Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hardball Nails Romney as Too Aggressive, Lacking Manners


pic via Gifwich

From the Hardball Post-Debate Wrap-Up Last Night (My Transcript)

Chris Matthews: I thought Romney, he looked like a big-shot CEO who walks into the room and thinks he owns any room he's in, especially what seems like a board room. And he just starts pushing, it's always physical, he just swats them away like flies. He knows they make less than him, and he treats them that way. You know what I'm talking about? He treats moderators as low-grade below the line employees.

John Heileman: The Help.

David Corn of Mother Jones: The Help.
I just think the contrast between the first debate and the second debate is that Mitt Romney is excellent at presenting a case. you know, he had to do it as a consultant, walk into these boardrooms with CEOs and say 'I know better than you do.' He had to do it at Bain Capital, get people to give him millions of dollars. And he was unchallenged in the first debate! So he was able to present his case.
But in this debate he got challenged in two directions. From the Moderator Candy Crowley, who I think was fantastic! And also by the President, who didn't let him get away with anything. He had a hard time callibrating how to respond.

Chris Matthews: Here, John (Heileman), respond to this - here he is interrupting Moderator Candy Crowley and trying to go back to answer an earlier question, as if he's going to define the whole format. He also tried to tell Crowley the rules of the debate. He was instructing her, of course. Let's listen:

CROWLEY: -- and the next question --

ROMNEY: He actually got --

CROWLEY: -- for you --

ROMNEY: He actually got the first question. So I get the last question -- last answer --

CROWLEY: (Inaudible) in the follow up, it doesn't quite work like that. But I'm going to give you a chance here. I promise you, I'm going to.

And the next question is for you. So if you want to, you know, continue on -- but I don't want to leave all --

ROMNEY: Candy, Candy --

CROWLEY: -- sitting here --

ROMNEY: Candy, I don't have a policy of stopping wind jobs in Iowa and that -- they're not phantom jobs. They're real jobs.


ROMNEY: I appreciate wind jobs in Iowa and across our country. I appreciate the jobs in coal and oil and gas. I'm going to make sure --


ROMNEY: -- we're taking advantage of our energy resources. We'll bring back manufacturing to America. We're going to get through a very aggressive energy policy, 31/2 million more jobs in this country. It's critical to our future.

OBAMA: Candy, it's not going to --

CROWLEY: We're going to move you along --

OBAMA: Used to being interrupted.

CROWLEY: We're going to move you both along to taxes over here and all these folks that have been waiting.

Chris Matthews: Can you imagine a flight attendant trying to get him to turn off his phone? The guy just doesn't turn off the damn phone. You know he has fifty excuses, 'by the way I paid for this seat, screw you' basically, with that attitude.

David Corn: He has his own plane!

Chris: Oh, I forgot - he doesn't have to fly with a flight attendant.

John Heileman: I just think Governor Romney did not look good in that exchange. I think in general, and this is the point you started out on raising, they both whined about time keeping. They both interrupted each other.

Chris: But once one guy does it, if the other guy doesn't, he is the victim.

John Heileman: I agree. I just think that from the standpoint of the women voters that you were raising, I think there are a lot of voters who are kinda like - at those moments they look like petty schoolchildren. Talking over each other. Governor Romney was the worst, though, at the moment he said to President Obama "Hold On, you'll get your turn."

Chris: "Hold on, you'll get your turn." Where do you get that chutzpah?

Heileman: Yeah, to the President of the United States. I think in a debate you should have forceful confrontations, but there's something so pat and condescending.

Chris: Without the cordiality and civility, with that lack of deference to the Office.

Heileman: Yes! Whoa - "Hold on son, you'll get your turn" is kinda like - whoa, come on man.


David Corn: Romney wasn't challenged in the first debate. So therefore he didn't have to figure out how to respond. He could focus on making his powerpoint presentation to the voters without being interrupted. And Obama just sort of let him go through. This time around he seemed to get rattled again and again and again. He didn't know whether to deal with the voter asking him the question, whether to deal with the President, or to deal with the moderator. And he got very testy.

Heileman That exchange also reminds you of that one exchange during the Republican Primary Debates when he turned to Anderson Cooper and said, "Anderson! Anderson!" Same thing - "Candy! Candy!"

Chris: His Lifeline, yeah.

Heileman: Appealing to the Refs.

Chris: Okay, Romney's final burst of combativeness came when he was defending the content of his blind trust. But the President worked in a good line. Let's listen here:

ROMNEY: Just going to make a point. Any investments I have over the last eight years have been managed by a blind trust. And I understand they do include investments outside the United States, including in -- in Chinese companies.

Mr. President, have you looked at your pension? Have you looked at your pension?

OBAMA: I've got to say...

ROMNEY: Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?

OBAMA: You know, I -- I don't look at my pension. It's not as big as yours so it doesn't take as long.

ROMNEY: Well, let me give you some advice.

OBAMA: I don't check it that often.

ROMNEY: Let me give you some advice. Look at your pension. You also have investments in Chinese companies. You also have investments outside the United States. You also have investments through a Cayman's trust.


CROWLEY: We're way off topic here, Governor Romney.

Chris: What was that? Do you know more about what he's getting at there, David?

David Corn: Well, the campaign has told me this time and time again when I've asked about Bain investments and Chinese companies that they outsourced. They go, "Oh, Obama has investments outside in foreign companies." They're basically looking at his Mutual Funds and going through all the companies. He doesn't have anything major in this, though, so they're trying to come up with equivalence that doesn't really exist. And he kinda botched the point in making it.

Heileman: And can I tell you that this exchange to me was the epitome of this debate and Denver. When Gov. Romney raised the thing in Denver about the accountant and it presented a golden opportunity for the President to say "Oh, you gotta pretty good accountant," or something, the President just totally wimped on it, just stepped back and didn't do anything. Here, as soon as Romney went to the pensions, you saw Obama get up out of his chair and start walking over ther like "I am going right at this thing. I've got a pension line, I'm going to get right on this thing. I'm going to try and rip this guy's lungs out." It was the difference for me between the debates.


Chris: I like the fact that his (Obama's) synapses, if you will, that every time he gave an answer it was a Christmas tree he put up responding. And then he'd start putting the baubles on it. "And by the way, Lily Ledbetter. And by the way, Planned Parenthood. And by the way, this..." - he just adorned the tree with these answers.

David Corn: His debate performance was full of strategy. From start to finish, he knew what points he wanted to make. He found the best opportunities, and it all had this great crescendo at the end, with 47%. He waited till the very last moment, when Romney could not . . .

Chris: And he (Obama) also won both polls tonight. He won CNN's and CBS's.

John Heileman: Here again, a mirror image of the last debate. In Denver, Gov. Romney had a strategy and he executed it. President Obama did not have a strategy. In this debate, President Obama had a strategy and executed it.

. . . *snip* . . .

John Heileman: I'll tell you what we also saw tonight was the contempt between the two of them, the physicality of it, the moments when you thought they were going to get the nunchucks out and just start beating each other. (laughter)

Chris: Let me tell you something, knowing the President's contempt from you and a lot of other reporters, I think he held back.

John Heileman: There were just moments when it seethed, seethed.

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