National Journal's Debate Drinking-Game Guide: Colorado Edition

Matt Berman

It's a time-honored tradition. Going back to probably the Lincoln-Douglas debates, wherever there have been podiums, candidates, and a moderator, there has been booze. And where there is booze, there must be structured competition. Here at National Journal, we have put together our best minds to come up with the definitive drinking-game rules for the first presidential debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama on Wednesday night in Colorado. The rules follow.

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1-Drink Events

  • Either candidate refers to China as a "currency manipulator" or "cheater."
  • A candidate says the number 47.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts is praised or maligned by name.
  • Barack Obama brings up the Massachusetts health care law.
  • Someone is said to have either built or not built something.
  • Mitt Romney makes a joke about windmills.
  • Mitt Romney brings up Solyndra.
  • Either candidate mentions the Keystone XL Pipeline.
  • Either candidate mentions his wife by first name.
  • Mitt Romney says the word "stimulus."
  • The audience boos either candidate.
  • Either candidate complains about the media or biased polling.
  • Barack Obama brings up Paul Ryan.
  • Mitt Romney brings up Joe Biden.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics (or BLS) or the Tax Policy Center gets a shout-out.
  • Either candidate is pushed to clarify his stance on marriage equality.
  • Either candidate accuses the other of wanting to raise taxes on the middle class.
  • Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton are invoked favorably by either candidate.
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2-Drink Events

  • The word "zinger" is said out loud by a candidate or the moderator.
  • Blatant pandering to women or minority groups is committed by either candidate, followed by a cutaway to a woman or minority in the audience.
  • Ben Bernanke is accused of being less than patriotic.
  • Federal Reserve Board policy is discussed. 
  • Mitt Romney brings up the Massachusetts health care law.
  • Either candidate names an actual tax deduction or loophole he would eliminate.
  • Barack Obama says the word "stimulus."
  • Jim Lehrer insists that either candidate answer a question with a one-word answer.
  • Either candidate says "self-deportation."
  • General Motors is said to be "alive."
  • Mitt Romney asks the audience if it's better off than it was four years ago, in a Reaganesque twang.
  • Mitt Romney questions Barack Obama's ability to run a lemonade stand.
  • Either candidate brings up the fiscal cliff or sequestration.
  • Either candidate says "George W. Bush."
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3-Drink, Red-Alarm Events

Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of the debate's moderator. His name is Jim Lehrer.