Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • JohnW

    Elwood and I have commented under a different topic.

    I didn’t think Jim Lehrer’s questions were as sharp as I expected from him, and he did seem to lose control a bit.

    It’s hard for me to separate my evaluation of the debate from my personal view of the candidates. I thought Romney was more aggressive, but I thought Obama was better on policy substance and facts regarding taxes, Medicare and healthcare. I said “better,” not “perfect.” Romney came across stronger on Dodd-Frank. Both punted on deficit reduction.

    I thought Obama gave a more substantive statement in the “role of government” segment. Romney’s quoting from the Declaration of Independence and Constitution reminded me of when he sang America the Beautiful at campaign rallies during the primaries.

    Apparently Romney is going to pay for $2 Trillion in additional defense spending by killing Big Bird.

    Obama has been coached about not giving long, professorial answers. To some extent, he avoided doing that during much of the debate. But not in his closing statement, which should have been well-rehearsed, hard punching and perfectly timed. It wasn’t.

  • Truthclubber

    Lehrer is a disgrace and sounded at times like he lost his dentures shortly before he went on stage — Brian Williams would have been a FAR better choice as moderator.

    As for the debate inself, I’ll repeat what I said on another thread…

    The “squiggly lines” on CNN told the tale:

    O’bammy the Hafrican Muslim Communist scores FAR better with women than with men — so the polling a week from now…


    O’bammy/Bid-a-wee 332, Twit/Lyin 206.

    In large part because O’bammy actually knows HOW and WHEN and WHY to look directly into the camera and…tell the truth…unlike the used car salesman that is Twit.

  • Elwood

    Romney handed the boy wonder his head.

    Much of the time, O’bummer looked like, all in all, he’d rather be in Philadelphia.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    I would have watched it, if they let Code Pink or Rosey in for entertainment purposes. I was to busy online with a Republican telling me I’m wasting my vote on Libertarian Gary Johnson.
    No Republican is going to win California. Why waste a vote on them?

  • publius

    The contest was not even close. Romney destroyed Obama.

  • GV Haste

    Think back to the first Reagan vs Mondale debate.

    Then think about the second Reagan vs Mondale debate.

    This Obama vs Romney debate will be viewed entirely differently after they have two more rounds.

    Bottom line is that Romney can’t win the election without winning Ohio. Currently, even after this first debate, he is still over 5% behind.
    It really doesn’t matter what Romney supporters in California think.
    If you want Romney, you’d better pack your bags and head to Ohio, but that is the whole ball game.

    AS goes Ohio, so goes the entire election.

  • GV Haste

    JohnW, off topic but related to past discussions.
    The current 30 cent jump in Bay Area gas price this week, yet another example of the insane gasoline “blend” requirement imposed her in California.
    Recalling that it is NO better at cleaning the air than blends used elsewhere in the nation.
    Just more of the insane policies that have cost Californians billions and billions of dollars over the years.

  • JohnW

    Romney outgunned both Obama and the moderator in the debate. But he’s not doing so hot in the fact checking department today.

    For example: Obama doubled the deficit. Huh? The projected 2009 deficit the day he took office, based on Bush administration numbers was $1.2 Trillion. Or he put $90 billion into Solyndra-type projects, with half of them failing. According to Bloomberg TV, it’s more like $16 billion; and the project failure rate is 1.4%, better than plan. And, no matter what Romney says, you can’t find enough tax deductions to eliminate to offset a $5 trillion tax cut; not to mention a $2 trillion increase in Defense spending.

    Big Bird, be afraid. Be very afraid!

  • JohnW

    Re: #7 GV Haste

    Yes, a bit off topic, but I take your point. The run-up in Bay Area gas prices over the past week or so, supposedly due to problems with the West Coast refineries, is a real attention-getter and out of synch with the rest of the country. But is this really due to the “special blend” factor, or is it due more to the geographically isolated nature of the West Coast pipeline network — i.e., no physical means to augment our regional refining output by piping in from, say, Cushing, OK? I don’t know.

  • Elwood

    Meet the REAL Barack Obama: (Video)

    He LOVES the Racist Rev. Wright!

    And everything is the fault of racism (at least when he’s addressing an all black audience).

  • Elwood
  • betty smith

    Obama will win the election. Romney just ran his mouth where is the plan will create 12 million jobs start packing we moving to China. Obama 2012

  • Truthclubber

    @8 —

    Those clips of Twit speaking at the debate, countered with facts, will make for great TV ads in the battleground states — and further destroy Twit’s credibility to be anything but a used car salesman.

    How do you know Twit is lying to you? You can hear the sound of his voice!

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    I want Pete Stark to moderate the next debate.

  • Debra Hockenberry

    Jim Lehrer — what were you doing? It was supposed to be a DEBATE. That is NOT a debate – deliberated assembly! Where was that? You threw out questions for the debaters to decide what the point would be. My students do a better job of facilitating and provoking thought and critical thinking. It’s just another BIG example of how critical thinking has been lost among the few who move this world of intellectual and creative thinking forward. I’m glad we don’t depend on you for that.

  • charlie C

    Willard still got a long way to go.

  • JohnW

    Re 10


    Unlike most pundits and others who have commented on the speech, I watched all 36 minutes. Thanks for the link.

    Nothing there that bothers me, or should — except maybe the phony black preacher accent that politicians, white and black, always seem to use when they speak to a black congregation or a bunch of black ministers. This isn’t some secret speech that just got discovered. By then, he was a declared candidate for president and was speaking to a group of black preachers at a black university in Virginia. He didn’t say anything in that speech that he didn’t repeat often throughout the 2008 campaign. And he got a majority of the votes.

    The Rev. Wright part was about one minute out of 36 and was just an acknowledgement that his hometown minister was in the audience, and a shout out about “finding Jesus” with Wright’s encouragement. It was also prior to all the controversy about Wright’s inflammatory speeches.

  • JohnW

    Re: #11

    “Obama tries to lie his way out of losing.”

    How so? What lie? What is mentioned in the story that is a lie?

    Romney outperformed Obama in the debate. Nobody, including Team Obama, disagrees. However, that performance was fueled more by audacity and tenacity than by veracity — as fact checkers have been noting all day.

  • Elwood

    @ #14 John W.
    ” It was also prior to all the controversy about Wright’s inflammatory speeches.”

    Au contraire, John

    “By the time Obama appeared at Hampton, Jeremiah Wright had become a political problem. Wright told The New York Times earlier that year that he would no longer be speaking on the campaign’s behalf because his rhetoric was considered too militant. And yet later in the Hampton speech Obama explicitly defends Wright from unnamed critics, a group he describes as “they”:

    Read more:

  • Elwood

    @ #15 John W.

    ““Obama tries to lie his way out of losing.”

    How so? What lie? What is mentioned in the story that is a lie?”

    “In his first public appearance after what was widely viewed as a lackluster debate performance against his Republican challenger, President Barack Obama was cheered Thursday at a morning rally by thousands of supporters, telling them he was shocked to meet a “guy who was playing Mitt Romney” on stage.

    “When I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney,” he said.” –Ibid


    Oh, and Al Gore said O’bummer’s PP performance was caused by the high altitude causing the air in his head to expand. Or something like that.

  • JohnW

    Re: 16

    I stand corrected on the Jeremiah Wright time-line, Elwood. Doesn’t change my view that there’s nothing blockbusterish about the video. It’s pretty consistent with Obama’s major themes from the time he became a candidate to now.

  • JohnW

    Re: 17

    Elwood, I get it that you didn’t think much of Obama’s post-debate campaign appearance. But where’s the “lie?”

    Yeah, read about the Al Gore thing. Still can’t stop laughing. Having lived in Denver off and on for 25 years before moving to CA, I can attest that the altitude effect can be very real if you fly in and have to immediately jump right into a situation requiring high performance — mental or physical. I’ve experienced that myself and observed it in others. But I’m pretty sure Obama’s problem was attitude, not altitude. Lack of preparation and bad strategy. I mean, if one of your debate weaknesses is a tendency to drone on, who better to choose as your debate sparring partner than John Kerry?

  • Elwood

    @ John W. #22


  • publius

    Libs get a hold of yourselves. The great Obama loast the debate. This is proof that Obama is not a god and does not walk on water. When you take the teleprompter away from Obama he is nothing more than a leftist college professor that cannot operate or understand the real world. Mitt ate his lunch and will be coming back for more. My vote may not count due to where I live, but it was sure fun to watch Obama get exposed by a smarter more capable candidate. Fact check this…………

    -1 and 6 Americans in poverty
    -49 million Americans on food stamps
    -$16 trillion dollars in debt
    -Americas credit rating down graded for the 1st time in history

    Don’t stop believing……

  • JohnW

    Re: #24

    Publius, do you see any of us “libs” (as contrasted with you “cons”) in denial about the debate? Obama took more heat from supporters for that performance than from opponents. Romney attacked. Obama laid back and did “prevent defense.” Bad idea. Obama had lots of facts and good arguments. What he failed at was rebutting Romney and in the body language department. Some who listened on radio have said they thought Obama did better — like Nixon/Kennedy in 1960.

    However, where Romney scored many of his points, he did it with misinformation or inconsistency with previous positions. Huge lie about how much Obama spent on alternative energy and the number of failed projects. Had to backtrack when confronted by fact-checkers post-debate. Lied about Obama doubling the deficit. Lied about having a plan for pre-existing conditions. Distorted about the $716 billion in Medicare cost reductions. Claims he can offset 20% tax rate cuts ($5 trillion worth) by eliminating deductions. He can’t, so now he’s buzzing about “dynamic scoring.” Can’t explain where the money comes from to pay for adding $2 Trillion in defense spending, or for eliminating the estate tax. Lied when he said he didn’t know what Obama was talking about in terms of getting tax breaks when moving business off-shore or outsourcing.

    Problem is, Obama wasn’t aggressive and failed to call him out on this stuff during the debate.

    Next presidential “debate” is a Town Hall. Won’t be the same dynamics. VP debate should be fun.

  • Elwood

    ” VP debate should be fun.”


    People will be on the edge of their chairs waiting to see what precious gem of idiocy comes out of Biden’s mouth next!

  • JohnW

    As George W. might say, I wouldn’t misunderestimate Joe. It won’t be 2008 with Sarah Palin. Joe treated Sarah with kid gloves. Didn’t want to look like a bully. I don’t think either candidate will worry about that this time.