Hofstra Debate Live-Blog II

* Next question a high lob to Obama on pay equity. Moving kind of slow on his answer; don’t think he can get to other issues important to women. On bank role in student loans, fails to mention that Romney wants to reverse reforms.

* Mitt really, really leaning on Massachusetts record. Obama didn’t give him any attack-lines to worry about on pay equity, so Mitt free to go deep into anecdote-land. This seems to be pattern: if Mitt responding to Obama, he’s much less fluid. It’s why Obama needs to disrupt his Moderate Mitt rap every chance he gets.

* Really wonder if Mitt thinks there are voters with so little information that they have to be told economy sucks?

* Late Obama reference to Romney position on Lilly Ledbetter Act. Now he plunges ahead on contraception coverage, a topic only Mitt raised in first debate, and Planned Parenthood, which didn’t come up at all.

* Ah! A Bush question! A Republican question! This is the question I’ve been begging Obama to ask!

* Is Romney trying to evade question?

* What? Is Romney saying W. was weak on oil exploration? And he’s less beholden to big business? Interesting.

* Obama needs to crush this rebuttal.

* Obama losing focus on Bush in this answer. Needs to mention Social Security privatization, Bush’s immigration policies, bank deregulation, a hundred things. Okay, Obama doing the “harsher version of Bush.” Closing pretty good.

* Okay, here comes the “disappointed 2008 Obama voter.” Obama has certainly gotten his “promises kept” answer a lot crisper. And then the pivot to the second-term agenda. Doing decent job playing less than sterling hand. “Me too” litany should be have longer and tougher–Medicaid, Medicare, non-defense discretionary spending cuts, reversal of Roe v. Wade, etc.

* Romney playing old tapes at this point; “disappointed Obama voter” an old target. His litany of disappointments much, much longer than Obama’s litany of scary Mitt policies. Oh, God, here comes Ronnie Redux. Feels like this answer is going on five minutes. This will supply a lot of footage for Fox later tonight.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.