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

shucks

Romney is a parrot and a puppet ( like Bush) of the GOP.

thinkagain

I thought the whiner in chief sounded like a clueless moron, spewing lies in a desperate bid to convince what can only be described as the ignorant.

The Big Dog's back

Neverthinks, if the debate would have lasted another 30 minutes, rmoney would have endorsed Obama.

OMG.LOL.WT_

Want a Better Economy? History Says Vote Democrat!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/adam...

The Big Dog's back

Did you see where rmoney is ruining Halloween for the kids in Defiance? They had to cancel it because rmoney is coming to town.

Randy_Marsh

Maybe the kids parents will outsource the trick or treating, I know those in huron, Castalia,Monroeville, Bellevue and the rest of the surrounding towns do not have a problem with going to sandusky to get the loot. Alot like Outsourcing jobs, The government taxes the jobs to death so they move to greener pastures. You should approve of running off trick or treaters god knows you approve of the government taxing and pestering our jobs till they finally leave.

OMG.LOL.WT_

If The World Picked U.S. President, Election Would Be A Blowout
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-...

Romney would take Pakistan. HaHaHa

shucks

Hey Repubs !

Take a hint.

shucks

'

Randy_Marsh

Maybe you Dems should move then? The rest of the world loves Obama supporters, Especially libya i hear.

coasterfan

4 Shizzle, love ya! You are 100% correct.

Loved last night's debate. Obama got to play the wise adult, continually putting child Romney in his place. Mitt's complete lack of experience and lack of understanding with Foreign Policy came across loud and clear. Romney looked unhappy and out of sorts all night, while Obama looked in control and Presidential. CNN reader polls had more than 70% giving Obama the win. I was surprised that it was that close...

mikel

cnn = clinton news network. one of the hardest left leaning tv networks around.

coasterfan

And now Romney has to get middle class Ohioans to somehow believe that he cares about them, in spite of numerous comments he has made throughout the past year that speak otherwise. He has to somehow get Ohioans to forget that it was his Party that screwed up the economy, and get us to ignore the obvious fact that his economic plan is a carbon copy of Bush's. He has to somehow get Ohioans to ignore the fact that unemployment continues to drop in Ohio.

Frankly, we don't need someone telling us things are getting worse, when it's obvious that the exact opposite is happening. I paid $3.19 for gas in Fremont today. Forward...

Today's debate is brought to you by the Letter B.... Big Bird, Binders, Bayonets and Battleships

sanduskysteve

Unfortunately, we can't count our chickens just yet - just heard t hat the Romney family owns the company that owns the voting machines used in Ohio this year. What a crock is that??? I would call this a HUGE conflict of interest. Actually they are investors in that company - not really own it.

Riskkbreaker

I also heard that George Soros owns the company in Paris which will be counting the votes in alot of Democrat-run states.

This man is a known socialist and STILL considered to be an economic terrorist by a number of Asian countries.

sanduskysteve

And this matters how exactly? George Soros isn't running for the office being voted on by his own machines. What would you republicans be saying if Obama's relatives owned any of the voting machines??? OMG I can't imagine what a mess that would create. Come-on - you are typical of the GOP - can't argue the point, change the subject.

Darwin's choice

For coasterfan and big dog..............how about the "liar in chief" ??? "White House told of militant claim two hours after Libya attack, emails show" read on msn!!!!

the office cat

'Claim' being the operative word. Read on... three such groups have 'claiimed' responsibilities. So we should give them publicity before we know anything?

2cents

Missing all the fun here :(
I spent the day in MI at an auto components trade show. It was funny how there was nobody looking at the electric vehicle component booths.
Obama bust!

Just observing!

the office cat

Really? When I was there several people were gathered around those 'components', asking questions and taking cards. Guess we were there at different times. Of course I was there after the Biden rally.

Mr. D

Hmmm. . . Romney made a life of buying companies, breaking them apart, selling off the bits and pieces, shipping jobs to china, causing massive unemployment here, was a major player in causing a terrible recession, destroyed lives and families by his actions. . . And now the guy who helped ravage America wants us to trust him to fix it???
Isn't that kind of like having the guy raped the wife and daughter and sodomized the husband be in charge of their counseling, therapy and recovery??? Just don't see it!

the office cat

But Romney's rapes were 'intelligent' rapes. Obviously, because we are recovering in spite of him.
And as the Indiana GOP senate candidate told us last night "a child conceived in the horrible action of rape was God's intention". Maybe it will be comforting to the folks in Freeport, IL who are having their factory moved to China by Bain - in which Romney has $8.8 milliion interest.

sanduskysteve

Romney was also a huge investor in Delphi - which benefited from the bail-outs and then moved to China.

the office cat

...and took management pensions with them and left the pensioners behind to demonstrate against Obama.

mikel

it is unfortunate that prezo never held a real job before having the senate seat given to him. otherwise one might be able to look at his work record but it is kinda hard to evaluate the work record when one doesn't have one.

sanduskysteve

What? I can't believe it - another - don't like the question? Change the subject. The point is that Romney actually MADE millions of YOUR taxpayer money in that Auto Bailout - has he returned any of that???? And by the way - if Romney arranged to move those plants to China - what makes you think he really is against this practice as he has been claiming for the past year? He isn't, and everyday another new bit of information comes out - I'm just shocked that Obama isn't killing him on these things - at least these are things that hit home - even in Sandusky - but no one cares about anything at all - other than getting O out of the WH - which is really a poor reason to vote for the bad guy - isn't it?

Oh, and by the way - just because it's true - let me add that the Mitt Romney bobble-head dolls - are made in factory in China which Ann Romney's brother owns. Hmmmm. We are going to get hard on China???? Not with a chinaman like Romney in the WH!!! Guaranteed on that. Didn't you know the Republicans love China? They can start false wars over fake information to get all of the country behind it and just let China finance it. Then when the bills start coming due - we'll just blame the new guy in the WH.

Someone said here that Democrats are only elected in order to show that we are tired of some war. Don't you think after all of this time (if that is really true), that the Republicans would wake up and realize THIS COUNTRY DOESN'T LIKE WAR??? It's costly and everytime there is a war - YES we elect a democrat! Democrats know how to stay out of wars and fix the mess created by a war!! Something in that makes a whole lot of sense.

Darwin's choice

Maybe this is the "real" obama you place so high on the pedastal......http://youtu.be/-jrEc7bTy4E..

Mr. D

@Darwin. . . Kind of doubt it. . . Looks more like one of whacked out political ads by the teatards. . .

2cents

If you want to pick on anyone about China, you may want to start here.

http://world.hawaiinewsdaily.com...

Just saying!

shucks

An American corporation selling products from China, so?

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