In the Arena

The Calm Before the Debate

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Not much happening on today’s Sunday talk shows. Lots of debate spinning, of course — the first debate is always good for challengers, we’re told. (It wasn’t in 1996, when Bob Dole debated Bill Clinton — but hey, that was Clinton.) And lots of handwringing over the Obama Administration’s reputed obfuscation of the terrorist attack on Sept. 11 in Libya. (Let’s stipulate that the Administration could have been more forthcoming, more quickly — but the attack occurred under the camouflage of a rash of Salafi riots through the region; it was easy to mistake it, at first, for more of the same. And the security failure in Libya, while glaring, should be seen in the context of Obama’s overall successes in taking the fight to al-Qaeda.) And then there was Paul Ryan on Fox News this morning, failing spectacularly to explain how Mitt Romney’s widely discredited tax cut plan will work. He simply refused to answer Chris Wallace’s question about how much of a budget hole Romney’s 20% cuts would create and, as always, failed to tell us how Romney would fill that hole. He insisted he had lots of specifics, though. I suspect Romney will have to do a lot better than that on Wednesday night.

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