Presidential debate: Obama, Romney and past promises [AM Briefing]

October 16, 2012

What to watch for in the second presidential debate: “Given President Obama’s stinker of a performance the first time out — 71 percent of likely voters said Romney won in a new Washington post-ABC News poll — the pressure will be on the incumbent to show he has a pulse (and probably a bit more) tonight.” (Washington Post)


First 2 debates reveal 2 campaigns, stripped to core arguments: “On Tuesday night, President Obama and Mitt Romney will take the stage again, in a town-hall style debate at Hofstra University in New York. This meeting may have a different tone from their first — Obama, in particular, is under pressure to be more aggressive. But both candidates seem likely to return to the same basic sales pitch.” (Washington Post)

“I was experiencing free-floating debate anxiety when it hit me in a flash: the “Sister Souljah” move Mitt Romney could make in the town-hall debate Tuesday night that could win him the election. Naturally, the ethical question presented itself at once. If I’ve stumbled onto the political equivalent of the design of a nuclear device, is it right to share it, knowing it could sway the fate of a nation? After much soul-searching I’ve decided to trust in the democratic process – not to mention the old adage ‘forewarned is forearmed,’” writes CAP’s Matt Miller. (Washington Post)

“Presidential campaigns should come with a disclaimer: “past promises are no guarantee of future policies.” Candidates are notorious for exaggerating modest differences with opponents, then doing precisely the same thing once elected. Remember Bill Clinton, blasting George H. W. Bush for toasting the “butchers of Beijing,” later cozying up to China. Or a junior senator from Illinois, Senator Obama, who condemned George W. Bush’s “global war on terrorism,” but adopted aggressive homeland security and counterterrorism measures of his own, from extending provisions of the Patriot Act to expanding targeted killings via drone strikes,” writes CFR’s Stewart Patrick. (CFR)

Peterson’s Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff: Sorry, U.S. recoveries really aren’t different. (Bloomberg)

“Despite speculation that WikiLeaks might receive this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the winner turned out to be the European Union. Some thought this might be a satire. While WikiLeaks would have been incandescently controversial, the EU decision nonetheless demonstrates how the Peace Prize Committee has gone wrong in recent decades, increasingly honoring political favorites rather than substantive achievements. The 2009 award to Barack Obama, after just a few months in the presidency, exemplifies the problem,” writes AEI’s John Bolton. (Washington Times)

Cato’s Gene Healy: ’90 Days’ and no good reasons. (Washington Examiner)

Joseph Antos: The problem with Kaiser’s premium support study? Seniors are smarter than that—and so are health plans. (AEI)

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Allen McDuffee | October 16, 2012