Maureen Dowd has a hilarious column pretending to be post-mortem debate practice for Obama on what he should have said in the first round. The whole column is worth reading, but here’s an excerpt:
Opponent: I want to take that $716 billion you’ve cut and put it back into Medicare.
Obama: The $716 billion I’ve cut is from the providers, not the beneficiaries. I think that’s a better idea than cutting the exact same $716 billion and replacing it with a gift certificate, which is what’s contained in the plan that’s named for your running mate.
Opponent: Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.
Obama: Not unless you’ve come up with a new plan since this afternoon.
Opponent: You doubled the deficit.
Obama: When I took office in 2009, the deficit was 1.4 trillion. According to the C.B.O., the deficit for 2012 will be 1.1 trillion. Either you have the mathematics aptitude of a Shetland pony or, much more likely, you’re lying.
Opponent: All of the increase in natural gas has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half.
Obama: Maybe your difficulty is with the words “half” and “double.” Oil production on federal land is higher, not lower. And the oil and gas industry are currently sitting on 7,000 approved permits to drill on government land that they’ve not yet begun developing.
Opponent: I think about half the green firms you’ve invested in have gone out of business.
Obama: Yeah, your problem’s definitely with the word “half.” As of this moment there have been 26 recipients of loan guarantees — 23 of which are very much in business. What was Bain’s bankruptcy record again?
Of course, to see how it should be done you could watch Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly debating.