WBEZ | presidential debates http://www.wbez.org/tags/presidential-debates Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Final presidential debate: Challenging each other face to face http://www.wbez.org/news/final-presidential-debate-challenging-each-other-face-face-103329 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP791253873404.jpg" style="height: 455px; width: 620px; " title="Moderator Bob Schieffer gestures as President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speak during the third presidential debate at Lynn University, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP/Michael Reynolds)" /></div><p>President Barack Obama sharply challenged Mitt Romney on foreign policy in their final campaign&nbsp;debate&nbsp;Monday night, saying, &quot;Every time you&#39;ve offered an opinion you&#39;ve been wrong.&quot; The Republican coolly responded, &quot;Attacking me is not an agenda&quot; for dealing with a dangerous world.</p><div><p>Romney took the offensive, too. When Obama said the U.S. and its allies have imposed crippling sanctions on Iran to halt nuclear weapons development, the Republican challenger responded that the U.S. should have done more. He declared repeatedly, &quot;We&#39;re four years closer to a nuclear Iran.&quot;</p><p>Despite the&nbsp;debate&#39;s&nbsp;stated focus on foreign affairs, time after time the rivals turned the discussion back to the slowly recovering U.S. economy, which polls show is the No. 1 issue for most voters.</p><p>They found little agreement on that, but the president and his rival found accord on at least one international topic with domestic political overtones &mdash; Israel&#39;s security &mdash; as they sat at close quarters 15 days before the end of an impossibly close election campaign. Each stressed unequivocal support for Israel when asked how he would respond if the Jewish state were attacked by Iran.</p><p>&quot;If Israel is attacked, we have their back,&quot; said Romney &mdash; moments after Obama vowed, &quot;I will stand with Israel if Israel is attacked.&quot;</p><p>Both also said they oppose direct U.S. military involvement in the efforts to topple Syrian President Bashir Assad.</p><p>The&nbsp;debate&nbsp;produced none of the finger-pointing and little of the interrupting that marked the presidential rivals&#39;&nbsp;debate&nbsp;last week, when Obama needed a comeback after a listless performance in their first meeting on Oct. 3.</p><p>But there was no mistaking the urgency. The two men frequently sniped at one another even on issues where they agree, and reprised their campaign-long disagreements over the economy, energy, education and other domestic issues despite ground rules that stipulated the&nbsp;debate&nbsp;cover international affairs.</p><p>Obama and Romney are locked in a close race in national opinion polls. The final&nbsp;debate behind them, both men intend to embark on a final two-week whirlwind of campaigning. The president is slated to speak in six states during a two-day trip that begins Wednesday and includes a night aboard Air force One as it flies from Las Vegas to Tampa. Romney intends to visit two or three states a day.</p><p>Already four million ballots have been cast in early voting in more than two dozen states.</p><p>On the Middle East, Romney said that despite early hopes, the ouster of despotic regimes in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere over the past year has resulted in a &quot;rising tide of chaos.&quot; He said the president has failed to come up with a coherent policy to grapple with change sweeping the Middle East, and he added ominously that an al-Qaida-like group has taken over northern Mali.</p><p>Anticipating one of Obama&#39;s most frequent campaign assertions, Romney said of the man seated nearby, &quot;I congratulate him on taking out Osama bin Laden and taking on the leadership of al-Qaida. But we can&#39;t kill our way out of this. ... We must have a comprehensive strategy.&quot;</p><p>More than a half hour later, Obama returned to the subject, saying that Romney had once said it wasn&#39;t worth moving heaven and earth to catch one man, a reference to the mastermind behind the 9/11 terror attacks.</p><p>He said he had decided it was &quot;worth heaven and earth.&quot;</p><p>Obama said he had ended the war in Iraq, was on a path to end the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan and has vowed to bring justice to the attackers of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last month &mdash; an assault that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.</p><p>He also jabbed at Romney&#39;s having said during the campaign that Russia is the United States&#39; No. 1 geopolitical foe.</p><p>&quot;Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy you seem to want the policies of the 1980s, just like you want to import the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies in the 1920s,&quot; Obama said.</p><p>Obama was snippy after Romney, criticizing the administration&#39;s Pentagon budget, said disapprovingly the U.S. Navy has fewer ships than at any time since the end of World War I.</p><p>&quot;I think Governor Romney maybe hasn&#39;t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them.&quot;</p><p>Romney offered unusual praise for Obama&#39;s war efforts in Afghanistan, declaring the 2010 surge of 33,000 U.S. troops a success and asserting that efforts to train Afghan security forces are on track to enable the U.S. and its allies to put the Afghans fully in charge of security by the end of 2014. He said that U.S. forces should complete their withdrawal on that schedule; previously he has criticized the setting of a specific withdrawal date.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP193829189869.jpg" style="height: 227px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="President Barack Obama greets members of the family of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney after the third presidential debate at Lynn University, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP/Rick Wilking)" />The two men are locked in a close race in national opinion polls. The final&nbsp;debate&nbsp;behind them, they intend to embark on a final two-week whirlwind of campaigning. The president is slated to speak in six states during a two-day trip that begins Wednesday and includes a night aboard Air force One as it flies from Las Vegas to Tampa. Romney intends to visit two or three states a day.</p><p>Already four million ballots have been cast in early voting in more than two dozen states.</p><p>Barring a last-minute change in strategy by one campaign or the other, Obama appears on course to win states and the District of Columbia that account for 237 of the 270 electoral votes needed for victory. The same is true for Romney in states with 191 electoral votes.</p><p>The battlegrounds account for the remaining 110 electoral votes: Florida (29), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), New Hampshire (4), Iowa (6), Colorado (9), Nevada (6), Ohio (18) and Wisconsin (10).</p><p>The televised&nbsp;debate&nbsp;brought no cessation to other campaigning.</p><p>Obama&#39;s campaign launched a television ad in Florida that said the president ended the war in Iraq and has a plan to do the same in Afghanistan, accusing Romney of opposing him on both. It was not clear how often the ad would air, given the fall&#39;s overall focus on the economy.</p><p>Vice President Joe Biden, campaigning in Canton, Ohio, emphasized differences between the two candidates on the war in Afghanistan.</p><p>&quot;We will leave Afghanistan in 2014, period. They say it depends,&quot; he said. &quot;Ladies and gentlemen, like everything with them, it depends. It depends on what day you find these guys.&quot;</p><p>Romney&#39;s running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, was in Colorado. &quot;We are in the midst of deciding the kind of country we&#39;re going to be, the kind of people we&#39;re going to be, for a generation,&quot; he said.</p><p>Whatever the outcome of the final face-to-face confrontation, the&nbsp;debates&nbsp;have left an imprint on the race. Romney was widely judged the winner of the first&nbsp;debate&nbsp;over a listless president on Oct. 3, and he has risen in polls in the days since. Obama was much more energetic in the second.</p><p>Monday night marked the third time in less than a week that the president and his challenger shared a stage, following the feisty 90-minute town-hall-style meeting last Tuesday on Long Island and a white-tie charity dinner two night later where gracious compliments flowed and barbs dipped in humor flew.</p><p>At the Al Smith charity dinner, Obama previewed his all-purpose fallback to criticism on international affairs.</p><p>&quot;Spoiler alert: We got bin Laden,&quot; he said, a reminder of the signature foreign policy triumph of his term, the death at the hand of U.S. special operations forces of the mastermind behind the terror attacks on the United States more than a decade ago.</p><p>The president and his challenger agreed long ago to devote one of their three&nbsp;debates&nbsp;to foreign policy, even though opinion polls show voters care most about economic concerns.</p><p>Growth has been slow and unemployment high across Obama&#39;s tenure in the White House. Romney, a wealthy former businessman, cites his experience as evidence he will put in place policies that can revive the economy.</p><p>In recent weeks, the former Massachusetts governor has stepped up his criticism of the president&#39;s handling of international matters, although his campaign hasn&#39;t spent any of its television advertising budget on commercials on the subject.</p><p>In a speech earlier this month, Romney accused the president of an absence of strong leadership in the Middle East, where popular revolutions have swept away autocratic regimes in Egypt and elsewhere in the past two years. He has also accused Obama of failing to support Israel strongly enough, of failing to make it clear that Iran will not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon and of backing cuts in the defense budget that would harm military readiness.</p><p>Yet Romney has stumbled several times in attempting to establish his own credentials.</p><p>He offended the British when he traveled to England this summer and made comments viewed as critical of their preparation for the Olympic Games.</p><p>Democrats pounced when he failed to mention the U.S. troops in Afghanistan or Iraq during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in late August, and officials in both parties were critical of his comments about the attack in Benghazi while the facts were unknown.</p><p><em>Espo reported from Washington.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 22 Oct 2012 21:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/final-presidential-debate-challenging-each-other-face-face-103329 Aggressive Obama, while Romney gives as good as he gets in town hall presidential debate http://www.wbez.org/news/aggressive-obama-while-romney-gives-good-he-gets-town-hall-presidential-debate-103185 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP977179560569_0.jpg" style="height: 463px; width: 620px; " title="President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney participate in the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. (AP/Charles Dharapak)" /></div><p>An aggressive President Barack Obama ripped into Mitt Romney&#39;s economic blueprint in a town hall style&nbsp;debate&nbsp;Tuesday night, accusing his rival of favoring only a &quot;one-point plan&quot; to help the rich at the expense of the middle class. The Republican protested the charge was way off the mark.</p><div><p>The truth, Romney said, is that &quot;the middle class has been crushed over the last four years.&quot; It was the first of repeated highly charged moments of the 90-minute&nbsp;debate, the second of three between the campaign rivals three weeks before Election Day in a close race for the White House.</p><p>The president was feistier from the outset than he had been in their initial encounter two weeks ago, when he turned in a listless performance that sent shudders through his supporters and helped fuel a rise by Romney in opinion polls nationally and in some battleground states.</p><p>Obama challenged Romney on economics and energy policy, accusing him of switching positions and declaring that his economic plan was a &quot;sketchy deal&quot; that the public should reject.</p><p>Romney gave as good as he got.</p><p>&quot;You&#39;ll get your chance in a moment. I&#39;m still speaking,&quot; the former Massachusetts governor said at one point while Obama was mid-sentence. He said the president&#39;s policies had failed to jumpstart the economy and crimped energy production.</p><p>The open-stage format left the two men free to stroll freely across a red-carpeted stage, and they did. Their clashes crackled with energy and tension, and the crowd watched raptly as the two sparred while struggling to appear calm and affable before a national television audience.</p><p>The rivals disagreed about taxes, measures to reduce the deficit, energy, pay equity for women and health care issues. Immigration prompted yet another clash, Romney saying Obama had failed to pursue the comprehensive legislation he promised at the dawn of his administration, and the president saying Republican obstinacy made a deal impossible.</p><p>Under the format agreed to in advance, members of an audience of 82 uncommitted voters posed questions to the president and his challenger.</p><p>Nearly all of them concerned domestic policy until one raised the subject of the recent death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya in a terrorist attack at an American post in Benghazi.</p><p>Romney said it took Obama a long time to admit the episode had been a terrorist attack, but Obama said he had said so the day after in an appearance in the Rose Garden outside the White House.</p><p>When moderator Candy Crowley of CNN said the president had in fact done so, Obama, prompted, &quot;Say that a little louder, Candy.&quot;</p><p>One intense exchange focused on competing claims about whether energy production is increasing or slowing. Obama accused Romney of misrepresenting what has happened &mdash; a theme he returned to time and again. Romney strode across the stage to confront Obama face to face, just feet from the audience.</p><p>Both men pledged a better economic future to a young man who asked the first question, a member of a pre-selected audience of 82 uncommitted voters.</p><p>Then the president&#39;s determination to show a more aggressive side became evident.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP977179560569_0.jpg" style="float: right; height: 224px; width: 300px; " title="President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney participate in the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. (AP/Charles Dharapak)" />Rebutting his rival&#39;s claim to a five-point plan to create 12 million jobs, Obama said, &quot;Gov. Romney says he&#39;s got a five-point plan. Gov. Romney doesn&#39;t have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules.&quot;</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s been his philosophy in the private sector,&quot; Obama said of his rival. &quot;That&#39;s been his philosophy as governor. That&#39;s been his philosophy as a presidential candidate. You can make a lot of money and pay lower tax rates than somebody who makes a lot less.&quot;</p><p>&quot;You can ship jobs overseas and get tax breaks for it. You can invest in a country, bankrupt it, lay off the workers, strip away their pensions and you still make money. That&#39;s exactly the philosophy that we&#39;ve seen in place for the last decade,&quot; the president said in a scorching summation.</p><p>Unable to respond at length because of the&nbsp;debate&#39;s&nbsp;rules, Romney said the accusations were &quot;way off the mark.&quot;</p><p>But moments later, he reminded the national television audience of the nation&#39;s painfully slow recovery from the worst recession in decades.</p><p>There are &quot;23 million people struggling to find a job. ... The president&#39;s policies have been exercised over the last four years and they haven&#39;t put America back to work,&quot; he said. &quot;We have fewer people working today than when he took office.&quot;</p><p>Economic growth has been slow throughout Obama&#39;s term in office, and unemployment only recently dipped below 8 percent for the first time since he moved into the White House. Romney noted that if out-of-work Americans who no longer look for jobs were counted, the unemployment rate would be 10.7 percent.</p><p>Both men had rehearsed extensively for the encounter, a turnabout for Obama.</p><p>&quot;I had a bad night,&quot; the president conceded, days after he and Romney shared a stage for the first time, in Denver. His aides made it known he didn&#39;t intend to be as deferential to his challenger this time, and the presidential party decamped for a resort in Williamsburg, Va., for rehearsals that consumed the better part of three days.</p><p>Romney rehearsed in Massachusetts and again after arriving on Long Island on&nbsp;debate&nbsp;day, with less to make up for.</p><p>&quot;The first&nbsp;debate&nbsp;was huge and we&#39;ve seen our numbers move all across the country,&quot; his wife, Ann, said before joining her husband in New York.</p><p>Asked Tuesday night by one member of the audience how he would differ from former President George W. Bush, the last Republican to hold the office, Romney said, &quot;We are different people and these are different times.&quot;</p><p>He said he would attempt to balance the budget, something Bush was unsuccessful in doing, get tougher on China and work more aggressively to expand trade.</p><p>Obama jumped in with his own predictions &mdash; not nearly as favorable to the man a few feet away on stage. He said the former president didn&#39;t attempt to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood or turn Medicare into a voucher system.</p><p>Though the questions were from undecided voters inside the hall &mdash; in a deeply Democratic state &mdash; the audience that mattered most watched on television and was counted in the tens of millions. Crucially important: viewers in the nine battlegrounds where the race is likely to be settled.</p><p>The final&nbsp;debate, next Monday in Florida, will be devoted to foreign policy.</p><p>Opinion polls made the race a close one, with Obama leading in some national surveys and Romney in others. Despite the Republican&#39;s clear gains in surveys in recent days, the president led in several polls of Wisconsin and Ohio, two key Midwestern battlegrounds where Romney and running mate Paul Ryan are campaigning heavily.</p><p>Barring a last-minute shift in the campaign, Obama is on course to win states and the District of Columbia that account for 237 of the 270 electoral votes needed for victory. The same is true for Romney in states with 191 electoral votes.</p><p>The remaining 110 electoral votes are divided among the hotly contested battleground states of Florida (29), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13) New Hampshire (4), Iowa (6), Colorado (9), Nevada (6), Ohio (18) and Wisconsin (10).</p><p>Obama has campaigned in the past several days by accusing Romney of running away from some of the conservative positions he took for tax cuts and against abortion earlier in the year when he was trying to win the Republican nomination.</p><p>&quot;Maybe you&#39;re wondering what to believe about Mitt Romney,&quot; says one ad, designed to remind voters of the Republican&#39;s strong opposition to abortion except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at stake.</p><p>Romney countered by stressing both in person and through his television advertising the slow pace of the economic recovery, which has left growth sluggish and unemployment high throughout Obama&#39;s term. Joblessness recently declined to 7.8 percent, dropping below 8 percent for the first time since the president took office.</p><p>Romney also has stepped up his criticism of the administration&#39;s handling of the terrorist attack against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, more than a month ago that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.</p><p>So far, the Republican challenger has not aired any television advertising on the issue, a suggestion that strategists believe it dims in importance next to the economy.</p><p>But the attack sparked one of the sharpest exchanges in last week&#39;s vice presidential&nbsp;debate, when Ryan cited it in asserting that the administration&#39;s foreign policy was unraveling and Vice President Joe Biden accused his rival of uttering &quot;a bunch of malarkey.&quot;</p><p>Biden also said that &quot;we&quot; had not been aware of a request for additional security at the facility, a statement that the White House later said applied to the president and vice president.</p><p>Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday she accepted responsibility for the level of security assigned to the consulate.</p><p><em>Associated Press writers Julie Pace in New York, Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio, and Matthew Lee in Lima, Peru, contributed to this story. Espo reported from Washington.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 16 Oct 2012 21:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/aggressive-obama-while-romney-gives-good-he-gets-town-hall-presidential-debate-103185 Presidential debate #2 live chat: Town Hall http://www.wbez.org/news/presidential-debate-2-live-chat-town-hall-103170 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RomneyObamaDebates2_0.jpg" style="height: 299px; width: 620px; " title="(Photo Illustration from AP photos)" /></div><p>We&#39;re following the debates live, and featuring commentary from Chicago media&#39;s best and brightest, like <em>TimeOut</em>&#39;s Frank Sennett,&nbsp;WBEZ blogger Achy Obejas, writer Veronica Arreola, PR strategist&nbsp;Veronica Vera,&nbsp;<em>Chicago Tribune</em>&nbsp;columnist Eric Zorn, social media guru Scott Smith and DNAinfo&#39;s&nbsp;Jen Sabella. Tuesday&#39;s debate is the second presidential debate, and the first in the Town Hall format. It will be moderated by CNN&#39;s Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley and take place at Hofstra University in New York.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a class="twitter-timeline" data-widget-id="253146859072266240" href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23BEZDebates">Tweets about &quot;#BEZDebates&quot;</a> <script>!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");</script></p></p> Tue, 16 Oct 2012 14:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/presidential-debate-2-live-chat-town-hall-103170 Biden's burden http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/bidens-burden-103070 <p><p>Vice president Joe Biden&rsquo;s job tonight is not, actually, to make mince meat out of GOP VP nominee Paul Ryan.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Biden%20AP.jpg" style="float: right; height: 374px; width: 300px; " title="Contesting the veep sweepstakes: Joe Biden. (AP)" />Biden may do that, and it would sure be nice, but the goal tonight is actually different. As Nate Silver points out in his<em> </em><a href="http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/10/bidens-debate-mission-whip-up-democrats-to-blunt-romneys-gains/?utm_source=twitterfeed&amp;utm_medium=twitter"><em>Five Thirty Eight</em> blog</a>, what Biden must do is raise the temperature for Dems &mdash; cheerlead, if you will. Inspire, rally, get the blood going.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s not that the Democrats don&rsquo;t need to push back on a bunch of lies Mitt Romney threw out at the last debate. They do, because a heck of a lot of those stuck. And it&rsquo;s not like it wouldn&rsquo;t be great to show Ryan up as the <a href="http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/magazine/107242/how-paul-ryan-convinced-washington-his-genius#">intellectual poseur</a> that he is, because that would be icing.<br /><br />But the albatross hanging around Biden&rsquo;s neck is the top of his own ticket: President Barack Obama and his disastrous performance at last week&rsquo;s event.<br /><br />Since that dismal appearance, the polls have risen in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/debate-damage-romney-ties-or-leads-new-polls-102991">Romney&rsquo;s favor</a>, with Silver&rsquo;s own probability stats showing Obama down a full 18 percent. Silver&rsquo;s Electoral College forecast has Obama down more than 25 percent since Oct. 3, below 300 for the first time all year, and Romney up and within striking distance of the magical 270, also for the first time.<br /><br />I could, as so many of my Obama voting pals have done, argue that the race was always going to be tight, that all the debate did was level the Dem convention bounce, and that the president actually inched up in favorability after the debate. And that might all be true.<br /><br />But the damage Obama did &mdash; and which Biden can only hope to mend in part&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;is expressed in polls as an enthusiasm deficit, and in real life human beings as a terrible feeling in the pit of your stomach.<br /><br />What the polls really say post-debate is that Republicans got excited because Romney came through, while Democrats were angry and disappointed in Obama for not fighting back.<br /><br />That is what I&rsquo;m talking about: Obama had managed, pre-debate, to erase or push back on the disappointment many of us have felt during his first term, especially that nagging sense that he can&rsquo;t or won&rsquo;t fight when the going gets tough.<br /><br />Remember TARP? The debt ceiling crisis? The outlines of the Affordable Care Act (dragged out for such a long time that it lost its most progressive features)? How about the fact that Obama had to &ldquo;evolve&rdquo; to publicly support same sex marriage over a torturous three years in office? Or the total absence of leadership on the housing crisis? Immigration?<br /><br />It seems I spent last year writing about this pattern of Obama&rsquo;s to underperform, to be have to deal &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-08-01/obama-bends-again-89908">with the hand we were were dealt</a>,&quot; as David Axelrod famously said.<br /><br />The president always has a good excuse: Denver&rsquo;s altitude, protocol, somebody else&rsquo;s lack of leadership, and, the great and true bogeymen, racism and Republican obstructionism. Unfortunately, Obama&rsquo;s people have used those last two so often and so flippantly that they&rsquo;ve become tired and have lost much of their impact, no matter their truth.<br /><br />Joe Biden, bless him, can&rsquo;t and won&rsquo;t repair that tear. But he will do what the president seems incapable of doing: he will fight with his whole heart.<br /><br />And, maybe, just maybe, that will blur the disappointment for enough of those who were left slumped last week to get them up and out to campaign and, most crucially, to vote.</p></p> Thu, 11 Oct 2012 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/bidens-burden-103070 Mayor Emanuel strikes a blow for ethics, cans lazy board http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-10/mayor-emanuel-strikes-blow-ethics-cans-lazy-board-102886 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/wbez_head_rahm.jpg" title="Mayor Rahm Emanuel (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)" /></p><p><strong>Lead story:</strong> In case you missed it Wednesday among all the debate hubbub, Mayor Rahm Emanuel <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayor-replaces-ethics-board-102864">gave the entire ethics board the heave-ho</a>, once again doing something I have to give him credit for. Take, for instance, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-emanuel-revamps-city-hall-ethics-board-20121003,0,5970338.story">the fact the <em>Tribune</em> points out</a>:&nbsp;The board has never investigated any aldermen for violations even though nearly two dozen have been convicted. Of course, the board was lax during the entire Daley The Second administration, which probably shocks absolutely no one and is another way in which Emanuel has cut ties with the past administration (no matter how similar he&rsquo;s seemed to Daley at times). And just to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same: It was recently revealed that Ald. Ed Burke&rsquo;s law firm <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/15350394-418/ald-burke-okd-gum-company-tax-breaks-then-got-90000-in-legal-work-from-wrigley.html">got plenty of work from the Wrigley company</a> after Burke and the City Council gave the company a sizable tax break. To his (small) credit, Burke abstained from the vote &ndash; not that it really mattered &ndash; because of, well, conflict of interest.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><p><strong>Also</strong>: Yes, the first presidential debate has come and gone. While it wasn&#39;t exactly a clear-cut knock-out, GOP candidate Mitt Romney <a href="http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/04/polls-show-a-strong-debate-for-romney/#more-35501">appeared to come out on top last night</a>. Jetisoning the divisive rehtoric that&#39;s gotten him in trouble recently (like &quot;47 percent&quot;), he was sharp and made calls for bipartisanship. Meanwhile, President Obama seemed a little too releaxed at times in a debate that got fiesty, particularly over the economy. Still, like the replacement refs in the NFL, this debate will probably be most remembered for moderater Jim Lehrer&#39;s complete inability to control the discussion, letting the candidates blow through time limits and, at many points, outright ignoring Lehrer. There were also plenty of missed opportunities to talk about things besides the economy and health care at this, the &quot;domestic issues&quot; debate. Granted, those are the most pressing issues, but why, with the two candidates standing just a few miles from Aurora, Colo., was gun control and the recent spate of mass shootings never mentioned? Where was the discussion over birth control and womens reproductive rights that have spurred so many arguments across the country? Perhaps Obama is playing rope-a-dope and will come out swinging big at the next two debates, but, for now, Romney has made a dent in the president&#39;s lead.</p><p><strong>And then: </strong>A new <em>Sun-Times</em> report shows that areas on the South Side <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/15514246-418/south-side-left-without-power-more-often-than-north-side.html">are left without power longer</a> than areas on the North Side, challenging ComEd&rsquo;s ability to restore power in a timely manner. The report follows <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/6759123-418/power-drain.html">similar accusations</a> made last year by residents in the suburbs. When faced with the data, the power company claimed that race and class had nothing to do with it, saying instead that the South Side has a higher tree density and overhead power lines, as opposed to the North Side, where many power lines are underground. Residents the <em>Sun-Times</em> talked to countered this by pointing to equipment neglect also haunting the South Side. In related bad news for ComEd, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-comed-rate-formula-ruling-puts-smart-grid-jobs-at-risk-20121003,0,6009824.story">a ruling by the Illinois Commerce Commission</a> has thrown a wrench into the power company&rsquo;s plan to spend $2.6 billion implementing a new &ldquo;smart grid&rdquo; across the area. ComEd plans to appeal the ruling.</p><p><strong>RIP: </strong><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/03/arts/music/r-b-greaves-of-take-a-letter-maria-fame-dies-at-68.html?ref=obituaries&amp;_r=0">R.B. Greaves</a>, R&amp;B singer of the hit &ldquo;Take A Letter, Maria,&rdquo; at the age of 68. Greaves was the nephew of Chicago&rsquo;s own soul legend, Sam Cooke.</p><p><br /><strong>Elsewhere</strong></p><ul><li>While much of America&rsquo;s focus was on the skirmish on stage last night, internationally, <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/10/syria-turkey-artillery-shelling-attack-bashar-assad-nato.html">tensions between Turkey and Syria are on the rise</a>.</li><li>New research indicates one of the most effective painkillers now available <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19812064">may be the venom of the black mamba snake</a>.</li><li>The Chick-Fil-A controversy is <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/10/03/162250567/chick-fil-a-chief-we-support-biblical-families">still a thing</a>.</li><li>Also still a thing: <a href="http://www.outkickthecoverage.com/tennessee-fraternity-denies-buttchugging-charge-in-press-conference-that-really-happened.php">buttchugging</a>.</li><li>Shocking: Long before his now-infamous comments about &quot;legitimate rape,&quot; Rep. Todd Akin <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/10/03/942451/in-2008-akin-claimed-women-who-are-not-actually-pregnant-get-abortions/?mobile=ncclaimed-">said even stupider things about abortions</a>.</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Looking Ahead</strong></p><ul><li>The Chicago-area-based DVD renter system Red Box is now extending its reach into <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20121003/NEWS07/121009911/redbox-branching-out-into-live-events">selling concert tickets</a>.</li><li>A recent investigation by the <em>Sun-Times</em> into police officers who abused disability <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/15536923-761/feds-investigate-disabled-chicago-cops-in-wake-of-sun-times-reports.html">has prodded federal investigators</a> to look into the matter.</li><li>A huge field of pot the size of multiple football fields has been growing on the South Side and <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/10/03/huge-marijuana-field-found-on-chicagos-south-side/">police are just now noticing it</a>.</li><li>The City of Chicago <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/food/stew/chi-chicago-announces-foodtruck-parking-locations-20121003,0,876722.story">has announced locations</a> where food trucks will be allowed to operate. If you&rsquo;re hoping for locations on the South Side or in the Loop, don&rsquo;t hold your breath.</li><li>The new exhibit at the Art Institute? <a href="http://blog.artic.edu/blog/2012/10/02/now-on-view-paperweights/">Paperweights</a>!</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Sports</strong></p><ul><li>An added twist of the knife to Sox fans: the Detroit Tigers&rsquo; Miguel Cabrera became the first Major League player in 45 years to win baseball&rsquo;s triple crown.</li><li>Now that the 61-101 season is over, the Cubs have begun letting folks go, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/chi-cubs-let-listach-go-after-finale-20121003,0,64308.story">starting with third base coach Pat Listach</a>.</li><li>Apparently, the Jaguars&rsquo; Maurice Jones-Drew and Jay Cutler <a href="http://espn.go.com/chicago/nfl/story/_/id/8456829/jacksonville-jaguars-maurice-jones-drew-wants-keep-jay-cutler-controversy-past">had a Twitter fight in 2011</a> that the media is trying to make relevant for this weekend&rsquo;s game.</li><li>The Philadelphia Eagles&rsquo; Lesean McCoy <a href="http://deadspin.com/5948742/lesean-mccoy-sort-of-confirms-that-he-says-his-last-name-while-juking-people">comes close</a> to topping Brandon Lloyd for <a href="http://deadspin.com/5947946/heres-brandon-lloyd-smiling-for-the-camera-while-diving-for-a-touchdown">awesome showboating</a>, but not quite.</li><li>For Cubs, Sox, and Blackhawks fans that are looking for another team to invest in this fall, consider the <a href="http://www.chicago-fire.com/">Chicago Fire</a> who seemed locked in for another playoff run in the MLS.</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Finally</strong></p><p>A fascinating look at going undercover as a Mexican drug lord.</p></div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/zQBo79O4Uhg" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 04 Oct 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-10/mayor-emanuel-strikes-blow-ethics-cans-lazy-board-102886 Obama, Romney clash on economy in first debate http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-romney-clash-economy-first-debate-102888 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP177068681009.jpg" style="height: 392px; width: 620px; " title="Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and President Barack Obama, right, debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)" /></div><p>In a showdown at close quarters, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney sparred aggressively in their first campaign&nbsp;debate&nbsp;Wednesday night over taxes, deficits and strong steps needed to create jobs in a sputtering national economy. &quot;The status quo is not going to cut it,&quot; declared the challenger.</p><div><p>Obama in turn accused his rival of seeking to &quot;double down&quot; on economic policies that actually led to the devastating national downturn four years ago &mdash; and of evasiveness on details for Romney proposals on tax changes, health care, Wall Street regulation and more.</p><p>Both men made frequent references to the weak economy and high national unemployment, by far the dominant issue in the race for the White House. Public opinion polls show Obama with a slight advantage in key battleground states and nationally, and Romney was particularly aggressive, like a man looking to shake up the campaign with a little less than five weeks to run.</p><p>With a prime-time television audience likely counted in the tens of millions, moderator Jim Lehrer was pressed at time to enforce time limits on the two rivals. The president occasionally shook his head as Romney talked over Lehrer.</p><p>And Romney virtually lectured Obama at one point after the president accused him of seeking to cut education funds. &quot;Mr. President, you&#39;re entitled to your own airplane and your own house, but not your own facts.&quot;</p><p>Romney said he had plans to fix the economy, repeal Obama&#39;s health care plan, remake Medicare, pass a substitute for the legislation designed to prevent another financial crash and reduce deficits &mdash; but he provided no specifics despite Obama&#39;s prodding.</p><p>Said Obama: &quot;At some point the American people have to ask themselves: Is the reason Governor Romney is keeping all these plans secret, is it because they&#39;re going to be too good? Because middle class families benefit too much? No.&quot;</p><p>At times the&nbsp;debate&nbsp;turned into rapid-fire charges and retorts that drew on dense facts and figures that were difficult to follow. The men argued over oil industry subsidies, federal spending as a percentage of the GDP, Medicare cuts, taxes and small businesses and the size of the federal deficit and how it grew.</p><p>Obama sometimes seemed somewhat professorial. Romney was more assertive and didn&#39;t hesitate to interrupt the president or the moderator.</p><p>Despite the wonky tone of the&nbsp;debate, Romney managed to make some points by personalizing his comments with recollections of people he said he had met on the campaign trail. In another folksy reference, Romney told Lehrer, a veteran of the Public Broadcasting Service, that he would stop the federal subsidy to PBS even though &quot;I love Big Bird.&quot;</p><p>Generally polite but pointed, the two men agreed about little if anything.</p><p>Obama said his opponent&#39;s plan to reduce all tax rates by 20 percent would cost $5 trillion and benefit the wealthy at the expense of middle income taxpayers.</p><p>Shot back Romney: &quot;Virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate.&quot;</p><p>The former Massachusetts governor and businessman added that Obama&#39;s proposal to allow the expiration of tax cuts on upper-level income would mean tax increases on small businesses that create jobs by the hundreds of thousands.</p><p>The two campaign rivals clasped hands and smiled as they strode onto the&nbsp;debate&nbsp;stage at the University of Denver, then waved to the audience before taking their places behind identical lecterns.</p><p>There was a quick moment of laughter, when Obama referred to first lady Michelle Obama as &quot;sweetie&quot; and noted it was their 20th anniversary.</p><p>Romney added best wishes, and said to the first couple, &quot;I&#39;m sure this is the most romantic place you could imagine, here with me.&quot;</p><p>Both candidates&#39; wives were in the audience.</p><p>The two men&nbsp;debated&nbsp;before a television audience likely to be counted in the tens of millions. They will meet twice more this month, and their running mates once, but in past election years, viewership has sometimes fallen off after the first encounter.</p><p>Without saying so, the two rivals quickly got to the crux of their race &mdash; Romney&#39;s eagerness to turn the contest into a referendum on the past four years while the incumbent desires for voters to choose between his plan for the next four years and the one his rival backs.</p><p>Romney ticked off the dreary economic facts of life &mdash; a sharp spike in food stamps, economic growth &quot;lower this year than last&quot; and &quot;23 million people out of work or stropped looking for work.&quot;</p><p>But Obama criticized Romney&#39;s prescriptions and his refusal to raise taxes and said, &quot;if you take such an unbalanced approach then that means you are going to be gutting our investment in schools and education ... health care for seniors in nursing homes (and) for kids with disabilities.&quot;</p><p>Not surprisingly, the two men disagreed over Medicare, a flash point since Romney placed Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan on his ticket.</p><p>The president repeatedly described Romney&#39;s plan as a &quot;voucher program&quot; that would raise out-of-pocket costs on seniors.</p><p>He continued, directly addressing the voters at home: &quot;If you&#39;re 54 or 55 you might want to listen because this will affect you.&quot;</p><p>Romney said he doesn&#39;t support any changes for current retirees or those close to retirement.</p><p>&quot;If you&#39;re 60 or 60 and older you don&#39;t need to listen further,&quot; he said, but he contended that fundamental changes are needed to prevent the system from becoming insolvent as millions of baby boom generation Americans become eligible.</p><p>Romney also made a detailed case for repealing Obamacare, the name attached to the health care plan that Obama pushed through Congress in 2010. &quot;It has killed jobs,&quot; he said, and argued that the best approach is to &quot;do what we did in my state.&quot;</p><p>Though he didn&#39;t say so, when he was governor Massachusetts passed legislation that required residents to purchase coverage &mdash; the so-called individual mandate that conservatives and he oppose on a national level.</p><p>Romney also said that Obamacare would cut $716 billion from Medicare over the next decade.</p><p>The president said the changes were part of a plan to lengthen the program&#39;s life, and he added that AARP, the seniors lobby, supports it.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP552854368482.jpg" style="float: right; height: 230px; width: 400px; " title="Barack Obama answers a question of moderator Jim Lehrer during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver. (AP/Pool-Michael Reynolds)" />Jim Lehrer of PBS drew moderator&#39;s duties, with Obama getting the first question and Romney the last word.</p><p>Five weeks before Election Day, early voting is under way in scattered states and beginning in more every day. Opinion polls show Obama with an advantage nationally and in most if not all of the battleground states where the race is most likely to be decided.</p><p>That put particular pressure on Romney to come up with a showing strong enough to alter the course of the campaign.</p><p>The sputtering economy served as the&nbsp;debate&nbsp;backdrop, as it has for virtually everything else in the 2012 campaign for the White House. Obama took office in the shadow of an economic crisis but promised a turnaround that hasn&#39;t materialized. Economic growth has been sluggish throughout his term, with unemployment above 8 percent since before he took office.</p><p>The customary security blended with a festival-like atmosphere in the surrounding area on a warm and sunny day. The Lumineers performed for free, and Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am delivered a pep talk of sorts to Obama&#39;s supporters. School officials arranged to show the&nbsp;debate&nbsp;on monitors outside the hall for those without tickets.</p><p>There was local political theater, too, including female Romney supporters wearing short shorts and holding signs that said, &quot;What War On Women?&quot; &mdash; a rebuttal to claims by Obama and the Democrats.</p><p>Both campaigns engaged in a vigorous pre-debate competition to set expectations, each side suggesting the other had built-in advantages.</p><p>Romney took part in 19&nbsp;debates&nbsp;during the campaign for the Republican primary early in the year. The president has not been onstage with a political opponent since his last face-to-face encounter with Arizona Sen. John McCain, his Republican rival in 2008.</p><p>Obama and Romney prepared for the evening with lengthy practice sessions. Romney selected Ohio Sen. Rob Portman as a stand-in for the president; Obama turned to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry to play the Republican role.</p><p>The two presidential rivals also are scheduled to&nbsp;debate&nbsp;on Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y., and Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla.</p><p>Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have one&nbsp;debate, Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky. Both men have already begun holding practice sessions.</p><p>___</p><p><em>Associated Press writer Kristen Wyatt contributed to this story. David Espo reported from Washington.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 03 Oct 2012 21:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-romney-clash-economy-first-debate-102888 Presidential debate live chat http://www.wbez.org/news/presidential-debate-live-chat-102825 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RomneyObamaDebates.jpg" style="height: 299px; width: 620px;" title="(Photo Illustration from AP photos)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">We&#39;re following the debates live, and featuring commentary from Chicago media&#39;s best and brightest, like <em>TimeOut</em>&#39;s Frank Sennett, WBEZ bloggers Marcus Gilmer and Achy Obejas, writer Veronica Arreola and PR strategist&nbsp;Veronica Vera.</div><p style="text-align: center;"><a class="twitter-timeline" data-widget-id="253146859072266240" href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23BEZDebates">Tweets about &quot;#BEZDebates&quot;</a> <script>!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");</script></p><p><iframe browser="" class="ap-embed" code="" does="" frameborder="0" height="750" not="" scrolling="no" src="http://hosted.ap.org/interactives/2012/presidential-debate-2012/?SITE=(YOUR_SITE_ID)" style="border: 1px solid #eee;" support="" the="" width="100%" your="">iframe&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/code&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; HTML tag. Try viewing this in a modern browser like Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Internet Explorer 9 or later.</iframe></p></p> Wed, 03 Oct 2012 13:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/presidential-debate-live-chat-102825 Denver braces for presidential debate crush http://www.wbez.org/news/denver-braces-presidential-debate-crush-102866 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP434650771943_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F62084442&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>DENVER&nbsp; &mdash; The national political spotlight is again on Denver as President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney meet in their first debate.<br /><br />Drivers are being warned that a six-mile stretch of Interstate 25 through southern Denver will be closed for five hours because of the debate at the University of Denver. The closure forced commuters to scramble for alternate routes or to take mass transit instead. Many decided to work from home or call in sick.<br /><br />The university expects protesters and interested observers to gather outside the debate. The debate will be shown on screens in the &quot;DebateFest&quot; area for people who didn&#39;t get tickets.<br /><br />Watch parties are also planned around the state, including one for 300 people at the new History Colorado Center.</p></p> Wed, 03 Oct 2012 12:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/denver-braces-presidential-debate-crush-102866 Debate watching serves different goals for campaigns and constituents http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/debate-watching-serves-different-goals-campaigns-and-constituents-102830 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F62084706&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;color=ffe12b" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&ldquo;This is the first presidential election in which social media will play a mainstream role, and it&#39;s important to remember not everything is as it seems online,&rdquo; wrote <a href="http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/02/14173756-sarcasm-campaigning-social-media-hones-cynical-edge-in-presidential-politics?lite">Bob Sullivan for NBC news</a>. Sullivan goes on to argue that campaigns are using social media to their advantage, and sometimes, to the disadvantage of other campaigns, creating a Wild West of internet campaigning.</p><p>Sullivan&#39;s not wrong; this is the first election when a social media site like Twitter has been as ubiquitous, taken as seriously, and embedded as deeply into everyday life as it is now. That change means the campaigns are trying desperately to use social media to its fullest advantage. But the people who have the most to gain from social media aren&#39;t the potential elected officials -- they&#39;re the constituents.</p><p><b style="font-weight: normal; ">As we head into the first Presidential Debate Tuesday evening (Topic: domestic policy. Host: Jim Lehrer. Location: University of Denver.), there&#39;s no better example of this than the changing role of the debate watching party. There was a time when debate parties dominated the experience for those who were politically involved, a chance to break bread, drink a little too much wine, and watch a different kind of sporting event. </b></p><p><b style="font-weight: normal; ">And a quick search on Facebook indicates that debate parties haven&#39;t gone away; there are parties being hosted <a href="https://fr.twitter.com/GrubStreetCHI/status/252829234974830592">by bars and restaurants</a>, parties being hosted by <a href="http://www.chicagoyrs.com/events#/?i=1">college groups</a> and parties being hosted by, most interestingly, the <a href="http://www.barackobama.com/debate/find-a-debate-party?source=debatewatchparty-20121001-hp">parties </a>themselves.</b></p><p><b style="font-weight: normal; ">Political parties have organized debate watch, convention watch, election night parties for ages, so this isn&#39;t new. In researching for this piece, I found what appears to be some old, now <a href="https://my.barackobama.com/page/content/debate-watch-party/">defunct </a>webpages for Obama for America-hosted debate watching parties from 2008, as well as a handy <a href="https://my.barackobama.com/page/content/debatehostguide">&quot;Debate Watching Guide&quot;</a> for hosts of said parties. In the latter, the campaign admits the importance -- to them -- of the debates as a time to sway voters.</b></p><p>&quot;Debate Watch Parties are a great way to familiarize yourself and others with Barack Obama&#39;s policies, and plan for upcoming activities,&quot; they write. &quot;With just a few weeks left before Election Day, it&#39;s crucial that we make the most of this opportunity to have Barack&#39;s message of change heard by as many people as possible - both during the debate and in the days that follow.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/obama%20homepage.jpg" style="height: 235px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="President Barack Obama's campaign homepage on October 2, 2012." />A first glance at the homepage of President Obama&#39;s website indicates that these watch parties are still an important part of their strategy to win on election day. However, a glance at Governor Romney&#39;s shows not one indication that the debates begin Tuesday.</p><p>This matches with what <a href="http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/09/obama-campaign-to-host-debate-watch-parties-136974.html">Politico reported</a>&nbsp;several days ago: the Obama campaign is busy&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151189778251749&amp;set=a.53081056748.66806.6815841748&amp;type=1&amp;theater">organizing 3,200 debate watching parties around the country</a>.</p><p>The Republican party is organizing events that, at first glance, appear similar:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Illinois-Romney-Supporters-Organize-Debate-Watch-Party-171548621.html">The Romney campaign</a>&nbsp;has planned an event in Joliet where, for $15, you can talk with Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Senator Sue Rezin and Representative Pam Roth. They&#39;re also promoting the opportunity, on Twitter and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151083857191121&amp;set=a.161403756120.123284.21392801120&amp;type=1&amp;theater">Facebook</a>, to win a chance to watch the debates with the campaign staff.&nbsp;</p><p>These strategies say a great deal about the type of campaign strategy these two potential leaders are running: while the President is trying to put the power in the hands of the voters themselves to get excited about voting, Governor Romney&#39;s strategy is to amp people up with opportunities to get close to their leaders. One is large scale and amorphous; the other is specific and less widespread.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mitt%20romney%20homepage.jpg" style="float: right; height: 181px; width: 300px; " title="Governor Mitt Romney's homepage on October 2, 2012." />But where will people really be? According to <a href="http://www.technologyreview.com/news/429424/the-real-debate-will-take-place-on-facebook-and/">David Talbot of <em>Technology Review</em></a>, one place is for sure: online, which means the President, with his highly engaged, liberal following, has the advantage, at least in that venue. A Pew Study about the 2008 election <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/The-Internet-and-the-2008-Election/01-Summary-of-Findings.aspx">indicated that</a> 46 percent of Americans &quot;used the internet, email or cell phone text messaging to get news about the campaign, share their views and mobilize others&quot; -- we know that number is much higher now.</p><p>Anecdotally, there is perhaps less excitement surrounding this election. Americans have an incumbent president, who they&#39;re familiar with, and of whom many have mentioned the &quot;hope&quot; is less than burning for. But the one thing the campaigns do have is a whole new generation of politically engaged voters who are particularly engaged in social media, so the engagement will likely look higher. As seen <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/09/how-the-convention-speeches-played-on-twitter/262051/">during the conventions</a>, Twitter is likely to skyrocket with usage during the four presidential and vice presidential debates&nbsp;In 2008, Twitter debate was considered novel. Now these technologies are combined into our daily lives.&nbsp;If watch parties are hyperlocal engagement, Twitter makes it global.&nbsp;</p><p><b style="font-weight: normal; ">And it&#39;s giving the power to the voters in a new way. As much as Obama and Romney try to use the power of debate watching parties, it&#39;s only in response to the fact that they can&#39;t control where the real comments will be made: on social media. Which is really the ultimate tease; they can see them, but they can&#39;t be heard in response.</b></p><p>Though in 2008 the debates used Twitter as a way to crowdsource what people at home were saying, it doesn&#39;t look as though they are planning to this time around (<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/the-presidential-debates-commission-misses-the-internet-boat-again/263147/">to the chagrin of some</a>), as Bill Wheatley, former debate producer, noted in an interview <a href="http://www.niemanlab.org/2012/10/monday-qa-bill-wheatley-on-presidential-debates-how-theyve-changed-and-how-they-should/">with Nieman Lab</a>. &quot;As far as I can tell, there is no social media direct component here,&quot; he said. &quot;I do think it&rsquo;s important that, as part of this process, questions from citizens be included. The question is: What&rsquo;s the most effective and responsible way to do that? At the very least, people should be permitted to send questions to the moderators.&quot;</p><div><p>And looking back, even in 2008, that was the goal.&nbsp;Andrew Rasiej, founder of the <a href="http://personaldemocracy.com/">Personal Democracy Forum</a>, which looks at how technology and politics intersect,<a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91779992"> told NPR then that the internet was</a> &quot;going to do more than just change politics. I think it&#39;s going to change democracy. And there&#39;s the potential of the Internet to be used in a way that makes being involved in civic life and in politics, to be involved in the process of governing, a much more relevant activity, less abstract for the average American.&quot;</p></div><p>So where will the people be? Though the Obama campaign hopes they&#39;ll be at debate watching parties, and the Romney campaign looks to some special events, either way, they&#39;ll be online.</p></p> Wed, 03 Oct 2012 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/debate-watching-serves-different-goals-campaigns-and-constituents-102830 A quiz on presidential debates http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/quiz-presidential-debates-102819 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2946551374_c7d09f995b_z.jpg" style="height: 430px; width: 620px; " title="Students at Penn State Abington campus watch the 2008 debates. (Flickr/Vincent J. Brown)" /><br /><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F61952393&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;color=ffe12b" width="100%"></iframe><p>On Tuesday&#39;s <em>Morning Shift</em>, WBEZ history blogger John Schmidt <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-09/kennedy-vs-nixon-very-first-presidential-debate-102601">recalls the first televised presidential debates</a>, which happened right here in Chicago, and quizzes listeners on presidential debate trivia. Play the quiz below:</p><p><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="600" scrolling="auto" src="http://cpm.polldaddy.com/s/a-quiz-on-presidential-debate-history?iframe=1" width="100%">&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a data-cke-saved-href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;http://cpm.polldaddy.com/s/a-quiz-on-presidential-debate-history&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;http://cpm.polldaddy.com/s/a-quiz-on-presidential-debate-history&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;View Survey&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;</iframe></p><p>----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p><p>(A)&nbsp;1960.<br />Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy squared off four times in 1960. That was before a vice presidential debate was added to the schedule. Those began in 1976.</p><p>(B) Ross Perot.</p><p>Perot was a Texas billionaire, running as an independent candidate against President George Bush Sr and Governor Bill Clinton. Clinton won the election. Perot got about 19% of the popular vote. Only Teddy Roosevelt in the 1912 Bull Moose campaign did better as a third-party candidate. &nbsp;</p><p>(D) League of Women Voters.<br />The League sponsored the debates in 1976, 1980, and 1984. After that the League withdrew sponsorship, tired of trying to work with the two political parties. The debates are now run by the Commission on Presidential Debates, an organization set up by the Democratic and Republican parties.</p><p>(A)&nbsp;The election had been rated a tossup, but Reagan won in a landslide, cleaning up in 44 states. &nbsp;</p><p>(C) Lloyd Bentsen.<br />Bentsen was running for VP in 1988. Opponent Dan Quayle said his own 8 years in the Senate gave him as much preparation as Jack Kennedy had when running for president in 1960&mdash;which was factually true. In the rebuttal, Bentsen hit him with the zinger. But in the election, Bush-Quayle defeated Dukakis-Bentsen.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 02 Oct 2012 09:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/quiz-presidential-debates-102819