Reporting live from the sports bar at Piers Addleson’s Pea House, Bennington Vale Evening Transcript staffers spent Wednesday evening covering the Presidential Debate. Highlights, revelations and surprises from the event follow. Special thanks to Piers and Astrid Addleson for reserving space in the bar at the last minute for our reporters, once again aggressively denied press passes to the venue.
6:00 p.m. PDT: President Obama kicks off the event with a light-hearted shout out to his wife on their 20th wedding anniversary. "A year from now we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people," Mr. Obama quipped apologetically.
Romney, in his only cordial moment of the night, congratulated the couple and replied, "This is the most romantic place you could imagine, here with me!" He went on to note the quaint, alien customs of monogamy among non-Mormons.
"I think it's just charming, Mr. and Mrs. President, but also a little sad. In my family, we have up to fifteen wedding anniversaries to celebrate in any given year. You have only one, and you squandered it to be humiliated before the middle class Americans you've buried with your immoral policies. And by middle class people, I of course mean corporations."
Romney also agreed that next year the Obamas would not be commemorating publicly because gay marriage would have destroyed their heterosexual union and because "you won't be able to pick out an anniversary card if you can't read Chinese."
6:08 p.m. PDT: Mitt Romney's "is he a friendly Negro?" smile becomes disturbingly apparent in every camera angle.
6:17 p.m. PDT: Romney is seen feverishly taking notes during Obama's mind-numbing recitation of facts and data. Obama, meanwhile, begins posting on Twitter, which continues throughout the debate.
6:18 p.m. PDT: Romney defends his healthcare plans by reiterating the lack of choice in Obama's socialist nanny state legislation. The Romney-Ryan proposal gives voters the choice of bankrupting themselves to pay exorbitant costs in a deregulated health insurance market or to take better care of themselves and not get sick.
6:20 p.m. PDT: Reporters near Jim Lehrer begin to express worry over an unsettling phenomenon they are witnessing: Lehrer has placed an old family photograph near his microphone, and his image in the picture is slowing disappearing.
6:23 p.m. PDT: Mitt Romney has been scolding the president without taking a breath for over 18 minutes.
6:25 p.m. PDT: Mitt Romney explains how Obama has overtaxed the middle class, and then alludes to his plan to save struggling American families. Political experts point out a problem with this apples-to-oranges comparison, clarifying that Romney mistakenly believes middle class people to be those earning between $200,000 and $500,000 per annum.
6:31 p.m. PDT: President Obama's constant reliance on reason and logic just proves that he's a faithless atheist who believes we all came from monkeys.
6:42 p.m. PDT: Mitt Romney spends over 10 minutes explaining that he doesn't want to bore Americans with the complicated details of his economic plan, but emphasizes that it worked perfectly on the Planet Kolob, saving the inhabitants from a near global ruin, "so why wouldn't it work here on Earth?"
6:45 p.m. PDT: Those nearest to Jim Lehrer report that his image in the photograph has almost faded away. Lehrer's last intelligible words are said to be, "Please someone look at me before it's too late. For the love of God, acknowledge my..."
6:46 p.m. PDT: Romney cites attrition as part of his plan to streamline government. Although he enjoys firing people, he finds forcing them to quit a more rewarding challenge.
6:51 p.m. PDT: Though seemingly withdrawn, President Obama comes across as considerably more professional and civil to Gov. Romney than he did when he appeared with Clint Eastwood at the RNC.
6:52 p.m. PDT: Romney tells the virtually transparent apparition of Jim Lehrer that he wants to cancel PBS.
In rehearsal, aides explained, the Republican presidential hopeful meant "PMS." They also said Romney mentioning Big Bird was a happy coincidence, as he's never seen "Sesame Street," and the reference was probably inappropriate in its original context.
6:58 p.m. PDT: Obama tweets, "Even Ayn Rand cashed out the Social Security she paid into."
7:00 p.m. PDT: Romney promises to bring back all the jobs he shipped overseas during his tenure with Bain Capital. He then proves that two plus two equals "whatever the hell I tell you it equals."
7:03 p.m. PDT: Obama makes another fatal omission when recalling the Republican-friendly success story of his grandmother and forgetting to mention that she was white.
7:05 p.m. PDT: Nearly invisible, Jim Lehrer grabs a pencil and scribbles one final message before his body dissolves into the ether. Reporters retrieve the note, which reads: "Mitt Romney -- leadership you can't argue with. Because he'll just talk over your ass."
7:08 p.m. PDT: Mitt Romney to base: "Obamacare will hurt or destroy American families. I know because I created it years ago in Massachusetts. Big mistake."
7:10 p.m. PDT: Mitt Romney argues that government is always more expensive than private enterprise. It's precisely for this reason that fiscally conservative consumers send their kids to Harvard instead of city college.
7:12 p.m. PDT: The last time Mitt Romney spent so much time arguing with a black man, the Mercedes dealership was forced to comp his oil change and throw in a free car wash.
7:13 p.m. PDT: Some Denver students camped outside the debate hall flee in terror after hearing the ghostly voice of Jim Lehrer lamenting, "Why can nobody see me?"
7:20 p.m. PDT: Fact check -- Romney may have driven schools in his state to "hit number one," but he failed to mention that he ran out of gas around 47.
7:25 p.m. PDT: After Obama's maudlin grandmother story, Romney describes his own struggles. His father never told him about his Free McDonald's for Life card, and one time at a family reunion, everyone in attendance ran out of mayonnaise.
7:30 p.m. PDT: The moment Romney has dreaded most -- the obligatory physical contact with Barack Obama. The handshake and pat on the arm, while uncomfortable, occur without incident. But then, Obama wheels around and returns for another pat on the back. Romney tenses in fear, praying he won't have to resort to the Bob Allen self-preservation tactic of fellating an angry black man to avoid fisticuffs. Obama breaks away and leaves. "Whew," Romney is seen mouthing on camera, "really dodged a bullet there."
Evoking the dismal imagery of T.S. Eliot, the event ends not with a bang but with a whimper.
(c) 2012. See disclaimers.