Archive for Saturday, October 6, 2012

Column: Romney pulls off a tactical coup

October 6, 2012


WASHINGTON — It was the biggest rout since Agincourt. If you insist, since the Carter-Reagan debate. With a remarkable display of confidence, knowledge and nerve, Mitt Romney won the first 2012 debate going away.

Romney didn’t just demonstrate authoritative command of a myriad of domestic issues. He was nervy about it, taking the president on frontally, not just relentlessly attacking, but answering every charge leveled against him — with a three-point rebuttal.

And he pulled off a tactical coup by coming right out of the box to undo millions of dollars’ worth of negative ads that painted him, personally, as Gordon Gekko — rapacious vulture capitalist who doesn’t just lay off steelworkers but kills their wives — and, politically, as intent on raising taxes on the middle class while lowering them for the rich.

The Romney campaign had let these ads go largely unanswered. But a “kill Romney” strategy can only work until people get to see Romney themselves. On Wednesday night, they did. Regarding the character assassination, all Romney really had to do was walk out with no horns on his head. Confident, smiling and nonthreatening, he didn’t look like a man who enjoys killing the wives of laid-off steelworkers.

Not a very high bar, I admit. But remember: It’s President Obama who set the bar. And succeeded. Romney suffers from unprecedentedly high negatives (50 percent), the highest unfavorability rating at this late date for any challenger in the last three decades.

As to the policy, Romney finally got to explain to the 60 million Americans watching that he intends to lower taxes across the board, particularly for the middle class. As for the rich, he got to explain the difference between lowering tax rates and reducing tax payments. He repeated at least twice that the rich would continue to pay the same percentage of the tax burden, while lower rates would spur economic growth.

His success in doing this against a flummoxed Obama does more than rally the conservative base. It may affect waverers — disappointed 2008 Obama supporters waiting for a reason to jump. They watch Romney in this debate and ask: Is this the clueless, selfish, out-of-touch guy weíve been hearing about from the ads and from the mainstream media?

And then they see Obama — detached, meandering, unsure. Can this be the hip, cool, in-control guy his acolytes and the media have been telling us about?

Obama was undone on Wednesday in part by his dismissive arrogance. You could see him thinking annoyedly: “Why do I have to be onstage with this clod, when I’ve gone toe-to-toe with Putin?” (And lost every round, I’d say. But that’s not how Obama sees it.)

Obama never even pulled out his best weapon, the 47 percent. Not once. That’s called sitting on a lead, lazily and smugly. I wager he mentions it in the next debate, more than once — and likely in his kickoff.

On the other hand, Obama just isn’t that good. Not without a teleprompter. He’s not even that good at news conferences — a venue in which he’s still in charge, choosing among questioners and controlling the timing of his own answers.

By the end of the debate, Obama looked small, uncertain. It was Romney who had the presidential look.

Re-election campaigns after a failed presidential term — so failed that Obama barely even bothers to make the case, preferring to blame everything on his predecessor — hinge almost entirely on whether the challenger can meet the threshold of acceptability. Romney crossed the threshold Wednesday night.

Reagan won his election (Carter was actually ahead at the time) when he defused his caricature as some wild, extreme, warmongering cowboy. In his debate with Carter, he was affable, avuncular and reasonable. That’s why with a single aw-shucks line, “There you go again,” the election was over.

Romney had to show something a little different: That he is not the clumsy, out-of-touch plutocrat that the paid Obama ads and the unpaid media have portrayed him to be. He did, decisively.

That’s why MSNBC is on suicide watch. Why the polls show that, by a margin of at least two-to-one, voters overwhelmingly gave the debate to Romney.

And he won big in an unusual way. This could be the only presidential debate ever won so definitively in the absence some obvious and ruinous gaffe, like Gerald Ford’s “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.”

Romney by two touchdowns.

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.


Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Romney LIED to republicans 27 times in 38 minutes. How can any republican trust this man?

News & Politics
Think Progress / By Igor Volsky

Fact Check: Romney Told 27 Myths in 38 Minutes During the Debate October 4, 2012 |

Pundits from both sides of the aisle have lauded Mitt Romney’s strong debate performance, praising his preparedness and ability to challenge President Obama’s policies and accomplishments. But Romney only accomplished this goal by repeatedly misleading viewers. He spoke for 38 minutes of the 90 minute debate and told at least 27 myths:

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

As investigative journalist Matt Taibbi began to cover the Romney campaign earlier this year he was listening to Romney’s stump speech about debt.

Mr. Taibbi claims Romney created this whole image of a prairie fire of debt raging across America that literally could burn children alive in the future. Taibbi kept thinking to himself, does nobody know what Mitt Romney did for a living and how he made his money?

Matt Taibbi: “Mitt Romney is unabashedly a leverage buyout artist. And a leverage buyout artist is a person who borrows lots of money that other companies have to pay back. And that’s the simple formula.”

To which I say is risky banking and often spells bye bye USA industry.

Gov Richard Perry called Romney a vulture capitalist which impacts all upper middle class,middle class and lower income people regardless of party affiliation.

Upper middle class,middle class and lower income republicans have also lost jobs and homes in the two nationwide home loan scandals since 1980 supported by reckless economics such as leveraged buyout mania.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Romney as we speak is outsourcing jobs to China as his American employees are called communists because they want their jobs to remain here for them. It's in the news for the past few days.

After repeatedly touting his business experience as an asset towards reviving the U.S. economy, Mitt Romney has been put on the defensive by Bain Capital workers who are fighting back against the outsourcing of their jobs.

One hundred seventy workers at a Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Illinois — of which Bain is the majority owner — are calling on Romney to help save their jobs from being shipped to China.

Meanwhile think about this.

A new article by reporter Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone sheds new light on the origin of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s fortune, revealing how Romney’s former firm, Bain Capital, used private equity to raise money to conduct corporate raids. Taibbi writes: "What most voters don’t know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back.

This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America’s top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time.

In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Neither WOMEN nor Republicans nor Democrats nor the Upper Middle Class/Middle class can afford the Republican/RINO Party!

Public Education is a strong player in new Economic Growth yet republicans starve the system of funding which starves our teachers of resources. Which starves the desired level of education = stealing from our children’s future.

Trying to kill an educational institution such as Sesame Street and PBS is reckless and Irresponsible. Republicans are out of touch going on 32 years.

Is the market value of your home worth less than your mortgage? How much market value have home owners lost since 2007? Trillions of $$$$.

Let's talk about entitlements that have literally destroyed jobs,economies and retirement plans. And made owning a home a risky investment - now that is remarkable.

DC republicans have been successful at wrecking our economy big time twice in the past thirty years. Because of the pattern I am convinced it is their economic policy established under the direction of Reagan/Bush.

Bush/Cheney accomplished a remarkable achievement by destroying the world economy which of course makes it difficult for the USA to bounce back quickly. The question becomes how in the world did they sucker financial institutions worldwide into buying bundles upon bundles upon bundles of bad USA home loans worth trillions of dollars in bad debt?

What an incredible and criminally insane economic policy? I don't believe the entire world can afford the economically reckless republican party that was born in 1980.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 7 months ago

CNBC joked Obama slept thru the debate because he had the 7.8 unemployment number in his back pocket.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

This column shows that many people are more interested in image than reality.

The idea that Romney proves anything by smiling and acting friendly is rather absurd to me.

As far as content, he lied numerous times (Obama did as well), so he wasn't impressive on that score for me.

I suppose one could say he was more aggressive than Obama, but for me that's not a great plus either.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

You went into the debate already having said you were going to vote for Obama. I assume you came out of the debate the same. But I am curious about the issue of lies. Was it that Romney told 10 lies and Obama only 8? Or is it that Romney's lies were ones you didn't want to hear and Obama's lies were lies you wanted to hear? Either way, why would you vote for a person who lies to you?

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

I have the unpleasant choice of having to vote for a politician, so I have to vote for somebody who lies if I vote, with a few very rare exceptions.

Obama is the somewhat better choice for me than Romney, based on policies and substantive differences between the two.

But, I'm not that excited about it, and would prefer a choice that didn't lie, and that combined strengths of liberal and conservative thought, while minimizing the weaknesses.

Getaroom 5 years, 7 months ago

Lacking complete substance, the only thing Willard won was an award for performance as, "Top BS'er and Lier"!
Everyone knows that, at best, Willard is just a tidy and well kept spinner of the UNtruth. Nothing else matters, and his campaign lackeys sweep up the mess and spin more Lies.

In fact, he may just be the best damned lier since Nixon that the GOP has put together. But heck, he is good looking, he's rich and by golly, people like him.

The Krauthammer just loves to keep Willard on the pedestal to polish once in a while, isn't that sweet. But you know what they say, "you can't polish what's in the toilet, only the porcelain".

And Obama did turn in a lousy performance, for sure. Guess that seals it, he is a Commie, Dictator, no Birth Certificate Muslim!

All the media cares about is how it looks and sounds. So what, it is all superficial.

Will the real Snookie step forward, or is that Willard with one of his multiple personalities?

Flap Doodle 5 years, 7 months ago

And thus did the moaning and sounds of micturation from the disappointed progressives ascend into the firmament. And it was amusing.

SnakeFist 5 years, 7 months ago

But on the day of the second debate, Obama arose and smote the evil of conservatism and all those who hate their brothers, and lo, conservatism crept back to the pit for four more years. And it was good.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"Romney didn’t just demonstrate authoritative command of a myriad of domestic issues"

Actually, what he mostly displayed was more of the flip-flopping (and at times, outright mendacity) that can only lead to one conclusion-- nothing he says in this campaign can be taken as an indication of what he would do if elected.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

In related news, code pink just held a protest against Obama's drone strikes and offering their apologies.

OK, sure, go all over America and deride our president. That's what free speech is for. But going onto foreign soil and criticizing our foreign policy is unAmerican.

Besides that, if some or all of the code pink members are killed while touring that deadly little part of the world, is that going to help anything?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

An interesting idea. The question is if devoutly Christians who are typically supportive of a conservative politician, will they support Romney in the same numbers, because they certainly won't support Obama, or will they simply stay home.

Each side is trying hard to energize their base, while still trying to appeal to the middle. That's how elections are won, though not necessarily how individuals govern once elected. Obama's position on gay marriage "evolves" into full support to energize his base. Romney is strong on right to life. Both are attempts to get out the vote, though neither is an indication of how they would govern.

I suspect Obama will have a slightly less energized base than he did four years ago. He rode a wave of support for being the first Black President. He rode the hope and change wave. After four years of, well, being underwhelmed, I suspect that wave has diminished. Romney also can expect a slightly smaller wave due to his religion. Romney's positions during this campaign do not resemble how he governed as Governor of Mass. This campaign has been about pandering to the far right, not about telling people what he would really do as President. In that regard, he's done about as good as can be expected. He took a party that now tilts so far right, yet won the nomination even with a moderate's record. But his Mormonism will turn off some voters. But with nowhere else to go, I don't think it will be many. A few, yes. But I doubt historians will say that Romney lost because he was Mormon and Christians didn't vote for him because of that.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

"Does anyone on this board think that romney's religious beliefs will be a factor during this election?"

Yes. I won't vote for a Mormon.

Kate Rogge 5 years, 7 months ago

An evangelical friend of mine will not vote for Romney because 'he is not a Christian."

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 7 months ago

"I find it reprehensible that more and more the cruelty of ignorance is becoming the guiding principle of many politicians in this country." Lizz Winstead

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, Obama's performance was very disappointing, but primarily because he chose not to challenge Romney on his latest round of flip-flopping and outright lies.

"they are now accusing Romney of lying."

The fact that he was lying makes that accusation an easy one to make.

That's not to say that Obama satisfactorily addressed any of the most pressing issues we face. But the only thing we can count on for certain in this election is that if Romney wins, we'll be crowning the King of the Plutocrats, not inaugurating a president.

SnakeFist 5 years, 7 months ago

"President Obama's debate performance Wednesday night is unequivocally the worst I have ever witnessed in my lifetime."

Then you didn't see Bush's debate performance's in 2004.

Armstrong 5 years, 7 months ago

I thought it hilariouos watching Barry tell us the debate Mitt was not the real Mitt. Unfortunately for Barry - the debate Barry was the real deal.

beatrice 5 years, 7 months ago

Romney's performance was better than Obama's. However, the biggest thing people are still talking about is that Romney said he would take out Big Bird. Parents, particularly mothers, really like PBS and Sesame Street. I believe Romney lost votes amoung undecided voters because of that one comment. So in the end, I'm not sure Romney can really be called the winner if he ends of losing support at the end.

Obama got bin Laden ... Romney will get Big Bird.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 7 months ago

The yell of "Get Bin Laden" was the war cry of the right for years. If I can get accused of sour grapes over the debate, I can certainly say the same of you over Bin Laden. Your only real problem with it is that it was Obama that did it and not Bush.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 7 months ago

In the current regime's rush to spike the football over bin Laden, they burned some of the intelligence sources that were necessary for that mission. They bragged about the intelligence captured in the raid and tipped off AQ which networks were no longer secure. They botched it about as badly as they possibly could have. Amateurs....

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 7 months ago

Ever hear the phrase "Give 'em enough rope"? I think this was Obama's strategy. Allow Moderate Mitt to dime out Right Wing Romney. Or vice versa. I can't keep their positions straight.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 7 months ago

Looking like he'd spent all his time playing golf for the last 4 years was Plan A? Can't wait to see what Plan B is like!

Mike Ford 5 years, 7 months ago

wow, what a simpleton love fest this is....when a liar lies stand back, smile and watch romney... at the rate he was going his nose should've grown beyond jim lehrer's moderator is watching a chameleon lier lie considered losing a debate? furthermore.....romney is insulting all of you conservatives by disgracing the origins of trickle down know ronald reagan and david stockman....wait...none of you study history do you? oh and will any of you tea party purists support a flavor changing guy that came out in favor of regulation and national health care the other night like a massachusetts moderate rino....obama led romney into outing himself as a moderate like a vampire walking into light....better get back into the bubble of denial....

SnakeFist 5 years, 7 months ago

Those who deny or rationalize Romney's win are fooling themselves.

But those who think Obama isn't smart, can't speak without a teleprompter, and won't show up better prepared and more energized for the second debate, are equally fooling themselves.

Romney was at his best and Obama was at his worst in the first debate. I think that will be flipped in the second debate. So gloat while you can, it will be our turn soon.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 7 months ago

Romney clearly won, but I think made some grave errors in his win. I also agree that Obama now has license to come out swinging. We shall see.

Mike Ford 5 years, 7 months ago

those who deny the whirling dervish nature of romney's fact base are fooling themselves... right snakefist....whatever that is.....

SnakeFist 5 years, 7 months ago

That's the nature of modern politics. It sucks, but its the norm - and "Etch-A-Sketch" Romney is known for it - so Obama should have been prepared for it. Don't blame Romney for flip-flopping, blame Obama for not calling Romney out. The problem is simply this: Romney will do the same thing in the remaining debates, and complaining about it after the fact won't win the election for Obama.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 7 months ago

Gosh, ya convinced me with that air-tight argument (rolls eyes...)

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 7 months ago

Moderate Mitt showed up at the debate and said a lot of things that must have rankled Right-Wing Romney. MM would not cut taxes on the rich, would not impose a deficit exploding $5 trillion tax cut, and is for provisons of Obamacare that deal with pre existing conditions and age 26 parental insurance.

RWR must be seething.

booyalab 5 years, 7 months ago

If it makes Obama supporters feel better, incumbents usually do poorly in debates. Of course, then you'll have to admit that he's human and imperfect like other presidents.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Most folks who support Obama are completely aware of that, and acknowledge it.

It's the folks against him that use any sign of humanity or imperfection to attack him.

booyalab 5 years, 7 months ago

Maybe you could point out to me where Obama supporters were saying "oh, he didn't do so well because incumbents normally don't do well and he's only human". What I saw ranged from shocked outrage from Matthews "What happened to Obama?!" to Gore blaming the high altitude in Denver for Obama's performance. The MSM consensus was that they fully expected Obama to be much better than every other incumbent. Also, all you have to do is look objectively at the viewpoints currently represented in the nation to see that there are two basic political views: people who think Obama is some kind of messianic figure and those who are frankly disgusted by the first type. (and no, the second type is not necessarily going to vote for Romney)

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Many liberals on here have commented that Obama didn't do well - have you missed those comments?

I completely disagree with your characterization of those viewpoints - in my experience, many Obama supporters (including myself) simply feel he is the better of the two choices.

Idealization of political candidates is also clearly not limited to one side or the other of the political spectrum - many people feel a need to idealize them, and ignore their flaws.

Mike Ford 5 years, 7 months ago

Obama supporters are smart enough to know that one debate doesn't make an election....but a bunch of lies and sidney adelson money does.... some people have such an inferiority complex that any sign of light gives them cheer....romney and kc chiefs supporters.....what's the difference?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.