In the barely-moderated presidential debate held today, Mitt Romney came with his A-game and the President appeared as though he would rather have been anywhere else.
President Obama spent much of the debate staring down at his podium with an occasional smirk on his face while Romney looked confident and appeared genuinely interested in what Obama had to say.
The clear difference between the two men was in the conviction with which they made their statements. The President seemed out-of-sorts when talking about his own ideas and often dropped into talking-point-style attacks on Romney’s plans. Romney, however, came out with point-by-point remarks to correct the President when Obama mis-stated facts.
For the first third of the debate, Obama’s attacks centered upon repeating that Romney would cut taxes by $5 trillion. After trying a few times to correct the President, Romney said “I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true but just keep repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it. But that is not the case.”
The other major attacks from the President were still based in class warfare. Obama went straight to discussing how Romney will decrease taxes on the rich to which Romney said, “I know that you and your running mate keep saying that, and I know that’s a popular thing to say with some people, but it’s just not the case.”
Rep. Marco Rubio said of the debate that the President looked uncomfortable talking about deficits, jobs and the economy, “because he doesn’t understand those things.” At one point in the debate, the President commented on tax advantages for businesses moving facilities overseas to which Romney replied, “Look, I’ve been in business for 25 years and I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Obama tried to re-promise that he would cut the debt by $4 trillion dollars, a promise eerily similar to his 2008 promise to reduce the deficit by 50% in his first term. Romney clearly pointed out that the President was unable to achieve it in his first term and would likely fail in a second.
A tough moment for Obama came when he pointed out the $2.8 billion in tax deductions for oil companies. Romney brought up Obama’s failed investments in green energy companies where he said “In one year, you gave $90 billion in breaks to green energy companies” and that it was “50 years worth of breaks to companies like Solyndra”. As an exclamation point, Romney said that the wasn’t just picking winners and losers, but that Obama, with his investments in failing green energy companies, seemed to “just pick losers.”
Obama said that Romney’s health care replacement had no details, then went straight into discussing the details of how Romney’s plan deals with pre-existing conditions.
Probably the strongest point made by Romney was that on day one he would sit down with leaders from both parties and get things done. A direct challenge to Obama’s statement that it can’t be done from the inside. During the debate, Obama even tried to re-iterate how impossible that would be by saying that “Your’re going to be very busy on day one.” America certainly hopes so – it would be a refreshing change.
Romney did an effective job at reminding America that Obama has been president for an entire term and has achieved nothing in the way of creating jobs or helping America.
Obama was clearly out of his element. Unprotected by a friendly media, he often looked to Jim Lehrer for help and requested topic changes when getting lambasted by his Republican challenger.