While I was recovering from the president’s asinine remark on gas prices, Romney refuted a Democrat claim, offered via an “undecided voter” in a question, that he will raise taxes on the middle class. No, Romney said, “I won’t raise taxes on the middle class under any circumstances.” Obama repeated the claim. Romney refuted it again, and then explained how taxes impact the economy. Obama likely heard the Charlie Brown adult voice during that portion of the debate. Supply and demand and their impact on the economy elude him.
At 33 past, Crowley asked Romney what he will do if his plan’s numbers don’t add up. Romney riffed on his considerable business experience and saving the Olympics, and laid it next to Obama’s record of spending and debt. “Of course my numbers add up.” Then: “When we’re talking about math that doesn’t add up, how about four trillion dollars in deficits?” It was a massive moment. Obama reacted from the back of the stage as if he had been sucker punched, before he finally stood and attempted to refute Romney. Obama’s most specific answer thus far: a defense of government spending on Big Bird and Planned Parenthood.
Another “uncommitted voter,” a young woman, asked about equal pay for women, to set Obama up to discuss the Lilly Ledbetter Act – one of his few actual legislative achievements that have not blown up in his face. Both Obama and Romney answered fine, but Romney’s answer scored much better with women than with men. Some tweeters LOL’d at Romney’s answer that he sought to hire women when he was governor in Massachusetts, by having “binders full of women” (their qualifications) brought to him. Had Bill Clinton been anywhere near the stage, the debate would have taken an interesting turn. He got to the bottom line when he said that the current economy is hurting everyone including women.
Another “uncommitted voter” asked Romney to differentiate himself from former President Bush. This was an obvious call to attack a fellow Republican and dispirit his party’s base. She did allow that Obama has “disappointed” her. It’s funny how no “uncommitted voters” ask Obama how he isn’t Jimmy Carter. But that might hit a little too close to home. Romney said that he and Bush are “different people” with different policies before launching into several detailed critiques of ObamaCare and its impact on business, and Obama’s deficits, which have eclipsed those racked up by Bush.
An “uncommitted voter” who allowed that he voted for Obama in 2008 asked the president to justify voting for him again. Softball city. Obama claimed to have created 5 million jobs and said that he had kept all of his promises. Obama ripped Romney for what the president called a lack of leadership. Obama bragged when he should have sounded a note, at least, of regret. Romney took his turn to note that the economy Obama described is not good and electing him to four more years will yield more of the same. He dinged Obama for promising to have us at 5.4% unemployment, to reform Medicare and Social Security by now, and to deal with immigration. Obama, Romney said, has done none of these while he has also doubled the national debt. “The middle class is getting crushed under the policies of a president who does not understand” the economy, Romney said. Whether Romney won the “uncommitted voter” over or not, he succinctly detailed Obama’s record of failure. “The president has tried, but his policies haven’t worked.” It was, as one tweeter noted, Romney’s “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” moment. It could have come across more clearly, though.
Why did Candy Crowley have a Latina ask the question about immigration? Because that’s just how things are done now. It’s as if the only immigrants who matter are from Mexico and are here illegally. What a disservice to everyone from every country who respects our laws and sovereignty. The answers might come in less predictably if Crowley had, say, a black construction worker ask about immigration policy and enforcement. On immigration policy, both candidates welcomed legal immigrants. Obama called illegal border crossers “undocumented workers,” going politically correct rather than legally accurate. Obama said we need to keep “gangbangers” out. Who disagrees with that? Obama accused Romney of supporting Arizona’s immigration law, which still enjoys majority support nationwide.