Obama did so horrible in the first debate that he had nowhere to go but up and he did improve so at worst I would rate this debate as a push. But on the issue that is most important to voters, the economy, Romney nailed it every time tonight. Obama kept promising how he was going to move us forward or something and Romney reminded people that Obama has had 4 years and we have a pitiful recovery from a deep recession.
The best part of the debate happened after a response to a question about what Obama has done to earn 4 more years and read the transcript below for the question and Romney’s rebuttal to Obama’s rhetoric. The video clip of this portion should be run in advertisements from now until November 6th!
QUESTION: 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.
ROMNEY: I think you know better. I think you know that these last four years haven’t been so good as the president just described and that you don’t feel like your confident that the next four years are going to be much better either.
I can tell you that if you were to elect President Obama, you know what you’re going to get. You’re going to get a repeat of the last four years. We just can’t afford four more years like the last four years.
He said that by now we’d have unemployment at 5.4 percent. The difference between where it is and 5.4 percent is 9 million Americans without work.
I wasn’t the one that said 5.4 percent. This was the president’s plan. Didn’t get there.
He said he would have by now put forward a plan to reform Medicare and Social Security, because he pointed out they’re on the road to bankruptcy. He would reform them. He’d get that done. He hasn’t even made a proposal on either one.
He said in his first year he’d put out an immigration plan that would deal with our immigration challenges. Didn’t even file it.
This is a president who has not been able to do what he said he’d do. He said that he’d cut in half the deficit. He hasn’t done that either. In fact, he doubled it. He said that by now middle-income families would have a reduction in their health insurance premiums by $2,500 a year. It’s gone up by $2,500 a year. And if Obamacare is passed, or implemented — it’s already been passed — if it’s implemented fully, it’ll be another $2,500 on top.
The middle class is getting crushed under the policies of a president who has not understood what it takes to get the economy working again. He keeps saying, “Look, I’ve created 5 million jobs.” That’s after losing 5 million jobs. The entire record is such that the unemployment has not been reduced in this country. The unemployment, the number of people who are still looking for work, is still 23 million Americans.
There are more people in poverty, one out of six people in poverty.
How about food stamps? When he took office, 32 million people were on food stamps. Today, 47 million people are on food stamps. How about the growth of the economy? It’s growing more slowly this year than last year, and more slowly last year than the year before.
The president wants to do well. I understand. But the policies he’s put in place from Obamacare to Dodd-Frank to his tax policies to his regulatory policies, these policies combined have not let this economy take off and grow like it could have.
You might say, “Well, you got an example of one that worked better?” Yeah, in the Reagan recession where unemployment hit 10.8 percent, between that period — the end of that recession and the equivalent of time to today, Ronald Reagan’s recovery created twice as many jobs as this president’s recovery. Five million jobs doesn’t even keep up with our population growth. And the only reason the unemployment rate seems a little lower today is because of all the people that have dropped out of the workforce.
The president has tried, but his policies haven’t worked. He’s great as a — as a — as a speaker and describing his plans and his vision. That’s wonderful, except we have a record to look at. And that record shows he just hasn’t been able to cut the deficit, to put in place reforms for Medicare and Social Security to preserve them, to get us the rising incomes we need. Median income is down $4,300 a family and 23 million Americans out of work. That’s what this election is about. It’s about who can get the middle class in this country a bright and prosperous future and assure our kids the kind of hope and optimism they deserve.
The only part of the debate where I felt Romney made a severe stumble was on the last part of his response to the Benghazi question.
ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.
Obama actually did use the phrase “act of terror” to describe the Benghazi attacks during his statements in the Rose garden the day after. It came in paragraph 10 of the transcript:
“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.”
It should also be noted that from paragraph 4 of the transcript from the Rose Garden, Obama made reference to the video.
“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.”
So Romney got that detail wrong and I think he should have focused on Team Obama pushing the video for days after the attack, even though they knew it was a planned terror attack. He’ll have to walk this back over the coming days and refocus the discussion on what actually happened. This is a softball that should be hit out of the park and Romney can’t afford another misstep on such a damaging issue for Obama.
It was a push and the debate performances won’t move the needle on the polls in favor of Obama. We have one more to go and as long as Romney delivers like he did tonight, Obama will not be able to recover from his disastrous performance in the first debate.