The first question was about jobs, and Obama framed the question as about the future direction of the country. Romney starts off with an immediate lie that he is not going to cut taxes on the rich, and launched into his stump speech five point plan that provides no details. Eight minutes into the debate, Romney’s main pitch was “trust me” on the economy. (Romney looks nervous and like he might throw up.) Romney then broke off a lie and said that he doesn’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. Romney then tried to paint himself as the candidate of the middle class, with the claim that middle income families are being crushed under Obama. Romney promises to drill on government land for oil and natural gas, and touts drill, baby drill. Romney sprinkled a little fairy dust and claimed that he isn’t raising taxes on the middle class. Obama hits Romney by telling the truth that Romney has been pushing a $5 trillion tax cut. Obama blasts Romney for not delivering specifics on what deductions and loopholes he would close.
It took less than 16 minutes for Romney lose his cool and interrupt the moderator. Romney followed up by contradicting his own running mate’s claim that Romney is going to cut taxes 20% across the board for all income earners. Obama brought Romney back to reality by telling him that his tax plan doesn’t add up. Obama touted cutting taxes 18 times, and cutting taxes for the 98%.
Obama hit Romney for defining millionaires and billionaires is small business. Mitt Romney delivered some highly deceiving statistics about small businesses. According to Washington Monthly the Romney/Republican definition includes, “Many of those 750,000 small businesses aren’t small at all. Some, like Bechtel Corporation, are positively enormous. The Democratic and Republican figures come from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation. But numerous think tanks and government organizations have examined the data and come to similar conclusions: First, that letting the Bush tax cuts on the top two brackets of “small-business” income would impact a tiny percentage of those businesses; and second, that many of the “small businesses” that would be impacted are actually giant companies — which explains why such a tiny fraction of them can account for half of small business income.”
The whole Romney strategy was based around voters trusting what he is saying. The problem for Mitt Romney is that a majority voters think he is lying. Romney is having a major problem in this debate. He keeps listing unpopular positions. It was shocking to hear Romney say that he would eliminate the subsidy to PBS. Romney told America that he has his own deficit cutting plan, but he won’t tell America what it is. Romney floated the bogus notion that a tax hike will kill jobs. Romney admitted that his plan is a pie in the sky idea that he is going to magically put people back to work in better paying jobs, and that will raise revenue for the government.
Obama turned the tables on Romney and switched the topic to corporate taxes and cutting the subsidies for Big Oil. Obama follows up by hammering Romney on Medicaid. Romney lied about where the oil subsidies go. $2.8 billion of the subsidies go the five biggest oil companies.
Later in the debate Romney repeated the BIG Obamacare lies that the federal government is going to take over healthcare, and that there is a board that is going to tell people what kind of treatments they can have. The Republican nightmares about Romney talking about Obamacare came true as Obama used Romneycare against him, and debunked Romney’s lies on Obamacare. Obama absolutely hammered Romney for not telling the American people the details of replacing Obamacare.
The president barreled through Romney on not giving specifics on anything. Obama called out Romney for having secret plans, and asked is Romney not telling the American people his details because his plans are too good? Romney tried to put on the Ronald Reagan suit, and claimed that he can’t give details because details won’t get things done. Romney proved Obama right by not listing any specifics, but by going into his one could do…schtick.
Romney needed a knockout here, but he didn’t say anything that would change anybody’s mind about him. Obama did show some rust in the first half of the debate, but really turned it on in the second half. Romney made many unforced errors like saying he would get rid of the subsidy for PBS. Romney also failed to deliver any specifics, and he couldn’t seem to decide whether he was a fact checker or an attack dog. Voters trust Obama more than Romney. Mitt Romney tried to put a dent in that tonight, but when a candidate who voters think is dishonest gets caught telling lies to the American people, it is a problem.
Romney’s whole strategy was put on display when he used his closing statement to lie, lie, and lie some more about President Obama. The factcheckers are going to have a ball checking Romney over the next day. Republicans are going to say that Romney won. Democrats are going to say that Obama won. Romney needed a clear consensus victory. It didn’t happen here.
As predicted, the mainstream media pundits are giving the debate to Romney. (These are the same people who thought McCain and Palin performed really well in their debates in 2008.)
Romney may have given his best performance tonight, but his best was not enough to beat Barack Obama. Romney is hoping that the American people are dumb enough to forget what he said yesterday and be fooled by his lies.
As Ed Schultz loses his mind on MSNBC and claims that Obama didn’t try to “win” the debate, the reality is that Romney gave the Obama people a treasure trove of lies to attack the Republican nominee with from now until the next debate. For Barack Obama this debate wasn’t about getting into some sort of ugly street fight. Voters like Obama exactly because he doesn’t do that. For Obama this debate was about who do you trust more?
Mitt Romney stood up and lied to the American people repeatedly. Obama is the trusted candidate with the vision. Romney is the challenger who had to be in chase mode because he is losing.
This debate wasn’t a game changer for Romney, despite what Republicans may think. His biggest problem is he is still Mitt Romney. While the media may give it to Romney, voters are still likely to stick with Obama.