8:00 pm - Jim Lehrer looks about a million years old. And there's no liberal like an old liberal. "Thousands of people offered suggestions for topics... but we only took the liberal-leaning questions."
8:03 pm - Too much pre-birth from Jim Lehrer. But here we go. They both look cool and confident.
8:04 pm - Jobs and the economy. Obama goes first. Twenty years ago... happy anniversary to Michelle. Pretty nice touch, frankly. "We've begun to fight our way back. Auto industry roaring back. Romney wants to cut taxes, roll back regulations.
8:06 pm - Romney wishes Obama happy anniversary graciously. Now he moves to anecdotes about real people hurting. Romney five-point plan. Energy independence. Obama's plan is "Trickle-down government"... good line.
8:09 pm - Obama's sad old line of 100,000 new science and math teachers. Obama says we need to lower corporate income tax and boost American energy production.... really? Obama says he wants to reduce the deficit.... really?
8:12 pm - Romney: middle income people being crushed... household income down $4000 is "economy tax," higher gas prices is burying people.
We're 13 minutes in and Romney is crushing this. "All of the increase in natural gas production is despite your actions, Mr. President, not because of it."
8:14 pm - Obama: "We cut taxes for middle-class families by $3600." Really?
The fact-checkers better be working overtime on Obama here, because he's in full bullshit mode.
8:18 pm - Romney was very good on lowering tax rates as a means of fostering small business growth.
Romney also good on telling President he's misrepresenting his plan.
8:20 pm - Obama: Romney says Donald Trump is a small businessman. Huh?
I hate to say this... but I really hate Obama. He's so full of bullshit.
Lehrer: "We're way over time."
Romney: "It's fun, isn't it?" (He's doing GREAT!)
8:22 pm - National Federation of Businesses says Obama's plan to raise rates to 39.6% will cost 700,000 jobs.
8:23 pm - Obama keeps harping on the $5 trillion tax cut for rich people after Romney has said no over and over again. Bush tax cuts caused financial crisis. Clinton approach worked.
This whole thing is silly. The difference between 39.6% and 36% rate is not what ails us in either direction.
8:26 pm - Romney: Deficit is a "moral issue." Not moral for my generation to pass onto future generations. "Is the program so crucial that it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for?" Line of the night.
8:28 pm - Obama: When I walked into the oval office I was facing a trillion dollar deficit. Claiming he's a deficit cutter now. Unbelievable bullshit... Romney needs to hammer him hard on this.
Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies.
Sorry had to take a break there. I don't think Romney hit Obama hard enough on the deficit.
8:35 pm - Lehrer is actually helping Obama. Unbelievable. Obama is getting away with pontificating. Now I don't know what he's talking about... a woman teaching school with 42 kids in her classroom. Obama is literally wandering aimlessly now... family who's got an autistic kid... he's just pulling out things from earlier speeches now.
8:38 pm - Romney hits Obama on Solyndra. Oil companies get $2.8 billion in tax breaks, while Obama gave $90 billion to green energy companies.
8:40 pm - Entitlements. Basic structure of Social security is "sound" according to Obama. Only if you're living in La-la Land. We saved $716 billion in Medicare... huh?
Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies.
To me Romney is crushing him.
8:44 pm - Romney hitting Obama on cutting $716 billion in Medicare cuts that will hurt seniors on Medicare Advantage, make doctors and hospitals drop out of Medicare.
8:46 pm - Obama: "folks like my grandmother at the mercy of the private insurance system..."
I want to puke.
8:47 pm - Romney: "I'd just as soon not have the government tell me what kind of health care I can have."
He's doing well.
8:49 pm - Obama says Medicare has no profit and lower administrative costs than private insurance. Hmmmmm.... sounds like a rationale for communism WHICH HAS NEVER WORKED ANYWHERE.
8:51 pm - On regulation: Romney very good on this... hitting Dodd-Frank and "too big to fail" banks.
Lehrer is terrible.
8:53 pm - Obama: Romney just wants to repeal Dodd-Frank... "Does anyone think that we had too much oversight on Wall Street?"
8:55 pm - Romney is an adult. That's straight from the Regular Wife.
Lehrer is terrible. Did I say that already?
8:56 pm - Romney on Obamacare. Obamacare is going to cost people more. Takes money out of Medicare. Creates unelected boards. Makes businesses less likely to hire.
8:58 pm - The Regular Son wants to write something:
I'm not quite as boozed-up as the Regular Dad. I think Obamacare kind of gets you into the weeds in debate because the thing is so gosh-darn complicated. Romney absolutely crushed him on the economy. Real quick point: These debates are all about appearance. Look at Romney while O's talking; he has a mild, pleasant smile on his face. Look at Prezidizzle Obizzle while Mitt's talking; his smile is contemptuous and mocking. There is one very simple reason while O's likability ratings are still up. It rhymes with schmirst schlack schresident.
9:02 pm - Romney killing Obama on Obamacare.
9:05 pm - Somewhat infuriating in both directions. Obama pretends that he's fiscally conservative. Romney hedges conservatism to appeal to the middle.
One more thing from the Regular Son: Romney's smile is driving O nuts. It says, "If you worked for me I'd fire your butt." Notice: O can't look Mitt in the eye. Romney talks to Obama; Obama talks to Lehrer, as if he's saying, "Help me, Jim!"
9:11 pm - I don't think Mitt is quite as strong on healthcare. I've just had an epiphany: It makes perfect sense that O would create a bill as hopelessly complex as the ACA. He's a post-moderist-Marxist-progressive. He likes to think government is just smarter now than it used to be.
9:18 pm - I want to see what Mark Steyn says about this debate. I can't help thinking he'll think this was all whistling past the graveyard, fiddling while Rome burns, whatever metaphor you want... we're going over a cliff, and we're talking about minutiae.
9:19 pm - Obama's default is always to demagoguery. Romney wants to cut taxes for rich people and pay for them by cutting funds for education.
Obama now talking about the student loan program. Again, what would Mark Steyn say? (I think he would agree with me that we shouldn't have a federal student loan program to begin with. If we didn't have it, young people wouldn't be $1 trillion in debt.)
Romney getting tired? Maybe for a minute there when he went to Solyndra again...
Romney: "I don't just talk about it. I've been there..."
If Lehrer is still alive in four years, please please please don't let him moderate a debate.
9:25 pm - Premise of Lehrer question about gridlock assumes, as the MSM always does, that government could do more if Republicans could just compromise.
Obama: "I will take ideas from anyone..." Amazing balls on this guy.
9:26 pm - Obama pontificating. He's going to run through the time for closing statements....
9:27 pm - Obama's closing statement. "Four years ago, we were going through difficult times... my faith and confidence in the American future is undiminished." Anecdotes. "Closing loopholes for companies shipping jobs overseas..." He just keeps saying these things.
Obama talks about the "American people" like they are separate from him, alien.
"I would fight every single day... except when I'm golfing."
Romney's closing statement - Two paths leading in very different directions. If the President is re-elected, bad things ensue. If I'm re-elected I'll do the opposite.
Good ending. Lucky he was able to go last.
I'll be very interested to see what the pundits say... I think Romney did just great. I give him an A-.
My final word. Romney crossed the threshold of plausibility as a potential President. I think he will see a nice bump out of this debate.