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October 17, 2012

A Fawning Press and A Debate Fluke

Kevin E. Dayhoff

By the time you read this we will know if a more lively and animated President Barack Obama came to the much-anticipated second presidential debate held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, last night.


According to numerous media accounts, including an article written by Ben Geman for The Hill, on Sunday, senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said that the president is making certain adjustments in preparation for the debate.


Much of the conversation since the first presidential debate, held  in Denver October 3, has been centered on the president’s stylistic performance, almost as if there is a tacit acceptance that style is all the president can focus on in his bid to be re-elected. He certainly cannot run on his record.


Often the game plan before a debate is to lower expectations. It is with a certain degree of curiosity that one observes the steady mantra of the press that is eager to reassure the American public that the president will perform better at the Hofstra University event.


Perhaps one thing that will be to the president’s advantage is the format. It will be “town hall” style in which the moderator, Candy Crowley of CNN, will handpick all the questions and the questioners, says Greg McNeal in a short piece in Forbes on Tuesday.


The Commission on Presidential Debates has determined that “citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates will have two minutes each to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.”


Many have been surprised that the Republican presidential challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, did as well as he did during the first debate.


Not this writer. Governor Romney is a highly successful and accomplished individual. Before the press mangled his credentials and accomplishments, Americans actually celebrated the successful and the accomplished.


However, since the press has determined the narrative of the presidential contest, set the focus and artificially constructed the framing of the candidates, it is easily argued that maybe – just maybe – the governor has not been presented in the most positive light.


In the first presidential debate, almost 70 million viewers got to see Governor Romney in a manner that the press could not distort or misrepresent.


Before the media maligned the opportunities and achievements brought-about by hard work and risk-taking, most Americans were well aware that one does not get ahead as far as Governor Romney has without the persistence of endeavor, preparation and the hard work that goes into being able to speak about the issues with knowledge and comfort.


Many have looked forward to this phase of the presidential election. Presidential debates are events in which the current president cannot hide behind a teleprompter and a fawning press corps that can choose the most appealing camera angle and pick the best sound bites which portray President Obama in the most favorable light possible.


For four years the sitting president has lived in a bubble surrounded by a sycophant adoring press – his strongest and most loyal base.


Every gaff in his heroic march to a utopian-socialist progressive nanny-state and entitlement society has been glossed over by a shameless media engorged with the notion of income redistribution and vague concepts of punishing the successful and exacting social justice upon the accomplished.


Meanwhile, in anticipation of the debate, a short list of issues many hope will have been discussed Tuesday night might include the debt ceiling which “appears on pace to hit the $16.394 trillion federal borrowing limit sometime in January…”


For most voters, the election is all about the economy and jobs, in addition to national security. Hopefully some of the “10 Key Facts on Jobs and Unemployment,” noted in an October 5 report by the House Ways and Means Committee will have been addressed Tuesday evening.


Writing for the Washington Post, Zachary Goldfarb also brings to light some of the other economic threats looming, such as the “fiscal cliff” scheduled to take place just after the first day of next year… in the form of “automatic tax hikes and federal spending cuts.”


If the major media were to have its way, you would never know that there is another point of view in Washington that understands that the “Sequester is Better Than Nothing,” a point of view recently brought to light by Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the Republican Study Committee.


Then there are questions about “A payroll tax cut benefiting 160 million workers” (that) is scheduled to expire at the end of the year, as are unemployment benefits for millions of people. Also on tap are new taxes on the wealthy and cuts in tens of billions of dollars in domestic and defense spending that will occur regardless of the fiscal cliff,” reports Mr. Goldfarb.


For sure, one may only imagine that while the press has rallied around the president since his poor showing in the first debate, Governor Romney has also been hard at work and many expect that his performance at the second debate will show that the first debate was not a fluke.


. . . . .I’m just saying. . . . .


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