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9:44 p.m. And it’s all over! What did you think — was there a winner? Did this change your mind about who you’re voting for? Share your thoughts and impressions with us in the comments section below!
9:32 p.m. Final question: “What do you believe is the biggest misperception the American people have about you as a man and a candidate?”
Romney says his passion stems from his belief that we are all children of the same God, and that, being from the private sector, he just wants to help everyone out.
“We don’t have to settle for what we’re going through,” Romney says. More dismal statistics follow to demonstrate what we’re ‘going through.’
Obama is quick to bring up Romney’s “47 percent” comments, implying that Romney doesn’t care about students, people on food stamps, etc. “If they succeed,” Obama says, “I believe the whole country succeeds.”
9:32 p.m. Romney: We can compete with anyone in the world, business-wise, as long as it’s on a fair playing field.
Obama: There are some jobs that are not going to come back, because they’re low-wage, low-skill jobs. He says he wants high-skill, high-paying jobs. He wants to invest in research and science!
Romney: “Government does not create jobs.”
9:32 p.m. Great quote of the night by @NickKristof: “Since both candidates are trying to convince voters that they respect women, they might start by respecting Candy Crowley.” As in, the moderator they’ve both been interrupting and talking over all night.
9:28 p.m. Another jobs question, and Romney actually brings up China of his own free will. “We have made it less attractive for enterprises to stay here than to go overseas from time to time,” Romney says. He wants to make the U.S. an appealing place to do business again. I hope he means suits and scotch Don Draper-style. As far as Mr. Mitt is concerned, Obamacare is helping to make us look unfriendly to entrepreneurs.
Obama: “We need to create jobs here. And both Gov. Romney and I agree that we should lower our corporate tax rate — it’s too high.” They agree on something!
9:20 p.m. New question: what will the candidates do to limit the accessibility of “assault weapons”? (No definition of ‘assault weapons’ has been provided)
Obama calls for a “comprehensive strategy,” getting assault weapons out of the hands of criminals and going into violent communities to get violent impulses out.
Romney starts by saying he’s not real fond of new legislation on gun control, and I think I just heard cheering from every pro-gun person in Missouri… He admits that automatic weapons are a bad idea. And somehow, he slips in there that couples should get married because then they won’t be impoverished and violent. (By the way— Twitter took major issue with that one)
9:16 p.m. Obama is extremely riled up at the notion that anyone in his administration knew about Libya in advance. I’ve never seen his jaw clenched so hard.
Romney holds that the administration considered the attack a reaction to the offensive video, and that the administration took 14 days to call it an act of terrorism.
9:10 p.m. Libya just got brought up. Let’s move on to foreign policy!
Obama basically says that hindsight is 20/20, but we’re going to figure out who did this. He then brings up Romney’s controversial press release in the hours following the Libya attack. He says he’s done everything he promised about foreign policy. Waiting for him to call Libya a ‘bump in the road‘ again…
Romney: It was a terrorist attack, and it took some time for that to be revealed to the American people. Romney accepts that he held a press conference, but points out that during that time, Obama was flying to Las Vegas and Denver for fundraising events for his campaign.
9:06 p.m. Romney: My investments from the past eight years have been managed by a blind trust. And maybe some of them have been investments outside the United States… Romney asks Obama about his own pension, and Obama immediately looks uncomfortable and cuts him off.
Also, they’re discussing the Arizona immigration law right now. Romney firmly refuses to be associated with it, but makes it clear that he doesn’t support illegal immigrants. Obama is pacing back and forth like a feral cat; this is clearly a heated issue.
9:01 p.m. On immigration, Romney takes the classic Republican firm stance. He says he wouldn’t issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, implying that Obama would issue them.
Obama says we are who we are as a nation because “talent from all around the world wants to come here.” He says he’s done everything that he can (on his own, or with Congress) to fix a broken immigration system. He talks about people waiting to enter the country illegally and recommends putting more people on border patrol. He does not say anything about building a Great Wall across the southern United States. He did, however, just say “gangbangers.” Say what, now?
8:54 p.m. Obama: “The commitments I’ve made, I’ve kept.”
Romney: “The president has tried, but his policies haven’t worked. He’s great as a speaker … And that’s great, except that we have a record to look at.” He brings back that 23 million statistic again.
8:50 p.m. Obama brings back the numbers. And says “tax cuts” and “China” in his ominous voice.
8:46 p.m. This woman legitimately just told Romney she’s afraid he’s going to be a terrible president because he’s in the same political party George W. Bush was. A moment of silence for her logic, please.
Romney counters the question, saying “President Bush and I are different people, and these are different times.”
8:44 p.m. Obama hits on the contraception issue to prove he’s a great women’s advocate. He also says these are family issues and economic issues— like we just heard from Romney. Brings up his two daughters and says they should have the same opportunity as any young men in America.
Romney: Says all women should have access to contraceptives and brings up that plan of his again. We just went from contraceptives to China real fast.
8:38 p.m. A question is asked about equality in the workplace (read: pay women more money, please). Obama says this is a middle class issue — if you’re counting the times they say “middle class,” take another… tally mark, or whatever you’re doing.
Romney: “I know what a working economy looks like!” He brings up that “23 million people looking for work” statistic again. Who are these 23 million people — because I’m seeing this statistic change a lot. Romney also says that, in looking for people to be involved with his campaign, he went to women’s groups, and they provided him with binders full of qualified women. He must have made this comment before, because there’s already a Twitter handle for @RomneyBinders. Which is all about binders full of women.
Moderator: “What if the numbers don’t add up?”
Romney: “Of course they add up.” He goes on to list examples of how he’s awesome at math.
8:34 p.m. Obama: The math here doesn’t add up. Good thing he settled that, because I literally can’t keep up with the math and numbers they’re listing off right now.
8:26 p.m. Aaaaand we’re on to taxes.
Obama again goes for the kill on Romney’s tax rates and returns. He asks the audience if it’s fair for Romney to pay so little in taxes (no mention of charitable donations, though).
Romney: “I’m not looking to cut taxes for wealthy people, I’m looking to cut taxes for middle-income people.” He says this is to help small business, because this is all about jobs. “When you bring those rates down, those small businesses are able to make more money and hire more people.” He further references his five point plan, and says “small business” enough to get someone blackout if this was a drinking game.
P.S. — Obama calls it Romney’s “One-point plan.”
8:25 p.m. Romney is so ready to hop in, he’s informing the moderator of how this debate is structured. At this rate, I don’t think they’re ever going to move off of the energy topic!
8:20 p.m. Romney: says Obama is talking about the next four years when people need to look at his record from the last four.
And now both are on their feet arguing into their microphones. Too angry for the provided seats — and Obama is the first to take a seat, as Romney tells him, “You’ll get your chance in a moment, I’m still speaking. That wasn’t a question.” Too cold and rude, or firm and presidential? Either way, Obama’s only benched for a minute.
There’s so much back-and-forth of “It’s true” and “It’s not true,” that I really wish I had a staff of fact-checkers on standby. Good thing the Columbia Missourian ran this Associated Press article today helping people “be their own fact-checker.”
8:13 p.m. Obama: “The most important thing we can do is make sure we control our own energy.” He drops some stats about coal, then shifts to his support of improved technology that would “lower oil imports to the lowest level in 16 years.” He says we have to think about the state of our energy ten years from now, and invest for our future. Everybody start studying environmentally sustainable energy!
Romney: “What we don’t need is the president preventing us from taking advantage of natural gas, coal…” He says EPA limitations under Obama have resulted in lost jobs for Americans in the energy industry.
8:11 On Detroit: Romney is on the attack and Obama is taking the opportunity to practice his fixed smile. Shoutout to everyone in the background; everyone at this town meeting looks way too bored to be there.
8:08 p.m. “With half of all college grads graduating this year without a job, that’s just unacceptable … I know what it takes to make sure you have the kind of opportunities you deserve … Jobs have been to scarce. I know what it takes to bring them back.” – Romney
Points: Romney wants there to be jobs when people graduate; Obama wants everyone to go to college.
Obama goes on to say he’d like to take some wartime spending to fix roads. Which has nothing to do with education, unless he’s making my campus commute easier.
8:05 p.m. This debate is town meeting style; that’s a big change from the last one!
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