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Obama Comes Prepared, But Romney Holds the Line

posted at 3:26 pm on October 17, 2012 by

Last night’s presidential debate saw Obama recapture the energy and engagement his supporters yearned for after his insipid showing on October 3.  However, since exuding more life in the debate was the threshold, he won the debate –  as some in the media have speculated.  Republicans should have expected the president to perform better this time around, which he did, but Romney also exuded the confidence and aggressiveness he so successfully used against the president in the first debate.  That, and his command of the facts that depict Obama as a big government liberal who sells snake oil to the American people.

Some on MSNBC complained that Romney was disrespectful to the president.  However, I dismiss that criticism as liberal drivel.  In liberal land, any forceful repudiation of Obama or his policies are racist, rude, or un-American.  Nevertheless, Romney still couldn’t shake his laser focus on the economy and the unquestionable notion that he’s a qualified alternative to Obama.

There were eleven questions asked during the debate.

QUESTION 1: (first-time voter Jeremy Epstein) Mr. President, Governor Romney, as a 20-year-old college student, all I hear from professors, neighbors and others is that when I graduate, I will have little chance to get employment. What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?

QUESTION 2: (Phillip Tricolla)  Your energy secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on the record three times stating it’s not policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the Energy Department?

QUESTION 3: (Mary Follano) Governor Romney, you have stated that if you’re elected president, you would plan to reduce the tax rates for all the tax brackets and that you would work with the Congress to eliminate some deductions in order to make up for the loss in revenue.  Concerning the — these various deductions, the mortgage deductions, the charitable deductions, the child tax credit and also the — oh, what’s that other credit? I forgot. (OBAMA: You’re doing great.) Oh, I remember. The education credits, which are important to me, because I have children in college. What would be your position on those things, which are important to the middle class?

QUESTION 4: (Katherine Fenton)  In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?

QUESTION 5: (Susan Katz) Governor Romney, I am an undecided voter, because I’m disappointed with the lack of progress I’ve seen in the last four years. However, I do attribute much of America’s economic and international problems to the failings and missteps of the Bush administration. Since both you and President Bush are Republicans, I fear a return to the policies of those years should you win this election. What is the biggest difference between you and George W. Bush, and how do you differentiate yourself from George W. Bush?

QUESTION 6: (Michael Jones) 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.

QUESTION 7: (Lorraine Osorio)  Mr. Romney, what do you plan on doing with immigrants without their green cards that are currently living here as productive members of society?

QUESTION 8: (Kerry Ladka) This question comes from a brains trust of my friends at global Telecom’s supply in [UNKNOWN WORD] today. We were sitting around talking about Libya and we were reading and became aware of reports that the State Department refused extra security for our embassy in Benghazi, Libya prior to the attacks that killed four Americans. Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?

QUESTION 9: (Nina Gonzalez)  President Obama, during the Democratic National Convention in 2008 you stated you wanted to keep AK-47 out of the hands of criminals. What has your administration done or plan to do to limit the availability of assault weapons?

QUESTION 10: (Carol Goldberg) The outsourcing of American jobs overseas has taken a toll on our economy. What plans do you have to put back and keep jobs here economy in the United States?

QUESIOTN 11: (Barry Green)  I think this is a tough question. Each of you. What do you believe is the biggest misperception that the American people have about you as a man and a candidate, using specific examples can you take this opportunity to debunk that misperception and set us straight?

The question about how you’re different from Bush wasn’t from an undecided voter.  Yet, we shouldn’t be surprised that ‘blame Bush’ was going to spring up somewhere in this debate.  However, Romney gave a good retort when he claimed that he agreed with President Obama that a half a trillion dollar deficits that were incurred during the Bush administration were outrageous – but have been doubled under the Obama presidency.

Furthermore, Romney came out strong during the questions relating to how he would develop policies to generate job growth for the college student set to graduate in 2014 and his plan to cut taxes.  Romney aptly noted that over the past four years the middle class has been buried by government ineptitude and trickle down government economics.He made a solemn promise to cut taxes across the board, especially for the middle class, and not decrease the burden already shared by the wealthy. Now, Obama countered by saying he cut taxes for the middle class 18 times, but with the passage of Obamacare, the effects of such cuts would be rendered de minimis at best.

The war on women question was insufferable.  For the last time, Lilly Ledbetter did not do anything to remedy pay discrimination.  It just expanded the statute of limitations for one, with such a grievance, to sue their employer in court.   It’s such a landmark achievement that only forty lawsuits have been filed under its provisions.

One surprise that I found last night was the gun control question.  In a time where Democrats loathe to talk about gun control – since it splits their electorate and costed them the 2000 presidential election, according  NRA the Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.  Also, there is this little thing called Fast and Furious that still hangs over the Obama administration’s head.  Furthermore, crimes where so-called “assault weapons” have been involved constitute less than 14% of all gun crimes.

The areas Romney could have been stronger on were Libya and immigration.  He simply failed to deliver a decisive punch to the president’s narrative.  Although, the Libyan flub was later corrected by Candy Crowley saying that Gov. Romney was correct about Rose Garden statements the president made, but it was already too late.  We all saw it on television.

Nevertheless, Newsbusters’ Matthew Sheffield noted last night that “acts of terror”  was used in the generalized sense of the word. “Even liberal Washington Post “fact checker” Glenn Kessler has admitted this…Candy Crowley not only inappropriately inserted herself into a presidential debate, she did so in a fashion that was so incredibly incompetent that even her CNN colleagues threw her under the bus. CNN host Anderson Cooper admitted Crowley was wrong on the facts…”

Here’s what the president said after the 9/11/12 attack.

Perusing the full Obama speech from 9/12 reveals that the president clearly misstated the facts:

Good morning.  Every day, all across the world, American diplomats and civilians work tirelessly to advance the interests and values of our nation.  Often, they are away from their families.  Sometimes, they brave great danger.

Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi.  Among those killed was our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, as well as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith.  We are still notifying the families of the others who were killed.  And today, the American people stand united in holding the families of the four Americans in our thoughts and in our prayers.

The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack.  We’re working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats.  I’ve also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world.  And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.

Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths.  We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.  But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence.  None.  The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.

Already, many Libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya.  Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans.  Libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’s body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died.

It’s especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi because it is a city that he helped to save.  At the height of the Libyan revolution, Chris led our diplomatic post in Benghazi.  With characteristic skill, courage, and resolve, he built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries, and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya.  When the Qaddafi regime came to an end, Chris was there to serve as our ambassador to the new Libya, and he worked tirelessly to support this young democracy, and I think both Secretary Clinton and I relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there.  He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps.

Along with his colleagues, Chris died in a country that is still striving to emerge from the recent experience of war. Today, the loss of these four Americans is fresh, but our memories of them linger on.  I have no doubt that their legacy will live on through the work that they did far from our shores and in the hearts of those who love them back home.

Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks.  We mourned with the families who were lost on that day.  I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.  And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.  Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.

But we also know that the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers.  These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity.  They should give every American great pride in the country that they served, and the hope that our flag represents to people around the globe who also yearn to live in freedom and with dignity.

We grieve with their families, but let us carry on their memory, and let us continue their work of seeking a stronger America and a better world for all of our children.

Thank you.  May God bless the memory of those we lost and may God bless the United States of America.

Concerning energy, the president straight up lied about coal.  His administration has waged a war on coal throughout his entire administration – with plant closures and a litany of new federal regulations that seek to gut coal from the American economy forever.  On oil production, as Kerry Picket at The Washington Times noted last night, Obama has issued 36% less drilling permits than the past two administrations.  Obama tried to convey the point that it’s at its highest levels in 16 years.

The most important thing we can do is to make sure we control our own energy. So here’s what I’ve done since I’ve been president. We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years,” President Obama said. Natural gas production is the highest it’s been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment. But what I’ve also said is we can’t just produce traditional source of energy. We’ve got to look to the future. That’s why we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars.”

Governor Romney shot back, saying: “Oil production is is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters.”

Picket also cited The Wall Street Journal concerning Obama’s claim stating that his refusal to drill in the National Petroleum Reserve undercuts his narrative.

The area is called the National Petroleum Reserve because in 1976 Congress designated it as a strategic oil and natural gas stockpile to meet the “energy needs of the nation.” Alaska favors exploration in nearly the entire reserve. The feds had been reviewing four potential development plans, and the state of Alaska had strongly objected to the most restrictive of the four. Sure enough, that was the plan Interior chose.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says his plan “will help the industry bring energy safely to market from this remote location, while also protecting wildlife and subsistence rights of Alaska Natives.” He added that the proposal will expand “safe and responsible oil and gas development, and builds on our efforts to help companies develop the infrastructure that’s needed to bring supplies online.”

The problem is almost no one in the energy industry and few in Alaska agree with him. In an August 22 letter to Mr. Salazar, the entire Alaska delegation in Congress—Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski and Representative Don Young—call it “the largest wholesale land withdrawal and blocking of access to an energy resource by the federal government in decades.

However, the president had a good night.  A win is a win.  While Obama won the debate overall, Romney still leads on the issues of health care, the economy, taxes, and the deficit – areas that aren’t structured to favor Obama.  Nevertheless, Business Insider posted an interesting piece on where Romney lost the debate.  Although, I’m still not convinced it’s a game changer.  However, concerning voting blocs that could decide the election, like the ‘Walmart Moms,’ they tipped the debate in Obama’s favor, albeit by a VERY small margin.

Elizabeth Hartfield at ABC News wrote last night that “one woman said that she found herself agreeing much more with Obama throughout the debate, but she thought Romney’s delivery was smoother. Another woman said the reverse: She thought Obama seemed better prepared, but she agreed with Romney.”  These women have faced economic hardship and are typically younger, but lean slightly more conservative overall.  Furthermore, “when asked what they need to hear from the candidates in order to make their decision, the answers were somewhat mixed. One woman said she’d need to hear more about affordable health care. Several women responded that they’d like to hear more about the candidates’ education plans. Another woman, who said that her mother was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, wanted to hear specifics about Medicare and what it will look like going down the road.”  Theses are signs that both candidates, especially Romney, need to step it up to win over this demographic that could tip the balance in this election.

On the other hand, Guy Benson at Townhall posted this morning, that “the consistent theme across the Romney converts was simple: The economy.  Despite Obama’s narrow ‘win’ in the CNN snap poll and the three-way tie in CBS News’ instant numbers, Romney absolutely decimated Obama on the economy in both surveys – 58/40 in the former poll, and 65/34 in the latter.”

The polls will remain the same and the electoral shift towards Romney will remain unaltered.  Barack Obama only has a lock on ten states and leads Romney in the electoral college by a meager 10 votes.  Romney leads Obama amongst likely voters outside the margin of error 51% to 45% – a first in this race.

Obama got his mojo back, but since the threshold for ‘victory’ was just that, it will only be seen as a decisive win amongst his base – whereas Romney’s curb stomping of Obama in the first debate pervaded all political parties, news networks, and the American electorate.  All Romney had to do was exude the same confidence and aggressiveness that portrays his as a legitimate alternative – which he did.  He held the line. Lastly, The president didn’t lay out a future agenda, which is why I think the ‘O is back’ narrative won’t last long.  However, in the next debate, Romney needs to be careful not to leave himself vulnerable, like with the 47%, which Obama used successfully against him in his closing statement.

Yet, since debates have an incrementally downward trend in terms of importance and viewership, Jeff Greenfield of Yahoo! News noted how “timing was everything” and that Obama blew it – even if he came out on top.  Hence, why this ‘resounding victory’ is only heard in the minds of liberals.

In a larger sense, however, Obama’s success is unlikely to have anything like the impact of that 1980 debate, nor will it likely alter the terrain of the campaign as the first debate of 2012 did. Had the Obama of this debate showed up two weeks ago, he might well have ended Romney’s effort to present himself as a credible alternative to the president.

That opportunity vanished that night. While it’s clear that Obama’s performance will revive the enthusiasm of his supporters, it seems unlikely that it will cause those impressed by Romney to reconsider. Like they say in show business, timing is everything.

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However, in the next debate, Romney needs to be careful not to leave himself vulnerable, like with the 47%, which Obama used successfully against him in his closing statement.

According to those watching the CNN dials, O’s 47% attack fell flat. Romney clearly anticipated it and neutralized it beforehand, so I wouldn’t call that a success. It it were, that’s what people would be talking about today.

changer1701 on October 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Crowley interrupted Obama 9 times, Romney 28 times.

And she gave Obama more time overall.

Worst of all, she let Obama have the last word on a topic far more often than Romney.

itsnotaboutme on October 17, 2012 at 3:46 PM

However, the president had a good night. A win is a win.

Lying his a$$ off counts as a win? Talk about dumbing down the standard.

Bitter Clinger on October 17, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Crowley interrupted Obama 9 times, Romney 28 times.

And she gave Obama more time overall.

Worst of all, she let Obama have the last word on a topic far more often than Romney.

True – he spoke more and said less, like last time – but since he more life to him it’s a win – in liberals’ minds

Matt Vespa on October 17, 2012 at 4:03 PM

However, the president had a good night. A win is a win.

Lying his a$$ off counts as a win? Talk about dumbing down the standard.

Bitter Clinger on October 17, 2012 at 3:49 PM

He had more life – that was the threshold for the win. Romney’s fumbled Libya, even with the correction fro crowley after the debate, the damage was done. Obama may have eeked it out, but on a debate that really doesn’t matter.

Matt Vespa on October 17, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Romney’s fumbled Libya
Matt Vespa on October 17, 2012 at 4:06 PM

So on the issue Romney fumbled, we get a whole third debate. I’ll predict Romney won’t fumble it again.
It’ll be easy to keep Libya in the public eye until then… any mention will bring howls from the Obama camp. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks!”

Marcola on October 17, 2012 at 4:24 PM

So on the issue Romney fumbled, we get a whole third debate. I’ll predict Romney won’t fumble it again. Marcola on October 17, 2012 at 4:24 PM<

Agreed Marcola – and i should have put fumble in quotes – he was right, but the damage was already done. Crowley was the moderator of the debate, not the fact checker
FP debate should be interesting

Matt Vespa on October 17, 2012 at 4:34 PM

However, the president had a good night. A win is a win. While Obama won the debate overall, Romney still leads on the issues of health care, the economy, taxes, and the deficit – areas that aren’t structured to favor Obama.

I fail to see how this amounts to an Obama win, with Romney winning on all these issues, and Obama telling lie after lie. I guess the bar really was low for Obama this time.

TarheelBen on October 17, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Obama has issued 36% less drilling permits than the past two administrations. Obama tried to convey the point that it’s at its highest levels in 16 years.

Matt, your grammar needs work. ‘fewer’, not ‘less’.

Mitsouko on October 17, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Obama has issued 36% less drilling permits than the past two administrations. Obama tried to convey the point that it’s at its highest levels in 16 years.

Matt, your grammar needs work. ‘fewer’, not ‘less’.

Mitsouko on October 17, 2012 at 7:09 PM

HO! that’s bad. My mistake.

Matt Vespa on October 17, 2012 at 7:55 PM