5 Bizarre Examples of Conservative Denial Over Obama's Strong Debate Performance

Romney in a landslide!

When a Democrat stumbles, liberals are inconsolable. Hands are wrung, garments are rent and plans to relocate to Canada are drawn up. When a Republican has a bad perfomance, conservatives approach it a bit differently – with impressive denial. They find the story that the LIEbrul media isn't telling them, parse words endlessly to show that up is, in fact, down and generally declare victory over the forces of darkness. The Washington Generals always beat those hapless Globetrotters.

With the polls showing a modest Obama victory in the second debate – and the conventional wisdom settling in that Obama did exactly what he needed to do, while Romney made some noteworthy stumbles – the right's noise machine is cranked up, and they're hard at work shaping the narrative that Fox Nation will hear about last night's show. Here's a roundup.

1. Straight-Up, Alternate Universe-Style Denial

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There have been some impressive displays of intellectual contortionism in the aftermath of the debate, but Sean Hannity isn't having any of that fancy stuff. He'll take his spin straight.

Same goes for Dick Morris: “Romney continued his victorious string of debate wins... this debate goes to Romney. It seals his momentum and will lead to a big win.”

Baghdad Bob couldn't have said it any better. And good news for nervous Obama supporters: Morris is always wrong.

2. Mitt Won On Substance

Ace of Spades, an A-List conservative blogger, has decided that issues matter, not who stupid swing-state voters think “won.” and what does winning mean anyway?

CBS gives it to Obama, among registered voters 37-30. CNN's registered voters gives it to Obama 46-39.

But on actual issues -- the ones that will determine this election --Romney destroyed him.

CNN's focus group claimed they thought Obama "won." They had it something like 14 for Obama, 15 draw, 6 Romney.

But even that group said this-- on the question of "Who offers a better vision for the future?," Romney edged Obama 18-17...

You always have to question what the criteria people are employing when you ask them who "won." I think people are rating the performance. And narrowly saying, on performance, it was a close thing, but edge to Obama.

But ask about who actually reached them on the most important issues, and it's Romney, all the way.

So they seem to be distinguishing between performance and substance.

Romney wins the substance, pretty clearly.

I'll take it. And give Obama his charity performance points.

As far as the substance goes, Mitt Romney repeated 31 myths in 41 minutes last night, something that nobody could have predicted.

3. When in Doubt, Blame the Moderator

Joseph Curl, writing in the Moonie Times,sums up the common conservative view that if only there'd been a level playing field, Romney would have reduced Obama to tears.

Another debate, another debacle for America’s media.

In the runup to the second presidential debate, CNN’s Candy Crowley declared that she would not just be a “fly on the wall” as she played the tiny role of moderator, that she would step in whenever she chose to say, “Hey, wait a second, what about X, Y, Z?”

And boy did she, cutting off Republican Mitt Romney repeatedly and often throwing the floor to President Obama with an open “let me give the president a chance here.”

More, she alone decided the topics for the debate, picking questions from the 80 so-called “undecided” voters chosen by the Gallup polling organization. Her selections were tailor-made for Mr. Obama — Mitt Romney’s tax plan, women’s rights and contraception, outsourcing, immigration, the Libya debacle (which gave Mr. Obama to finally say that the buck stops with him, not, as Hillary Clinton said, with her).

It was literally all her fault.

4. Transcript Truthers

Republicans have decided that whoever slams their hand on the buzzer first and screams “terrorism!” after an attack is the better stateman and should be the natural winner of any foreign policy debate. Mitt Romney may be reading too many conservative blogs, and as a result, his worst moment of the evening came when he walked into a trap of his own making.

Obama said that he'd called the attacks on our consulate in Benghazi an act of terror the following day, and Romney pounced, insisting that “it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.”

This didn't go well -- the relevant moment that is making conservatives' blood boil is as follows:

ROMNEY: I - I think interesting the president just said
something which - which is that on the day after the attack he went
into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.

OBAMA: That's what I said.

ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it
was an act of terror.

It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you're

OBAMA: Please proceed governor.

ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because
it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi
an act of terror.

OBAMA: Get the transcript.

CROWLEY: It - it - it - he did in fact, sir.
So let me - let me call it an act of terror...

OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?

CROWLEY: He - he did call it an act of terror. It did as well
take - it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there
being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct
about that.

This has given rise to a bunch of “transcript-truthers,” who have parsed the president's remarks on September 12 and decided he was just speaking generally about terrorism, and wasn't characterizing the Benghazi attack as such. Here's the transcript from September 12:

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.

But we also know that the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers.  These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity.

And here's what he said on the campaign trail a day later (remember, Romney said it took 14 days to call it "terror"):

So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice.  (Applause.)  I want people around the world to hear me:  To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world.  No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

5. Crowley Said She Was Wrong!

Last night, conservatives began tweeting that Candy Crowley had gone on CNN later in the evening and admitted she had been wrong and Romney had been right all along.

The spin began (I think), at Newsbusters, and was later picked up by Brietbart, the Washington Free Beacon and the Daily Caller – the usual suspects of wrongness. They all simply insisted that Crowley had somehow backtracked, and this is a transcript of the moment on CNN after the debate that they're citing to make their case:

“Well,  you know, again, I’d heard the president’s speech at the time,” Crowley said. “I sort of reread a lot of stuff about Libya because I knew we’d probably get a Libya question so I kind of wanted to be up on it. So I knew that the president had said, you know, ‘These act of terror won’t stand,’ or whatever the whole quote was.”

“And I think actually, you know, because right after that I did turn around and say,‘But you are totally correct that they spent two weeks telling us this was about a tape and there was this riot outside the Benghazi consulate, which there wasn’t,’” she continued. “So, he was right in the main — I just think he picked the wrong word."

So, she heard the president refer to the attack as an act of terror, and then added that officials had also said the attack was linked to the tape. So that means that the president never called it an act of terror in the first place. OK! 

Crowley, of course, told the Washington Post that she hadn't “back-tracked” on anything. But that didn't prevent Paul Ryan from making the claim on Good Morning America.

Joshua Holland is Senior Digital Producer at BillMoyers.com, and host of Politics and Reality Radio. He's the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy. Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter