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Jeff Frederick
Jeff Frederick
The Politics of Principle

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September 4, 2012

Round 1

If anyone is interested, my expanded thoughts on last night’s debate:

Romney won. Because expectations on his performance were low and expectations on Obama’s where high, it seemed to most that it was a blowout for Romney, but it wasn’t. That said, Romney did very well and did his campaign a lot of good. He effectively tied just about every issue to the economy and jobs. It would have been be

tter if he had been persistently arguing this months ago, but better late than never.

Obama held his own, even if it seemed like he would have preferred be somewhere else. Obama’s reaction sometimes seemed to suggest that the President hadn’t been talked to like that in the last 4 years. It is one thing to live in a bubble, but Obama has got to know that there are some real and valid critiques of his last 4 years – and Romney, while direct, only politely scratched the surface on those criticisms. Obama seemed completely taken aback by the challenges on his performance in office.

I do think Romney missed the opportunity to create one of those most-memorable debate sound bites. After Obama rattled off a laundry list of proposals for the next four years that sounds a lot like the things he proposed in his campaign 4 years ago, Lehrer asked Romney if he’d like to ask the President a question about what Obama had just said. I’m not sure if Lehrer intended to throw that softball Romney’s way, but it was as slow and down the middle as they come. Romney missed the perfect chance to ask Obama why we should believe these same promises will be kept in the next 4 years when he hasn’t kept/fulfilled them over the last 4 years (and has made very little effort to do so). He could have also brought up the broken promises. Romney could have had a homer, but instead his response was a solid single.

The debate overall struck me as very wonky. Sure, I know what IPAB, CBO, etc. are, but I have a hunch most of my neighbors don’t. I think many good points made in this debate went right over people’s head.

“Trickle down government” is the best phrase of the 2012 campaign. It will endure in the political lexicon long after “99%” and all the rest of the catch terms have been forgotten.

And, all of the above happened with Obama getting more than 4 minutes of speaking time than Romney. Great example where less is more.

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