The final presidential debate

October 24th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Well I only followed it on Twitter, but the polls show Obama was judged better by a clear majority. This is not a surprise. His approval ratings for foreign policy have been consistently high, and in my opinion he does deserve credit for some of his work in this area. He did basically exit Iraq gracefully (on much the same timetable as Bush proposed though), and the surge in Afghanistan has worked (as it did in Iraq) and they are on track to leave there in the next term. And you have to give brownie points for killing Osama Bin Laden. The mission was risky, and could have ended in a Iran style Carter disaster effectively ending Obama’s presidency. It was a gutsy call to do it.

The killing of the US Ambassador to Libya is of course a low point – especially the misinformation from the US Government on why and how it happened, and the revelations that they were asked multiple times for more security. That issue is yet to be resolved.

The biggest reason not to vote for Obama on foreign policy grounds is probably the fact that John Kerry is his likely next Secretary of State. I think Hillary Clinton has generally done a good job, and I actually have a lot of respect for her. I have almost none for John Kerry. Think how close we came to a Kerry/Edwards presidency!

Too soon after the debate to know how it may have influenced the polls. Five Thirty Eight is projecting Obama 291 and Romney 247 – pretty close.  Real Clear Politics has Obama 281 and Romney 257. Pollster has Obama 254, Romney 191 and 94 tossups.

All the focus is now going on the key swing states – especially Ohio.

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37 Responses to “The final presidential debate”

  1. Lance (2,561 comments) says:

    Wow, this is a dog whistle and a half.

    Here boy!

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  2. Positan (384 comments) says:

    I watched the debate, and my conclusion as a former debater and judge of debates – contrary to the input of our own left-leaning media and that of the U.S. – was that Romney won outright. On top of that, he looked and acted “Presidential,” unlike Obama whose body language showed him to be on the back foot so many times.

    Romney scored many points in the way he answered the questions posed – he was direct and to the point, whereas Obama often reverted to waffle. Obama’s frequent attempts at personal attack cost him also – a leader has to look sound like a leader as well as looking like one, and I’m sure that point won’t be lost on American voters.

    Irrespective of what the polls show – if I was a betting man, my money would be on Romney. An incumbent who’s only neck-and-neck with his rival has obviously not performed as well in the job as had been expected of him.

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  3. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    I also watched the debate and arrived at the same conclusion as Positan: Romney won. It’s the press, the illiberal press, that is spreading the notion that the Messiah won.

    Watch it and form your own opinion.

    In the US, the Blue Democrats are in a quandary on who to vote for. DPF, who are you backing? :-)

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  4. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    The US killed Osama Pfffff

    Obama also boasted about the big oil find in Nth Dakota which has opened jobs for thousands.

    The US is in a worse case position beyond the great depression. Food stamps camouflage that reality.

    Habeas Corpus and posse comotatus are also being repealed and teh US media says nothing. Martial law is coming to the US.

    Why did FEMA order 102,000 BOXCARS with shackles in them – made by GUNDERSON ?

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  5. Dean Papa (782 comments) says:

    Romney’s a lightweight who’ll say anything to get to be pres. Hopefully enough American voters will see him for the fake that he is.

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  6. Redbaiter (8,022 comments) says:

    “DPF, who are you backing?”

    The Democrats, even if he doesn’t know it.

    If leftmedia ever want any such self serving meme (like Obama won the last debate for example) repeated in the NZ blogosphere they can rely on Whale and Kiwiblog to do it for them.

    Its just mindboggling to me their information sources are apparently so incredibly narrow.

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  7. cha (3,856 comments) says:

    102,000 BOXCARS with shackles in them

    Gosh, Stormfront reported the exact same thing too.

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  8. Alan Johnstone (1,082 comments) says:

    Libya is a operational matter; unless you can show me that the security request crossed his desk and he refused then it doesn’t matter.

    Elections are won on the economy and the US has done better than most of the world over the past four years.

    Unemployment has been trending solidly down for two years. (http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/euus0601121_big.gif)

    If anyone wants to bet on Mitt, he’s presently trading at $3.0 vs $1.50 for Obama, implying he has a 1 in 3 chance at this stage. I think that’s about right.

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  9. Nostalgia-NZ (5,044 comments) says:

    Romney did a lot better, particularly because he has laboured under a cloud that suggests he’s not so bright, able to think on his feet or know when to zip it. Whoever, thought of the assertion about the comparative size of the American navy between now and a 100 years ago, or at least had less ‘ships’ ‘helped’ raise those doubts about Romney again. But what was his reply worth noting.
    There has been talk that Romney appeared ‘presidential,’ on the surface that might be fine but doesn’t it also suggest a sense of entitlement that has created an impression for which he has been criticised, something that might not go down with middle America’s concern about the economy.
    I thought Romney might have attacked Obama on his record of supporting the use of drones, a Ron Paul moment, of saying that America can do it better in foreign affairs, particularly now that it ‘appears’ not only the invasion of Iraq is over but so too will be the invasion of Afghanistan. Of course Romney went the other way and claimed he would spend more on the military but couldn’t tell Obama where it would come from. Rather than congratulate Obama perhaps he should have been telling the electorate that he would finish the job, bring forces home, keep the military strong and grow the economy with the savings. Punchy, and and with reverberation.
    On the drone subject Obama might have been able to say that was where they were headed because the work was almost done. Many commentators suggested the 2 men had similar foreign policy, I don’t if not being able to differentiate foreign policy swings it for a challenger, jobs from a policy shift might have though.

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  10. dime (9,664 comments) says:

    DPF – just followed leftys on twitter? like whaleoil…

    Obama came off looking like an asshole. not presidential at all.

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  11. greenjacket (436 comments) says:

    From a NZ perspective, I’d have to swallow my usual political allegiance and say that Obama’s re-election would be better for NZ than Romney.
    Getting TPP through will mean confronting at some point some US interests, esp. agriculture, and Romney’s proclivity to pander suggests that TPP would be dead if Romney was elected.
    If Romney is serious about “confronting” China, that would be bad for everyone dependent on trade with China (i.e. NZ).
    And from Romney’s website and his recent foreign policy speech, it seems that his foreign policy will be obsessed with Israel and the Middle East (at least Obama has been pivotting towards the Asia-Pacific, and US engagement with the Asia-Pacific is of benefit to us from both a security and a trade perspective).

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  12. Mark (1,431 comments) says:

    Positan your bias is showing. Not only did Obama win the debate the polling is suggesting Obama slayed Romney with the critical undecided group.

    Winning debates is about targeting your audience and Romney missed the bus.

    Overall the story is not so bad as Romney clearly won the first debate so he at least came out of the debates even.

    Looks more and more like Ohio will decide it.

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  13. Louis Houlbrooke (9 comments) says:

    The title of this post is ill-informed. The final presidential debate took place today, it was the third-party debate between Virgil Goode, Gary Johnston, Jill Stein, and Rocky Anderson.

    The debate between Obama and Romney was a sham. Two unprincipled politicians pretending to disagree over foreign policy.

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  14. tom hunter (4,564 comments) says:

    I’ll partially repeat what I said to bc in yesterday’s GD.

    I did not bother watching the debate as I don’t have a lot of time for them in general. Moreover, with this being the third and last, focused on foreign policy (which is pretty far down the list in the polls of public concerns this election), and competing against a big NFL game and game one of the WSC), I don’t expect it pulled the same number of viewers. But I have watched some extended clips.

    As to who “won” – well I can only go from the clips but Obama seemed by far the more aggressive while Romney did not hit him on Libya as expected. Both have to be deliberate decisions and that’s a tell for the race all by itself; Romney wanted to appear to be the big picture guy who’s comfortable, knowledgeble and in-charge – he wanted to appear presidential. Obama wanted to take the fight to Romney. If I knew nothing about the race or these two men I’d have thought that Romney was already president and Obama was the challenger.

    That means that Romney thinks he has the lead and/or the momentum and Obama thinks or knows that he’s behind. Their internal polling costs money and they cannot afford spin bullshit, so I’m guessing that the polls of both camps are telling them the same thing. It’s a switch from just a few weeks ago: now it’s Romney’s race to lose.

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  15. scrubone (3,082 comments) says:

    Libya is a operational matter; unless you can show me that the security request crossed his desk and he refused then it doesn’t matter.

    Well, that’s what the hearings are about, aren’t they?

    But the other issue is the way that it was blamed on the stupid youtube video when it was known all along that it was an attack. That’s called a coverup, and the white house is spinning so furiously that they’re at times even denying the denial they gave the day before even existed.

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  16. tvb (4,254 comments) says:

    Romney did not mention Libya in the debate and I am unsure why not. Perhaps their polling indicates there was no traction on the issue. Romney spent most of his time agreeing with Obama on various issues. Hillary Clinton is retiring from politics to raise money, write her book and to rest and make up her mind on 2016. Assuming Obama wins he will be the first President in his second term without a major distraction for his second term and with no worries about re-election. That should give him a fairly strong hand to do some things that other Presidents in their second term have not been able to do. Johnson had Vietnam, Nixon had watergate,Regan had Iran-Contra Clinton had Lewinsky, and Bush had Iraq and the collapsing economy and one or two other scandals. Obama has no scandals that we know of, yes the economy needs to be addressed. But Obama as a second term President will be in unusually strong position.

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  17. mara (752 comments) says:

    Did the final presidential debate even matter? Who is genuinely still undecided? The brain dead? It seems to me that you’re “undecided” if you cannot form an opinion as to whether the one man with a long term certifiable record of successful management, over the one who’s a bisexual, dope smoking, constitutionally unqualified, Muslim, white-hating, America loathing, communist, treasonous naif with a forged birth certificate and a social security number once used by a dead man is a better bet. Aw OK, I’ll forget about the bisexual dope-smoking as long as he is man enough to admit to it and face his named accusers. Liberal times and all that …

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  18. Don the Kiwi (1,649 comments) says:

    I’m with Positan.

    As a debate, Romney was the clear winner – articulate, concise in his points while being polite to O’Bummer, who, OTOH tried agression and interuption, was waffly on his points, and at one stage talking about “nation building at home” was almost a home goal – I’m a little surprised Romney didn’t have an interjection or comment on it.

    If O:Bummer wins, kiss goodbye to the US as the leader of the free world – O’Bummer will lead them from behind into a bloated and oversized Greece and Portugal. The US is nearly broke now – another four years of O’Bummer will tip the economy over.

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  19. tom hunter (4,564 comments) says:

    The problem with these debates is not just that they’re not Oxford Union level things, but that people think it’s reasonable to make that comparison and sneer at them.

    Television can, and usually does, have a dumbing down effect on whatever it touches, and it’s tempting to be snobby about what they do to political debates nowadays – especially as we politicians have indulged in “media training”. If you want to see a great example of this watch the 1972 Robert Redford movie, The Candidate, especially the coaching sessions for the TV debate (Don’t look up. Don’t look up!)

    But we should accept that these debates are as much about trying to show what these people are “really” like, and while one can scoff at the notion of ever knowing what a political figure in the heat of a campaign is really like, TV debates are about the best way nowadays for the bulk of the population to make that assessment.

    It’s also why the little things – the supposedly “silly” things count. What does their manner, facial expressions, tone of voice and so forth tell you, especially when they’re being attacked directly or indirectly via some “gotcha” question. So Michael Dukakis’s answer on the death penalty in the hypothetical case of his wife being murdered, “told” people that he was a cold-blooded, technocrat. George H W Bush looking at his wristwatch “told” people that he felt he did not even need to be there. Clinton biting his lower lip and uttering the now famous “I feel your pain”, “told” people that he was a warm, compassionate man (yes, yes, I know …..).

    Robert Muldoon once said that every interview only allowed for one message to be delivered, and that’s probably true of these Presidential TV debates. And the only message that counts for a challenger is whether this person looks, sounds and feels like they could be a President. The paradox of that is it can create a very low bar to cross if the other side has spent all it’s time demonising one candidate. That was the case with Reagan in 1980 where he was portrayed as warmonger who’d probably hit the nuclear button the moment he sat down at the Oval Office desk: as I’ve written before, it meant that his avuncular voice and manner, combined with some soft-soaping about the need for arms negotiations combined with a firm approach to the Russians, was enough to convince people that the cartoon image of him was crap. It’s been the same with John Key here in NZ – and it has certainly been the case with Mitt Romney in the US.

    That’s why the first debate was such a triumph for Romney; it was not that Obama was so bad, but that Romney completely shattered $100 million of negative advertising – for free. I just recently watched the whole thing and I thought that Obama was much the same as in 2008 – that although he’s not much of a debater he did okay. But Romney simply blew up all the images of him. He came across as not a mean, rich vulture-capitalist but as someone who was warm, strong and decent – and presidential – which is always the key point of these debates, point-scoring be damned.

    And on that note I have to point out that I severely underestimated the impact of these debates and dissed commentator “Imp”:

    It’ll come down to the Debates, three of em.

    Nope. Again, I think those who are interested in the minutia of politics overestimate things like “gaffes” and such-like. So Ford supposedly lost in ’76 because of his blurt about Poland, or Bush 41 because of a supermarket scanner (thank you NYT you bullshit artists you), or Dukakis because of the hilarious tank photo.

    But if you look at historic polls you don’t actually see any bounces up or down related to such things. What you usually see is steady movement at some point or other followed by steady (but not crazy) breakouts up to the election – or an even race to the end as in 2000, and those things are driven by the big issues of the day. About the only time in modern history that I can think of where a debate may have changed things was in Reagan’s 1980 question to voters: Are you better off now than you were four years ago – which may be the killer question again this year. But even that was a direct reminder of what people already knew about the economy and their prospects.

    I’ll still hold to that last – with the caveat now that I underestimated the degree to which Romney breaking the image of him painted by the Obama campaign, would result in a turn in the polls. I think my original point holds that it is still the big, underlying issues that count and that debates usually serve merely to highlight those, if they do anything. In this case it would seem many people were simply looking for a reason to turn away from Obama. Romney provided that.

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  20. BlairM (2,306 comments) says:

    …and the surge in Afghanistan has worked (as it did in Iraq) and they are on track to leave there in the next term.

    You have got to be joking! Really? Have you actually read any websites lately other than your own? You do know that three times as many Americans have died in Afghanistan under Obama than under Bush?!

    The Taliban are retaking large swathes of the country. It is a massive quagmire. Obama has completely mismanaged the Afghan campaign.

    As for the debate itself, yes, polls show Obama “won” narrowly. But the focus groups on both CNN and Fox, and the polls, were pretty bad for Obama – they thought he “won”, but they thought Romney came across as more Presidential. The CBS focus group thought Romney won. Polls showed the debate made undecideds more likely to vote for Romney by a significant number. Romney pretty much played for a draw in the debate and it worked.

    I am pretty sure Romney will win the popular vote in this election. The question remains whether he can win the electoral college. It’s possible that there will be a last minute break for Romney, as there was for Reagan in 1980, but no guarantee of that. Polls show Romney now has the lead in Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire and Colorado. He is tied in Iowa. If he can take that state, and win any one of Wisconsin, Nevada or Ohio (of which Ohio is running closest), he will be President.

    Either way, Cameron Slater has no credibility left from this, and should be banned from ever commenting on US politics again.

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  21. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    I don’t think the debates mean a heck of a lot either way- Republicans are going to vote Republican and Democrats will vote for the Messiah. Anybody left over who is ‘on the fence’ will be swung by the lopsided media adoration of the chosen one, not his performance/lack of it in these debates…

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  22. grumpyoldhori (2,416 comments) says:

    Confronting China, even if Romney has most of Dubyas team on board I doubt if they are stupid enough to confront China, Russia.
    They might have a dream of invading Iran but the US military will soon put a stop to that.

    No what will be interesting if China decides to grab Taiwan, would the USA be stupid enough to get involved ?

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  23. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    With due deference for all the erudite, informed, inciteful and measured comment that has been made on this subject by bloggers so far,
    I wonder if I am the only individual who has, since the US Presidential contest gained momentum, concluded that it is a contest of the Hopeless versus the Useless. (You decide which is which!)
    What is it the Americans say? God save the United States? And well they might, for whichever of these – if you’ll permit the expression – “turkeys” wins this Presidential contest, the outlook for the USA, in my humble opinion, is bleak in every way.

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  24. tom hunter (4,564 comments) says:

    … the outlook for the USA, in my humble opinion, is bleak in every way.

    Yes, well I’ve made that point a lot. They better hope that Churchill’s aphorism about drunks and the USA continues to hold true. But it still does not explain the strange takes on Romney that DPF and Whaleoil have had.

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  25. tom hunter (4,564 comments) says:

    Time for some more specific concerns:

    His approval ratings for foreign policy have been consistently high,

    And a month ago it looked like this would be the main cudgel for a guy who simply does not want to talk about his economic record unless he has to. But that all changed with the Libyan fiasco. Since then the polls on this topic have shown a dramatic closure between the two candidates as to who would handle it better. That’s not great for an incumbent.

    … and in my opinion he does deserve credit for some of his work in this area.

    The very funny aspect is that the parts of his FP that seem to be working are where he’s continued with Bush’s policies and extended them. It helps when all the things that the left-wing and the MSM (but I repeat myself) screamed about during Bush’s time are now quietly accepted: warrantless wiretaps, the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, renditions, and so forth.

    He did basically exit Iraq gracefully (on much the same timetable as Bush proposed though)

    The only difference I noted was the failure to leave behind a couple of thousand troops to help stablise the place in the manner of Germany and Japan post-WWII. Clueless Joe Biden boasted that was going to happen, but Obama never really bothered with the negotiations and let it slide. I guess he saw no upside and plenty of downside to leaving some in-country (it would ruin the pledge after all).

    and the surge in Afghanistan has worked (as it did in Iraq) and they are on track to leave there in the next term.

    BlairM has already attacked most of this point so all I can say is that the Afghan surge was doomed from the start when Obama put a timetable on it to end. The Taliban knew then that all they had to do was wait the US out, and sure enough, as the surge troops have departed the attacks have actually increased.

    Few in NZ (and even in the US) would know it, but a few weeks ago the Marines suffered their greatest loss of airpower since Vietnam when a very sophisticated Taliban raid on one of their biggest and most well protected bases in Afghanistan destroyed half-a-dozen Harrier jumpjets and damaged a few more, effectively putting the squadron out of action. They killed the commander as well in what looks like a targeted take-down.

    And you have to give brownie points for killing Osama Bin Laden. The mission was risky, and could have ended in a Iran style Carter disaster effectively ending Obama’s presidency. It was a gutsy call to do it.

    I do give him brownie points – for doing what any American President should do. But you might as well say a Blackhawk Down style disaster – and that did not end Clinton’s presidency. The Carter thing was unique because of the hostage situation: if a mission went after Bin Laden and failed it would not have been the first time. The only person who would not have made the gutsy call appears to be the VP, Joe Biden, who apparently argued against it to the end.

    Romney did a lot better, particularly because he has laboured under a cloud that suggests he’s not so bright, able to think on his feet or know when to zip it.

    I’ve never rated Romney as much of a debater and I saw clear examples of that when he fought back so weakly against Gingrich’s and Perry’s left-wing style attacks on him over Bain. No real defense there. Having said that I’d love to know precisely what on earth made you think he was not bright? Poor grades in his Harvard MBA and Harvard Law Degree?

    Whoever, thought of the assertion about the comparative size of the American navy between now and a 100 years ago, or at least had less ‘ships’ ‘helped’ raise those doubts about Romney again.

    It could have if Obama had handled it better – and I’m referring directly to his response that has so thrilled his base and the media:

    But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You — you mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — (laughter) — because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.

    And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s — it’s what are our capabilities.

    I think that response was the Obama and Democrat campaign in a nutshell. Even as they applauded what they must have thought was a great zinger they failed to realise how it made Obama look. If he had simply stuck with the horses and bayonets line it would have worked. Better I think would have been the Battleships line alone, which was an equal zinger but not as condescending. But he just could not help himself but had to add the bits about We have these things called aircraft carriers …. I think that will turn out to be a big mistake, as the historian Tim Stanley wrote in the English Telegraph noted:

    The audience laughed, Obama laughed, I laughed. It was funny.

    But here’s why it was also a vote loser. For a start, Twitter immediately lit up with examples of how the U.S. Army does still use horses and bayonets (horses were used during the invasion of Afghanistan). More importantly, this was one example of many in which the president insulted, patronized, and mocked his opponent rather than put across a constructive argument.

    Moreover, you don’t get to pull off the condescending sneer of having superior knowledge to belittle your opponent, when it turns out that you don’t actually know what your talking about. As Romney pointed out, it’s not him but the US Navy that says they need more ships if they’re too do all that they are being asked to do. Perhaps Obama thinks he knows more about military technology and quality vs. quantity than the Navy? Given his past comments …

    I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

    … he probably does.

    Arrogant twat!

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  26. Fletch (6,148 comments) says:

    And you have to give brownie points for killing Osama Bin Laden.

    According to many, Obama didn’t make the call. The U.S knew the location of Bin Laden months before, but every time Obama was close to saying yes to going get him, Valarie Jarrett would talk him out of it. In the end, it was Panetta and Hillary Clinton who made the final call. Obama was called in from his golf game to watch it unfold.

    Now it appears that in Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement, the death of Bin Laden, Obama hesitated at the trigger 3 times. Hardly the decisive command decision that he and his allies have portrayed.

    Based on Miniter’s book [“Leading from Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him,” ] Obama first had a shot at Bin Laden in January of 2011. Obama chose not to get Bin Laden at that time. He next had an opportunity in February. Again, Obama balked.  Once again in March he was approached for authorization. For the third time Obama said no. It was only on the fourth opportunity that Obama finally gave his authorization for the SEALS to go in and get Bin Laden.

    And…

    What happened from there is what was described by me as a “masterful manipulation” by Leon Panetta. 

    Panetta indicated to Obama that leaks regarding knowledge of Osama Bin Laden’s location were certain to get out sooner rather than later, and action must be taken by the administration or the public backlash to the president’s inaction would be “…significant to the point of political debilitation.” 

    It was at that time that Obama stated an on-ground campaign would be far more acceptable to him than a bombing raid.  This was intended as a stalling tactic, and it had originated from Jarrett.  Such a campaign would take both time, and present a far greater risk of failure.  The president had been instructed by Jarrett to inform Mr., Panetta that he would have sole discretion to act against the Osama Bin Laden compound.  Jarrett believed this would further delay Panetta from acting, as the responsibility for failure would then fall almost entirely on him. 

    What Valerie Jarrett, and the president, did not know is that Leon Panetta had already initiated a program that reported to him –and only him, involving a covert on the ground attack against the compound.  Basically, the whole damn operation was already ready to go – including the specific team support Intel necessary to engage the enemy within hours of being given notice.  Panetta then made plans to proceed with an on-ground assault. This information reached either Hillary Clinton or Robert Gates first (likely via militarycontacts directly associated with the impending mission) who then informed the other. 

    Those two then met with Panetta, who informed each of them he had been given the authority by the president to proceed with a mission if the opportunity presented itself.  Both Gates and Clinton warned Panetta of the implications of that authority – namely he was possibly being made into a scapegoat.  Panetta admitted that possibility, but felt the opportunity to get Bin Laden outweighed that risk. 

    During that meeting, Hillary Clinton was first to pledge her full support for Panetta, indicating she would defend him if necessary.  Similar support was then followed by Gates.  The following day, and with Panetta’s permission, Clinton met in private with Bill Daley and urged him to get the president’s full and open approval of the Panetta plan.  Daley agreed such approval would be of great benefit to the action, and instructed Clinton to delay proceeding until he had secured that approval. 

    Daley contacted Clinton within hours of their meeting indicating Jarrett refused to allow the president to give that approval.  Daley then informed Clinton that he too would fully support Panetta in his actions, even if it meant disclosing the president’s indecision to the American public should that action fail to produce a successful conclusion.  Clinton took that message back to Panetta and the CIA director initiated the 48 hour engagement order. 

    At this point, the President of the United States was not informed of the engagement order – it did not originate from him, and for several hours after the order had been given and the special ops forces were preparing for action into Pakistan from their position in Afghanistan, Daley successfully kept Obama and Jarrett insulated from that order.
    This insulation ended at some point with an abort order that I believe originated from Valerie Jarrett’s office, and was then followed up by President Obama.

    This abort order was later explained as a delay due to weather conditions, but the actual conditions at that time would have been acceptable for the mission.  A storm system had been in the area earlier, but was no longer an issue.  Check the data yourself to confirm.  Jarrett, having been caught off guard, was now scrambling to determine who had initiated the plan.  She was furious, repeating the acronym “CoC” and saying it was not being followed.  This is where Bill Daley intervened directly. 

    The particulars of that intervention are not clear to me beyond knowing he did meet with Jarrett in his office and following that meeting, Valerie Jarrett was not seen in the West Wing for some time, and apparently no longer offered up any resistance to the Osama Bin Laden mission.  What did follow from there was one or more brief meetings between Bill Daley, Hillary Clinton, a representative from Robert Gates’ office, a representative from Leon Panetta’s office, and a representative from Jim Clapper’soffice. 

    I have to assume that these meetings were in essence, detailing the move to proceed with the operation against the Osama Bin Laden compound.  I have been told by more than one source that Leon Panetta was directing the operation with both his own CIA operatives, as well as direct contacts with military – both entities were reporting to Panetta only at this point, and not the President of the United States. 

    There was not going to be another delay as had happened 24 hour earlier.  The operation was at this time effectively unknown to President Barack Obama or Valerie Jarrett and it remained that way until AFTER it had already been initiated.  President Obama was literally pulled from a golf outing and escorted back to the White House to be informed of the mission.  Upon his arrival there was a briefing held which included Bill Daley, John Brennan, and a high ranking member of the military.  When Obama emerged from the briefing, he was described as looking “very confused and uncertain.” 

    The president was then placed in the situation room where several of the players in this event had already been watching the operation unfold.  Another interesting tidbit regarding this is that the Vice President was already “up to speed” on the operation.  A source indicated they believe Hillary Clinton had personally made certain the Vice President was made aware of that day’s events before the president was.  The now famous photo released shows the particulars of that of that room and its occupants.  What that photo does not communicate directly is that the military personnel present in that room during the operation unfolding, deferred to either Hillary Clinton or Robert Gates.  The president’s role was minimal, including their acknowledging of his presence in the room.

    http://theulstermanreport.com/2012/04/30/white-house-insider-obama-hesitated-panetta-issued-order-to-kill-osama-bin-laden/

    So much for “Mr Decisive”.

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  27. chiz (1,131 comments) says:

    scrubone:But the other issue is the way that it was blamed on the stupid youtube video when it was known all along that it was an attack

    Except that it wasn’t known, it was suspected. There is a difference between something being known and being suspected:

    While officials did mention the possible involvement of ‘‘extremists,’’ they did not lay blame on any specific militant groups or possible links to al Qaeda or its affiliates until intelligence officials publicly alleged that on September 28.

    There were indications that extremists with possible al Qaeda connections were involved, but also evidence that the attacks could have erupted spontaneously, they said, adding that government experts wanted to be cautious about pointing fingers prematurely.

    US intelligence officials have emphasised since shortly after the attack that early intelligence reporting about the attack was mixed.

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  28. Fletch (6,148 comments) says:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington within 24 hours of last month’s deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate that there was evidence it was carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about an American-made video ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, U.S. officials have told The Associated Press.

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  29. Nostalgia-NZ (5,044 comments) says:

    ‘Moreover, you don’t get to pull off the condescending sneer of having superior knowledge to belittle your opponent’

    That reminded me of Clarke being condescending toward Key in her last election, surely touching upon her own unpopularity at the time.

    On another point I am completely dispossessed by the reminder of what Tom and BlairM have said about the triumphant ‘surges.’

    In fact the surges were a repeat of the failure of the invasions, failing to recognise that an enemy not killed merely waits his time, but this may not be a safe place for either man to go.

    The killing of Bin Laden is dated and not fresh in the electorate’s mind. I can’t remember at the moment which of the two men made a comment about killing their way out of situation or moving forward.

    Again, Romney can own all of Obama’s apparent achievements with a similar, but fresh, declaration that he alone can move them forward. That in 4 years Obama has become tired and lost direction – hasn’t finished things off. It’s a slim edge between depressing people and picking them up. Depression is the yoke around Obama’s neck. I’ve moved on from the debate clearly.

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  30. tom hunter (4,564 comments) says:

    Except that it wasn’t known, it was suspected.

    That’s just nonsense Chiz and a product of a further campaign of misinformation that has flowed from the White House following Obama’s silly comment in the second debate, when he said on September 12 that it was a terrorist attack. To cover that gaffe they’ve been trying to muddy the waters ever since.

    Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb, who oversees diplomatic security, testified before the House on Oct. 10, that from her command center in Washington she was able to track the lethal events of Benghazi in something akin to real time. She was in constant communication with the agent on the consulate grounds who first notified Washington that an assault—”attack, attack,” the agent said—was under way. Ms. Lamb also said that the State Department was receiving a steady stream of data on the afternoon of Sept. 11 indicating that terrorism was afoot. There have been other comments directly from State Department officials who have told reporters that they were never in any doubt that it was a terrorist attack.

    So who the hell are these other “officials” who were unsure or only “suspected” it was a terrorist attack? Frankly I don’t care if some other “officials” in the Administration are now trying to muddy the waters. What they’re asking me to believe is that this eye-witness information in the hands of the Assistant Secretary of State would not make it’s way to the SoS and thence to the Oval Office.

    Even for an ordinary person like me, thousands of miles away at the bottom of the South Pacific, it was obvious within 24 hours that it was a terrorist attack as I read the dispatches of foreign correspondents from the Telegraph, the Independent and Der Spiegal. All of them, with their contacts in Libya and intelligence agencies, identified actions of the attackers that made it obvious even to a blind bat that it was a planned, coordinated attack. They came from more than one direction and were using military hand signals to direct eachother, as well as having RPG’s, heavy machine guns (not just the usual AK-47′s) and mortars. For crying out loud the President of Libya himself said the day after, that it was a terrorist attack, based on reports from the teams he’d sent in to try and rescue the Americans. At least one of those squad leaders said they came under accurate mortar fire, which, as he put it, could not be the work of amateurs.

    If, in the face of all this, there were “officials” who were unsure or still thought it was a spontaneous demonstration, then at a minimum they should be sacked – and I’ve not yet seen any heads roll. If I was Obama and I had been led by the nose for days on end, to the effect that I’d made a fool of myself in public, I’d be firing some asses long before now – if that angle is true.

    On the other hand it may be that Obama and company simply chose to believe that set of officials over the others – and since the latter set had an overwhelming amount of eye-witness detail and corroborating evidence from other sources, I don’t see how Obama and company could believe the former group unless they wanted to.

    So it’s either wishful thinking made real or it’s incompetence on the part of Obama and company – either way they don’t deserve to be let off the hook like that.

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  31. chiz (1,131 comments) says:

    So who the hell are these other “officials” who were unsure or only “suspected” it was a terrorist attack?

    The National Security Council, for one, along with CIA officials.

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  32. tom hunter (4,564 comments) says:

    The National Security Council, for one, along with CIA officials.

    Then fire them and promote the CIA station chief in Libya. He or she at least seemed to know what the hell was going on.

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  33. Ed Snack (1,797 comments) says:

    Well, I’m in on Romney President in a menaingful way, the NZ market is (or was) still at over 65% Obama, today the US intrade market dropped significantly to 55:45 Obama, which is a big movement. I’m going with “the big Mo” myself. Other people have called it “the Preference Cascade”, once it’s seen to be OK to vote against Obama a lot of people will discover that they really don’t like the arrogant, under-performing, petulant flop.

    Hey, and he just alienated most of the USN, ships that go under the sea, SHIPS !!?!, the dork doesn’t even know that all submarines are “boats”, goes along with Dem’s conference where they “honored” the services by highlighting the Russian Black Sea fleet and the Turkish aerobatics team. At this rate Obama’s hopes will really need a “corpse man” as he so elegantly and knowledgeably put it.

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  34. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    The Messiah can run and can lie: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/24/us-usa-benghazi-emails-idUSBRE89N02C20121024

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  35. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Romney didn’t appear to know a lot about foreign policy.

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  36. KevinH (1,158 comments) says:

    Neither Romney or Obama have distinquished themselves in the debates, a wasted opportunity for both or more specifically for Romney who is still on the outer in the swing states where this election will be won or lost.
    http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/swing-state-tracker?hp
    At this stage I’m picking Obama by the slimmest of margins.

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  37. ChardonnayGuy (1,184 comments) says:

    As a matter of interest, David, will you similarly be covering the forthcoming Chinese Communist Party leadership transition with as much interest? Arguably, China is more important to our future as a trading partner than the United States. I’d be happy to provide you with a couple of excellent backgrounder references that I’ve come across…

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