HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- And here's my seat.
Slate's live debate page is here. I'll chime in on this space from time to time.
9:07: Neither Obama nor Romney answered this 20-year old's question. He's already in school, so what does he care about tuition reform? He didn't say he wants a manufacturing job, but he certainly isn't on the market for retraining at a community college. Well, whatever -- both men pivoted to the stuff they'd prepared, and Obama answered in 1-2-3 list form.
9:22: I'm in the cheap seats, obviously, with a lot of foreign press that isn't particularly worried about looking bipartisan. Obama's little zinger about Romney's long-ago anti-coal press conference got an "ooh." Romney's wave-off when Obama tried to re-enter the oil discussion elicited a little gasp. And it's early, but that's going to be a key moment. The ballyhooed "memorandum of understanding" was torn up first by Romney, who didn't want to let the oil issue go away. Why would he? It's thorny and he wins on it. But he effectively cracked the door open, for Obama to walk through and start being punchier. And he evoked the rules-conscious Romney who bristles when he's not being taken as seriously as he takes himself.
I'm old enough to remember when the GOP's spin was that Biden should have been more respectful to Ryan.
9:36: As firey as that taxes-versus-record exhage was, it was basically two grown men repeating the bullet points from their campaign ads. There's a risk with anti-debt, anti-deficit campaigns -- voters don't care about the deficit unless they feel like it's costing them services they like, or if it'll cost them services down the line.
9:50: For some reason (OHIO) Obama wants to use the Bush question (OHIO), which is rich with anti-Romney attack points (OHIO), to pivot to China-bashing (OHIO).
9:57: Obama's doing so much better than his now-legendary Denver debate, on so many stylistic grounds, that we're ignoring how adroitly Romney is repeating the Litany of Failures, the list of ways Obama has Failed You Despite His Flowery Rhetoric. Immigration. 23 million unemployed. Obama promised 5.4 percent unemployment. (He didn't. Even the Roemer projection put it at 5.6 percent.)