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Republican candidate Mitt Romney has described his disparaging remarks about 47 percent of Americans seeing themselves as "victims," as "not elegantly stated." Now he's calling them "just completely wrong." He told Fox News on Thursday night: "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong."
CRITICISM FALLS ON MODERATOR
The new format for the debate prompted plenty of partisan debate online -- as did the performance of the moderator, Jim Lehrer.
Lehrer, 78, has said his job as moderator is to get out of the way -- and he succeeded in doing that Wednesday. Throughout the debate, he strained to interrupt when the candidates went over their allotted time. The critiques came from several sides, of the media spectrum, but seemed loudest from the left. The liberal media monitoring group Media Matters said Lehrer missed "repeated opportunities to press Mitt Romney into offering specifics." Richard Kim of The Nation concluded that Lehrer's version "is fundamentally unequipped to deal with the era of post-truth, asymmetric polarization politics -- and it should be retired."
NEW YORK TIMES
DEBATE FINDS WAY TO 'SESAME STREET'
Big Bird took a star turn on the national stage as he tweeted about becoming an issue in the first presidential debate: "Did I miss anything?" after going to bed early.
Republican Mitt Romney triggered a social media firestorm when he told moderator Jim Lehrer, a longtime journalist at the Public Broadcasting Service, Big Bird's network: "I'm sorry, Jim. I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS. I like Big Bird."
Within minutes, Twitter accounts popped up with viewers having fun with the seeming threat to the beloved yellow bird and his fellow "Sesame Street" dwellers.
"Somewhere Paul Ryan is turning over trash cans in hopes of smoking out Oscar the Grouch," said one tweet by @FiredBigBird, referring to Romney's running mate.
Romney renewed a complaint among many Republicans that the federal government shouldn't subsidize the arts. The amount at issue -- $444 million for the current fiscal year -- is distributed to 350 member stations through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. PBS said: "The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of 1 percent of the federal budget."
Big Bird seemed to already be extinct on Twitter, the Washington Post reported, with the @FiredBigBird account suspended Thursday. FiredOscar also was suspended. But FireMeElmo was still going strong. As evening approached, he reached out to his giant feathered friend with a gentle tweet: "Where Big Bird staying tonight? Elmo evicted."
EXIT POLLS TO BE CUT IN 19 STATES
The National Election Pool, the consortium created in 1990 that sponsors the exit polls, has decided to omit polling in states deemed noncompetitive this year. The consortium, which includes the TV networks and the Associated Press, now contracts with Edison Research in Somerville, N.J., to survey voters nationally. They states being excluded this year are: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
NEW YORK TIMES