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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Debate prep III [Updated]

Tonight's debate should be interesting. Neither candidate is likely to seem particularly in his element in the town-hall format. (Neither candidate, in other words, is Bill Clinton.) The audience participation is a wild card, infusing a likelihood of some questions being muddled or zany. ("Think of us as your children." "How has the national debt affected you?") Advice to the candidates: don't look at your watch.

In a WSJ piece today, "The Wizard of Obama," Bill McGurn argues the president's whole image was blown away by the last debate. McGurn makes a good point about Obama's ego long having run far ahead of his accomplishments. Still, I wonder if the reaction to the last debate has gotten so overblown that expectations for Obama are now lower than they ought to be.

Also of interest: Jonathan Chait in New York magazine arguing that a re-elected Obama will have a very strong upper hand over Republicans in Congress, because going over the fiscal cliff favors the Obama agenda (higher taxes, lower defense spending). I found that more plausible than Frank Rich's whine in the same issue that, whatever happens, the Tea Party ultimately is going to triumph (though I confess I didn't give full consideration to Rich's argument, as I never got to the end of it).

UPDATE, POST-DEBATE: That looked like an Obama win to me, albeit by a small margin.

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