First Presidential Debate: Live Blog from America’s Couch

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I’ve got a great couch. It’s shaped like a U and stuffed with down. It sometimes pokes me in the hindquarters with actual feathers, which I’m sure probably qualifies me as a Republican (the gross feather abuse, not the ass-stabbing, although there is some argument to be made…nevermind…I don’t care if you have a wide stance). I’m not, however, a Republican. If I have to self-identify, it would be as independent, which is almost as farcical. Almost.

Blogging, from what I’m told, is dead. Microblogging is where it’s at. It’s what the kids who know acronyms do. I microblog, and I suspect that if I weren’t widening my stance around this blog right now, I’d be pounding on Twitter like a tough piece of meat. But, it occurred to me that there was once a time when I would live blog big moments, and those live blogs and moments would start a long conversation with my friends (and enemies!). We do that today, but it’s lost to time on Twitter.

To sharpen the irony just a little bit, I posted to Twitter that I was considering doing this very thing. Twitter’s Trisha Lynn said she’d read if I wrote it, and that was enough for me.

So, tonight, from America’s Couch, an unvarnished conversation about America, time-stamped, superfluous, and off-the-cuff.

8:09pm: But first a cocktail. You didn’t think I was going to do this without help did you?

8:20pm: It’s a Moscow Mule.

8:21pm If you don’t know me well, here are some things that may help you along here: I am a 38-year-old married father of two. I was raised in a Republican home, but have spent most of my adult life as a largely non-partisan social liberal. I was once a television reporter who covered politics for nearly ten years. I am middle class American, born and raised in the conservative stronghold of southwest Missouri (Hi, John Ashcroft!). I’ve spent the last 13 years living in the south, most of that in Upstate South Carolina. I voted for Obama in 2008, and I am among the people who wish he had done more. I am, by almost every definition, middle class. I also pay out of pocket for my family’s health insurance. Finally, I’m pretty big on cocktails with limes in them.

8:37pm: While you wait, here’s how I spent the day a couple of Saturdays ago.

8:39pm: My friend Mr. G-Rob sent me a link today confirming much of what I believed about where I grew up: Southwest Missouri made the Todd Akin candidacy, and southwest Missouri could save it.

8:41pm: I’m watching debate coverage on CNN, which I think qualifies me as a closeted liberal who is in the tank for Jimmy Carter.

8:43pm: We were promised a flying car, but we ended up with a 3D printer that can print weapons. Am I reading this right? — 3-D Printer Company Seizes Machine From Desktop Gunsmith

8:49pm: Quick, is it treasonous to refer to the Michelle Obama and Ann Romney hug as “Hot Girl on Girl Action?” Asking for an SEO consultant.

8:51pm: I don’t mean this as a political statement, but Ms. Romney looks like her batteries might need charging.

8:53pm: CNN analyst just said the President wants to speak to Americans on their couches. Feeling very prescient. Also, tipsy.

8:55pm: Quick, this is very important. Will there be a commercial break during this debate? There is a drink concern. A mule doesn’t last 90 minutes.

8:58pm My wife is sock-foot ice skating on the hard woods. This is how we get our debate on.

9:00pm: Friend just posed the question, of the 50 million people watching this debate. What percentage will be intoxicated?

9:02pm Jim Lehrer is somebody’s guardo camino. I guarantee it.

9:03PM: The Obama/Romney handshake held on a little longer than I expected it to. Working on a “Hot Guy on Guy Action” headline.

9:04pm: Happy Anniversary, honey. I got you a Republican.

9:06pm: They are seriously wearing Republican Red and Democrat Blue ties. Stripes for Republicans. Dots for Democrats.

9:07pm: Happy anniversary, Mr. President. Now, let’s talk tenderly about Ohio.

9:09pm: First asked question, first dodged question. That one goes to President Obama. And this is the reason why moderators are largely no better than me sitting here on my couch. Ask a question, get a stump speech.

9:10pm: My friend Elise points out: “Romney wins the flag lapel pin size contest”

9:12pm: “Mr. Romney, do you have a question you’d like to ask the President directly?” “Yes, but first I’m going give you pre-prepared rant.”

9:14pm: On America’s couch, we fold laundry and drink citrusy cocktails. I wonder when the last time eiher of these men folded laundry was.

America’s Couch

9:17pm: Mitt Romney scores first for referring to himself in the third person. Also, first to refer to his sons as liars.

9:19pm: “It’s math. It’s arithmetic.” I think what you’re trying to say, Mr. President, is, “It’s science.”

9:20pm: First Clinton nod comes 20 minutes in (which, I’m told, is faster than Clinton himself).

9:21pm: Jim Lehrer, “Just so y’all know, I have no responsibilities here whatsoever. As long as you’re all okay with that, I am.”

9:23pm: Mitt Romney: “I know there are debate rules here, but I want to do things my way. That cool, America?”

9:26pm: Jim Lehrer: “Theoretically, we’re still in the first segment. Theoretically, I might have soiled myself.”

9:28pm: What we’ve learned here so far is that Mitt Romney loves big bird, but China…wait, what?

9:29pm: You know who would moderate the hell out of this? Senile Don Draper.

9:31pm: Half of America just heard: “Simpson’s Balls? If you want to take it, make some adjustment to it…”

9:33pm: I have a cocktail emergency.

9:34: Via the king of clever Hard Boiled Poker: “Obama ground game chewing up clock. Where do I see how many timeouts each has left? ”

9:36pm Mr. President, I think we agreed not to talk about the nice young ladies we met in Vegas…

9:38pm: We’re a third of the way through, and my preferred political consultant (Mr. G-Rob), calls the debate for Romney. I think he’s right so far.

9:40pm: I’m trying to define in five words or less the smile Mitt Romney wears while the President is speaking. My best attempt so far is “Funereal optimism grounded in wincing.”

9:42pm: Do yourself a favor and don’t use the phrase “liberal media” around my wife after she’s had a Moscow Mule.

9:43pm: Romney: “If you’re 60 years old or older you don’t have to listen anymore…wait! I had a zinger! Come back, Grandma! Come baaaaaack!”

9:45pm: We’re halfway through. No commercial break. I can feel the scurvy coming on.

9:46pm: My grandchildren will someday learn that the first black President lost the race for his second term when he failed to also mention his affection for Big Bird.

9:49pm Mr. President, I implore you. Engage the Al Green gambit. It’s your only hope!

9:50pm: Romney’s Spin Room ops are currently trying to figure out how to explain away Romney’s assertion that you can’t have people opening banks in their garage.

9:53pm: Mitt Romney, talking over old feeble men since 1980.

9:57pm: Four minutes, one bathroom trip, two Moscow Mules made. Did I miss anything? Of course not.

9:59pm: On a serious note, I don’t go to the doctor until something falls off, because of the cost. Straight up. And neither of these men cares about that.

10:00pm: And down goes Obama. “I had five seconds until you interrupted me.”

10:01pm: The only thing Obama had going for him in this debate so far was that Romney was the one running all over the old man moderator. He just gave that up. First the lapel pin, and now this.

10:03pm: The best thing we’re going to get out of this: FiredBigBird.

10:06pm: Live from America’s Couch, my wife doing…I can’t event begin to explain.

Live from America’s Couch

10:07pm: Freelance Fake Political Consultant Mr. G-Rob nails it in the comments.

This race will be tied after this debate. Romney is CRUSHING Obama who seems like a tired, cranky asshole.
Since we can freely admit that content and data are meaningless…Romney seems energized and easily understandable.
Obama seems tired and detached.

10:10pm: Grange95 responds in the comments…

@ G-Rob: Debates haven’t had a meaningful effect on polls since Kennedy-Nixon. This is all American Kabuki for the political media.

10:11pm: Wait….kabuki….is that the thing I accidentally clicked on on the internet the other day where all the guys were…nevermind.

10:12pm: My wife has found art in CNN’s undecided voters streams. She’s slurring something about “Flatline. Look at it. Flatline!”

10:13pm: Trivia time. Jim Lehrer and I went to same journalism school. Know who else went there? Brad Pitt. But Lehrer and I graduated and Pitt didn’t, and we know how that worked out, right? Am I right?

10:15pm: Fifteen minutes left, and Romney just spiked the ball with religious tolerance. Welcome to the rabbit hole, ladies and gents.

10:17pm: “This never would have happened if Jim Lehrer was still alive.” –Mr G-Rob

10:19pm: To put this in terms we all understand…this is the Arizona Cardinals vs New England Patriots game from this year. Somebody showed up expecting to win, somebody showed up prepared to.

10:22pm: Via Mr. G-Rob, Twitter’s SilentJimLehrer.

10:24pm: Every time Romney says Massachusetts, the 13-year-old in me fully expects him to say “masturbation.”

10:25pm: It might be the Mule, but all of a sudden I looked at Mitt Romney and I was sure–sure–he was the guy who tried to get me to go to an adult video store with him when I was 18 years old.

10:27pm: He wasn’t. I should really point that out. I’m almost certain.

10:28pm: Jim Lehrer: “We flipped a coin, and I’m sure there was some rule about what happened next, but, you guys just do what you want.”

10:29pm:Hemorrhoidal Wince of the Elite.

10:31pm: Fifty million of us watched this. Every one of us should call someone in Ohio and tell them what we think. I’m going to start with that girl I met in New Orleans in 1994. Wait, she was from Wisconsin…will that still work?

10:33pm: For all the hugging at the end of this thing, I wonder how the hippie voting block still gets so little attention.

10:34pm Wolf Blitzer reports Romney held his own, which, as we all know is called Massachusetts.

10:36pm:: And so it ends, except for the fact that we now have to endure two more of these. A few things to keep in mind. First, there will be few if any people in the media who give this to Obama. That’s because Romney was better tonight, but it’s also because it’s in the media’s best interest to make the race closer. Otherwise, why would we keep paying attention? Second, as my wife points out, this was the first debate, and this could easily be an Obama rope-a-dope. He’s not going to bring his best game in the first one. It’s still a three point win by Obama in November.

In conclusion, imagine yourself in a kabuki theater with a recently-fired Big Bird who is holding his own. That, friends, is what we should take away from this evening. A self-abusing Muppet with employment issues.


Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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22 Responses

  1. Teamscottsmith says:

    My Moscow Mule copper mugs arrived today. Sadly I have no good ginger beer. But thanks for the introduction. I think I’ll make a Pisco Sour in the mug anyway.

  2. Grange95 says:

    How could you have failed to line up a Mule supplier in advance of the debate? A Mule Mule, if you will.

  3. Grange95 says:

    “Quick, this is very important. Will there be a commercial break during this debate? There is a drink concern. A mule doesn’t last 90 minutes.”

    Bet you’re rethinking the whole crushed ice gambit right about now.

  4. Brian says:

    isn’t there supposed to be a moderator? seems like Lehrer is just hanging out..

  5. teamscottsmith says:

    Emma said that she liked Romney’s hair better. That it had 50 Shades of Gray.

  6. Grange95 says:

    “I have a cocktail emergency.”

    Scurvy is a terrible affliction.

  7. R C Fox says:

    The perfect antidote for a debate: Being on hold with the IRS….

  8. G-Rob says:

    This race will be tied after this debate. Romney is CRUSHING Obama who seems like a tired, cranky asshole.

    Since we can freely admit that content and data are meaningless…Romney seems energized and easily understandable.

    Obama seems tired and detached.

  9. Grange95 says:

    @ G-Rob: Debates haven’t had a meaningful effect on polls since Kennedy-Nixon. This is all American Kabuki for the political media.

  10. Grange95 says:

    I bet there’s a market for bukkake kabuki.

  11. Jason says:

    Where is the Toastmaster AHH Counter?

  12. Grange95 says:

    “Winning” the debates is key to becoming President, right President Kerry?

  13. Chad says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense as “Kabuki Bukkake”? I think so, but Japan is weird, after all.

  14. Grange95 says:

    @ Chad: That’s the difference between “blue balls” and “Balls, Blue!”

  15. Grange95 says:

    @ G-Rob: I apologize. This performance (if you can call it that) by Obama was gawd-awful enough to give Mitt a boost. Which he will undoubtedly squander.

  16. drchako says:

    Wait, is that a masturbation joke?

  17. teamscottsmith says:

    Let us not forget the real loser in this debate, the late Jim Lehrer. RIP.

  18. Grange95 says:

    “Imagine yourself in a kabuki theater with a recently-fired Big Bird who is holding his own. That, friends, is what we should take away from this evening. A self-abusing Muppet with employment issues.”

    Paging the Coen brothers.

  19. Poker Shrink says:

    Oh no, I had to clip my toenails and I missed the debate. Great summary however, I give it a 85 – easy to dance to but just a few too many actual references to the campaign.

  20. easyfeat says:

    The biggest win of the night goes to Jim Lehrer who was never caught rubbing the “stop” light and croaking “they don’t love you like I do…my precious…”

  21. Grange95 says:

    Otis, I suspect you are now popular with the Muppet porn subculture.

  22. KenP says:

    Everybody knows Big Bird is a capon. After your hot chick remarks, now suspect the candidates of similar surgery.

    I didn’t watch. Figured the health reporter with the big bazongas would be asked to participate.

    Thanks for the minute by minute. And the tuch shot of the missus compensates for not seeing your health reporter.

    Libertarian candidate exceeding single digits in many state. Three ways are always more interesting on one’s couch.