Without using a single personal attack, Obama used Romney’s disastrous handling of his remarks on the Libya attack to bury the Republican nominee.
Here is the video from CBS News:
Obama told 60 Minutes that, “There’s a broader lesson to be learned here. And I think — you know, Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. And as president, one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that. That, you know, it’s important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts. And that you’ve thought through the ramifications before you make ‘em.”
When Steve Croft asked the president if Romney’s comments were irresponsible, he answered, “I’ll let the American people judge that.”
Obama never personally attacked Romney. He didn’t turn his remarks into a political gesture. All the president did was set up a simple contrast that highlighted his executive experience. Obama was able to portray Romney as inexperienced and not ready to be president without ever having to personally say a bad word about the Republican nominee.
The president’s point was a solid one. Before the leader of the country can rush to judgement he or she must have all the facts and information. The president’s words matter more than anyone else’s, so it is critical that presidents choose their words carefully and not go off fishing trips for political gain.
Mitt Romney proved today that he is not made of presidential stock. More important than what Romney said was the poor decision to make his remarks when he did. His behavior wasn’t presidential. He was a desperate candidate, not a potential Commander in Chief. There is no comparison between how he handled the situation, and the behavior of President Obama.
The president managed to reinforce the message that he is the experienced incumbent that voters can trust without wading into the kind of political pandering that is the hallmark of the Romney campaign. Obama reinforced what a lot of people were already thinking today. Mitt Romney’s behavior was not only unprofessional. It was unpresidential.
Since Mitt Romney has never led in the polls, it is impossible to say that he lost the election today. But this moment combined with many others has dug a hole for the Republican nominee that he may never be able to climb out of.
By offering a simple contrast in experience President Obama was able to remind America of the difference between a president and a pretender, and over the last 24 hours Mitt Romney may have cemented his legacy as one of the biggest pretenders in presidential election history.