A Play by Play of the First Presidential Debate

By Eric Zanzucchi (@ericzanzucchi)

I decided to do something that I’ve never done on the site before. As I watched the debate on Wednesday I wrote down all my initial reactions with timestamps.

In general, most people’s initial reactions are that Romney won this debate though none of the voting data is in yet. I have to agree. Obama talked about 10% longer than Romney, but I remember far more of what Romney said. I think Obama came off a little smug. He would grin whenever Romney told one of those lies that we know is lie, but it’s just assumed all politicians are telling them. Romney interrupted Obama and Lehrer quite a bit. I thought he came off as bullying at times. However, I think he was more memorable without any major gaffes and being more memorable and steadfast is clearly what he was going for.

Anyways I’m sure I’ll have more to say once we can see some data on the debate. Here are my initial reactions and I slipped plenty of jokes in there for you.

  • 6:03 PM          Obama is wearing a blue tie and Romney is wearing a red tie, really subtle.
  • 6:04 PM          Obama is wishing his wife a happy anniversary. He’s so whipped.
  • 6:05 PM          Mitt looks antsy like he wants to interrupt.
  • 6:07 PM          It took Mitt less than a minute of speaking to bring up someone from Ohio in need of a job.
  • 6:10 PM          Romney: I don’t have a tax cut. I have a tax relief. (He would go on to explain that his tax relief takes the  form of a tax cut.)
  • 6:13 PM          Mitt now uses the phrase “my tax cut”.
  • 6:15 PM          Mitt interrupts Lehrer to stage a rebuttal on Obama’s criticism of his tax plan. He’s getting a little hostile.
  • 6:17 PM          Obama’s doing a lot of grinning. I feel like he’s coming off a little smug.
  • 6:18 PM          Obama to Romney: Your math doesn’t add up on your tax plan. Someone has to pay.
  • 6:18 PM          Obama mentions Clinton and national debt. It took him a while to name drop that one.
  • 6:20 PM          Jim Lehrer: Were spending way to much time on the economy. (The economy discussion was   supposed to end at 6:15.)
  • 6:22 PM          Obama wants to move on to a new topic. The economy discussion really has become cyclical at this point.
  • 6:24 PM          Lehrer lets Mitt Romney break the rules and interrupt. He’s lost control. Obama was supposed to get the last word and Mitt bullied his way to his point.
  • 6:25 PM          Lehrer explains they are now ten minutes over. He’s pissed off.
  • 6:28 PM          Obama: We have debt because of two wars we paid for on a credit card.
  • 6:30 PM          Obama takes more than his time allotted. I guess if Romney’s ignoring the rules, he will too.
  • 6:32 PM          Romney interrupts Obama during his time to restate his plan on reducing national debt.
  • 6:36 PM          At this point, Obama has spoken three more minutes than Romney (17 to 14), but I’m remembering Mitt speaking more. That’s a bad sign for Obama.
  • 6:36 PM          Obama just interrupted Mitt with a one liner. Is there no etiquette?
  • 6:39 PM          Lehrer finally gets the timing back on track.
  • 6:41 PM          The way Obama is talking about social security being “structurally sound” just sounds like he won’t change anything, but later administrations will and young people will get fucked.
  • 6:43 PM          Mitt guarantees social security for young people, but he will be long out of office before I cash in.
  • 6:47 PM          Mitt: I want private health care. (I find that most multimillionaires agree.)
  • 6:49 PM          Mitt interrupts Obama’s time and Lehrer’s moderation to make another point.
  • 6:50 PM          Lehrer: Finish briefly, quickly, on the economy.
  • 6:50 PM          Lehrer must be thinking: I’m not voting for either of you douchebags.
  • 6:51 PM          Lehrer has to tell Romney to stop, it’s Obama’s turn.
  • 6:55 PM          Romney now mentions two people who can’t afford health care in Wisconsin and New Hampshire. I’m sure plenty of people can’t afford health care in non-swing states as well.
  • 6:58 PM          Obama is testing through the roof with women on CNN’s vote-o-meter.
  • 6:59 PM          Obama just ignored Lehrer and took extra time, then blames Jim for his explanation eating more time.
  • 7:00PM           Obama goes for another minute and Lehrer calls him out on it: [That was a long five seconds].
  • 7:02PM           Romney: [Obama can’t work well dealing with partisan politics].
  • 7:06PM           You could hear a thud and both candidates turned. Someone behind them, but off camera, just dropped something.
  • 7:07PM           Obama says that Obamacare would solve the problem of offering health coverage to all. Obama challenged Mitt to present a plan where everyone would be covered and Romney simply moves on.
  • 7:10PM           Obama to Romney: [Why appeal Obamacare? You have no plan.]
  • 7:10PM           Romney again interrupts Lehrer to stage a rebuttal.
  • 7:12PM           I just thought of a presidential debate drinking game. Take a shot every time Mitt Romney interrupts Jim Lehrer.
  • 7:15PM           Romney says that he won’t cut back the military. Do you have any wars in mind? Otherwise spending should go down naturally.
  • 7:19PM           Obama’s really milking the clock talking education.
  • 7:21PM           Romney is critical of Obama spending $90 million on green jobs that could have went towards education jobs. He just said he wouldn’t cut military spending though, and $90 million is a drop in the bucket of military spending.
  • 7:23PM           Obama really wants to interrupt Lehrer, but holds back. He laughs.
  • 7:24PM           Romney says again that he will make Congress less partisan. (I don’t think anyone is capable of doing that.)
  • 7:25PM           Maybe he said this already and I forget, but Obama should mention that getting Obamacare passed proves how he can work across partisan lines.
  • 7:26PM           CNN using green lines for men and yellow lines for women on their vote-o-meter is just confusing. Can we all be adults and just make the lines blue and pink so we know what were looking at as the lines move?
  • 7:27PM           I can’t believe this might end on time. Obama’s now starting his closing statement.
  • 7:31PM           Obama spoke longer than Mitt Romney on the final count: 42:50 to 38:32.