Open Phones: Debate Reactions

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Last night's debate took place in the very-Blue state of New York, but both President Obama and Mitt Romney were trying to speak to the key voters in the critical swing states. You be the pundit: Who do you think won in the swing states? Post now!

Comments [50]

Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Jo B from Crooklyn

"birth control pills are NOT cheap"

Condoms are.

Oct. 17 2012 06:19 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ Jo B from Brooklyn

Ad hominem attacks aside, my wife has to buy them out of pocket, so I think I can guage the true cost.

This cost would be even higher if we had to funnel it through insurance and the pay the increased premiums.

Oct. 17 2012 04:06 PM
Jo B from Brooklyn

@ David The Knucklehead - birth control pills are NOT cheap.

Oct. 17 2012 03:25 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ RUCB_Alum

1. A child is not a health problem.

2. Contraceptives are dirt cheap. Making them "free" will not make irresponsible people suddenly become responsible.

Oct. 17 2012 01:55 PM

@David from Fredericksburg

>>The "free" contraceptives will drive up already excessive insurance costs.

Wow...You couldn't be more wrong. Pregnancies and births are a far more significant driver of health care costs than contraception.

Have you looked at the cost of monthly contraceptives versus raising a child to the age of eighteen - last estimate was $225,000?

Ask any health care administrator which is cheaper - contraception services or pre- and perinatal care.

Oct. 17 2012 01:37 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ Leo from queens

I think you're assuming the NRA has much more money than they do. NRA's biggest power is the voter block they represent.

Oct. 17 2012 01:30 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ jm

"That last caller was completely wrong about the family and work dynamic. I want equal pay, not the assumption that I'm going to make dinner for my family, or even that I want to have a family! No one benefits from these outdated beliefs.

Men must take equal time off for child bonding. This not only enhances the family unit, but also gives all women AND men in the workplace more opportunities for advancement."

Yeah, I want politicians that will make honest statements & not be lead around by the nose by the monied interests. We're both dreaming of a world that is at least very far off, if it will ever exist.

Oct. 17 2012 01:26 PM
David from Fredericksburg

@ Judith from Brooklyn

The contraception issue IS an economic issue. Some people want a free lunch - TANSTAAFL! The "free" contraceptives will drive up already excessive insurance costs.

Insurance is for UNFORSEEN circumstances, not regular, recurring expenses. The price of contraceptives will just be added to premiums, along with administrative and executive bonus costs. People need to pay for their own damn contraceptives (and Viagra!).

Oct. 17 2012 01:20 PM
Jennie from Manhattan

In the discussion about immigration policy, Romney made an important error that no-one seems to be paying attention to (at least not in the major English-language media): he used the phrase 'undocumented illegals'. Calling someone an 'illegal' reduces human beings to the circumstances of their arrival in the U.S., and subconsciously calls to mind the synonym 'criminal'. Obama used the phrase 'undocumented worker', which describes their status but also humanizes them: they are workers, they are members of our society.

Oct. 17 2012 12:56 PM
Leo from queens

so David from Fredericksburg, VA: SO where do you think the NRA gets all of it's money from? From organizations who want to increase gun sales. ANY rational business analysis of an economic model that looks at the 2nd amendment as merely guaranteeing that guns are available to law abiding US citizens buying guns and ammo for protection; hunting and other shooting sports will demonstrate that the business growth and profit growth will be very slow at best. In order for these manufacturers (guns, ammo) to be really profitable and growing every quarter you have to push a business model that instill fears of a government take over and that allows the flow of high powered guns to criminal organizations (The Mexican drug cartels being one of the key ones)to push for that growth.
Since they can't sell to the Cartels directly, they have worked to undermine any gun control enforcement so they can sell through middlemen gun smugglers. They can't sell to the public their 'right' to sell to a gang member in Chicago or a Mexican drug lord, but they can push the 2nd amendment meme.

Once again, where is the NRA getting all of it's money? Why the fear in any politician's eye when asked about keeping guns away from Criminals? Why are politicians in Arizona (from your local sherrif, to state and federal officials) so unwilling to enforce basic guns laws? They are being bought and intimidated.
The NRA is the lobbying arm of gun smugglers and drug cartels in Washington.
I say we should just send pictures of the slaughtered children to the board members of the NRA and gun manufacturers demanding a blood payment. Let's see how much they think each child's life is worth.

Oct. 17 2012 12:37 PM

@Keyla from New York City

Free phones? That is an FCC requirement started under Reagan. Get your information from somewhere other than YouTube.

Unemployment insurance? UI gives people the time and money to NOT have to take the first job they find. It makes the economy stronger. The unprecedented duration of THIS recession is because Bush mismanagement blew GIGANTIC holes in the two areas that normally pull you out of a recession. Banking and housing.

The fact that this recession was going to be deeper and longer lasting was no secret. The fact is that the GOP has done nothing to put us back to work (and in some cases has actively blocked positive action that would put people to work). They cynically believe that the electorate really can't tell who is blocking the recovery. Voters, by and large, are smarter than that.

If the GOP had at least gotten out of the way, $700B of the deficit would go away.

Oct. 17 2012 12:26 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Taher from Croton on Hudson said:

"I am in sales. I can smell a rat when I see one"

And we all know how well respected used car salesmen are.

Oct. 17 2012 12:06 PM
Keyla from New York City

After watching these debates I somehow always feel that I am hearing a bunch of lies. Yes presidents and candidates can make promises of what they want to accomplish during their presidency if elected/re-elected however there is a long distance between wants and cans...this then pushes me to judge candidates by their character, Mr. Romney seems to lack sensitivity to several issues specially when it comes to women and middle and low income families he is also more aggressive on foreign policy which isn't necessarily a good thing...on the other hand Mr. Obama comes off as a genuinely nice person, caring for others and wanting the best for low/middle income populations...unfortunately the real issue right now is the economy which is what is keeping me from supporting Obama fully he doesn't seem to have this as a priority and his plans do not sound aggressive enough, he plans making things easy for those who are having a hard time right now but at the same time a lot of his plans enable for people to stay off work while this is great for some for others it creates an incentive to stay off the workforce what we need is more innovation and competition this is how jobs and businesses are created we do not need free phones and extended months of unemployment and more welfare benefits we need to motivate people to work and to want to get ahead that is what makes our country great at least in the past....Romney may have some of this concept but what scares me about it is that it is not balanced for me this is a toss up I am really completely undecided....

Oct. 17 2012 11:55 AM

Did I miss something? I am having a hard time of following Romney's assertions.

Romney declared that he was for women receiving contraceptive services. Yet he has declared opposition to Planned Parenthood and wants religious orgs NOT to have to pay for types of services they do not agree with.

Mitt claims that his 20% tax deduction would NOT affect the deficit, i.e. is revenue neutral - but a precise (or even fuzzy) list of WHAT HE WOULD DISALLOW is not available.

Mitt stated that he wants ZERO taxes collected on interest, dividends and capital gains yet the rich would still pay for 60% of the government. How does that balance against his proposed cap on deductions? Does this mean that he and Anne would pay NOTHING in taxes on his capital gains? Sounds to me like he would make the revenue squeeze worse.

Plutocracy, heck!, these plans mark the beginning of the new aristocracy.

Oct. 17 2012 11:55 AM

I give the win to President Obama. Romney had moments of seeming "presidential," but mostly he came off as boorish, petulant, and disrespectful to President Obama. If Romney is that dismissive of our current president, how can anyone believe that he knows or cares about the struggle of the middle and working class of the country? I could not imagine an average voter witnessing Romney's behavior last night and believe that he is the person to lead our country.

Oct. 17 2012 11:54 AM
Chris B from Brooklyn

Obama won, hands down. He more deftly defined and forcefully defended his vision for America. Romney seemed taken aback by this Obama 2.0 debate performance, and wasn't as cogent in his vision.

Oct. 17 2012 11:53 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

I am in sales. I can smell a rat when I see one and Romney is a rat. During the debates he sounded like a used car salesman trying to sale America a lemon. The only think that was missing in Romney was a lime green suite and white shoes. Gave me a brake this guy is a con full of sh……..

Oct. 17 2012 11:52 AM

That last caller was completely wrong about the family and work dynamic. I want equal pay, not the assumption that I'm going to make dinner for my family, or even that I want to have a family! No one benefits from these outdated beliefs.

Men must take equal time off for child bonding. This not only enhances the family unit, but also gives all women AND men in the workplace more opportunities for advancement.

Oct. 17 2012 11:51 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ Chris from Brooklyn, NY

You are correct, automatic weapons are not illegal, they are heavily controlled by the Federal Government. No legal machine gun (that's what automatics are, the media almost always reports semi automatics as automatic guns) has been used in a crime.

Oct. 17 2012 11:51 AM
phoebe from brooklyn

I think it was crystal clear that Obama won last night, and even clearer how unhinged Romney is becoming with his desperate, rabid desire to "win". I feel, and have always felt, that Obama truly cares about the American people and everything in his power to achieve that. He seeks and speaks the truth and I thought he did so with precision and grace last night. I hope other people can look past "cowboys" and see what is really going on.

Oct. 17 2012 11:50 AM

I think Romney was foolish for singling women out for things like cooking dinner and seeing the kids after school. I think that kind of flexibility should be allowed all employees regardless of gender... as if women need special treatment for that. I know plenty of couples where the dad does all the cooking. What he should have mentioned for special consideration should be things like having children and maternity leave.

And please everyone, let's not forget... how can Romney relate to the middle class? He has NEVER been middle class. He grew up in a privileged home.

Oct. 17 2012 11:49 AM

Oops. I forgot URL's can't be embedded at this site. Here's the link:

History has the tendency to reveal lies.... The Internet, Governor, check it out.

Oct. 17 2012 11:48 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ Leo from Queens

I disagree with the NRA's stance of no gun control of any sort at any time, but you're smoking something if you think they're an arm of the Mexican drug cartels.

Oct. 17 2012 11:47 AM
Seth Pickenstiff

Ed, it's called Misogyny.

Oct. 17 2012 11:47 AM
Leo from queens

Brian, I think that you and the whole NPR gang and affiliates decided to just muddle the fact that Obama won the debate. Just listen to every NPR program since Morning Edition.

All of a sudden since last night it seems that NPR employees are completely and totally incapable of analyzing a debate.

What did you guys drink or smoke?

Oct. 17 2012 11:47 AM
Chris from Brooklyn, NY

OK, I fact checked Romney's automatic weapons gaffe myself. This is from the L.A. Times: "Fact Check: Romney says it's illegal to have automatic weapons" (,0,5158983.story)

WASHINGTON -- In an answer to a question during Tuesday night’s presidential debate about assault weapons, Mitt Romney said, “we of course don't want to have automatic weapons, and that's already illegal in this country to have automatic weapons.”

Fully automatic weapons -- guns that fire continuously when the trigger is held down -- are legal to possess in the United States but are tightly regulated.

The National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Hughes Amendment in 1986 have all placed limits on how automatic guns can be bought and sold, but did not make it illegal to possess them entirely.

Oct. 17 2012 11:47 AM

Dang, that Romney guy sure can lie! He LIED about ASKING his staff to develop a list of good women candidates to fill positions.

He did get "binders" listing qualified women, but that had been developed before the election by a group of women concerned about the low number of women in positions of responsibility in MA state government. When he won, they gave him all the names and bona fides.

Romney lied about ASKING to have such a list developed for him. In other words, he accepted the list, but had never initiated action to obtain it.

That's our guy with the ready lie at work lying to the public.

But, for him, lying to non-Mormons is almost a duty of a good Mormon, so, his church will forgive him these lies. Actually, he would be derelict in his duty as a Mormon to not lie to increase the church's numbers and power.

Oct. 17 2012 11:45 AM

There's a difference between working "flexibility" and working both day and night. Who goes to work at 7 or 8pm after working at home all day? Romney sounds like a slave driver.

Oct. 17 2012 11:45 AM
Bernadette from Catskills

When the young woman asked about pay equity, Rommney did not answer her at all. He talked about hiring women, not about pay equity!

Oct. 17 2012 11:45 AM
Robert from NYC

And that's the problem, that they come across as presidential. It's time people DO remember what they say. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!.
I agree with this woman speaking not, I don't think Obama was aggressive enough. He was a bit better than the first debate but not better enough. I was still a bit disappointed. But not important what I think, I'm not voting because as much as I like Obama as a person I don't like him as president and most assuredly do NOT want Romney. He should go back to Salt Lake City and not drink coffee.

Oct. 17 2012 11:45 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

I'm no fan of Romney, but his comment about his chief of staff wanting to be home for her children, to make dinner just reflects reality. It is usually the woman in a family that does these things. He did not say of course she had to cook dinner, he said that she said she wanted to make dinner for her children.

Oct. 17 2012 11:45 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Did Romney have binders of Blacks or Jews too? I thought republicans didn't believe in affirmative action.

Why is the women going home to "make dinner" a gaffe? That's what virtually all working women with kids usually have to do.

Oct. 17 2012 11:44 AM
Nancy from Manhattan

Romney's caring? Not of the 47%.

Oct. 17 2012 11:43 AM
Leo from queens

Candy was a total, calm, sensitive professional. She is a conservative from a conservative Missouri family who enjoy hunting. So she is not a liberal carrying water for Obama.

As a journalist it was her job to present the facts to viewers and outrageous lies were told by Romney

Oct. 17 2012 11:43 AM
Not A Fan

The fact that the binder comment is the most requested clip demonstrates exactly how shallow this audience and the left really are.

While youre all watching Stewart and Colbert let the grown ups get back to righting this country.

Oct. 17 2012 11:43 AM
Chris from Brooklyn, NY

Romney also said that automatic weapons were already "illegal in this country"! Last I checked they were legal under special circumstances. Maybe this comment should be fully fact checked.

Oct. 17 2012 11:43 AM

The "Binders full of women" or however it was phrased -- brooha is so stupid. I mean, that is REALLY reaching to make anything out of that. Why, because in the heat of the moment he left out the word "resume" or the equivalent??

Please! This is the worst of the echo-chamber aspect of the new social media... people repeating something that has virtually no substance and millions shaking their collective, virtual heads in assent, with little thought.

And so many of those who think this much-ado-about-nothing will turn around and complain about the lack of substance in the next sentence.


Oct. 17 2012 11:42 AM
Robert from NYC

Glad to hear this guy and hopefully others, many others, picked up on the "housewife" syndrome response. Thanks man, I'm not crazy. Well, i might be crazy but not like that.

Oct. 17 2012 11:41 AM
Judith from Brooklyn

Doesn't Mitt Romney or his staff KNOW any "qualified women"? If he did, he wouldn't need to ask for "binders of women"? "IF you're going to have women in the workforce? Also, Obama correctly framed the health care, contraception and right to chose as ECONOMIC issues.

Oct. 17 2012 11:41 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Seth Pickenstiff

""who takes anyone named CANDY seriously?" totally unnecessary, and undermines anything further you have to say. just can't take you seriously if that's the way you're gonna talk."

What could possibly make you so sensitive Mr. Pickenstiff?

Oct. 17 2012 11:40 AM
Leo from Queens

The problem with gun controls (or the lack thereof) is that the Gun lobby needs to have guns flowing to the criminals and drug traffickers in order to maintain their profits and growth. So you don't hear either Obama or Romney mentioning this problem.

Most congressmen just react in total fear when asked about gun control because they don't want to go there. They fear the drug cartels and the gun traffickers because they want anybody to buy military weapons no questions asked so they can be funneled to criminal organizations. This is the only way that these legitimate businesses can sell to criminals directly.
The NRA is just the political lobby for the Mexican Drug cartels.
Has anybody asked where the NRA gets so much money to buy off and intimidate so many politicians? It's not money coming from American's dues to the NRA!

Oct. 17 2012 11:39 AM
Seth Pickenstiff

"who takes anyone named CANDY seriously?" totally unnecessary, and undermines anything further you have to say. just can't take you seriously if that's the way you're gonna talk.

Oct. 17 2012 11:37 AM

Romney "One Note" had basically one answer to every question. If I were undecided I would not have found his responses to be helpful or reassuring. He did not come across as thoughtful, knowledgeable or understanding.
Obama won hands down!

Oct. 17 2012 11:33 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Candy Crowley, (who takes anyone named CANDY seriously?) was shilling for Obama.

Obama would not follow the rules and CONSTANTLY interrupted Romney - pulling the same stunt as crazy grinning Mr. Sardonicus, crazy uncle Joe Biden.

Obama would have his time to respond to Romney, but because of his superiority complex felt it was OK to interrupt people who disagreed with him.

Oct. 17 2012 11:17 AM

For those who missed the discussion and comments about "Gish Gallop" argument technique, here's a Google search.

It's widely used by conservative pundits, politicians, and FOX hosts and conservative radio talk jocks.

It's nice to have a name for it! I could never figure out how so many conservatives were so darn nasty!,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=4b0300710f71e67&bpcl=35277026&biw=1058&bih=393

Oct. 17 2012 10:57 AM

Comment continued:

Leponard Lopate had a researcher on who discussed the effect of "winning" on the brain, especially the male brain. It makes them feel that they are so much better that they can win at anything, testerone increases, and receptors for testosterone increase. Then, to keep up the high of winning, they may anything in order to win. RULES do not matter.

It's their world, and for a business guy like Romnye the likes of us in the lower economic quintiles exist, if at all, out of their view. We are there to serve, either by increasing their profits or by just going away and dying.

I had the distinct feeling Romney just kept interrupting in order to limit the time "those people" had to ask him questions. As if they had some kind of right to ask HIM questions! And, of course, he played the Gish Gallop to try to throw his opponent --and the moderator-- off stride and to limit the time for rebuttal to his torrent of political cliches, misstatements, lies, evasions,irrelevancies, vague statements. The Gish Gallop did not work as well this time. Maybe now regular people will begin to recognize its use and overuse!

Romney will do and say anything in order to win, either in business or politics. Plus, Mormons, especially leaders, are told they can say things which belie Mormon teachings and principles if it will help to grow the power and numbers of the Mormon church. Truth is not a virtue, when dealing with non-Mormons. Lying can absolutely BE A VIRTUE when dealing with non-Mormons.

Oct. 17 2012 10:54 AM

I realize MCMers (members of the mainstream corporate media) MUST make equivalences, but, and it's a big "but," Romney set the pace for riding roughshod over Candy Crowley. Obama was clearly reacting when he finally did speak over her requests/demands to stop talking. At that point, had he not done so, he once again would have been described as weak and cowed by Romney.

Romney thinks the world and clocks run at his pleasure, along with those peons who are not in the Zero Dot One Percent.

Yet, reporters must say "They both did it." Always. Otherwise the Republicans will make life misserable for them.

Romney just would not listen, and it made my hackles rise. And, as regular readers of these comments know, I am no Obama supporter (I'm Too Liberal For Obama, aka 2L4O) and will not vote for him as I have the luxury of living in a very blue state. My vote will be an indicator to politicians that voters do care about the principles of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, of FDR and LBJ. The Neolib Corporatists now running the party do not do that.

I cannot tell how loudly I yelled at my radio! I just wanted Romney to shut up and follow the agreed upon rules. I hated him for dissing Crowley, of whom I am also not much of a fan. But, WOW! That Romney must have been a holy terror as a two year old and we know that he did shave the hair off oa boy in his school who was thought to be gay or different. Nasty piece of work.

Then is it hit me. Neither in business nor in politics does Romney feel he has to follow ANY rules or ANY agreements. He feels so entitled that he thinks he can rewrite any rules, have his legal teams rewrite or wriggle out of any contract. He is just so much better than anyone else he simply has NO respect for anyone not as rich or richer than he is.


Oct. 17 2012 10:52 AM
Richard Messing from Brooklyn, NY

President Obama won by forcefully defending his positions, and by having concise, targeted answers. It will be ironic if Romney, whose father was a former VIP in the car industry, ends up losing in a close election because he took the Tea Party position by not supporting government loans for the domestic auto industry during their times of crisis.
The moral of the story would be don't try to appeal to every faction to try to get elected.

Oct. 17 2012 10:32 AM
George McMahon from Mahwah NJ

I felt Romney continued his practice of not answering any question he was asked he wanted to make his talking points and never gave any specifics he said his 5 point plan was he would create jobs. Plus his statement are majority false. The six reports he cites for the tax numbers are blogs and AEI conservative think tank. He lied about rose garden statement. He lied about 100%. His off the record comments going back to decision should be made in back rooms.

Clearly Candy Crowley exposed him as the liar Romney is. The emperor as they say has no clothes

Oct. 17 2012 10:30 AM
Morgen from New York City

I'm pretty certain I'm not in a swing state, but nonetheless I will say that I thought Obama clearly won last night. He nailed it. I'm not really sure why the punditocracy is even questioning this, especially after so conclusively finding the first one in Romney's favor. In the first round, I would have called it a draw. They were both lackluster; Romney was just less so.

Last night was the closest we've seen to a genuine healthy Lincoln-Douglas-style debate in a long while. Obama was clear, concise, quite civil and statesmanlike, where Romney leaned more heavily on what felt like empty rhetoric. Romney's a smart guy, and comes off as someone defending a body of poorly worked out ideas he doesn't even really believe in himself.

Oct. 17 2012 10:28 AM

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