Jed Barlet is called in -- by Maureen Dowd and Aaron Sorkin -- to coach Obama using a redo of Debate #1. Bartlet, of course, plays Governor Romney. Groans and shouts come from the next room where Jim Lehrer is in some pain.
OBAMA (looking in the other room) Is that Jeff Daniels?
BARTLET That’s Will McAvoy, he just looks like Jeff Daniels.
OBAMA Why’s he got Jim Lehrer in a hammerlock?
BARTLET That’s called an Apache Persuasion Hold. McAvoy thinks it’s the responsibility of the moderator to expose — what are they called? — lies.___
OBAMA The Tax Policy Center analysis of your proposal for a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut in all federal income tax rates, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, the estate tax and other reductions, says it would be a $5 trillion tax cut.
BARTLET In other words ...
OBAMA You’re lying, Governor.
BARTLET “You doubled the deficit.”
OBAMA When I took office in 2009, the deficit was 1.4 trillion. According to the C.B.O., the deficit for 2012 will be 1.1 trillion. Either you have the mathematics aptitude of a Shetland pony or, much more likely, you’re lying.
BARTLET “All of the increase in natural gas has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half.”
OBAMA Maybe your difficulty is with the words “half” and “double.” Oil production on federal land is higher, not lower. And the oil and gas industry are currently sitting on 7,000 approved permits to drill on government land that they’ve not yet begun developing.
BARTLET “I think about half the green firms you’ve invested in have gone out of business.”
OBAMA Yeah, your problem’s definitely with the word “half.” As of this moment there have been 26 recipients of loan guarantees — 23 of which are very much in business. What was Bain’s bankruptcy record again?...Maureen Dowd, NYT
That's more like it, wouldn't you say?
Still, I don't think Obama lost that debate badly. The media doesn't care about lies -- they just need the entertainment value of a clear "win" or "lose." Their bottom line depends on it.
Ours depends on knowing the difference between lying and getting the facts straight.
Jim Lehrer's response to media complaints that he should have been more controlling -- and in charge of fact-checking -- is, "heck, no!" And I think he's probably right for the most part.
Lehrer went on to say that the new debate format (each question was followed by a two-minute answer from the candidates and an eleven-minute back-and-forth) was designed to allow Obama and Romney to "talk directly to one another, in an extensive way, about things that matter," as opposed to an opportunity for the moderator to "[conduct] a pseudo-interview." ...Daily Intel
But that overlooks the clear need for the moderator's right to call "foul" when one side or the other clearly lies.
Yesterday NPR gave a little over ten minutes to a "debate" between the Green and Libertarian parties' candidates as a way of showing how presenting the contrasting views of candidates could be accomplished.
Green did a good job and is a more than credible candidate in the real world. Libertarian came off looking like a crabbed, resentful GOP drop-out, a man for whom "free market" is the whole meaning of "freedom." Spare me! It was about as profound as the idea that insulting Muslims is what "freedom" is all about. I know liberty, Gary Johson sir, and you are no "libertarian."