Inside the Beltway: Media revenge

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MEDIA REVENGE

Brace for impact: The peevish press seeks to persuade voters to forget Mitt Romney’s stark and sparkling victory over President Obama during their initial debate. The glow of Mr. Romney’s polished performance Wednesday is destined for a very short shelf life as journalists on gaffe patrol woo the public with fancy “fact” checking and anything remotely linked to the phrase “47 percent.” Seamus the dog may even re-appear. Mr. Obama’s re-election strategists, meanwhile, already are wallowing in tactics. Witness this headline posted at the campaign website within hours of the Denver encounter: Mitt Romney’s debate performance: ‘mostly fiction’.

There is turmoil in the once-calm Democratic waters, however. The Republican nominee has humiliated journalists and they now seek revenge, says Breitbart.com analyst John Nolte. “The real loser was a corrupt mainstream media that had just spent months desperately crafting a Mitt Romney that doesn’t exist — a Mitt Romney voters would not find acceptable as president Obama’s media palace guards have assured us that Romney can do nothing right and Obama can do nothing wrong. This carefully crafted media game-plan, coordinated openly with the Obama campaign, was meant to strip Romney of the single quality voters demand in a president, and that’s competence.”

That impression was vaporized for a time. But the political process is grinding forward, and change, but not necessarily hope, is afoot. Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney debate again on Oct. 16, though not in a hushed auditorium. Venue No. 2 is an informal town hall setting in Kentucky, before an audience of undecided voters selected by Gallup. The combatants will argue foreign and domestic issues, moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley. And their postures for now? Ready to rumble.

“Victory is in sight,” insists Mr. Romney.

“When I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney,” Mr. Obama advised his own flock. “But he couldn’t have been Mitt Romney.”

A LIBERTARIAN DISMISSAL

“We didn’t see a debate. We saw two slightly differing versions of defending the Republican and Democrat status quo that has given us war after war after war, a $16 trillion debt, and a government that is the answer to everything,” declares Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary Johnson. “Nowhere was there a real plan for reducing government, balancing the budget any time in the foreseeable future, or a path that will actually put Americans back to work. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are nibbling around the edges of the nation’s problems. We don’t have time to nibble — we need to devour them.”

CANDIDATE TRACKER

Debate, what debate? No time to lose here. In the next 72 hours, President Obama will campaign in Virginia, Ohio and California; Mitt Romney will journey to Florida and Virginia, including an appearance at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. And the aforementioned Gary Johnson? He will be in Indiana and Ohio.

HISTORIC BUMPER STICKER

“Be thankful only one of them can win.”

(Bumper sticker in circulation during the Richard Nixon versus John F. Kennedy campaign, 1960.)

SEEKING INTEGRITY

Well, at least someone’s watching. Planned for next Thursday, it’s “2012 Election Integrity Update,” called to parse out current legal battles over voter IDs, clean voter rolls, early voting, military voting rights, and the Department of Justice’s role in it all.

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