Mitt Romney Came to Debate: President Obama Forgot Showed Up

Governor Mitt Romney clearly won round one of the 2012 presidential debates.  Commentators from both camps can spin it, twist it and rehash it in any way they wish, President Obama could just as well have taken Michelle out to dinner in celebration of their wedding anniversary.  In fact, his most convincing and certainly most enthusiastic comments of the debate were delivered at the very beginning when he said, “there are a lot of points that I want to make tonight, but the most important one is that 20 years ago I became the luckiest man on earth because Michelle agreed to marry me.  And so I just want to wish, Sweetie, you happy anniversary and let you know that a year from now, we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people”.  It was downhill for the President from that point on.

It might become difficult to believe as you are reading this editorial so please note, “I am not a big fan of Mitt Romney.  To the contrary, his track record as a conceptual pioneer and dedicated proponent of off-shoring American jobs, as a means of reducing corporate operating cost, scares the hell out of me.  It scares me even more when he’s debating in front over 40 million Americans, convincingly telling them that the main concern and key priority of implementing his economic plan, should he be elected president, is to create more jobs for the working class.”

In conjunction with the dual image presented by Romney, I am also not overcome with confidence when thinking of another four years with President Obama.  In my opinion, it’s a matter of choosing between the lesser of two evils.

Coming back to Wednesday’s debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, Romney appeared sharp, confident and ready to rumble.  The president, on the other hand, was out to lunch.  As several of the commentators mentioned after the debate, president Obama initially gave the impression that he was above this debate and would rather be someplace else.  However, a minute into governor Romney’s opening statements, Obama realized that this debate was for real and his opponent was here ready for a serious debate.

Mitt Romney was noticeably well relaxed, prepared and confident.  His statements were clear, concise and on the money, demonstrating a firm grasp of the key issues, knowing how each should be addressed.  He won points by his overall demeanor and manner of delivery.  Romney looked at the president as he spoke, attempting to directly engage Obama in discussion. He gained even more points as the president looked away, refusing to make eye contact.  Romney quickly became aware that this approach made Obama look uncomfortable, almost cowardly in his lack of resolve.  This set the stage for the exchange of comments, statements and rebuttals for the entire ninety minutes.

President Obama’s home-spun story about his grandmother’s independence after his grandfather passed away and how she rose through the ranks from a secretary to vice president of a regional bank branch, came across as a long-winded lead into issues on Social Security and Medicare for people 65 years and older.  The story was totally inappropriate for a debate forum where there was a limited amount of time to present his views on a wide variety of topics to the American people.  Obama actually used up almost four minutes more than Romney with far less substance.

Governor Romney opened the door several times when discussing unemployment and the issue of creating new jobs, giving president Obama the opportunity to hit one out of the park with a strong rebuttal, by stating Romney’s track record.  Instead, Romney continued to pound away, touting ‘his plan’ to create more jobs for the American workers.  He gained momentum over the president without being challenged as to what his plan entailed.  This was a golden opportunity for Obama to call Romney out to explain his pretentious plan for creating jobs.  Obama never brought up Romney’s past performances with hostile takeovers and eliminating thousands of jobs for profit.  Or challenging him on the stance he has previously taken with respect to the corporate trend in our country of outsourcing work to India and China, eliminating virtually millions of American jobs.

The unemployment rate and limited opportunities for good paying jobs should have been a strong platform for the president to turn the momentum of the debate around.  Instead, Romney took the spotlight with an issue where he was the most vulnerable and made a compelling argument for his point of view.  Where was president Obama when Romney was gaining voter confidence with a seemingly sincere pitch on an incredulous plan to create millions of jobs?

President Obama should first have challenged Romney to present the details of his plan for creating new jobs, encouraging him to dig a deeper hole for his own burial.  After Romney draws in the audience at home with the jobs pitch, the president would have had a no-brainer for exposing Romney’s past performance of off-shoring thousands jobs himself and being a promoter of outsourcing work as a methodology for corporations to reduce operating costs as opposed to encouraging them to develop a more creative way of cost reduction.

Early on in the debate, the president accused Romney of wanting to legislate a $5-trillion tax cut that will significantly increase the deficit and curtail spending.  Romney denied he had a plan of such magnitude; that would “reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans”; or that it would even widen the national deficit.  According to Romney, he would “lower deductions and exemptions and credits … so we keep getting the revenue we need.”  In other words, don’t worry about all that lost revenue, Romney is going to make some other changes to the tax code and close loopholes. Sounds reasonable, right?

Wrong!  It simply isn’t plausible.  A 20% across-the-board tax cut will decrease taxes for the wealthy and almost certainly increase the deficit, especially since Romney also wants to spend trillions more on defense and hasn’t indicated any significant spending cuts to pay for those defense spending increases. Romney repeatedly used the phrase “closing loopholes” within the existing tax code.  This was definitely another lost opportunity for president Obama.  He should have challenged Romney point blank to define the phrase and specifically describe the referenced loopholes.

This is the deception lurking behind Romney’s economic plan. In fact, according to the Tax Policy Center, it’s mathematically impossible to close enough loopholes to make Romney’s tax-cut plan to neutralize the deficit. Barack Obama, for some inexplicable reason, didn’t challenge Romney on his magical tax-cutting plan.  Romney’s lack of overall policy specifics was his glass jaw, if the president had made an attempt to throw a punch.  Governor Romney looked like Muhammad Ali against the president’s Joe Frazier, if you’ll excuse the boxing metaphor.

If the president’s failure to attack Romney’s shortcomings, remaining content with playing defense while avoiding to get into the clinches with Romney was attributable to Obama’s ineffectiveness, he needs to pick up his game and arrive at the next debate more prepared and display a sharper, more assertive, demeanor.   However, if Obama’s behavior was part of the democrat’s strategy, they had better get a new strategist that knows “the art of war” because the president’s debate tactics were perceived as a major political blunder.  At the other side of the stage, Romney was masterful and even eloquent at times while delivering his deceptive platform for the presidency. By appearing unable to challenge anything governor Romney said, Obama made him look even more masterful with an impotent and ineffective performance.

As for my vote for the leader of the free world, each of the presidential candidates, Governor Romney as well as the incumbent Barack Obama, scare me………president Obama just happens to scare me less.

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One Response

10.05.12

Obama strategists were far more upbeat after the debate than they had been last time. David Axe 22f5 lrod said Romney was “outright dishonest” at times, that he was “fact-checked by the moderator,” and spent the night “backpedaling … Tonight you saw a guy who looked like he was trying to pull a bait and switch on the American people.”

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