Team Obama recalibrates, attacks
October 4th, 2012
01:50 PM ET
6 years ago

Team Obama recalibrates, attacks

(CNN) – Amid a flurry of post-debate speculation over where President Barack Obama's debate sparring gumption was Wednesday in Denver, the Democrat's campaign wove a narrative of a president attempting to keep the debate civil, sticking to answering the questions concerning American voters.

But while Team Obama credited the incumbent with acting collected and presidential, the campaign itself wasted no time in delivering sharp attacks on the substance of Romney's remarks.

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"I expected Governor Romney to do well, he's a very good performer in debates – we saw that in the primaries," senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said Thursday in a conference call with reporters. "Partly because he's completely untethered from the truth."

The consensus from post-debate viewer polling and political analyst musings deemed Romney the winner of Wednesday night's debate. According to a CNN/ORC International survey conducted right after the debate, 67% of debate watchers questioned said that the Republican nominee won the faceoff, with one in four saying that President Barack Obama was victorious.

Asked why Obama did not use Romney's notorious "47%" comments or other proven effective attack lines from the campaign trail, Axelrod said "He made a choice last night to answer the questions that were asked."

"(Romney) came to Denver and we were interested to see what he would say and not surprisingly what we learned is he'll say anything that makes him effective short term but vulnerable in long term," said Axelrod, later invoking an apparent switch from the GOP primaries where Romney called himself a "severe conservative" to touting bipartisan cooperation while governing in the historically blue state of Massachusetts.

"Governor Romney came to give a performance and he gave a good performance and we give him credit for that," Axelrod said. "The problem with it was none of it was rooted in fact, much of it was rooted in deception from his very first answer when he tried to disown his $5 trillion tax program."

Obama campaign policy director James Kvaal said on the call that many of Romney's were claims last night were "fraudulent," criticizing the Republican's tax proposal.

Early in the debate, Obama charged that the former Massachusetts governor's plan calls for a $5 trillion in addition to an extension of the Bush era tax cuts plus $2 trillion in military spending. The president questioned how Romney would pay for the cuts without placing a heavy financial burden on middle income Americans.

Romney hit back that he didn't have $5 trillion in tax cuts and, in turn, attacked the president's current policies as detrimental to middle-class economic security.

But with the next presidential debate just under two weeks away, will Obama's campaign alter their strategy to combat a potential bump for the Republican challenger?

"Obviously, moving forward we will take hard look at this and make judgments where to draw lines in debates and how to use our time," said Axelrod adding that Obama is "eager" for the next debate.

Ben Labolt, Obama campaign press secretary, added they will continue to focus on what they bill as the GOP nominee's perpetual "dance" around important issues.

Without missing a beat, Team Romney issued a counter-response to the Obama campaign's debate reaction, likening the Obama campaign conference call to the president's debate performance.

"The campaign, like the President, offered no defense of the President's first term record or vision for a second term, and instead, offered nothing but false attacks, petulant statements, and lies about Governor Romney's record," said Romney Campaign Spokesperson Amanda Henneberg.

President Obama campaigns Thursday in Denver and Madison, Wisconsin while Vice President Biden – who will gear up for his one and only faceoff with the opposing ticket in a vice presidential debate October 11 – stumps in Iowa.

Meanwhile, Romney and Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan are scheduled to campaign in Virginia. Romney also spoke Thursday morning at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

–CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • David Axelrod • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Presidential Debate
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "The shrill cries of "Liar" from Obama's Supporters have surpassed ridiculous. "

    Yuo can insult us all you want. Factcheckers all over the place are having a field day with Mittens' misrepresentations during the debate AND they are backing up their analyses with facts, evidence, historical record and experts. There's nothing shrill about it...just cut and dry showing why what he was saying is false.

    Brass tacks: Mittens shook his etch-a-sketch again last night in an attempt to make the "severely conservative" garbage he's been spewing and promises he's been making sound more moderate than they really are in order to attempt to appeal to a wider audience. It's actually proving very easy to debunk what he said.

    October 4, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "the Romney I saw last night had decisive facts and knowledge of what he was talking about"

    Actually, what's coming out is that Mittens was very well prepared and did a very good job of being animated, forceful and convincing while speaking LIES, not facts.

    October 4, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem I had is that there was so much negativity from Romney - repeal this and that. The other idea that I had a problem with is that there was the assumption that growth would pick up after a lowered tax rate. That was proven false with the George W. Bush administration when that didn't happen. These lowered tax rates are essentially tax cuts that aren't paid for which Alan Greenspan said are bad for the country.

    October 4, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Marley

    Right-wing nut asks: "Why didn't Obama use the "47%" or "tax cheat" lines against Romney?"

    4 Main Reasons:

    1. Everybody has already seen it!

    By not mentioning it, it will make people talk about it afterwards. See how everybody is talking about why Obama didn't attack Mittens. So we are talking about more! Had Obama done it, we wouldn't be talking about.

    2. The goal of every debate is to make yourself LIKEABLE. When you are always ATTACKING, you come across is DESPERATE, ANGRY, and lack substance.

    3. Obama was focused on telling the American people his record. Which is better than Bush, Mittens, and the GOP in Congress!

    4. There are 3 debates total. You save the best stuff for the LAST debate, where it will remain FRESH in people's minds.

    October 4, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. john

    If you have ever used the terms 'Obammy or Obongo' in a serious manner you are a racist. Period. If you wanna make fun of his name there are plenty of ways to do it without tying it to racist remarks. But since racism is all these types of people know, I guess I couldn't really expect that of you.

    You perceive Obama's civility as weakness, well that's fine. Just don't get all butthurt when he burns Mitt during their next meeting.

    October 4, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. truth hurts

    Romney came loaded for bear last night. He wasn't going to let Obama get away with his usual lie fest. He has a LOT of ammunition to use against Obama and last night, after decimating the clueless, helpless, telleprompterless empty suit called Obama, he STILL has a lot of ammo left to hit him with. Obama has a four year record of failure and spent the last 6 years spewing on a daily basis. The next two debates will be even worse for Obama. He might want to consider withdrawing from the race.

    October 4, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. max3333444555

    if you think obama did well you watched a different debate than most people.

    October 4, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. just me

    Actually people watch the debate a second time and you will realize that actually Romney did not win the debate .
    He just came off as a CEO who spoke to his employees with empty promises.
    If you read through the lines he only really spoke to his elitist friends in the insurance,oil and military contract companies asking for donations so that in return they can continue to live prosporously for the next four years.
    Yes,sadly Obama came off to passive yesturday and not the alpha-dog we are used to see from him and I am angry, really angry at this tactic that was chosen.
    Obama's agenda is to be the president of the people i.e. the 47 percenters,
    and Romney's agenda is to label Obama as a communist an un-American.
    What I do see if Romney becomes president would be exactly what we are seing in Europe;
    a revolution by the people.
    Wake up people before its to late,
    Romney is not your Moses.

    October 4, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Alois Saint-Martin

    Who`s Socio-Cultural, Hopes and Aspirations,
    need doubt, the Utter Vanity, of Plutocratic, Bourgeois Capitalist,
    Bi-Partisan American Politics !

    Solidarity to all Euro and Global, Republican, Green, Socialist, Marxist and Revolutionary, Cause !
    Occupy the Debates !
    Support the Arab Winter !
    Support Hugo Chavez !
    Support Jerry White of the Socialist Equality Party for President !

    October 4, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. it must be said

    it ain't often you see a young black guy get beat up that bad by an old white guy. i think romney was channeling clint eastwood.

    October 4, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. 1twinsfan

    Save Big Bird!

    October 4, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Obama#1Fan

    Well said Marley!!! Save the best for last... 🙂

    October 4, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. Jason

    He's still stumping the "$5 billion tax break"?! It was fact-checked as false by multiple independent groups. Look, there's plenty of ammo for him, use something solid!

    October 4, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. Patriot BOB

    Democrats are the Liars and sore LOSERS to boot. I can't wait until Nov. 6 when this country boots out the Democrats golden child from the WhiteHouse. Maybe he can be awarded another Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing but being BLACK!!!!!!

    October 4, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Dnick47

    Romney is a known flip-flopper, a pathological liar, a bully, and a tax cheat.... anyone on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted is more qualified to be President then Mitt the lying Mormon Moron.

    October 4, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. Tom

    Sniffit, you seem especially angry today. You sound like a child and your intellectual dishonesty is, once again, showing. And I voted for Ron Paul so calm down on your Romney comments with me

    October 4, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    we will take hard look at this and make judgments where to draw lines in debates and how to use our time," said Axelrod adding that Obama is "eager" for the next debate
    Speaking as just one person loyal and totally behind our President, I would submit that your debate time would best be used right around Romney's extremely exposed and enticing jugular.
    And no one is as eager for the next debate as we are.
    Actually, what's coming out is that Mittens was very well prepared and did a very good job of being animated, forceful and convincing while speaking LIES, not facts.
    Unequivocably true Sniffit.

    October 4, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    4. There are 3 debates total. You save the best stuff for the LAST debate, where it will remain FRESH in people's minds
    Good point.

    October 4, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. Borderless

    4 Reasons Obama didn't use "47%" or "tax cheat" against Obama

    1. Everybody has seen it. No one is buying it.
    See how everyone is talking about how Obama lost the debate?
    2. The goal of every debate is to make yourself likable. Next time, Obama's bringing donuts for everyone.
    3. Obama was focused on avoiding his past record. Multi tasking isn't his strong suit.
    4. There are 3 debates total. Obama is saving his biggest fail for the last debate where it will remain fresh in people's minds. And he's bringing donuts.

    October 4, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. GOP = Greed Over People!

    There is an old adage about rope and hanging oneself.

    Perhaps, just maybe, President O was quiet and let Robme ramble on., the media is fact-checking Robme's gibberish and prove he is lying?

    Yes, we know you Fox trolls consider "fact-checking" as "carrying water for Oblamo"!!

    Just sayin'.

    October 4, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. Silence DoGood

    @sniffit "Factcheckers all over the place are having a field day with Mittens"
    Both Mittens and Umbama were a mixed bag of truth. Politifacts had a a lot of Umbama's specialty: The fuzzy half truth. He is just better at lying for votes then ol' Mittens. Romney is more of a snake oil pitchman, while Obama would be a slick car salesman.

    Vote Green Party for a real Change.

    October 4, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. DENNA

    President Obama should not waste time being a gentleman. Mr. Oily Smile Romney never looked so creepy as he did last night. Mittens was feisty because he had all day to lay around and think up one liners. President Obama has a country to run.

    October 4, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. Getoverit

    Just wait until next time!! LMFAO!

    October 4, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. Teatroll

    Team Obama has nothing except an empty suit at the helm.

    October 4, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  25. Chelopez54

    I love the President and he has my vote. I was not working and been working at his offices to get the vote out there for him We will all be in St Petersburg at The Pier. I took a part time job- I have been a Realtor for 15 years, when my market slowed down-I was able to take time off to take care of my ailing Mom before she passed way, so that was a good thing. We were excited and happy to vote together for President Obama. I do not blame him for me STILL out of work- The Market still stinks and not happy with making $8:50 an hour but I am working at Chico's- which I do like and get a discount on clothes BUT.....
    I am going to go back to New York, (home) to get into that R. E. market. I love New York too! But I stand behind this man and I tried to give Mitt the Twit a chance, I watched his convention, was not impressed, and he has continued to prove to me-
    Did anyone notice how his eyes balls were jumping all over the place- Is that not a sign of a liar?!
    oh yeah- Obama-Biden 2012

    October 4, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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