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For President Obama, Thursday appeared to have its share of what the French call staircase wit.

We've all experienced it. Heading up the stairs to bed, you think of the perfect response to something someone else said earlier. Of course, it's too late.

The day after his widely panned presidential debate performance, Obama delivered the sort of retorts to his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, that were mainly absent the night before.

Despite President Obama's celebrated gift for oratory, the Obama supporters least surprised by his underwhelming performance against Mitt Romney may have been two of his top advisers.

Senior strategists David Plouffe and David Axelrod have long doubted Obama's debating skills. Their concerns date back to the 2008 presidential campaign, as Plouffe wrote in his book, The Audacity to Win. He put it plainly: "Historically, Obama was not a strong debater."

Two men — well one man and one big, yellow bird — were caught in the crossfire of last night's debate: the moderator Jim Lehrer and the Sesame Street character Big Bird.

It's safe to say that after last night the two of them are having very different mornings. While the veteran news anchor swallowed scathing reviews, Big Bird enjoyed a strong backing.

We headed to Virginia's Prince William County, a swing county in a swing state, to watch Wednesday night's presidential debate with four undecided voters — three of whom voted for Barack Obama in 2008, one who voted for Republican John McCain.

They gathered in the Occoquan home of Kim Deal and Jim Drakes, and were joined by Connie Moser of Dale City and Al Alborn of Manassas.

Mitt Romney may have given his campaign something of a reset with his performance in the first debate against President Obama.

He appeared more comfortable on stage than the incumbent, and was able at least to lay the groundwork for a message of bipartisanship that could appeal to remaining undecided voters.

Transcript of the first presidential debate between President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver. Source: Federal News Service


The campaign to legalize and tax marijuana for adults in Washington state is rolling, with more than $1 million in new contributions reported since last week and a surprising endorsement from Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Michael Baumgartner.

President Obama and his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, engaged Thursday night in a sometimes spirited, but always cordial, debate that got very technical at times.

It was the "corporate executive" (Romney) vs. the "government professor" (Obama) and the GOP nominee appeared to be "full of confidence and full of sales pitch," NPR Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving says, while Obama put pressure on the Republican to explain what he would do as president.

Looking to see and hear what the fact checkers are saying during and after tonight's presidential debate about the claims made by President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney?

-- PolitiFact.com says it will be updating on its website and on Twitter. It's also pitching an Argument Ender app.

KPLU reporters are looking into Washington's marijuana legalization initiative (I-502) to produce a series of stories that will separate facts from rumors and to learn exactly what would change if it’s approved. And on this page, we’re sharing some of the interesting facts as we learn them along the way.

Oct. 3 – If it's legal, you'll need some standards for the "quality" of the cannabis sold in state-licensed stores. But how will that be determined? 

As the presidential candidates prepare for tonight's debate, polls show President Obama averages a 15-point advantage in Washington over Republican rival Mitt Romney. Washington’s open race for governor is much closer.

The two candidates in that contest met Tuesday night in Yakima for a fiery third debate. But the polls highlight a reality for Republican Rob McKenna: he’ll have to woo a good number of Obama voters if he’s to become Washington’s first GOP governor in nearly 30 years.

Last night, Drudge Report trotted out its siren. Fox News, it reported, would be airing "Obama's other race speech."

Sean Hannity, who aired the video on his show, said it was a "bombshell... that could dramatically impact the race for the White House."

At one point in the video, Obama says he's going off script. He goes on to imply that the government's slow response to Hurricane Katrina was partly due to the fact that many in the city were black.

In their first debate Wednesday night, the two presidential candidates will explain their plans for fixing the U.S. economy.

Good luck.

The problems are complicated and long-standing, so the solutions may not be easy to spell out in the two minutes allowed for each answer under the debate rules.

But President Obama, the Democratic incumbent, and former Gov. Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, will try, and about 60 million people are expected to tune in. This first debate will focus on domestic issues, with the economy topping the list of homefront problems.

Generation Y is asking why.

Why is it so hard to find a job? Why is health care so expensive? Smart questions from a smart generation. Their inquiries — and the presidential candidate they think can provide the best answers — could be a decisive factor in the 2012 election. If not the Tipping Point, as least a Tilting Point.

For many millennials, economic prospects are murky.

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