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.



Sorry, your highness but you believe in lies and chase red herrings.


Somehow you double posted and my answer to this, Well whatever this is, Is at the bottom of this page.

the office cat

Yeah... it was one of us who texted about Obama's "shuck and jive schtik" - a loudly racist and ethnic comment.


@ the office cat:

Yea, and Mr. Obama (or Joe Biden) has never gone into a black dialect on the campaign trail has he?

And he's never fueled racial hatred has he?

the office cat

Show me... and don't try to use that youtube as your proof.

Oh. sorry. it's time to quit work at my non-government job... wish I had a job.


@ the office cat:

It's a just a straight video if you'd bother to click on. I've have looked at your opinionated propaganda - this is no such thing.

Yea right; never try to use any "facts" as proof when trying to convince an Obamasheeple that his Messiah is a fraud.

the office cat

Really Con? So why is the Sandusky County Rep Chair predicting a Romney landslide in his 2-1 Republican county?


@ the office cat:

Don't give up hope. Believe in your Messiah.

the office cat

Believe in Jesus? Oh yes! But Jesus (who, unlike the Mormons, I also believe is God and Spirit in ONE) doesn't partake in elections or their outcomes...
but comes forth when we exercise our free will and get ourselves into trouble as a result of elections to support us in trying to clean up the mess through Grace.
Unlike Mitt Romney, Barach Obama doesn't believe he is a god (Mormon Doctrine: As Man is God was. As God is Man may become.) He merely seeks the help of the Messiah ("I have often gone to my knees") to do what is right and good. Has Mitt EVER mentioned God or Jesus (who BTW Brigham Young stated Jesus was conceived the same way as you and I, IS God's flesh and blood - and not the Spirit's - and therefore is a separate being).
So, yes, I will rely on our Messiah to be here to help when the president is re-elected or when America takes another trip off a Bush cliff.
Thank you for asking.
...and now we all await your attack.


@ the office cat:

So you don't believe that if JC were alive that he woulda been a Dem?

Yea, the LDS have a lot of 'interesting' beliefs, not unlike the entire mishegas of Judeo-Christian mythology.

So anyways, just have faith in your 'political' Messiah. He came here from Kenya, Hawaii or maybe another galaxy in order to tend his flock of faithful sheeple.


You are correct on Mormon doctrine and everything else.


Somebody like a DNC bot should research by googling Jamie Gorelick and the Clinton Wall. Then one can truly see why intelligence wasn't comparing notes prior to 911!!!! Office cat a truly remarkable DNC bot in the Rham Emmanuel tradition.

Darwin's choice

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal information.

the office cat

Darwin... someday, right after Obama wins, I'm going to demonstrate how wrong you can be and how far off from reality your posts and opinions are. And then you weep.

Darwin's choice

Is this a threat cat? Not on your best day............

Darwin's choice

Remember that is the day you should vote Darwin in 87days


@ MHL:

Regarding the attack at Benghazi: Pres. Obama is either incompetent or is lying; which is it?

Check out or

Anything to do with Benghazi is over one month old.

What's the "official" WH story today?



MHL writes:

"It sounds to me like the anti-Obama crowd favors Al Queda over Obama ."

"Al Queda"? Is that some kind of Italian cuisine?

If so, Yes, I probably would prefer it over Mr. Obama.


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

the office cat

Just heard an action - in its infancy - is underway to bring suit against Sarah and The Register for bias and discrimination. Just sayin'


So im free to sue Huff ington for bias now? Awesome!!

the office cat

Marsh... not for bias... unless it's disproportinately applied to some while allowing the same actions to continue by others. For example, for months posters here have been saying - without Moderator action - that I post from my 'government job'. Though it's not true - which makes it libel - it is personal and perhaps identifying information and an effort at intimidation.

If you look closely, you will notice a plethora of 'removals' of certain persons for far less serious infractions than others who remain.

Bias? No. Slander and libel? Yes.

There is another publishing company in Ohio that - because of the virulence in 2008 - was forced to remove its blogs and instead insist commentors post through FB using their real names.

So. The standard is set. There also have been two successful lawsuits in Ohio forcing publishing companies to release personal information about persons posting in order for those individuals to be sued.

So Be It.


Re-read your post. "Just heard an action - in its infancy - is underway to bring suit against Sarah and The Register for bias and discrimination."
In between the words "For" and "And" there is a word that looks an aweful lot like "Bias" but i may be mistaken.

the office cat

@Marsh/... read again the response. "...unless it is disproportionally applied..."
Liability for bias attaches when the publication is given an opportunity to correct (or in this case, remove) the article or item.


@ the office cat:

You, I and others are writing under pseudonyms.

To suggest that one can libel or practice discrimination against the writings of a pseudonym is absurd.

Man or woman up, take your deletions and move on.


If you're that bothered by it, why don't you do something about it? I assume you have a phone and you clearly have email, as do (I also assume) the folks at the Register. You might be able to sue for that, but I'd think you would have to be able to prove that you actually tried to have that stuff removed. Also, I'd be interested in hearing which company was FORCED to use FB for comments (not blogs - these aren't blogs, let's stop calling them that). Furthermore, just because publishing companies have to release personal info to the police or laywers, that doesn't mean they have to let everyone have everyone else's info.

the office cat

Scoot. Have called. Proof of request for removal is copied along with everything else here. Check a couple of Gannett papers - especially one to the south. Who said they have to make everyone's info public?

the office cat

MARSH.. it's a wonder of our republic that you always are free to sue. Winning is another verse of the same song.


@ the office cat:

I wouldn't be surprised if people attempt to sue the SR all the time.

I'd like to see some loser pay legislation.

So, do you subscribe and help support these blogs financially?

Ever heard of the Federalist Papers? Pseudonyms - it's an old tradition.