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.



@ John Harville:

And "bridge loans" wouldn't have worked why?

A bridge loan was done for Chrysler under Pres. Carter.

The govt. has been doin' bail outs since before AmTrak. It continues to lose more than $1B annually.

So you bought a new GM vehicle and put your money where your mouth is?


The latest Gallup Presidential Poll has shown Republican Mitt Romney with a large seven percentage point lead, the largest lead for Romney of any recent national poll.

John Harville

The Gallup I read - and the Rasmussen - from today was only at 5% with Obama still holding sway in Ohio. Fivethirtyeight - the only correct poll in 08 - has Obama with 293-243 in the Electoral college.
Prediction: In a reversal of 2000, Romney will win the popular vote and Obama will win the Electoral College.
Then Republicans finally will be ready to get rid of the College and let the people decide.


@ John Harville:

We'll all know on the morning of Nov. 7.

The Electoral College insures that the smaller states get a vote in the process.

Eliminating it would result in a Constitutional crisis.

Your lack of knowledge regarding politics shows why you're an extremist Choom Gang member.


Good luck with that. It would take a Constitutional Amendment to get rid of the Electoral method of choosing the President. This would require ratification by at least 38 states. There aren't 38 blue states in the US. In fact the last maps I viewed had it between 18-20 states that are blue, and some of those are iffy. In other words, not gonna happen!

the office cat

Right, Knuckle... but you missed the point. If Rmoney wins the popular and Barry takes the Electoral AND the White House, the GOP will be clamoring for an end to the EC.


Romney seemed to be the more presidential of the two. With Obama attempting to mock Romney, as he does on the campaign trail and in his ads, the prez is following his game plan outlined in Saul Alinsky's book "Rules for Radicals". Rule #5: Ridicule your opponent. America is ready to get rid of the radical in the White House!

John Harville

Do you have your television set to delete-before-seen the negative ads against Obama, Brown, and others?
Obama got ground game.
Obama got Ohio and Romney can't get Wisconsin.


I wonder if Romney stumped in Marion, IN.

Did he have a binder full then? ;]


ohhh this can't be!! prezo is a hero and has the economy running at 100% employment and everyone's pockets are flush with cash right? tell me i am right.....bahahahaha. blind bast...'s.

"12:01PM EDT October 23. 2012 - NEW YORK -- Stocks were trading sharply lower Tuesday after a new batch of weak earnings reports from major U.S.
companies reinforced fears that the economy remains fragile.

The Dow Jones industrial average was 1.8% lower and the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 1.6% as the lunch hour approached.

The Dow had been down more than 250 points lower at one point. The Nasdaq composite index was off 1% in midday trading.

A trend that started off the quarterly earnings reporting season continues: investor disappointment about weakness in sales and revenues, signaling a lack of demand for goods and services."

John Harville

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights) and Personal information.

John Harville

Yep. I called out the Moderator and they dumped it. But I see "bast...'s" remains.


temper..temper. must be your nap time!

John Harville

and yet... "Even with the sharp declines, all three indexes are still up between 7% and 14% this year" - CNN (see, I give a source for my posts - something Mikel just can't seem to do).


give it time johnny boyyyy.


really johnny. playing this again? usa today.

the office cat

Mikel... what does it mean if, at 2:05 p.m., all the exchanges are UP?


nothing if, at the end of the day they are down. duh, duh, duh, duhhhhhh.


In layman's terms, this means manufacturing layoffs are right around the corner. Rest assured, the Obama administration and the MSM will squash any reporting about layoffs until after the election. Hold on to your seats folks, double dip is on its way.

The Big Dog's back

mikel, do you have romnesia?


@ John Harville:

Mr. Bernanke has used quantitative easing (money printing) with the idea of inflating asset prices like stocks and commodities.

Thank the Fed for keeping this economy (so far) on life support, not the Choomie in the WH.

All the major central banks; the BOJ, the ECB and the Fed are printing, printing, printing.


WHEN IS Obama going to pay up? He owes Sandusky Money too!

Subject: Interesting article in today's Akron Beacon Journal

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Interesting article in today's Akron Beacon Journal

Ohio is a key battleground state and all of the candidates have campaigned here during the past months.

Biden had a rally in Copley in August, Obama had a rally in Fairlawn in Sept, and Romney had a rally in Cuyahoga Falls just last week... these 3 communities are all within a 5 mile radius of Akron.

The cost of the Biden rally was $10,549 and Copley sent a bill to the "Obama for America" campaign but never received a penny.

The cost of the Obama visit was $34,166 and Fairlawn sent a bill to the Obama campaign but has never been paid either... this cost excludes a $21,304 additional cost for the Akron convention center which the Democratic Mayor of Akron donated for the "privilige of hosting a sitting president."

Romney's campaign visit ? They contacted Cuyahoga Falls in advance, organized the plan, and promised to pay any extra expenses the city would incur. The city sent them a bill for $7,050 and the Romney campaign promptly paid it in full.

Quoting the Mayor of Cuyahoga Falls, "I think it's self-evident who is accountable for their deeds and who isn't, who's accountable for their actions and who keeps blaming everyone else."

Indeed, there's a stark contrast between these candidates.
WHEN IS Obama going to pay up? He owes Sandusky Money too!


that is the difference between repubs and dems. repubs pay for their own and the dems think everybody but themselves should pay for the most entitlement monies ever handed out is by prezo himself.


Republicans borrow, Dems pay.
That's why Repubs hate taxes.


this is one of the dumbest posts ever!! what do you think your boy prezo is doing? you think he is paying the bills? why don't you check and see just how much he has borrowed from china to pay for his misgivings!


I suppose my post wasn't very clear.
Repubs send their debt forward to somebody else in the future, while in the present, spend like drunken sailors.
An unfunded war in Iraq and Afganistan?
Repubs always leave the USA in a financial mess.


and, just who do you think is going to pay for the mess prezo got us into right now? our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren etc. get the pic?


Thank your GOP for the debt.
The elephant symbolizing the Republican Party is correct.
After an elephant goes through, it takes a long time to clean up after it.
The Repubs left a big debt for Obama to clean up.
If you think Romney and Ryan are the better choice-- seriously, you need help


omg..get off the gop left prezo a big mess. lawmakers by the names of obama, biden, clinton, reid, pelosi, kerry, rangel, all of whom are dems, voted in favor of bush budgets thereby making themselves culpable in any financial duress that obama inherited.

got my help and they said go romney!


Try getting some competent help and it won't come from Romney.