I set out to watch this debate with the understanding that the last time, Barack Obama set the bar SO LOW that ANY progression would be viewed as a slam dunk by our friends in media, and on the left.
I love it when I’m right.
Let me be clear, however- Obama was no comeback kid, and Romney was most assuredly no weakling. At one point, most viewers watched in surprise as the gloves really came off:
And once again, the candidate who whined the most about getting enough time ended up being the one who had the MOST time:
I was curious about the numbers ….: President Obama had about 44:04 minutes; Governor Romney had about 40:50 min…http://bit.ly/V7MRFu
But I’ve digressed. . .let’s move on to the blow-by-blow.
The questions ranged from hard-hitting topics like equality for women in the workplace, contraceptives, and less important subjects like four dead Americans in Libya and dismal job prospects for graduates. Of course, when you hold a townhall in a non-swing state. . .particularly a left-leaning state like New York, don’t expect to get many sore-spot questions on things like Libya. Call me crazy- when a debate features content on female healthcare BEFORE addressing the horror in Benghazi, there’s a problem. But, I’ve digressed again. Let’s dig in:
Jobs for College Graduates:
Romney: Thanked the audience, the moderator, and the President. Quotes Joe Biden when he says the middle class has been crushed these past four years; cites that 1/2 of recent college graduates cannot find jobs. Talks about how fewer people are working today than when Obama took office. Touts Pell grants and other assistance to attend college, and talks about how a stronger economy and less debt is the only way to ensure that kids can find jobs once they leave school.
Obama: Races out of his chair, doesn’t express thanks to anyone- goes straight to the question. Touches on energy- Touts bringing manufacturing jobs back as the solution.
Hint hint: when you’re talking to a college kid who is quite likely to be heading into a white-collar job, or at least expect to, talking about bring manufacturing back isn’t going to score points.
Obama: “The most important thing we can do is to make sure we control our own energy;” touted the idea that he’s increased drilling to highest levels in 16 years; touted a doubling in the mpg requirement in the automobile industry over the next few years.
Romney: Pointed out the the increase in drilling has occurred on PRIVATE lands, and that the number of federal permits are DOWN by 14%, at which point the president called that “untrue.”
Hate to break it to you, Mr. President, but it is, in fact true. Permits on federal land are down by 14%! You know, it’s interesting to listen to Obama tout a strong stance on domestic energy when in 2008 he talked about purposely “bankrupting” the coal industry; when he’s refused to allow the Keystone Pipeline to take place; as Romney put it: “this has not been Mr. Gas, or Mr. Oil, or Mr. Coal!” President Obama claims to support all forms of energy in “clean” format, but I hate to break it to you- “clean” doesn’t fill up my gas tank, and it certainly doesn’t fill up my wallet! And furthermore, I’ll decide what mpg I’d like to have when I buy a car. I’d rather not have to choose from a slate of wholly un-affordable cars because the auto industry has been forced to double the mpg standards, adding thousands to the sticker price of a new car.
Before the next question, Ms. Crowley asked if $4/gallon for gas was “the new normal.” Barack Obama’s response? I can’t bear to paraphrase this one. . . I’ll let him do the talking:
“Think about what the governor just said. He said when I took office, the price of gasoline was $1.80, $1.86. Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse, because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression, as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney’s now promoting.”
So let me get this straight. Lower gas prices were the result of President Bush. . .and voting for Mitt Romney would be voting for the same? It’s silliness. By the president’s own “math,” by now we aught to be getting our gas for free! After all, he’s added more to the national debt than all presidents up to George H.W. Bush combined; our workforce is smaller than it was in 2008; our unemployment is higher than in 2008. . . what am I missing here?
Romney: Reminds America that median income is down $4,300 per family. Plans to cut taxes across the board 20% off of current rates. Top 5% will continue to pay 60 % of the income tax; talks about leaving a specific dollar amount worth of deductions available to the middle class. Talked about getting rid of tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. No tax on savings.
Obama: Said his philosophy towards taxation has been simple. “And that is, I want to give middle-class families and folks who are striving to get into the middle-class some relief.” Talked about how the deficit is a “moral” issue. Touted Clinton’s tax rates as a success.
Excuse me, but the President has had 4 years to create a “stronger economy,” and whilst burying the Middle Class in a fledgling economy, as well as rising insurance rates and a brand new tax wave brought on by Obamacare, and he still tries to make the case that he’s been fighting for the Middle Class. He’s been fighting against the most successful Americans since day one with his class warfare, and has been adding to the debt and deficit like a drunken sailor. And his line about Clinton? Ah yes- “re-elect me because Bill Clinton was great.”
Females in the Workplace; Income Inequality:
Obama: Told the story of his grandmother and her “glass ceiling” while working in a bank; touted his signing of the Lilly Ledbetter act, and touted his support of federally mandated supply of contraceptives, and funding of Planned Parenthood. Brought up his daughters and talked about wanting them to have the same opportunities as men do.
Romney: Touted his female cabinet choices while governor, and said a stronger economy is what will help women in the workforce. Pointed out that 3.5 million more women living in poverty now than when Obama took office.
Wait- I thought you asked that your daughters be kept out of politics. . . yet you brought them up here and once more in the debate, Mr. President? Hmm. The president and the media have tried to paint Mitt Romney as a bumbling, woman-bashing Neanderthal. . . and frankly I would have loved to have seen Romney ask the President why it is that females working in his administration are making less money than their male counterparts. Or about how women in these radically Islamic societies that Obama loves to support have to live. Oh- and another thing- call me crazy, but in reference to Barack Obama’s grandmother and her bank job, ascending to vice president of that bank is HARDLY a glass ceiling. As Glenn Beck so aptly put it:
Glenn Beck @glennbeck “My grandma hit the glass ceiling -” AS A VP OF A BANK?!?! Wow.
How are you different than George Bush?
Honestly. I just can’t. bear. this. I can’t keep the Bush discussion going. I just won’t. IT’S BEEN FOUR YEARS! Moving on.
An undecided voter: Mr. President, I voted for you in 2008. What have you done or accomplished to earn my vote in 2012? I’m not that optimistic as I was in 2012. Most things I need for everyday living are very expensive.
Obama: Ended the war in Iraq, implemented health care reform, got Osama Bin Laden, cracked down on Wall Street, “rebuilding” America.
Romney: “He said that by now we’d have unemployment at 5.4 percent. The difference between where it is and 5.4 percent is 9 million Americans without work.” Pointed out Obama promises to fix Medicare and Social security, immigration, the debt, deficit, etc. Pointed out skyrocketing levels in food stamp recipients and Americans below the poverty line.
If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard “Osama bin Laden is dead,” I’d have quite a chunk of change. Never mind that this is an accomplishment based entirely on Bush-era intelligence harvesting, including enhanced interrogation. And, funny how touting the death of Osama Bin Laden wouldn’t incite violence, but some obscure video about Islam would. Hmm. And furthermore, Mr. President, just because you “accomplished” those things doesn’t mean the country is better off. The gentleman is basing his vote on the fact that his everyday needs are MORE EXPENSIVE under this presidency!
Romney: Praises a “nation of immigrants,” points out that his wife’s father is from Wales. Emphasizes the need for a path to LEGAL immigration; proposes dealing with children brought here by illegals by presenting a pathway to citizenship rather than automatically granted. Pointed out the President’s un-kept promise to Latinos to put a plan on the table in the first year.
Obama: Also praises a “nation of immigrants,” blames Congress for not passing reform, and then heads straight into mis-characterizing the AZ immigration law, and personalizes it by bring his daughter into the conversation. . . again: “Part of the Arizona law said that law enforcement officers could stop folks because they suspected maybe they looked like they might be undocumented workers and check their papers. You know what? If my daughter or yours looks to somebody like they’re not a citizen, I don’t want — I don’t want to empower somebody like that.”
Translation: Romney’s a racist for supporting Arizona.
Oh, and Mr. President- nice trying blaming Congress for your lack of action in terms of immigration. You had Congress for two FULL years!
Obama: Finally “takes the blame” for the events in Benghazi, but ignores question, which was “who denied the request for more security in Benghazi?” Talks about his statement in the Rose Garden in which he claims he called it a terrorist attack.
Romney: Pointed out how Obama, who claimed to be so concerned with the situation, went to bed without knowing Ambassador Stevens was unaccounted for, and headed off to Las Vegas for a fundraiser the very next day. AND, with one of his best lines of the night, Romney looked straight at the President, and stated: “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 saying?
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.
And with that, the moderator interjected, siding with the president stating that Romney was in fact wrong. Too bad later on she had to come out and state that Romney was in fact RIGHT. Gosh- that’s got to be embarrassing. By the way, this Romney line incited the first applause of the night! Isn’t it also interesting when one considers exactly how many times the President, who tonight so forcefully claimed that he HAD called this a pre-planned terrorist attack from the outset, went to the UN at the end of the month and blamed the “video” six separate times? So which is it?
Obama: Reintroduce an assault weapons ban.
Romney: Enforce the laws we have.
And, as if my thoughts were transferred right onto the TV screen, Romney brought up the scandalous Fast & Furious affair, during which the Obama presidency purposely allowed weapons to float across the US-Mexico border, eventually landing in the hands of cartels and eventually causing the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. An inconvenient truth. Whoops!
Bringing jobs back to the US:
Romney: We have to make this an attractive place to do business. Cited Canada’s corporate tax rate- 15% vs. ours at 35%. Government doesn’t create jobs- “Trickle-down government has never worked here, has never worked anywhere.”
Obama: Talked about a lower corporate tax rate as well, briefly touched on exports but didn’t specify particulars- instead spent his time attacking Romney’s plan.
Wow- that got really long. But then again, so has this presidency.
Were I asked to pick a winner based upon substance and approach, I think Romney slam dunks it again. While Obama appeared more involved and definitely less disinterested as the past debate, he still couldn’t quite get control of the arena. It’s always concerning when a sitting president can’t seem to command the room he’s in. I think this is partly due to the fact that Obama’s behavior (and the moderator’s capitulation to it) was simply childish! Obama interrupted constantly, insinuated that Romney was lying four times, used the moderator to help him move on from tough questions, and as can be expected from a president with such a horrendous record, seemed insecure and defensive. Romney, though also on the attack (and yes DID interrupt, but ceded when asked!), seemed sure of himself- he seemed forceful yet compassionate, knowledgeable and sincere. Oh and by the way- those aren’t my words- those are the words of the Frank Luntz post-debate focus group consisting of mainly Obama voters, who have since changed sides.
One more debate, folks. One more debate.
Mr. President- you’re running out of time.