Mitt Romney absolutely buried Barack Obama on Wednesday night in the first of their three presidential debates. Taking a page right out of the Democrats own handbook, Romney leveled Obama with his own rhetoric. At times Romney sounded like an extreme left wing liberal candidate when it came to spending tax-payer money, but it worked.
Education, yes, Romney said, we are going to spend money on more teachers and more education programs. Defense, yes, we will spend two trillion more on making our military stronger. Health care, yes, we will make sure that the elderly of this country get the best care possible and the rest will get government vouchers. Even Social Security will be left alone under a Romney presidency.
Some are saying that Mitt Romney was a moderate all along and tonight he went so far left, Jimmy Carter was probably standing and applauding. But while Mitt Romney was telling us everything we wanted to hear, the president looked like he’d rather be somewhere else. Obama never seemed to challenge the GOP candidate on the issues and had his head down most of the night, never looking the new liberal Romney in the eye.
Romney also had the best one liners of the night and history has shown and Ronald Reagan proved, a good one liner can carry a candidate straight to the Oval Office. “If the tax plan he described were a tax plan I was asked to support, I’d say, ‘Absolutely not,’” Romney said. “I’m not asking for a $5 trillion tax cut. What I’ve said is I won’t put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. … I’ve got five boys. I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it.”
The only program that Romney did say he would cut is PBS and had a great one liner for that referencing “Big Bird.”
Obama spent most of the night stuttering and stammering through his answers, while Romney would counter with slick, well rehearsed lines that made Obama’s professorial uncharismatic logic look tired and boring.
Obama tried to counter with saying that Romney’s combination of tax cuts and increased spending just doesn’t add up, saying “Now … he is saying that his big bold idea is ‘never mind.’ The fact is, if you are lowering the rates the way you describe, governor, it is not possible to come up with enough deductions or loopholes,” Obama said. “It is math. It is arithmetic.”
But with a candidate as polished as Romney, who needs math? If Mitt Romney can follow through with all of the promises he made tonight, he will make a successful president. If not, he’s just another big-talking candidate.
—Scott St. John
Scott St. John is the editor of The News Burner, an online publication; this article reflects his own views and does not necessarily represent the opinions of DOWNTOWN Magazine.