After watching last night’s presidential debate I’m going to give the event a qualified draw, but Romney winning on points. Without a doubt, Barck Obama actually “showed up” tonight and offered a world view that was definitely in sync with his liberal Democratic base. He used class warfare numerous times throughout the debate, at one point saying that “the rich have all they need”. I would have loved to see Romney jump up and say, who the hell are you to decide what other people need? That being said, that’s what his people wanted – even needed – to hear, so let’s give him credit for that.
Romney, on the other hand, mercilessly pounded Obama on his administration’s economic record over the past four years, and it was interesting to see Obama not dispute Romney’s numbers, but rather attempt to pivot off in another direction. Not sure how that would play if you’re an unemployed, or underemployed, worker looking for work or more work. There was a pivotal point, I thought, where, just like Red State’s Erick Erickson, President Obama showed himself to be totally out of touch on economic issues:
The President tried to claim that the reason gas prices were so low in 2008 was because the economy was so bad. He actually wanted the audience to believe that the economy is going gangbusters now as a reason for $4.00 gasoline — a delusion the undecided voters clearly did not buy. His words — he said that gas prices were so low because of the economy, which clearly means he thinks it is so high now because of the recovery. What recovery? Romney hit him hard on this and the undecided voters reacted favorably to Romney. There is more room for Romney to hit Obama on the airwaves over gas prices.
…as an aside, one of these days I’d love to hear a presidential candidate say this: you talk a lot about the rich having “all they need”. Seems to me it’s the rich that create jobs for people in this country. I can’t recall ever getting a paying job from someone who is poor. But I digress.
I thought moderator Candy Crowley’s performance was despicable, for two reasons: 1) she absolutely, and, as it turned out, incorrectly, tossed Barack Obama a lifeline, preventing Mitt Romney from going after his egregious lie about Libya. In that regard, I think Hugh Hewitt had it about right when he wrote on his blog:
Some conservatives are upset that Romney didn’t deliver a second obviously crushing series fo blows to the president, but Romney did turn in a confident, assured performance that did not show a bit of fluster even when Candy Crowley intervened –wrongfully– to protect the president on Libya, or later interrupted his answer on Fasy & Furious. That was important as everyone sees the same debate and saw what most people will view as a home field advantage for the president in question selection and moderator. Romney should send Crowley roses for messing up the Libya exchange as it propels Libya to the front page tomorrow and into the public’s consciousness as not even an uninterrupted exchange would have. The media is not supposed to create the narrative, but it did, much to Romney’s benefit.
…and 2) She wouldn’t allow Romney to pursue his case against Obama on the Fast & Furious scandal either, shutting down any rebuttal after Obama once again spewed a ton of bullshit on that and his failure on immigration reform. Not to mention the fact that President Obama answered not one question when it came to his administration’s performance over the last four years. But, then again, what was he going to say?
Without a doubt, Obama gave his base the boost they sorely needed after his non-appearance a week ago, and you can count on it that people – even those whom I trust amongst Beltway pontificators like Charles Krauthammer – will give Obama a slight win on points. But over the next few days, Crowley’s lifeline to Obama is going to hurt Obama by raising the visibility of his administration’s gross negligence on Libya ahead of next Monday’s foreign policy debate, and will not work to the President’s advantage. More importantly, Romney continued to hold his own – and, I would argue, get the better of – Obama on economic issues, absolutely crushing him on the question by that African-American college student about Obama’s economic record of the past four years. If the election is indeed about the economy, you’re wondering what a second Obama term means for jobs and the overall economy, and that means Romney wins big.
Bottom line: my take is this debate is not going to go Obama’s way in the next few days. He did nothing to halt the view that Romney has a plan for the next four years, and he doesn’t. And, thanks by and large to Crowley’s so-called “moderation”, Libya is just going to melt down around Obama and his administration ahead of next Monday’s foreign policy debate. Hopefully, then, Romney will not allow any moderator to prevent him from making the fundamental point that needs to be made: people died, and the Obama administration lied.
Romney by points.