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LIVE: East Bay Leaders React to Obama-Romney Debate

Read what East Bay business and political leaders say about the first presidential debate as it happens.

7:30 p.m. — A lot of subjects hit on in the debate. The economy, the deficit, health care, gridlock in Washington were a couple. Did you like the answers from the canidates? We'll learn more from the people with debate now over, but give your opnions now in our comments section.

7:15 p.m. — Romney stumbling over saying "poorer" and then recovering with "low-income," got some laughs.

7:10 p.m. — Eric Swalwell with a smile with Obama's line — "Is Romney keeping his plans secret because they're too good?"

7:03 p.m. Question for readers: Who do you think is winning the debate? Are you rethinking who you are going to vote for in November? Tell us in the comments section.

6:55 p.m. —  Everyone seems to be listening intently to the health care debate. Nobody saying anything.

6:45 p.m. — I asked our guests if there were any Democrats here who think Romney is winning the debate, and if any Republicans here think Obama is winning the debate. Nobody raised their hands.

6:40 p.m. — Mark Meuser says he's disappointed by the moderator, Jim Lehrer.

6:39 p.m. — The "you only pick losers" statement by Romney got some "ooooooos" from the crowd.

6:35 p.m. — Al Phillips, the Republican Assembly candidate, hasn't said anything during the debate but he has put together a full page of notes.

6:32 p.m. — Another editor comment from me: Obama seems to be sharper as the debate is going on.

6:27 p.m. — Obama saying, "I like it," when Romney apologized about calling Obama's health care law "Obamacare," garnered some laughs from the group.

6:21 p.m. — "I guess there's no rules (for the debate), just suggestions." Mark Meuser, Republican state senate candidate.

6:17 p.m. — This is completely an editorial comment of mine (has nothing to do with the people here), but I think Romney is doing well. 

6:12 p.m. — Romney line about "the middle class being buried" wasn't lost on many of the people at our party. (A reference to a recent Joe Biden line).

6:07 p.m. — Just about everyone chuckles at Romney's line about this not being the most romantic place for the Obama's anniversary.

6:05 p.m. — And we're off! Right before the debate, Amy Miller of the Dublin School Board says, "I'm nervous" with a laugh.  

6 p.m. — Our attendees are having a little debate about the MoveOn.org...good way to get the fire started.

5:55 p.m. — People are starting to file in at the East Bay Patch debate party here in the Tri-Valley. Shelby McNamara, Danville chamber chief executive, David Behring, Danville Rotary, Al Phillips, Republican Assembly candidate and Eric Swalwell, Democratic Congressional candidate are a few of the people here.

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Stick with Patch tonight as political and business leaders from the East Bay respond in real time to tonight's first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

They are here in the Tri-Valley at Patch's debate watching party, we will let you know what they think of the debate.

Also, chime in yourself in the comments section of this article to give your thoughts of the debate and questions you might have to East Bay leaders.

The live chat will start at about 5:45 p.m.

Mona Taplin October 06, 2012 at 10:22 PM
David, I am white middle class and have always worked to earn my own way and Obama hasn't let me down. I'm sorry you are suffering so badly ,- or maybe you aren't white middle class being a famous figure who has been on every station? My opinion certainly doesn't rise or fall on the writings of the uh- great Political editor Thomas Edsall. His opinions are often very biased. Others have written very good things about Obama's character and leadership, but I won't bore you with those.
Talisa C. October 06, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Here's another perspective and it applies to this too. If a man keeps changing his story then he's up to something. That's the sign to send him on his way and don't look back.
David October 06, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Uh, I'm sorry, is that second question supposed to be intelligible? Yeah, I bet that's the world's shortest list. As for the white middle class, it's not just the NYTimes who's noticed Obama's given up on trying to be a president for them (who happen to still be around 50% of the country). Remember Obama stating himself how he's not going to work on getting the "bitter clingers" to guns and religion to vote for him. Obama is what he is. A hack Chicago machine politician who won his first "election" by challenging every single signature that his rivals had to get to be on the ballot so that he ran unopposed. Then he got his hack journalist buddy Axelrod to bribe a Chicago court to leak his US Senate opponent's "sealed" divorce records to win that election. He took advantage of the Democrat caucus system to beat Hilary in a year when all longer-lived politicians had the stench of the coming economic crash, and won. Now that he's unsurprisingly failed miserably the past 4 years, and when confronted with a man who's actually accomplished more than a few things in his life, it's no wonder he couldn't handle being questioned.
David October 07, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Shall we review all of Obama's flip-flops? Why don't you want to send him packing? I started a list (Gitmo, deficit spending, etc), shall we go on? How his promise to reduce the size of government (that was a real howler), or his promise to review and remove unnecessary regulations? As for voting for Obama because he's half-black, Talisa, you're the one who claimed that Obama can't act "angry" because then he'll be some "angry black man." I merely pointed out plenty of examples where he's said himself that he's "angry," easily disproving your completely unfounded hypothesis on why Romney cleaned his clock during the debate. I never claimed that any group voted for or against Obama due to some part of his heritage. As I'm gazing out of my office with a view to the Golden Gate, Mount Tam, and Coit Tower, I'll consider how angry I am in my non-existent cubicle, though.
David October 07, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Let's torpedo another myth, shall we? Preventative care, in the aggregate, costs money, it does not save it. You can argue it's "worth it" in terms of terms of lives saved, or diseases caught, but you cannot argue it "saves money." It does not. And it is one reason why premiums have gone up an average of $3,000 per family under Obamacare in the past couple of years. he evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall," CBO director Douglas Elmendorf wrote in an Aug. 7, 2009, letter to Rep. Nathan Deal, the top Republican on a congressional subcommittee involved in the debate. Other studies backed up the CBO's analysis, including a Feb. 14, 2008, article in the New England Journal of Medicine that was written in response to campaign promises for more preventive care. "Sweeping statements about the cost-saving potential of prevention ... are overreaching," according to the paper. "Studies have concluded that preventing illness can in some cases save money but in other cases can add to health care costs." They write that "the vast majority" of preventive health measures that were "reviewed in the health economics literature do not" save money. etc etc. And no, you haven't paid a higher percentage of your income in taxes than Romney. His current income is based off of income/savings that have been taxed 2-3 times already. Please. If your businesses earn income, you should know that.
David October 07, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Don't think ObamaCare exchanges will lead to rationing after they figure out that, say, "preventative care" actually costs more? Well, that ultraconservative bellweather state, New York (sarcasm for the sarcasm-impaired, NY is a liberal-run dystopia, like California) is about to limit doctor visits in exchange plans: http://hcfany.org/ Annual/lifetime dollar limits – quantitative limits will be substituted when further federal guidance is available. Enjoy waiting in line. Just like Canada or the UK.
Talisa C. October 07, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I’m not going to go back and forth with you like other people would. I have other priorities. Every once in a while I get fed up with all garbage thrown out which isn’t true. I have read enough comments to get a sense of everyone’s personality, or at least how they see themselves, and to know who you think you are. It seems you have the time and the ability to look up things you want to so I know you can look up the very same garbage you post. Obama didn’t flip on gitmo or any other campaign promise and you should already know why. If you need a reminder, first he had those blue dog spineless dems who were more concerned about their seats than supporting the president and ended up losing both. The repubs who were in office then and since have done everything possible to stop or stall any plans Obama had. If Obama did pass anything its been so watered down by the repubs that you can hardly claim it’s the same original proposal. And, like I said, I know you know how to look up the right information so you should know what I’m talking about. That’s what gets me. People like you who know better. Since you’re at work and not working anyways, look up some real history. It would be more useful to you than gazing out the window. No wonder your stuff is usually wrong.
Fred Eiger October 07, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Were you covered under insurance prior to ObamaCare being signed?
Fred Eiger October 07, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Exactly how has Obama not "let you down"????
Mona Taplin October 07, 2012 at 04:33 AM
David, I'm from NY originally and have a lot of family still living there. So far most of them have been happy with health care reforms. A couple are dead set against having to purchase insurance or pay a fine. Also, I haven't heard anything at all about limiting medical visits.
Mona Taplin October 07, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Fred, we don't know who you were asking. I certainly was covered by insurance before Obamacare. Before retiring my insurance kept increasing in price, and/or reducing benefits. Health care is very expensive, and I have no doubt that it will continue to increase in price with or without Obamacare.
Albert Rubio October 07, 2012 at 06:11 AM
Medicare: Prescription for a Fool’s Paradise. April 1991 http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/medicare-prescription-for-a-fools-paradise/ "Suppose I promise you health care like you’ve never had before. When you visit a doctor or a hospital, all you’ll have to do is show a card, and someone else will foot the bill. You’ll never have to fill out another insurance form or wait for another reimbursement to come in. And, I promise, you’ll get the same quality of care you get now, and won’t have to pay more taxes for it. Would you vote for me? Most people would: Would you get what I promised? No, because it’s impossible to deliver. This is the promise of those who advocate “national health care” or “universal health insurance” (on either the state or national level). In either case, what is involved is extensive or complete government control of health care: control of who pays for services, who provides them, and who receives them. We have, before our eyes, an example of a very similar system that has been operating now for 26 [now 47] years: Medicare. This article aims to demonstrate, by a detailed look at Medicare, that such government interference in health care is harmful from the first to buyers and providers of health care, and in the long run is disastrous. Government medicine, on the national or the state level, is a prescription for a fool’s paradise."
David October 07, 2012 at 01:31 PM
You'll notice the future tense in the exchange's language. Don't worry, it's coming.
Dalamar October 07, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Medicare does work, if the proper foundation is made. We can find evidence in other countries. "All of these improvements are thanks to a system that uses progressive taxes - a system that Obamacare embraces too. Currently - the Medicare tax on salary is 2.9 percent. Starting in 2013 - there will be a small increase - .9 percent - for Americans making over $200,000 dollars per year. And - also in 2013 - there will be a 3.8 percent increase on the federal income tax rate for long-term capital gains and dividends - again, only for those again with a gross income over $200,000 dollars. Finally - there will be a tax of about $600 a year on those freeloaders who have a higher-than-average income but don't want to buy health insurance. Rwanda knew that in order to create a healthcare system that works for all - the wealthiest Rwandans had to contribute their fair share. Rwanda understood that everyone has to be covered if the system's really going to work for the entire nation. And Obamacare begins to do the same thing for America. Obamacare makes the wealthiest Americans - the 1 percenters - contribute more to Medicare - so that the system has enough funding to help all Americans get the healthcare and treatment they need. If we ever want to see a country where healthcare reaches all Americans - like it does in Rwanda, of all places - " Read more at Thom Hartmann: Rwanda has Better Health Care than America ...www.democraticunderground.com/101739739
Dalamar October 07, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Some nteresting information regarding for profit healthcare "When premiums skyrocket, the usual response from the insurance companies is that they are simply passing along the increase in health-care costs to the consumers. And the corporate media never ask whether the profits of these insurance companies are also suffering. In reality they are making out like bandits, as a 2009 report from Health Care for America Now shows:2 Profits at 10 of the country’s largest publicly traded health insurance companies in 2007 rose 428 percent from 2000 to 2007, from $2.4 billion to $12.9 billion, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. In 2007 alone the chief executive officers at these companies collected combined total compensation of $118.6 million - an average of $11.9 million each. That is 468 times more than the...average American worker made that year. What we have in America today is a trend of higher profits for insurance companies, higher premiums for employers and employees, and an increasing number of small-business owners and entrepreneurs worrying about the health-care costs of doing business." CONTINUED NEXT POST
Dalamar October 07, 2012 at 02:14 PM
"During the period the study was conducted, every country in the top 20, including number 19, Slovenia, had a national health care system that covered every citizen regardless of employment - except the United States. Japan, Switzerland, and Finland beat us out, and right on our heels were Sweden, Germany, Taiwan, and the Netherlands. The study noted, “The high rank for three small wealthy European states reflects the fact that their economic, social and political conditions favour innovation....The slippage of the U.S. confirms the gradual erosion in recent years of that country’s traditional position as the world’s technological leader— a trend we expect to continue.” This article is rather long the postings above is just a peek of the information based on empirical evidence. Rather than filling up Patch, for those who are interested in reading how National Healthcare works reference this article in its entirety at --Thom Hartmann | Medicare “Part E”- for Everybodyarchive.truthout.org/medicare-part-e-everybody65901
Rich Buckley October 07, 2012 at 02:44 PM
My list of things neither party (Dem's nor Repub's) appear to cover: As they come to mind: --- Illegal Domestic Spying http://tinyurl.com/9kvz9uw
Rich Buckley October 07, 2012 at 04:17 PM
A list of things neither party (Dem's nor Repub's) are covering:  As they come to mind:  --- Illegal Domestic Spying -- A "police state" by default! http://tinyurl.com/9kvz9uw --- Why it remains illegal for the Federal Government to install a computer accounting system that accounts for every dollar in all departments ( "Exposing U.S. Government Policies On Extraterrestrial Life: The Challenge of Exopolitics", Michael E. Sallas, and His second book,  "Exopolitics: Political Implications of Extraterrestrial Presence", Michael E. Sallas  "Exopolitics") http://tinyurl.com/3vj6ka6
Fred Eiger October 07, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Any digression in the USA's leadership in technology can be attributed to a welfare mentality and a flooding of illiterate illegal aliens from Mexico.
Fred Eiger October 07, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Most of the USA's societal problems originate in New York.
Fred Eiger October 07, 2012 at 04:27 PM
So if the pre-Obama system was working, then why did you want to change it to a Nationalized System such as Obamacare?
Mona Taplin October 08, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Rubio, the scenario you just described sounds like a salesman for the Brooklyn Bridge. I have never heard in this country anyone, Democrat or Republican, make any such foolish promises.. I doubt very much if any other country was sold on national health care because of such foolish promises either. Everyone knows full well that health care has to be paid for one way or another , no matter whether we are talking about private insurance, group insurance, or national health care like Medicare. Maybe entirely out of tax dollars. Maybe out of higer insurance premiums. NOTHING is free, and I bet everyone reading these statements are well aware of it. Try investigating what happens when people who worked all their lives find themselves out of work and need to buy insurance only to discover that the premiums are way too high to be affordable or not available at all because of pre existing conditions. Maybe you don't care but I sure do. I have several friends and relatives in that spot. Try asking the insurance commissioner what the criteria is today for determining pre existing conditions. I think you will have one very big surprise coming. I'm on medicare. No, people like you are NOT pulling my whole load, Medicare is not free, and neither is the prescription drug program. What in hell are we supposed to do when we get sick. Just lay down and die when we run out of money to make people like you happy?
Albert Rubio October 08, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Dalamar, > Medicare does work, if the proper foundation is made. We have different definitions about what it means to work. Medicare is essentially a socialized system and by saying it works is say that Socialism works as an economic system. Do you claim that Socialism can work? I say it does not work because Socialism does not work as an economic system.
Albert Rubio October 08, 2012 at 05:20 AM
>We can find evidence in other countries. why not consider the evidence of the Soviets? or North Korea or China (in contrast to it adopting Capitalist policies)? One constant refrain is that you must have a sound theory to interpret the facts or evidence in other countries or history not the other way around. Again, you can find many different facts to support Socialism and Capitalism. You can choose others to invalidate Socialism or Capitalism. You must understand the nature of the problem which lies right in the middle of the scope of Economics. Establishing a sound theory of economics breaks the stalemate of the faulty method and the confusion it breeds. As I said, one of us is profoundly wrong, Economic science and reasoning must be used to determine who's view is closer to "reality".
Albert Rubio October 08, 2012 at 06:14 AM
>Rwanda has Better Health Care than America A most dubious claim on its own and one requiring Socialist premises, that state coercion is somehow consistent with a free society (which it cannot be), and the assumption that the laws of economics can be willfully ignored by the state.
Dalamar October 08, 2012 at 06:17 AM
Hello Albert, To answer your question "does socialism work as an economic system?" The simple answer is yes. Allow me to explain. It depends on the scale. A successful family is based on socialism. The parents provide for the children. Relatives can also provide for one another. In some cases friends do support one another in situations as well. As a country, yes it is possible but each individual has to understand there will be no economic growth or upward mobility into another class. If people choose to reject that principle in society and instead choose his/her own advancement as more important than anyone else's well being, then socialism will fail. A socialist nation succeeds or fails as a whole. Native American Indians exercised true free trade. They also exercised socialism within their respective tribes. Socialism and free trade coexisted. Free trade means one party exchanges the value of one item for another and considers the trade equal, 'fair' if you will. At some point individuals (Europeans) felt that was not good enough and introduced the concept of profit. A.k.a. the 'extra' value attributed to the exchange as Mr. Mellor describes. In a free trade market, in order for one party to achieve 'profit' the other party must receive something of lesser value in trade to create the profit. The lesser value of one party adds the 'extra' value to the other party. The 'extra' value (profit) creates the advancement or difference between individuals.
Albert Rubio October 08, 2012 at 06:18 AM
Socialism is the supposed miracle that makes significantly poorer countries rival industrialized wealthy countries. If it is determined that Socialism is illusory, Utopian, incoherent and contradictory to Economic principles, what system will you turn to?
Albert Rubio October 08, 2012 at 06:27 AM
If you believe that socialism works and you advocate socialism then you are a socialist. I say as a logical conclusion not as a slander, just as I am a Capitalist as a point of fact. I cannot discuss more tonight, but the left by and large supports Socialistic policies. These are the source of our economic problems. The right supports interventionism also damaging the country. This is exactly why you must read Economics in one Lesson. IF you were to finish that you could graduate to "Socialism" by Ludwig von Mises which is the definitive book on the subject. It explained why the Soviet Union would never be able to successfully implement a Socialist Economy and why it is not possible. If a group wants to excercise VOLUNTARY socialism, I have nothing to say, but when you advocate coersive socialism on society, there will be conflict.
Albert Rubio October 08, 2012 at 06:34 AM
Dalamar, >Native American Indians exercised true free trade. They also exercised socialism within their respective tribes. Socialism and free trade coexisted. This is true, provided that you desire to live a primitive existence. This is what differentiates the primitive from the modern. also provided you do it VOLUNTARILY. People are free to join or leave the community practicing socialism and it is not imposed on the greater community. If you claim that socialism can only work by imposing itself on the greater community then it is a monstrous idea and inimical to society. No vote can legitimize such coercion. If you believe Socialism should not be coercive on society, then you should oppose the attempts to impose Socialistic policies on the society through political means.
Albert Rubio October 08, 2012 at 06:36 AM
Dalamar, >To answer your question "does socialism work as an economic system?" The simple answer is yes. Thank you for your candid answer. Please compare your views to Economics in One Lesson.

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