Mitt Romney gave President Barack Obama a much-deserved shellacking in the first Presidential debate held in Denver. The Republican nominee, who many conservatives were close to writing off, served ace after ace, while Obama just stood there and tried to hit the ball back, looking stunned by Romney’s strength and his own failure. After an hour and half “match,” it was clear Romney was the man with the plan and Obama the man with more promises.
Heeding conservatives’ advice to go bold, Romney showed us his backbone, laid out his plan and cornered Obama on his failed record. Again and again, Romney called Obama out on his lies; he said just because Obama says it doesn’t mean it’s true. Obama insisted Romney’s tax plan would add $5 trillion to the deficit, citing studies that have made assumptions about Romney’s plan without knowing the details.
Romney made Obama look weaker still when he reminded him that when Obama ran in 2008, he promised to cut the deficit in half but instead has increased by 60%, more than half. In fact Romney reminded Americans, Obama has spent more money in three in half years, adding more to our debt than all the presidents in history combined.
While Romney talked about how he would create 12 million jobs and cut our debt by eliminating funding to programs like PBS and Big Bird, Obama parroted the same old lines about investing (code for spending) in our future. That is more binge spending on Obama’s favorite things like Obamacare, teachers union, student loan subsidies and solar energy.
A withered looking Obama seemed to just walk into one debate landmine after another. Obama said he thought it was wrong to give $3.8 billion in tax breaks to oil companies. Romney pounced with a fiery retort:
“You put $90 billion-like 50 years worth of [oil] breaks into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and the losers; you pick the losers, said Romney.
Obama looked dazed by Mitt Romney and reverted to the posture he assumed most of the night, head looking down, befuddled. Trying to serve an ace, Obama said he also thought it was awful for companies to get a deduction for moving plants overseas. Romney returned the ball, winning the point. He told Obama in the 25 years he’s been in business, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
That was the story of the night; the American people had no idea what Obama was talking but understood Romney. From corning Obama on the true costs of Obamacare to the middle class and businesses and Obama’s failure to implement the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan, which Obama commissioned, or work with Republicans in Congress, Romney made Obama look puny and partisan. At the same time, Romney finally seized his own narrative, with command of and passion for the issues.
A friend told me she felt bad for Obama last night because he looked worn down and weak standing next to Romney. Liberal political analysts mused maybe Obama held back because he didn’t want to really give it to Romney in the first debate. No, Obama failed in the Denver because his arrogance has made him believe he’s bigger than himself. Can you say President Romney?