master debaters

What You Missed in the First Presidential Debate

I want YOU to laugh at my zingers.

Least Relaxing Pre-Debate Ritual: Jenga

Number of Times the Name “Bush” Was Mentioned: One, in a reference to the Bush tax cuts

Number of Times the Name “Clinton” Was Mentioned: Three

Number of Times the Name “Reagan” Was Mentioned: Three

Number of Times the Name “Biden” Was Mentioned: Zero

Number of Times the Words “Middle Class” Were Uttered: Nine (seven by Obama, two by Romney)

Best Unacknowledged Borrowing of a Bill Clinton Line: “It’s math. It’s arithmetic.” — Obama, echoing Clinton’s DNC speech

Worst Anniversary: The Obamas, celebrating their twentieth tonight

Number of Transparently Self-Serving Swing-State Shout-Outs: Seven:

  • It means that the teacher that I met in Las Vegas…” — Obama
  • “I was in New Hampshire. A woman came to me…” — Romney
  • “I met a couple in Appleton, Wisconsin, and they said…” — Romney
  • “The auto workers that you meet in Toledo or Detroit…” — Obama
  • “At Cleveland Clinic, one of the best health care systems in the world…” — Obama
  • “I was in Dayton, Ohio, and a woman grabbed my arm…” — Romney
  • “Because of the woman I met in North Carolina who decided at 55 to go back to school…” — Obama

Least Popular Proposal Among Toddlers: “I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.” — Romney, creating instant internet hilarity

Sexiest Line: “This is the biggest kiss that’s been given to — to New York banks I’ve ever seen.” — Romney, on Dodd-Frank

Most Shocking Absence: Any mention by Obama (or Jim Lehrer, but mostly Obama) of Romney’s highly unpopular 47 percent remarks

Top Three Zingiest Zingers:
3. “I had a friend who said, you don’t just pick the winners and losers; you pick the losers.” — Romney

2. “And at some point, I think the American people have to ask themselves, is the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans to replace secret because they’re too good? Is — is it because that somehow middle-class families are going to benefit too much from them?” — Obama

1. “Mr. President, you’re entitled, as the president, to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts.” — Romney

Number of Hours Obama Seems to Have Slept Last Night: Negative 50

Number of Times Obama Pointed Out That He and Romney Agreed on Something: Five:

  • One of the things I suspect Governor Romney and I probably agree on is getting businesses to work with community colleges so that they’re setting up their training programs.”
  • “When it comes to our tax code, Governor Romney and I both agree that our corporate tax rate is too high.”
  • “On energy, Governor Romney and I, we both agree that we’ve got to boost American energy production.”
  • “It appears we’ve got some agreement that a marketplace to work has to have some regulation.”
  • “I suspect that on Social Security, we’ve got a somewhat similar position.”

Two Least Bold Romney Stances:
1. “Expensive things hurt families.”

2. “I love great schools.”

Most Amazing Scientific Breakthrough: Moderator Jim Lehrer somehow introduced the debate and then made himself completely invisible for the next 90 minutes.

Biggest Lie: “You’ve done a great job.” — Obama to Jim Lehrer

Most Insulting Depiction of Romney’s Family: “Look, I got five boys. I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it.” — Romney, referring to his fully grown sons as compulsive liars

Most Awkward Small Talk: When the Obamas and Romneys mingled onstage after the debate

Winner: Mitt Romney

Losers: Barack Obama, Jim Lehrer, Big Bird