Obama and Romney looked like a Frazier and Ali heavyweight boxing match. Give and take was from both candidates was front and center in their second debate. Each candidate was given the opportunity to answer prepared questions from the audience in a town-hall setting. Well, almost.
Candy Crowley, CNN reporter and debate moderator, interrupted the governor multiple times, provided “cover” for the President when he was caught in a flat lie about Benghazi, and allowed Obama the last word in nearly every exchange.
Mr. Romney talked about his ideas and his plans for the future. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, seemed more focused on attacking the Governor than defending his record and discussing his plan for the next four years. Obama’s performance had the same tone as his campaign. Attack the individual, don’t engage on ideas.
Mr. Obama blatantly lied (yeah, I know, that isn’t politically correct, but it is true) when he said that oil production from public lands and waters is up. He knows better. Obama knows that his administration has been the biggest roadblock to oil production in history. He lied (I know, that’s two) about increasing employment in the coal industry. He got caught lying (3 and out) about calling the Benghazi attack a “terrorist attack” until days after the event, and Crowley bailed him out by stating that he did call it a terrorist attack on the day after its occurrence, she was wrong too.
Character Assassination vs. Policy Debate
Obama gets points for being aggressive, but his aggressiveness was hollow. Obama tended toward character assassination, not genuine policy debate. He seemed more interested in making Romney look bad than in advancing his own ideas.
Someone tell me what, exactly, President Obama said that had substance. He didn’t talk about foreign policy which was probably wise given Benghazi-gate. Crowley quickly interrupted and changed the subject when Romney broached the subject of Fast and Furious. There was nothing neutral about the moderator’s performance here and nothing of substance from the President.
Obama told us that “some jobs will never return” and that he was interested in Americans having high paying jobs, but he didn’t suggest how he would accomplish that task. Instead, Obama attacked Romney about his overseas investments.
Obama blamed Bush for the economy (again) and actually had the audacity to intimate that current gas prices are his fault. He attacked Romney for closing “a” coal-fired energy plant in Massachusetts instead of talking about how his green-energy policies will put Americans back to work any time soon.
Obama admitted that his State Department fumbled Benghazi, but we know that his Secretary of State took the political fall for him yesterday in an attempt to defuse the situation. Obama’s comment about when he called the attack a “terrorist attack” will likely haunt him. Maybe, like Andy Petite, he “misremembered.” Bottom line? If it was Clinton’s fault, then she should be fired. If it wasn’t, then Obama is even more culpable.
Obama regurgitated his fix for the economy. His 1-point plan (something he accused Romney of having) is to make sure that “the rich” and corporations pay their “fair share.” What Mr. Obama won’t say in plain language that anyone can understand is that he is going to raise taxes on those that pay taxes. The plan is presented as the “fair” option. People who don’t pay taxes are all for having taxes raised on everybody else. Mr. Romney is attacked as a “rich” guy and his plan to reduce governmental interference in business is framed in terms of class warfare.
Obama Was Kidding, Right?
The high-humor of the evening came near the end of the debate. In answer to the final question, Mr. Obama said, “I think a lot of this campaign, maybe over last four years, has been devoted to this notion that I think government creates jobs, that that’s somehow is the answer. That’s not what I believe. I believe that the free enterprise system is the greatest engine of prosperity the world’s ever known. I believe in self-reliance and individual initiative, and risk-takers be rewarded. But I also believe that everybody should have a fair shot, and everybody should do their fair share, and everybody should play by the same rules, because that’s how our economy is grown.”
To quote, Larry The Cable Guy, “Now that there’s funny, I don’t care who ya are.”
But Mr. Obama couldn’t leave it there. He had to finish the evening with another attack on Romney, “I believe Gov. Romney is a good man — loves his family, cares about his faith. But I also believe that when he said behind closed doors, that 47 percent of the country considered themselves victims, who refuse personal responsibility — think about who he was talking about. Folks on Social Security who have worked all their lives; veterans who sacrifice for this country; students who are out there trying to hopefully advance their own dreams, but also this country’s dreams; Soldiers who are overseas, fighting for us right now; people who are working hard every day, paying payroll tax, gas taxes, but don’t make enough income.”
Obama knows that Romney was NOT talking about folks on Social Security, veterans, soldiers, students, and people who work every day. Every one of those folks is a contributor. Romney was talking about the free-loaders that don’t pay their “fair share.”
The politics of character-assassination is the politics of a candidate that is bereft of ideas. Although the media will claim victory for Obama, Romney won the debate on substance.