Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) admitted this morning that he was “disappointed” with last week’s presidential debate, but said he believes President Obama has learned his lesson from the disastrous performance.
“We’ve always said it would be a close election, and I believe it will be. And I’m, of course disappointed with the debate. Believe the president understands his challenge now. He was shocked and surprised. Many of us were,” he said.
But Durbin wasn’t going to pin all of the blame on the president. “Mitt Romney came on that set at the first debate and said things which completely contradicted what he said in the campaign before. I think it caught him a little bit by surprise,” Durbin said. “He won’t be surprised again.”
CNN host Soledad O’Brien countered Durbin. “You cannot tell me that his poor debate performance was he was sitting there, stunned in front of the American public as opposed to presenting his side of the argument,” she said.
“I’ll just tell you that the president understands the challenge of the debates. More importantly, he understands the challenges that face us in our country. Take a look at what happened just a few days after the debate,” Durbin responded. “The good news that we received about the increase in jobs in the private sector, the fact that the unemployment nationally had gone below eight percent, 31 straight months of private sector job creation. That is the kind of good news that I think will have more lasting, staying power than any one single debate.”
As far as the polls that have turned in favor of Romney, Durbin said, “We have four weeks of vice presidential debates, two presidential debates, a lot of campaigning and some events that you and I can’t even predict are going to occur in the next four weeks.”