- Anticipation for this Friday’s BLS Jobs Report was brewing before the debate, but now it has added an interesting twist after Mitt Romney’s successful performance. In September, the private sector added 114,000 mostly healthcare and transportation-related jobs, bringing the unemployment rate to 7.8%--the lowest it has been since President Obama took office. The BLS also revised the job reports for July and August, increasing the previous gains by a net of 86,000 jobs. The Romney campaign was quick to respond to the report, claiming that if the bureau included the number of individuals who have stopped looking for work, the rate would be at around 11%.
- Romney’s well-reviewed campaign performance was followed by dings from fact checkers. Here are some other interesting numbers from this week’s debate:
- An estimated 67.2 million people tuned into the debate. (Compared to 52.4 million for the first 2008 Obama-McCain debate, and 111.3 million for the last Super Bowl.)
- President Obama spoke for about three minutes more than Mitt Romney.
- Debate moderator Jim Lehrer asked only six topic-distinct questions in the 90-minute debate.
- If it is any indication of the tenor of the debate, the word “CROSSTALK” appears 26 times in the debate transcript. (CROSSTALK is when people speak over each other and what they say can’t be heard…a word we think also aptly describes much of the debate in this polarized election year.)
- Big Bird Battle. Mitt Romney’s promise to cut the subsidy for PBS caused many to come to the defense of Big Bird. When pressed for specifics regarding his plans to cut spending, Romney said: “I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS. I love Big Bird.” Sesame Street’s producers were quick to note that the show receives little public funding and that Big Bird would likely survive budget cuts. PBS CEO Paula Kerger said the loss of PBS would be “devastating” to the public. PBS received $444 million from the federal government in 2012, or about 0.038% of the federal budget.
- The perceived lackluster performance of President Obama in the debate sent commentators on a quest for possible explanations. Among the most interesting are that: he was not properly prepared, Mitt Romney was particularly well prepared, and that historically, sitting presidents haven’t done well in the first debate.
- Romney continued to attack President Obama’s foreign policy record earlier this week, both on the campaign trail and in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, though the topic did not come up in the debate, except briefly when the topic of military spending was broached. Foreign policy will come up in the vice presidential debates and in the subsequent presidential debates. Meanwhile, Romney will deliver a major foreign policy address on Monday in Virginia.
- Pennsylvania’s voter ID law will not be enforced this election, after a successful injunction by the NAACP and others.
- Bias against Romney? Ben Stein and others now take for granted the claim that “the media” dislike Romney/Ryan and like Obama.
- The “Obama Phone.” Earlier this week, the Drudge Report led with an interview of a woman who said that she would be voting for Obama in November because he gave her a free phone. It is clear the video was intended to feed into the narrative that President Obama is buying votes with hand outs. Turns out, the universal service program dates back to the 1930s and has been expanded under both Democratic and Republican presidents.
- Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown distanced himself from Romney and the rest of the Republican party in a debate on Monday against challenger Elizabeth Warren..
- Mitt Romney said Monday that he would allow immigrants granted a two-year deferral under Obama’s policy directive to remain in the United States if elected.
One word: debate! This week, Miller Center scholars and staff weighed in on the presidential debate and provided historical background.
- In advance of the debate, Russell Riley and Barbara Perry authored “For Obama and Romney, dos and don’ts from past presidential debates,” which appeared in the Washington Post last week.
- Presidential scholar Michael Nelson provided ten tips on RTT earlier this week for watching the debate and Carah Ong gave a post debate round-up.
- Monica Gray and Bryan Craig live tweeted the Presidential debate on Wednesday night. Check out the Miller Center’s Twitter feed and follow us @Miller_Center.
- Miller Center Presidential researcher Ken Hughes commented on a new tape released this week regarding Nixon’s debate prep for the first presidential debate in 1960 for an ABCNews.com article, “Nixon Admits 1960 Debate Prep Was ‘Totally Wrong.”