the poll-tested small ball that passes for Obama's agenda thus far -- an agenda designed to help the president limp to victory, rather than address the country's real needs." CW: I've been thinking the same thing for two weeks: the next two debates will each bring a new "October Surprise" from Rmoney, just as the first one did. (I don't think Miller is necessarily right about what Romney's surprise will be, but it will be something designed to throw Obama again.) ...
Michael Tomasky of Newsweek has some excellent advice for Obama on how to approach the debate with Romney. Too bad Tomasky wasn't on Obama's debate prep team -- not that Obama would have listened to him.
Adam Serwer of Mother Jones isn't so sure, based on Obama camp spin, that they know the difference between a "debate" and a "town hall" -- not that the presidential debate shows are truly debates or the town-hall show is really a town-hall meeting. If Obama behaves more as Al Gore did in the clip Serwer includes than as Bill Clinton did in the Serwer clip, we're looking at President Romney. CW: while these clips may be extreme examples, you can really see why Clinton won & Gore lost, not on substance but on style.
Zeke Miller of BuzzFeed: "Vice President Joe Biden will appear on all three network morning shows on Wednesday, less than 10 hours after President Barack Obama faces off against Mitt Romney in the second presidential debate."
Nate Silver: "National polls showed a modestly favorable trend for President Obama, allowing him to gain slightly in our forecast. (Mr. Obama's chances of winning the Electoral College are now 66.0 percent, according to the FiveThirtyEight model, up from 63.4 percent on Sunday.)" ...
... Say What???? Susan Page of USA Today: "Mitt Romney leads President Obama by four percentage points among likely voters in the nation's top battlegrounds, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and he has growing enthusiasm among women to thank." ...
... Nate Silver tweets: "Looking at breakouts of 'swing states' from national polls is just dumb when there are dozens of actual swing state polls out every week."
Mark Landler of the New York Times: "President Obama and his wife, Michelle, announced on Monday that they would both vote early, and Mrs. Obama was photographed holding an absentee ballot for Illinois that she later dropped in the mail. Mr. Obama followed up her announcement by saying that he would vote early, in person, on Oct. 25, the next time he planned to be in Chicago.... They are throwing their weight behind the Obama campaign's aggressive push for early voting...."
NEW. Margaret Talbot of the New Yorker on what women want. "When some, usually more affluent, women can easily obtain birth control, and others cannot, that has real economic implications, both for individuals and for social equity. Romney and Ryan would prefer that you forget it, but women's issues are everybody's issues." CW: let's hope Obama takes Nancy Pelosi's advice of last week & reminds voters of how different their policies are on women's health care: i.e., Romney sez, "Girls, you're on your own. P.S. If you need an abortion, go to a private clinic in Europe. Otherwise, you're going to jail in the U.S."
Falling on Her Sword. Secretary of State Clinton says she takes responsibility for the lack of security at the Benghazi consulate:
Ashley Parker & Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "Mitt Romney and the Republican Party have begun a late push to raise tens of millions of dollars in the closing weeks of the election, cash that will finance a last-minute barrage of advertising that Mr. Romney's aides believe is critical to beating President Obama. In an e-mail to top donors and fund-raisers on Monday afternoon, Mr. Romney's campaign said that it had raised $170 million in September, almost as much as the near-record $181 million raised by Mr. Obama, but the campaign added that it needed to bring in even more money in October to capitalize on Mr. Romney's surge in polls in swing states like Florida and Ohio."
RomneyMath. Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post: Mitt Romney's promise to create 12 million jobs during his first term in office -- a labor increase that Moody's said will likely happen anyway -- doesn't add up: "This is a case of bait-and-switch. Romney, in his convention speech, spoke of his plan to create '12 million new jobs,' which the campaign's White Paper describes as a four-year goal. But the candidate's personal accounting for this figure in this campaign ad is based on different figures and long-range timelines stretching as long as a decade -- which in two cases are based on studies that did not even evaluate Romney's economic plan. The numbers may still add up to 12 million, but they aren't the same thing -- not by a long shot."
Wait, wait. There's there's a link to the details at RomneyTaxPlan.com. -- Victoria D.
"Arithmetic over Illusion." In a Web video, the Explainer-in-Chief explains Romney's tax plan:
... CW: Have you ever heard Obama so clearly state the Romney flim-flam tax plan? Or much of anything else "my opponent" proposes? No, I didn't think so. And pay attention to Clinton's demeanor. I think I mentioned the other day that he can take down an opponent's false claims without anger or out-and-out derision. Instead, he appears to speak to voters as a friend who is helping them out. He is a master. ...
... New York Times Editors: "... members of Washington's reality-based community have a habit of popping up to point out the many deceptions in the [Romney] campaign's blue-sky promises of low taxes and instant growth. The [Congressional] Joint Committee on Taxation ... [found that] ending all those deductions would only produce enough revenue to lower tax rates by 4 percent. Mitt Romney says he can lower tax rates by 20 percent and pay for it by ending deductions. The joint committee's math makes it clear that that is impossible.... The Romney campaign claims it has six studies proving it can be done, but, on examination, none of the studies actually make that point, or counterbalance the nonpartisan analyses that use real math."
Whoopi! Huffington Post: "Barbara Walters announced on Monday's 'View' that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney canceled on the ABC daytime talk show. His wife Ann will still appear on Thursday's show." With video.
Debunking Dad: The Real George Romney. Several Reality Chex contributors recommended this piece by John Bohrer in yesterday's BuzzFeed, which sheds new light on George Romney's character & political career. Rather than portraying George as a principled politician, Bohrer describes him as an opportunist who did what he needed to do to sell himself. The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree, after all. ...
... One man cited in Bohrer's piece -- has a different view of George Romney. Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: "A longtime aide to George W. Romney issued a harshly worded critique of Mitt Romney, accusing him of shifting political positions in 'erratic and startling ways' and failing to live up to the distinguished record of his father.... Walter De Vries, who worked for the senior Mr. Romney throughout the 1960s, wrote that Mitt Romney's bid for the White House was 'a far cry from the kind of campaign and conduct, as a public servant, I saw during the seven years I worked in George Romney's campaigns and served him as governor.' ... Mr. De Vries, who said he wished to the see the Republican Party return to its moderate roots, said he intended to vote for Mr. Obama on Election Day."
** New York Times Editors: if Romney wins, abortion rights go. "We do not need to guess about the brutal consequences of overturning Roe. We know from our own country's pre-Roe history and from the experience around the world.... Women's health, privacy and equality would suffer. Some women would die. Mr. Romney knows this, or at least he used to. Running for the United States Senate in Massachusetts in 1994..., Mr. Romney spoke of a young woman, a close relative, who died years before as result of complications from an illegal abortion to underscore his now-extinct support for Roe v. Wade. In a report in Salon last year, Justin Elliott ... found that when the young woman passed away, her parents requested that donations be made in her honor to Planned Parenthood. That's the same invaluable family-planning group that Mr. Romney has pledged to defund once in the White House."
Sharon LaFraniere of the New York Times has a useful piece explaining Romney's & Obama's differences on trade with China.
With Armaggedon approaching -- or, to borrow from Akhilleus'commentary, a crossing of the Rubicon about to occur at Hofstra -- let us bask in the memory of happier times -- way last week:
Felicia Sonmez of the Washington Post: "The head of a northeast Ohio charity says that the Romney campaign last week 'ramrodded their way' into the group's Youngstown, [Ohio,] soup kitchen so that GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan could get his picture taken washing dishes in the dining hall." ...
... Um, the dishes didn't need washing. Oh, and there were no people there having soup. Neetzan Zimmerman of Gawker has the pathetically hilarious details. But, hey, Paul Ryan looks really compassionate when he's railroaded press photographers in to take his picture looking compassionate.
Jackie Calmes of the New York Times: "If he gets another four years in the White House, [President Obama] already has plans to go right back on the campaign trail to build support for his deficit-reduction framework, Democrats say, and administration officials are debating whether Mr. Obama should make some concession to Republicans to spur negotiations." CW: sure sounds familiar, doesn't it? It would be nice if, instead of "building support for his deficit-reduction framework" & "making some concession to Republicans to spur negotiations," Obama took Jon Chait's advice (see link in yesterday Commentariat) & just stuck it to Congressional Republicans, something he would easily be able to do because of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.
Monetary policy, while highly accommodative by historic standards, may still not have been sufficiently accommodative given the economic circumstances.... With the benefit of hindsight, monetary policy needed to be still more aggressive. -- William Dudley, President of the New York Fed
No shit. -- Constant Weader
A doctor writes to Paul Krugman adding another way that emergency rooms do not care for patients with life-threatening illnesses. CW: Mitt Romney doesn't care if they die. See also Krugman's column linked in yesterday's Commentariat.
Kevin Roose & Joe Coscarelli of New York magazine have a little on Vikram Pandit's ouster as CitiGroup CEO (see today's News Ledes) but not much.
New York Times: "An officer for the Central Intelligence Agency was killed on Saturday in a suicide bombing in southern Afghanistan, American officials said Tuesday."
AP: "The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for voters in the battleground state of Ohio to cast ballots on the three days before Election Day, giving Democrats and President Barack Obama's campaign a victory three weeks before the election. The court refused a request by the state's Republican elections chief and attorney general to get involved in a battle over early voting."
New York Times: "A federal appeals court on Friday overturned the terrorism conviction of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former driver and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden whose case has been one of the most tangled to emerge from the war crimes trials of detainees held by the military at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The court found that Mr. Hamdan's conviction by a military commission for providing material support for terrorism could not stand because, under the international law of war in effect at the time of his actions, there was no such defined war crime."
Reuters: "Citigroup Inc Chief Executive Vikram Pandit has resigned effectively immediately, the company said on Tuesday in a statement from Chairman Michael O'Neill." CW: oh, there will be more to this story, which at this point is just an item. ...
... Update: here is more from the New York Times, but nothing really definitive as far as I can see to explain Pandit's "surprise" resignation. ...
... Update Update: more from the Times.
AP: "The White House, under political pressure to respond forcefully to the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, is readying strike forces and drones but first has to find a target."
AP: "Several paintings have been stolen from a museum in the Dutch city of Rotterdam that was exhibiting works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Vincent van Gogh."