I don’t know if Obama’s heart just wasn’t in it last night, or if Mitt Romney just intimidated him, but lets face it, Mitt Romney dominated this debate. All the evidence you would need to confirm this can be found in the reactions of certain media pundits who have traded trickles up the leg, for sharp pains in their chests.
The debate started with sparks. After the obligatory introduction, Obama attempted to establish a few things. First, he inherited this mess (which we have heard for the last 4 years), secondly (true to his campaign slogan of “Forward”) we shouldn’t look at where we have been, but instead should look at where we are going. He then attempted to characterize Mitt Romney’s plan as, “a perspective that says if we cut taxes, skewed towards the wealthy, and roll back regulations, that we’ll be better off”.
Of course Mitt Romney wasn’t going to let this slide. After all, for the past several months Mitt Romney has been reduced to snippets and soundbites designed to take him out of context, divide and confuse voters and defame his character by a media snugly in the pocket of the Obama administration. Seizing the opportunity, Mitt Romney set the record straight (and would continue to have to do so as the night went on and Obama retreated to the same talking points).
Mitt Romney’s tax plan does not call for tax cuts to the upper class. Now I know that may be the first time some of you have heard that, and it apparently was the first time Obama had heard it because he had to be corrected on it at least three times, but it’s true.
With the “tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class” argument clearly neutralized, Mitt Romney was free to compare and contrast Obama’s plans (and implemented policies) with those of his own. I’ll spare you the play-by-play and skip to some of the highlights, but what I have included here don’t even begin to illustrate the WIN that was this debate;
First, Obama made a play for energy by saying the following:
On energy, Governor Romney and I, we both agree that we’ve got to boost American energy production, and oil and natural gas production are higher than they’ve been in years. But I also believe that we’ve got to look at the energy sources of the future, like wind and solar and bio-fuels, and make those investments.
Keep in mind here, “investments” to a liberal means government funding… just so we are clear. Romney countered with this beauty:
Energy is critical, and the president pointed out correctly that production of oil and gas in the U.S. is up. But not due to his policies. In spite of his policies. Mr. President, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half. If I’m president, I’ll double them, and also get the — the oil from offshore and Alaska. And I’ll bring that pipeline in from Canada. And, by the way, I like coal. I’m going to make sure we can continue to burn clean coal. People in the coal industry feel like it’s getting crushed by your policies. I want to get America and North America energy independent so we can create those jobs.
After what was clearly the kind of punch that makes you see stars, Obama was eager to get the subject back to taxes, again repeating the lines about a 5 trillion dollar tax cut and middle class families having to cover those costs under a Romney administration. This gave Romney yet another opportunity to counter by saying:
If the tax plan he described were a tax plan I was asked to support, I’d say absolutely not. I’m not looking for a $5 trillion tax cut. What I’ve said is I won’t put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. That’s part one. So there’s no economist that can say Mitt Romney’s tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan. Number two, I will not reduce the share paid by high-income individuals. I know that you and your running mate keep saying that and I know it’s a popular thing to say with a lot of people, but it’s just not the case. Look, I’ve got five boys. I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it. But that — that is not the case. All right? I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans.
So, that fact is finally established right MSNBC? No 5 trillion dollar tax cut for the wealthiest 1%. Everyone got it?
At this point, Obama is visibly shaken, flustered and clearly looking to the moderator when he feels Mitt Romney’s time is up (for the record, Obama had over 4 minutes more time that Romney did, but who’s counting). He mostly kept his head down and avoided eye contact with Romney quite obviously. When he had something to say that had been campaign approved, he would stare into the camera and try to make the case to the American people directly, hoping that you hadn’t just paid attention to his insistence on repeating what had just proven to be a lie.
The fun didn’t end there for Romney fans. In fact, it felt like the first game of a playoff series where you finally got a good look at the competition who had either underestimated you or had believed their own press for so long they quit training in the off-season. Romney hit Obama on everything from Solyndra to deficit spending to not being able to lead Washington with any sort of partisan participation. Obama had an answer to NONE of what Romney was hitting him with and instead continued to try and paint Romney was a rich, out of touch wall street insider and Romney was having none of it.
After total Romney domination for the next hour, the candidates were allowed to make their final remarks (which could not have come soon enough for Obama). I have included them below.
You know, four years ago, we were going through a major crisis. And yet my faith and confidence in the American future is undiminished. And the reason is because of its people, because of the woman I met in North Carolina who decided at 55 to go back to school because she wanted to inspire her daughter and now has a job from that new training that she’s gotten; because a company in Minnesota who was willing to give up salaries and perks for their executives to make sure that they didn’t lay off workers during a recession.
The auto workers that you meet in Toledo or Detroit take such pride in building the best cars in the world, not just because of a paycheck, but because it gives them that sense of pride, that they’re helping to build America. And so the question now is how do we build on those strengths. And everything that I’ve tried to do, and everything that I’m now proposing for the next four years in terms of improving our education system or developing American energy or making sure that we’re closing loopholes for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and focusing on small businesses and companies that are creating jobs here in the United States, or closing our deficit in a responsible, balanced way that allows us to invest in our future.
All those things are designed to make sure that the American people, their genius, their grit, their determination, is — is channeled and — and they have an opportunity to succeed. And everybody’s getting a fair shot. And everybody’s getting a fair share — everybody’s doing a fair share, and everybody’s playing by the same rules.
You know, four years ago, I said that I’m not a perfect man and I wouldn’t be a perfect president. And that’s probably a promise that Governor Romney thinks I’ve kept. But I also promised that I’d fight every single day on behalf of the American people, the middle class, and all those who were striving to get into the middle class. I’ve kept that promise and if you’ll vote for me, then I promise I’ll fight just as hard in a second term.
And from Romney:
This is a — this is an important election and I’m concerned about America. I’m concerned about the direction America has been taking over the last four years.
I know this is bigger than an election about the two of us as individuals. It’s bigger than our respective parties. It’s an election about the course of America. What kind of America do you want to have for yourself and for your children.
And there really are two very different paths that we began speaking about this evening, and over the course of this month we’re going to have two more presidential debates and a vice presidential debate. We’re talk about those two paths.
But they lead in very different directions. And it’s not just looking to our words that you have to take in evidence of where they go. You can look at the record.
There’s no question in my mind that if the president were to be reelected you’ll continue to see a middle-class squeeze with incomes going down and prices going up.
I’ll get incomes up again. You’ll see chronic unemployment. We’ve had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent. If I’m president I will create — help create 12 million new jobs in this country with rising incomes. If the president’s reelected, Obamacare will be fully installed. In my view that’s going to mean a whole different way of life for people who counted on the insurance plan they had in the past. Many will lose it. You’re going to see health premiums go up by some $2,500 per family.
If I’m elected we won’t have Obama. We’ll put in place the kind of principles that I put in place in my own state and allow each state to craft their own programs to get people insured and we’ll focus on getting the cost of health care down.
If the president were to be reelected you’re going to see a $716 billion cut to Medicare. You’ll have 4 million people who will lose Medicare Advantage. You’ll have hospital and providers that will no longer accept Medicare patients. I’ll restore that $716 billion to Medicare.
And finally, military. The president’s reelected you’ll see dramatic cuts to our military. The secretary of defense has said these would be even devastating.
I will not cut our commitment to our military. I will keep America strong and get America’s middle class working again.
Mitt Romney is a man who believes in America, and wants the job because he knows he can fix it, not because he wants to finish breaking it. The elections coming in November are the most important elections in my lifetime (its short, I’ll give you that) but the stakes really have never been higher. The very soul of this nation is on the line.
I hope you all have enjoyed last night’s introduction to the Mitt Romney so many of us have been telling you about. And if you thought this was fun, don’t forget to tune in to the Vice Presidential debates coming up on Thursday, October 11th.