October 4th, 2012
01:09 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama: 'Real' Mitt Romney was missing from debate

Denver (CNN) – President Barack Obama fired back at Mitt Romney in his first post-debate stop in Denver Thursday, contrasting the Romney he saw at the debate with the Romney seen on the campaign trail over the last year.

"We had our first debate last night, and when I got onto the stage I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney," Obama told the crowd of roughly 12,300. "But it couldn't have been the real Mitt Romney."

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

The "real" Romney, he said, has traveled the country promoting tax cuts for the wealthy, education plans that would hurt teachers and was a pioneer of outsourcing jobs overseas.

However, Wednesday night, Obama said Romney reversed those views because he "doesn't want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney" and "what he's been saying for the last year."

The president's comments echoed much of what his campaign has been peddling since the showdown, largely in response to criticism Obama did not bring his A-game to the first debate.

But at the campaign event, Obama said he spent the 90 minute event "trying to hit him down."

He also took on a much talked about moment, when Romney said eliminating funding for PBS, among other programs, would help drive down the debt.

"Thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It's about time," Obama said. "We didn't know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit, but that's what we heard last night. How about that?"

Responding to the crowd, Obama said "Elmo too?"

Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Mitt Romney, defended the candidate's performance, writing in a statement, "Last night, Mitt Romney demonstrated why he should be President, laying out the clear choice in this election."

The Obama event attendees were on the receiving end of a will.i.am DJ fest before hearing from former Transportation Secretary Frederico Pena, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall and then the president.

will.i.am., of Black Eyed Peas fame, is an ardent supporter of the president and attended the debate Wednesday night. An aide to the musician said he plans to help the president's re-election effort "as much as we possibly can," adding that he will join the president next in Ohio next week.

Filed under: 2012 • Colorado • President Obama • Presidential Debates
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. truth hurts

    ted - Obama may not have been on his A+ game last night, but I feel he did a great job.
    Egads.... He "did a great job"???!!! Even his ardent supporters said he stunk. I believe Chris Matthews had a nervous breakdown on air. I guess Obama supporters think he did a great job just like they think he's doing a great job on unemployment being over 8% for 4 years. Obama doesn't have to jump over bars anymore to succeed. His supporters just dig holes and place the bar in the hole for him to walk over!! hahahahaha....

    Romney though stood up there and lied his butt off about everything.
    Only if you believe all the lies you've been told by the Obama Smear machine. Most of the American people could see who had command of the facts. It was Romney. If you though tit was Obama, you're a kool aide addict.

    Take the ball and run with it Romney! And prepare to bludgeon Obama even worse in the next debate. I can hardly wait for Ryan to clobber Biden next week. I eagerly await Biden's explanation of how he and Obama have "crushed the middle class" for the last 4 years.

    October 4, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  2. freelance

    The real Obama DID show up!

    October 4, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. yasmine

    what a joke you are romney... you made Pinocchino proud..

    October 4, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. Republican Class Warfare

    This article is really about Will I Am.

    October 4, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Max

    Which Mitt???

    Now we see 'ANOTHER' Mitt...All along we've been asking the question 'WHICH MITT'? Now we have many more reasons to continue asking this question...The ETCH-A-SKETCH Mitt is certainly showing his true colors as a 'FLIP-FlOPPER on ALL the issues, simply saying 'ANYTHING' to get elected. We the people know him too well. DON'T WE???

    October 4, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. FreeLove

    Romney ran away from his own tax plan. Flip flop. Obama won.

    October 4, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. algorelies

    now imagine if Ron Paul had been given a pass by the media lap dogs and zionists...and debated obey:
    obama would have gone home crying to momma!

    October 4, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. AnAmericanWHocares

    The President needs to get more aggressive and call out Romney on all the lies he had the gall to say to the people watching tonight.

    Sum up the debate:Obama I will fight for America to become great again.

    Romney: If you elect me, I'll take you to magical unicorn land.

    October 4, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Travis
    Do you honestly think Americans want a "good show"?
    Yes, unfortunately, some do. They already know that this President has been busting his hump for the middle class, indeed for ALL Americans. They already know that he kept us from going into a full-fledged economic Depression. They already know that he saved wellover 1 million jobs (mine included) by saving the auto industry against the wishes of the Romneys of the world. They already know that he was willing to commit political suicide in delivering on his campaign promise of giving us Health Care Reform. They know that he authorized the kill of bin Laden. They know that he's kept us safe. And still.....some yearn for a good fight. Some want to see him put Romney in his place. They want to see him use al of the ammuniniton that Romney has given him and use it against his adversary. They want blood, so to speak. They want to see the proven adult, the cerebral, cool calm and collected leader of their country "hammer" this wannabe that doesn't like most of us.....if only figuratively.
    America isthe land of WWF, and all types of vicarious and incredibly successful cheap reality shows. Confirming that the low-information, easily distracted voter is out there looking for the thrill of one moment upon which to cast his
    So, yes some yearn in spite of all of this man's hard work and guts for a "good show".
    Go figure. All things to all people and all that......
    Obama 2012.

    October 4, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. Tony

    If by "real", you mean the Mitt Romney that you and the media have been creating over the past year, then yeah, that guy was missing.

    The Mitt Romney who showed up was the one who is going to take the election in November...

    October 4, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Sara in the South

    A) great come back, or it would have been...last night and 2) Um, B comes after A, not number 2. How can you debate when you don't even know your ABC's?

    October 4, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. Scrappyike

    Take the teleprompters away and you get the Real Obama! Oh I see, it's Romney's fault. Guess O found out blaming it on Bush got old already

    October 4, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Tom

    Interesting comments, only the "drink the kool-aid" Obama fans just saw a real president Vs. what we have now. Romney pointed out all the things Obama has done and they sounded stupid, even to Obama. Intersting how Obama's confidence slid into the abyss when he was finally called on his actions and lack of actions.

    October 4, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. AnAmericanWHocares

    Tom go look up your facts Sir ....Go look up for yourself and you will see not only the 23 million jobs quip by your candidate was a lie ....you will see more than half of what he said was a lie ! Go look up your facts Tom before you get on here and educate us all

    October 4, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Four and The Door

    Wake up People!
    I agree with Dominican Mama, last night that was the real Romney. Lying through his teeth at the drop of a hat.
    I can understand your frustration after 3 1/2 years of Obama trying every political trick he learned in Chicago yet still he couldn't make anything work the way he said it would. And then comes along this businessman/ Governor who makes the answers to these problems look so obvious. But they are. To someone who knows what they are doing.

    October 4, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Dan Smith

    Mitt Romney was excessiely aggressive, rrude and spewed a lot of lies that have already been clearly stated. How then is it that he is supposed to have won this debate? In addition, he is clearly flipfloping on every issue possible simply to win the elections. He could not tell us anything about his plans. America can only be warned. Romney will make the rich richer and the poor poorer with his plans; 47% lookout!!!
    The criteria used to determine who wins a debate is questionable, making up numbers and stating outright lies; is that what we want from a President? Romney is a business man without an understanding of the empathy required for public office. He will privatize health insurance, deregulate wall street, give more tax breaks to richest americans, expand our military and possibly get us into another couple of wars. It is so obvious that this man is bad for America. But then we voted for Bush twice and how did that work out?

    October 4, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. maf

    I'm pretty sure the President was stunned by what was spewing out of Mitt's mouth last night. Every time Romney misstated something or out and out lied about something he has been campaigning about for the past 6 months, the President had to bite his tongue. When you saw him grin or look down at his notes, it was because that was the only way to quell the fire that got stoked as Mitt continued on his path of saying whatever it took in the moment.
    Mitt was disingenuous about the $90 Million slated for green energy – not all has been spent and none could have been re-directed to hire teachers. Mitt was disingenuous about his claim that he is not lowering taxes by $5 Trillion – over a number of years this has been fact-checked. Mitt was disingenuous about his claim about outsourcing jobs. I can go on . . .
    I'm pretty sure the President did not want to break this down into a schoolyard argument, as that would not look very presidential. Mitt still has not provided any details as to which loopholes he would close for taxes. He has not elaborated on which provisions he would keep or do away with in the ACA. He has not elaborated on what he would change in Dodd-Frank. Lots of empty rhetoric and offence that was based on the GOP version of the truth. Mitt had no response as to the voucher issue as he continued to spout the $716 Billion in Medicare SAVINGS as a bad thing which has been debunked many times. Mitt was disingenuous about his claim of doubling the amount of permits he would allow for energy leases. The number of applications has gone down, not the President's administration denying access!!

    Now that the President knows what kind of opponent he will face two more times, expect that there will be a significantly different game plan.

    Get out and vote Democrats, every one of your voices need to be heard!!!

    October 4, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. 2020

    Now, without a doubt, that Romney is an Ameba. He will rather steal another personality, another narrative from a ghost, say anything, doing anything to survive. THAT IS MITT ROMNEY

    When you deal with such a character, Mr. President, put on your heavy weigh glove, like Mohammed Ali, one, two, three, finish this liar character. He is CHENEY 2.0

    October 4, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. CaliRepub

    THIS article is almost enough by itself to not reelect the president. His attacks are cheap and when given ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD to say what he wants to say.... jokes about Big Bird and Elmo? And people think this is presidential??? I couldn't help rolling my eyes every time he brought up stories of the hurting he saw on his travels as president. Not once did he say "so I...." Always a detraction to why he needs another 4 years. If you visit a school and the children don't have chairs (which, by the way is unbelievable that a school would show the president an ill-supplied classroom...) All YOU need to do Mr. President is make a phone call! You're OK borrowing over a TRILLION dollars a year anyway. Why doesn't some of THAT money go to the things you care about... unless you don't...

    Romney 2012.

    October 4, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. AnAmericanWHocares

    Funny now how Mitt has now his mindless followers now repeating the same lies he told last night ...Well what do you expect they have already fallen for his lies .....they wont admit the truths ....things like

    Mitt Romney admitting he has has used a offshore account in the Cayman Islands...How can this guy be in touch with most Americans when he has admitted to cheating on his own taxes.

    They wont admit to his wrongdoings at Bain Capital where if the truth comes out you might even see the guy face crimnal charges the way he bullied and gutted companies for his own gain . This guy is a crook stop believing what his Republitards keep parroting him say and go really research this guy.

    October 4, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. PJ

    Romney was very well prepared last night and President Obama was not on his game. I'm still voting for the President's reelection because he has the right ideas. We are moving in the right direction and I for one believe government has a role to play, just like President Clinton said in his speech. I have never understood the venom directed towards our President.

    October 4, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. demrules

    The "desperate..I've been running for eight years" Mitt was the one that showed up last night. No holds barred, lie like a fiend was his agenda for last night and the President just let him do his rehearsed rhetoric. If he had not allowed him that latitude, Mitt would have popped like a balloon! This was one debate, and the Romney crowd was happy to see their guy "perform" like a Pitt Bull. Problem is..Fact Checkers will be revealing his "thunder" and more exposure to the GOP "buy this election" mindset will be slipping and sliding again! Enjoy your moment in the sun! The President didn't lose any sleep, he's back on the campaign trail still drawing huge crowds!

    October 4, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. simp

    clearly Mr President was not on his game as usual, however mitt stood there and told so many lies it was awful. This is only one debate and I'm not concerned about the last two.

    October 4, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. Trey McK

    There is a debate between Romney and Teddy Kennedy when Romney was trying to win Teddy's Senate seat in 1994. Romney, in that debate decades ago, disavowed his previous positions on abortion, etc. Teddy stated, "I am pro-choice. My opponent is multiple choice." Teddy ended the debate by stating, "Now he’s for family leave. Now he looks like he’s for minimum wage. Now he’s for education reform,” the senator said. “If we give him two more weeks then he may even vote for me, because those are the things that I am for."
    Dang, it's been 18 years and Romney's still using the same tired tactics.

    October 4, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Obama's Scared

    Just like his presidency....Obama failed to deliver.

    October 4, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
1 2 3 4 5