Obama on debate: 'I was just too polite'
October 10th, 2012
01:37 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama on debate: 'I was just too polite'

(CNN) – President Barack Obama's heavily criticized debate performance last week was the result of an overabundance of civility, the Democratic incumbent said in a radio interview Wednesday.

"I think it's fair to say I was just too polite, because, you know, it's hard to sometimes just keep on saying and what you're saying isn't true. It gets repetitive," Obama said on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.

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Obama's opponent Mitt Romney was widely considered the winner of last week's debate, held in Denver. Many critics, including some Democrats, said Obama appeared unenthusiastic and unwilling to engage Romney on some of the more contentious campaign flashpoints, including Romney's "47%" remark.

Following the debate, the president's allies acknowledged he lost on style points, but argued Romney win was supported by a series of lies about his platform and Obama's policies.

In the interview Wednesday, Obama stuck to that message, saying the tack Romney took last week would wind up hurting the GOP nominee in the end.

"Gov. Romney put forward a whole bunch of stuff that either involved him running away from positions that he had taken, or doubling down on things like Medicare vouchers that are going to hurt him long term," Obama said.

He added that at the next face off with Romney, slated for next week on Long Island and moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley, there would be more aggressive rebuttals to his rivals claims.

"I think it's fair to say that we will see a little more activity at the next one," Obama said.


Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Presidential Debate
soundoff (346 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Mitten has nothing to lose so he performed accordingly.

    October 10, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Chris

    *sigh* reading these comments makes me sad and lose hope for a better America. When all people can see is who seems to have a more aggressive posture whilst throwing around some political claptrap about how they are going to be 'the solution' to all our problems. When will we realize that both parties are playing the same game and we lose either way! Stop getting so hotted up about the 'figureheads' and vote and be active locally for real change!

    October 10, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Celeste

    I am an 18 year old college student and I cannot possibly see how anyone could be on Romney's side. If you are not rich he will be doing nothing for you! Even though most say Romney won the debate his platform was full of lies. He constantly changes his argument and if you were intelligent and listened closely you would realize that every single one of Romney's answers was either I don't know or I will get a well educated group of people to discuss these problems when I'm in office! Obama has a plan!!!! Though he has not kept all his promises none of us know how hard it is to do the things he wants to do. I GUARANTEE that if Mitt Romney wins our economy will have an even bigger downfall that we will NEVER be able to recover from. The rich will stay wealthy and the middle class and low class will get poorer.

    October 10, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Romney=Bush Era Part II

    I personally thought he did well in the debate. But then again, I'm one to prefer substance over style.

    OBAMA '12

    October 10, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. san jose

    Becare full Gov. Romney will do anything do kill poor people

    October 10, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Hidekosan

    I saw in today's mail that President said he was too polite in debate.
    We are both Obama supporters, and we intend to continue.
    I hope someone will convey to him though.
    That it may be some people's philosophy to say nothing when it needs to be said.
    But for many years many peoples lives ruined and continue to ruin on many different levels,
    from white House to homes, because what needed to be said were not said, when they needed
    to be said and not corrected.

    October 10, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Marcus

    Yeah, sure. Romney's a liar. The Dems are beacons of truth. Rah rah rah. Go team go. *Rolls eyes*

    October 10, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. JES

    What an incredulous and pathetic excuse coming from President Obama. He was the one repeating lies the night of the debate as if he had memorized from a script and when Romney challenged him he was deflated like a baloon. And what made it worse for him is that he could not refer to his Teleprompter (pacifier). Far from polite the President was arrogant and cowardly with his unattractive smirks. For the first time in the political history of this country I felt embarrassed that we could have elected someone so inept to lead this very great nation of ours which this President has managed to destroy in only 4 years.

    October 10, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Romney=Bush Era Part II

    Unfortunately Americans love the drama so the President will have to stoop down to Romney's level and call him out on all his lies in the next debate.

    OBAMA '12

    October 10, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. san jose

    Anne Obama don't talk too much. He does the best thing for poor people

    October 10, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Mamaboats

    Since no one is caught on their lies, these debates are just stupid...no candidate will answer a direct question and that is a fact....the American people do not listen to truth, they listen to b....sh....

    October 10, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. George

    That's the problem with this guy. He seems to think that his policies are so brilliant that there is no need to explain why they're needed. You need to pull your head out of the clouds because no one thinks you're so brilliant that you don't need to explain your positions or fight for this election. It comes across as arrogant to think, "I'm brilliant, no need to rebut Romney's claims. America just knows that I'm smarter." No, we don't know that. If you can't explain why we should vote for you, see ya.

    October 10, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. Romney=Bush Era Part II

    How do you debate a liar who says whatever he thinks will get him elected? Well one things for sure, you can't be polite and dignified b/c Republicans don't understand that. So I guess it's time to take the gloves off. Round 2 baby!

    OBAMA '12

    October 10, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Jimmie Burbank

    Mitten has nothing to lose so he acted accordingly.

    October 10, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. jermel

    The president did not do a very go job on his first debate, their is no question about it! but its only the first.

    October 10, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. freidamurray

    Jack Fitzgerald,
    One word... Idiot!

    October 10, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Voter

    Obama debate = Epic Fail.

    October 10, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. cj

    I am not American but you know what makes me laugh...one minute you are all praising Obama for taking down Osama and today you want throw him out because of a debate he didn't quite deliver as he usually would...I'm watching from afar and I can smell bs coming out of Romney's mouth as soon as he opens it.

    I have no vote in America but I want to see the most decent man win and I pray to God that Obama gets re-elected. A man that is for the masses not for the privledge minority. I don't care what anyone says...Romney will never understand what middle class and below are going through because he hasn't been there.

    Just my thoughts...

    October 10, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Captain Obvious

    Thank you for stating the obvious.

    October 10, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Twinkle

    This is the most unpresidential, most divisive and most child-like president in history. It's no wonder he never was able to get above 50% approval on average. Worst president ever and he'll lose in the worst landslide election in history. Total fail.

    October 10, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. freelance

    after that debate, Obama is pretty much done!

    October 10, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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