Nobel Prize winning Economist and New York Times Columnist, Paul Krugman, appeared on the October 7th edition of ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos’ “Media Round Table” with fellow-pundits James Carville, Mary Matalin, Peggy Noonan and Jonathan Karl to discuss President Barack Obama’s lackluster performance during the first Presidential Debate on October 3rd.
GOP speech writer and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan launched the round table discussion by ripping into the President’s debate performance:
I thought the president barely showed … the now-famous New Yorker cover [with Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney debating an empty chair] captured it all. I am very curious about what the heck happened? Was it a strategic mistake on the part of the Obama campaign to play it a certain way, and it didn’t work? Or were there other factors involved?
Krugman — who also felt disappointed by the president’s failure in the debate — said in President Obama’s defense,
This is classic Obama. He really, really wants to be the president of national unity. He’s always wanted to be the reconciliation candidate, and his instinct in confrontations is to not go for the jugular, but to go for the capillaries. He did the same thing in 2008. People forget just how weak his campaign was through August, of 2008 when he just was refusing to make the obvious case against McCain, and then he toughened up … He needs to have his back up against the wall … [Obama] has a hard time wrapping his head around the necessities and take a tougher line.
Carville, political strategist for Former President Bill Clinton added in disgust,
He just didn’t want to be there. His mind wasn’t on it, he didn’t want to engage, he just wanted to get through the 90 minutes … I hope we see a different president at Hofstra [University in Hempstead, NY, the location of the 2nd Presidential Debate on October 16th].
Carl, ABC’s senior political analyst stepped in to speculate about whether Obama’s campaign had made a strategic decision “not to bring up Bain Capital,” since his poll numbers were already ahead in every state. Matalin, a GOP campaign consultant, derisively snorted that Obama “didn’t bring his game because he didn’t have a game.” She also denied Krugman’s theory about Obama being a “unifier” with the dubious assertion that he’s running “the most negative campaign in history.”
Paul Krugman then blasted debate moderator Jim Lehrer and the media for failing to call GOP Candidate Mitt Romney out on his blatant lies.
I don’t know whether to blame Lehrer or the president, but it was kind of amazing because Romney was not only saying things that are not true, he was saying things that his own campaign had previously said weren’t true … The one that got me was not about taxes but the thing about covering people with pre-existing conditions, which his plan does not, which he has said that before, and his campaign has walked it back in the past, and there he was right again saying, well, my plan covers pre-existing conditions, which is to show contempt.
You can see the October 7th ABC Footage from This Week‘s “Round Table” below: