Debate reverses roles

Republican Mitt Romney is acting like a challenger who feels he has enough momentum and time to overtake the president by Election Day, two weeks from now. Judging from Monday's final debate,
Associated Press
Oct 23, 2012

 

President Barack Obama almost seems to agree.

Obama was clearly the more aggressive combatant in the 90-minute forum, whacking Romney's personal investment record, truthfulness and overseas fundraising. Romney, meantime, went out of his way to blunt his differences with the president on several key foreign policy matters — supposedly the debate's focus — and to appear calm, moderate and non-threatening.

Romney's approach was one typically taken by front-runners: First, do no harm. Don't stir the pot. Keep the clock running.

Obama's forcefulness appeared chiefly aimed at discouraged Democrats who might not bother voting, rather than at the sliver of undecided voters in the handful of states still in play. Romney is not the benign, acceptable alternative he claims to be, Obama seemed to be saying, and I, your president, am finally willing to fight tooth and nail for a second term after sleepwalking through the first debate, which triggered Romney's rise in the polls.

"It's all get-out-the-vote now," said Matt Bennett, a veteran of Democratic campaigns. "If you're undecided now, you ain't voting."

"Obama will win the debate on points," Bennett said, "but it won't matter much."

A number of other Democrats shared that view. Interest in the third and final debate probably suffered, they said, from voter fatigue, competition from televised football and baseball games, and the official topic — foreign policy — in a campaign dominated by jobs and the economy.

These Democrats, however, don't necessarily think Obama will lose. Some feel Romney took a big gamble by being so tame in the final face-to-face encounter.

Obama still holds a slight edge in Ohio in most independent polls. It's the state that can almost seal the president's re-election if he holds it, because it would force Romney to sweep virtually every other contested state, including tough Wisconsin.

Romney's stay-the-course demeanor Monday points to confidence that his slight rise in the polls will continue, even if only a smidgen of voters are truly undecided. Democrats note that many thousands of people are already voting through early balloting programs in key states.

The election's outcome may turn on whether Obama's get-out-the-vote ground troops can outrun Romney's momentum. Polls show Romney doing considerably better among likely voters, as opposed to registered voters. That gives Obama's volunteers a chance to hunt down thousands of "soft supporters," and persuade them to get to a polling place.

From the debate's opening minutes, Romney showed no appetite for verbal fisticuffs. Moderator Bob Schieffer invited the former Massachusetts governor to critique Obama's handling of the fatal attack on a U.S. Consulate in Libya, a topic Romney had fumbled in the second debate, six days ago.

Romney showed no interest. Instead, he congratulated the president on the killing of Osama bin Laden, hoping to negate an Obama strong point as quickly as possible.

Throughout the evening, Romney continued a recent trend of moderating his foreign policy positions. He seemed bent on presenting himself as a sound commander in chief, even if it required him to narrow his differences with the president.

Romney offered unusual praise for Obama's war efforts in Afghanistan, declaring the 2010 surge of 33,000 U.S. troops a success and asserting that efforts to train Afghan security forces are on track to enable the U.S. and its allies to put the Afghans fully in charge of security by the end of 2014.

Romney said U.S. forces should complete their withdrawal on that schedule. Previously he has criticized the setting of a specific withdrawal date.

And on Iran, Romney mollified his previous criticism of Obama's sanctions policy. He stressed that resorting to war to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon would be a last option, softening the hawkish tone that had been a hallmark of his campaign.

Longtime GOP strategist Terry Holt defended Romney's soft touch.

"His first goal is to appear presidential," Holt said. "This is not a grand jury where all he has to do is indict. People are looking to him for presidential qualities. Cool, calm and clear."

Obama, by contrast, looked for every chance to criticize Romney on as many topics as possible.

"Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s," Obama said.

He chided Romney for having said Russia was America's greatest geopolitical foe. "The Cold War's been over for 20 years," Obama said.

"Presidents always have an advantage when debating foreign policy," said Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak. "Romney did well enough tonight to maintain his momentum and win this race."

Obama has 14 days to stop that momentum. He plunges in immediately Tuesday with events in Delray Beach, Fla., and Dayton, Ohio. On Wednesday and Thursday the president plans to campaign in Iowa, Colorado, California, Nevada, Florida, Virginia and Ohio.

Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, on Tuesday were headed to Nevada and Colorado. Romney planned to campaign Wednesday in Nevada and Iowa, and Thursday and Friday in Ohio.

Neither ticket can afford to write off the other competitive states. But Ohio seems destined to be the testing ground of whether Obama's tiny lead and big ground operation can hold off Romney's October momentum.

Comments

eriemom

I watched the gender gapped reaction lines during the debate. It was distracting at times, but also telling. Many studies have shown that women are better at "reading" facial and body language than men are. Mr. Romney studied well. He did everything he was taught to do, or not do, in some cases.

Gentlemen: We don't trust him. It is not so much what he says. It is not even the way that he explains his plans or his position on the issues. It is that what we see does not match up.

KnuckleDragger

Either you are wrong, or the polls are wrong. The one I read today has Romney gaining in the area of women, especially ones who are married. Single women can't see past one issue; abortion. The facts are the facts, women are doing worse under Obama than they did under Bush.

John Harville

Filling his binders?

KnuckleDragger

Take a look at the unemployment rate among women, the pay of women, heck look at what Obama is paying the women in his cabinet (less than the men). Maybe, then you can figure it out.

KURTje

It is right or wrong...many times that is E-Z to discern. All ya godda do is vote.

Home Boy

WE?? WE? Speak for your self eiremom. What I, ya that's I, not 'we' don't trust is another four years of what our (ya, our)president has given us. And don't come back with the blame game. "We" are tired of that BS. Just look at the record....unemployment, deficit, debt, food stamps, and the Middle East. the record speaks for itself. Talk about trust!

deertracker

You have to ask how we got here. It's only the blame game if it were not true. We are tired of the cons not owning up to the mess they created. During any recession there's going to be increased unemployment, gov't assistance, debt, etc. You can not blame all of this on the President just because you choose to ignore facts. What about the middle east? Our goal is to take care of home first. Those people don't even like America so what is your point? While you are looking at records, look at all the records not just those that you THINK support your point of view. Obama has done almost everything he said he was going to do. We are not sorry that he has not fixed your mess quick enough.Things are improving and will continue with a little help from all Americans. The cons talk a good game but everytime they are in charge things get worse.

Riskkbreaker

Over the past 110 years, the Democrats have had control of congress for upwards of 80% of the time, and half of the presidencies (not to mention the way that the school system and Hollywood have continually fed us the Left Wing paradigm for decades now).
Who really caused this mess? http://www.commentarymagazine.co... Read all the way through..Bush versus Obama.

Due to Americans being tired of the war, the Dems got control of Congress again in 2006 and held it until 2010.
They also won the presidency in 2008 on, again, mostly anti-war sentiment (even though they voted to fund those wars and their candidate has done a 180 degree spin on the wars, away from his campaign promises, after he got elected).

Clinton robbed the Social Security piggy bank, so he didn't actually balance anything. He also signed legislation that led to the housing crash..Bush tried to fix Fannie and Freddie but Democrats Dodd/Frank blocked him.
Granted, Republicans are not perfect, but how much of their mistakes are a result of what the Democrats have dumped on society?

And when are people going to realize that Democrats are the only party which has started a war against their own country (the Civil War) because they were enraged that Republicans were helping women and minorities to stand on their own two feet?
Does it seem, lately, like the Dems are are trying to brew up another Civil War?

eriemom

Are you kidding me? That is the story that they feed you in the south about the Civil War?

Riskkbreaker

I will copy paste a comment from someone else, who replied to the implication you just made. And I quote:

"Perhaps those who attribute “fight against slavery” as the cause of the Civil War are not as “simplistic” as indicated. A relationship is indicated in all 5 causes, so obviously they are not separate from slavery. It does seem central.

Free labor in the North (and) slave labor in the South. Major reason for nullification: maintain slavery.
Conflict over western lands: slavery.
Major reason South seceeded: slavery.
Reason Lincoln could not maintain union of states: slavery.
Production of cotton demanded: slavery.

It is more simplistic that so many in the South maintain that it was a fight over state’s rights as indeed it was: a fight by the South to maintain slavery."

Feel free to reply with something specific that refutes this.

the office cat

Who is 'someone else' since you seek 'something specific' in refutation.

Randy_Marsh

"Obama has done almost everything he said he was going to do" Except everthing he could blame Bush or anyone else for. The promise of cutting the deficit in half would be a good start to ask "WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING?"

John Harville

Ya! Hip to ya. Been round longer, tho and remember the same stuff in 84 when da saint was up for term two. duzya member ow dat cummed out?
14% mortgages and 18% car loans... and wut wuz dat iran-contra thing?

starryeyes83

Polls don't mean much... I like to play with the numbers as much as they do... and just for the fact they're bothering me. ;]

Contango

Pres. Obama is following much of Pres. Bush's foreign policy strategy and Gov. Romney said that he would essentially do the same.

Vote for "Obamney" - there's little difference.

BIN LADEN IS DEAD AND AL-QAEDA IS ALIVE IN LIBYA.

John Harville

Uh oh. We might agree. Even Romney says Obama has done/is doing a good job, congratulating him on bin Laden and other aspects of the President's performance.
Mitt must be worn out this morning after the long run Left to the Center and shakin' his Etchasketch with all his power. Of course Eddie Munster has to be scratchin' his head wonderin' what happened.

KnuckleDragger

Actually Romney's strategy in the last debate was pretty good. Remain calm, don't get to confrontational, and give Obama just enough rope to hang himself. He accomplished that in the third debate. Look at the fact checkers to see the number of times Obama lied versus Romney. The polls today show that what Romney did in the debate hasn't caused a drop in his support, in fact, the opposite in some polls. Keep on believin' Obama is gonna win, LOL.

HoMeMaKeR2005

team Barack Obama and just so you all know, I don't get any type of government assistance. I kno someone bound to say something about it, and no I get nothing. my husband works 70 hours a week :) anyways .... continue lol

rickross2

lol......Thats cute.

KnuckleDragger

Expect him to have to bump that up to 90hrs/week in the next 4 yrs under Obama. If Obama keeps spending and printing money like a drunken sailor the dollar will decrease in value to the point where inflation is inevitable. He will have to work 90hrs/wk just to put food on the table. Have fun with that, I'm sure your husband will be happy about it.

deertracker

Good for you Homemaker! The cons want to say if you support Obama you must be on welfare. That's just ridiculous. Firts, they were the only ones that believe in God, then they are the so called protectors of America...9/11 disproved that, now they are the sole engine that America runs on. Noise is all it really is. If your husband has to work 70 hrs. to make ends meet it is still better than just taking a handout and I applaud him for it. Real Americans do what they have to and don't whine about it.

HoMeMaKeR2005

Thank for understanding deertracker. guess there is just SOME people that take it out of context :)

John Harville

HoMe and the Deer: Since the husband is working 70 hrs/week, if it should be come necessary through layoff or accident or illness (God forbid on all three) to utilize 'assistance' it certainly would not be a 'handout' since he has been paying 'insurance' against such incidents in the form of payroll taxes - which means he and his family are 'entitled' to any assistance to which they might have to resort.
I am really so dismayed at people who deride others less fortunate who have to resort to 'assistance' because hard times have prevailed.
May God save all such people from personal awareness and experience of difficult times. And... thank God it's there for people who need it.

Riskkbreaker

That is not what we are saying and I think you know that.
We are saying that the very fact that people are in a situation where they do need it, is the problem that needs fixing.

We are also concerned that this need is growing at an alarming rate under our current President and, instead of fixing it, he makes it even worse and THEN misleads the country into believing that this was all inevitable.
THAT is what Romney is referring to when he says "I can't convince them." He feels that, under this President, they won't be convinced that there is another way.

And yes, there are people out there who also cannot be convinced that they should provide for themselves. There ARE people who believe that the world is 100% unfair and that the rich are evil and that the rich should take care of them. And they believe this as a matter of principle. Not the whole 47%, mind you (and probably not even half of the 47% thing). You CAN find these people around the internet, tho.

How narrow it is to ignore the problem (specifically, that elements within the Democrat party which are using the Cloward-Piven strategy to collapse the aid programs) and, instead of focusing on the solution, start chanting demagoguery.

I

HoMeMaKeR, here's a newsflash for you: You're supposed to support yourself without any type of government assistance. Doing so does not make you special.

John Harville

Eye. Really...'without any type of government assistance'? Is that your FINAL answer? Because if it is, then I want you to go in your house (assuming you own it free and clear and don't give money to somebody else to maintain it), lock the door and don't come out. If somebody tries to break in, don't you DARE call the police cuz I don't want you using any gubment assitance paid by my tax dollars. Same is true if it catches fire... don't you call the Fire Department. And don't go drivin' on those streets and roads the rest of us help pay for so you can get to work to support yourself. If you got kids in public school, pull 'em out. My kids are long graduated and I don't want you embarrassed by sending yours to a school supported by people who own property and pay taxes to support those schools.
And I DO hope you own property so you are paying property tax and not just freeloading off the rest of us who pay property tax to help support all the services I just mentioned.
And while you're locked away in your house we keep safe, drop to your knees and thank good God Almighty you don't need food stamps or rent assistance, or drug cards. You're the luckiest person in this entire area and all you can do is belittle somebody else who's makin' it.

HoMeMaKeR2005

One, I'm not belittling anyone. as deertracker has stated there's a lot of people out there stating that if you vote for Obama you must be on welfare. we are not. I would rather it go to people that really need it. such of an example would be the people that are losing jobs that have families to take care of. you pay taxes?? geez who knew? Get real John, everyone that works and lives in this city pays them, unless they are working illegally (under the table). doesn't make you special. I don't look down on people who receive assistance, hey you got to do what you have to do to survive. glad our tax dollars are going to someone who NEEDS it and not just someone who wants it. :) don't be so hateful, hate consumes you. have a blessed day John!

John Harville

I am being 'real'. Everyone that lives in this city is not paying taxes. But that doesn't matter.
My point remains that 'I' and others fail to realize that none of us lives here without taking some form of direct or indirect 'assistance'. Only certain people pay property tax - because they are able to own property. Only certain people pay local income taxes because they work - you can't pay taxes for 'living' here because there is nothing to tax. You can't pay payroll taxes if you don't have a payroll
But you can send your children to school here. You can drive on the streets and walk on the sidewalks. You do get the same fire and police protection. All those are forms of 'assistance'. They don't just 'happen'.
Note. My original comment with which you took issue was a response to 'I'.
Godspeed. May you be blessed with the power to discern.

HoMeMaKeR2005

I, never said I was special. again, totally took my posting the wrong way. deertracker knew exactly where I was coming from... don't be so negative :)

John Harville

But you felt it necessary to point out you support Obama and don't take any assistance - assuming you meant government assistance (food stamps, etc.) - because a minute group of posters make broad-sweeping generalizations.
You obviously are blessed. You are able to stay home and care for your family because your husband works 70 hours a week. You are able to avoid the hassles of shopping at Goodwill and similar locations to clothe your family. Through your own diligence you are able to feed your family without relying on any of the non-government assistance agencies and food pantries. I applaud you.
But I also applaud women who have to work to feed their families and sometimes need assistance.. Women like Jane. Her husband Dan brought home a high-end five-figure income by working two jobs. They had a nice house with a manageable mortgage, four children younger than 14 at home and one in the first year of college. Life was still a challenge but they were making it work.
Jane's phone rang one day. Dan was in the ER. He spent four months in a nursing home before he died one night in his sleep of a massive heart attack.

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