Presidential Debate Round 2 / Open Thread

Tonight’s debate begins at 9:00 PM EDT and is being held at Hoftsra University on Long Island. In theory, the questions will be asked by random people in the “Townhall”, although that’s a far cry from what will actually happen tonight:

This year, moderator Candy Crowley will screen the questions beforehand; that reduces the likelihood of a question that catches the candidates completely off guard.

Here’s how it will work: Questions during the 90-minute debate, which takes place at 9 p.m. Eastern Time at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., will be asked by local uncommitted voters from a variety of socio-economic, racial and political backgrounds selected by the Gallup Organization. Roughly 12 audience members out of about 80 will get to ask questions, with Crowley determining which questions will be posed, and in what order.

Those who want to ask a question write identical versions of the question on two cards and give one to Crowley; if they are selected, they then read the question from their card. Questioners who deviate from the question they said they would ask run the risk of having their microphones cut off, though it seems unlikely that such a step would be taken unless the question is clearly out of bounds.

So much for spontaneity. We certainly don’t want candidates for the most important office in the country to be “caught off guard”, now do we? Is there any doubt that Crowley, who’s less than enthusiastic about the Romney-Ryan ticket, will select those questions which will be beneficial to Obama and detrimental to Romney? Here’s how I see things going down:

Have you and Michelle decided what costumes Malia and Sasha will wear to the White House Halloween Party, Mr. President? Did Michelle make them all by herself? Will you take the kids trick or treating?

Governor Romney, how can you live with yourself knowing you gave that poor woman cancer after firing her husband? If you succeed in your evil plot to defeat America’s first God-President, will Big Bird need an oncologist too? Will Elmo?

“Important” questions like these will facilitate the media’s pre-written narrative about Obama’s awesome comeback at tonight’s debate. My guess is they’ve already written those headlines for tomorrow’s papers. We’ll see if I’m wrong, but I believe this is exactly what we’ll wake up to tomorrow morning unless Obama has another performance like he did on October 3rd. Maybe even then.

In the meantime, as we wait for the debate to begin, here’s the complete Reagan-Carter debate from 1980.

The above video contains numerous instances in which Reagan exposes the insanity of the big-government philosophy espoused by Carter then and Obama now. As I watched it this morning I was struck by how little things have changed in the intervening 32 years. The liberal arguments against free markets and free people are virtually unchanged, and Jimmy Carter’s Department of Energy in 1980 could just as easily been renamed the Department of Energy Prevention then as it could now under Obama, Steven ChuKen Salazar, and their like-minded cronies. Reagan would have had a field day demolishing the community organizer from Chicago had they been contemporaries. Enjoy the video.

To watch tonight’s debate, click on either of the livestreams below:

Video streaming by Ustream

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