Drunkblogging the First Presidential Debate

5:55PM I’m in the lobby bar of the Crowne Plaza Airtport Hilton Ritz General Six with the rest of the CPAC Colorado crowd who both

A) Got here early

B) Despise their livers like I despise mine

And that seems fair.

It’s a good crowd of not many strangers, and some instant friends. So if tonight’s drunkblog isn’t quite as active as usual, please believe me when I tell you that as much as ever, my lady parts depend on it.

5:57PM The lobby bar has on CNN with Wolf Blitzer and John King, making this bar a Charisma Free Zone. But that’s what we go to CNN for, so I don’t mind very much.

Also, drunken revelry.

5:58PM I’m sorry you missed this, but I just had to remind the lovely young lady to my left (geographically, not politically) that Joe Biden was brought on for his gravitas. Good times, good times.

6:02PM I’m happy to report that what I heard on KVOR this morning, that the candidates would be seated at table tonight, is not true. I’m seeing nothing but podiums.

But let’s not blame the good people at KVOR. These days, I’m up at 5:25, handling the two boys until school time, and the running them to their two different schools — all on two cups of coffee. For all I know, the 9AM host at KVOR was saying the two candidate would be receiving rectal probes administered by aliens from the planet Wambino.

6:02PM Jim Lehrer looks remarkably lifelike.

6:03PM Romney is taller. I never knew that.

6:05PM “I want to wish Sweetie a happy anniversary.”


6:05PM Ah. I see. It’s all BOOOOOOOOOOOSH’S fault.

Drink if you didn’t see that one coming.

Oh, and GM.


6:06PM “New sources of energy.” Frack that.

6:06PM #Debate2012 is the trending Twitter hashtag, FWIW.

6:07PM First real laugh of the night goes to Romney, for apologizing for being the “romantic” element of the Obama’s 20th anniversary.

6:08PM Obama is doing is best I’M NOT PEEVISH face. If the all-caps didn’t give it away, the face is not entirely convincing.

6:08PM Mitt? Reagan had four points, and he made them in less time than you took to make your first two.

6:09PM “Trickle down government.” It’s a good phrase, but it got a little lost in the five-point shuffle.

6:10PM “We’ve made enormous progress,” Bipartisan progress, even.


Also: 100,000 new math and science teachers and low tuition and lower taxes and PLEASE BELIEVE ME WHEN I TELL YOU I’M BILL CLINTON. Because he was great at my convention, am I right, people?

6:11PM Three words, Mr. President: So. Lynn. Duh.

6:11PM Kudos to Lehrer for calling Obama on his filibuster.

6:12PM “High income people are doing just fine in this economy.’

I think Mitt just drew first blood.

6:13PM And there is the total I AM THE PEEVISH KING look.

Sorry for the Nightmare Before Christmas reference, but tis the season.

6:13PM Mitt has Come. Out. Swinging.

6:14PM “I like coal.” Do you hear me, Pennsylvania?

6:14PM Romney had a great out, but then he just kept talking.

6:14PM Well, uh. uh, let’s talk about taxes.


6:15PM Shorter Obama: I bought you a computer! Doesn’t it look nice next to your ObamaPhone?

6:16PM “The only way to meet Romney’s pledge is…”

I dunno… Simpson-Bowles?

6:16PM Fillibuster-in-Chief.


That’s what I’m getting from the right side of the screen, anyway.

6:19PM Romney is doing the job of making Obama angry, without being mean. The split-view camera reminds me of Bush versus Gore 12 years ago.


I swear, I could live to be a million and six, and I will never forget watching Romney force Obama into channeling Ron Burgundy.

6:21PM From my neighbor: “Jim Lehrer has totally lost control.”

Me: “That’s the only thing that makes this any good.”

6:22PM Damn you, damn you Mitt Romney for using math.

6:23PM “The same idea behind Bowles-Simpson, by the way.”

Slam. I don’t know how well most people will appreciate that, but… awesome’

And then Obama tried to change the subject, and everybody here laughed. It’s a good crowd.

6:24PM Obama keeps saying “math,” but Romney keeps using numbers.

You do the math.

6:25PM It’s… mind-blowing… for lack of a better word, watching Obama trying to run on Clinton’s record. Just…


The audacity of total crap.

6:26PM Romney has had three “I paid for this microphone” moments on Lehrer.

6:26PM “Voting for the status quo is not going to cut it for the American people.”

THAT is the pitch.

6:28PM I just watched an out-of-work fund manager politely tell the President of the United States to stand still and wait his turn — and totally made him do it.

Wow. Wow.


6:29PM BOOOOOOOOSH> Two Wars. Deficits. Credit cards.


Oh, sell it in Hyde Park.

6:30PM Obama just slammed the F-22. I guess Lockheed is going to send out those layoff notices after all. If not, they’re fools.

6:30PM My deficit plan is on my website. It has an 800 number.

6:31PM Let you be clear?



Just this once, I demand that you obfuscate.

6:32PM “We’re way over two minutes.” Mr Lehrer, you’re two minutes were over about three minutes into this debate.

6:32PM “We still show trillion dollar deficits every year.”

Math is hard.

6:34PM It’s embarrassing — for the President — when the moderator has to cut in to “allow” the President to answer something. Especially when the challenger takes right back over.

6:35PM “Let’s talk about corporate taxes. I’ve identified areas…”

Then what have you been doing the last four years?

6:36PM “We’re going to help young people.”

Again, what have you been doing the last four years?

6:38PM Short delay. I lost my cocktail waitress, but Michelle Ray just poured me tequila from her own personal stash.

When I said this was a great crowd, I wasn’t kidding.

6:39PM So. Lynn. Duh.

“You don’t pick the winners and losers. You pick the losers.”


“I’ve been in business 25 years, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Summer schooled.

6:40PM “One of the magnificent things about this country…”

After four years, I’ve missed that kind of language.

6:41PM In rebuttal to Solyndra and business and all the rest, Obama is talking about… his grandmother.

And I will rebut the rebuttal by playing the world’s smallest violin.

6:42PM I miss Obama’s grandma. By now, maybe more than he does.

6:43PM From the gallery: “Tell us about your racist dead grandma.”

6:45PM “You would turn Medicare into a voucher program.” Which is, like, totally uncool after I cut $716,000,000,000 out of it.

6:47PM Romney has been practicing his split-screen face. When Obama is speaking, he looks like I hope I look, when my six-year-old is trying to sell me on a line of total crap.

6:50PM It’s gotten so bad, that every time Romney speaks, Obama looks like Martin Landau playing Bela Lugosi jonesing for a heroin fix.

6:51PM From the peanut gallery: “Romney is moderating AND participating.”

6:51PM From the peanut gallery: “I just sent out an Amber Alert for Jim Lehrer.”

6:52PM Mr. President? The answer is not written on your hand.

I think.

6:55PM “I wouldn’t designate five banks as ‘too big to fail’ and hand them a blank check.”

6:56PM “It’s been two years, we don’t know what a qualified mortgage is yet.”

Paralysis is another word for stasis, which is the vil prog end game. It’s a philosophy of modern feudalism.

6:58PM Intermission: Aaron Hanscom, our managing editor, just emailed to tell me Andrew Sullivan is wailing and rending his garments over Obama’s bad performance.

What, he was expecting another McCain?


I love it when he has to remind people about the law we all hate.

7:01PM Mr President? You don’t negotiate for five seconds. You negotiate for the end of your answer.

This is why Iran will end up with nukes.

7:03PM Wow. Obama looks mad, now that the subject is the ill effects of the law bearing his name.


7:04PM From the peanut gallery: “You can stay on your parents’ Medicare.”

7:23PM  It’s been more of the same while our servers struggled to handle the load.  And that is:  Obama, peevish, scripted.  Romney, relaxed, and owning the stage like one of the “big, swinging dicks” from Wall Street, which Obama both despises and relies upon.

And that’s the trick tonight, isn’t it?  Obama has always relied on the big money men in private, while disparaging them in public.  But what happens when he comes up against one of them in the most public  way possible?

Now we know the answer, and it ain’t pretty.

The president appeared small and petulant and reactive.  Romney looked presidential and secure and proactive. There was only one president on the stage tonight, and he doesn’t (yet) hold the office.