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. Take no prisoners !!!!

    Dear Mr. President. After 4 years in office, you should had learned by now, this is hardball. Kick his butt until he is down and then step on him. This election is too important to the American people for you to lose because you want to follow the Marques of Queensbury rules. You have chosen to be president. We need you to defeat him. You could become friends with him and any other Republicans after your 2nd term. Now kick his butt like he stole your McDonald fries. MAN UP – A Liberal and PROUD.

    October 10, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Hadenuffyet

    Voting Demo cause it's the only thing that's made any sense in the past ten years.

    October 10, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. Greater Good

    The prez needs to take off the gloves and realize Romney is always bracing for a good scrap.
    How about this for the next round: more passionate prosecutor, less polite professor.

    Mitt becoming flustered is not a good look.

    October 10, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. matt houston

    As I said before...and it came to pass. Team Obama was very good in taking notes and letting Romney talk his head off...even at the expense of looking unprepared. Only to use the debate video footage against him. Now that Romney has said all those things on the air, you just wait until the next debate. Obama is going to tear him a new one.

    That dude is playing the Sun Tzu handbook almost word for word. Masterful manipulation of the enemy's psyche. I wasn't surprised at all when Team Obama release an ad a few days ago using the debate footage...and that's just a preview of what's about to happen to Romney.

    October 10, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. Bara-ck Hu-ssein Owe-bama is DONE

    Hahaha Hussein, you are full of it buddy.

    October 10, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. FedUp

    "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."

    Did Obama just admit he has been lying?I'm not sure what to make of this statement.

    October 10, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. jane

    What a joke he is; and these comments just go to prove that "You can fool all of the people some of the time; but you can fool ALL of the Democrats ALL of the time!" You people deserve what you get from Obama.

    October 10, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Go get him President Obama. Go fight for the 47% and will fight for You!

    October 10, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Bara-ck Hu-ssein Owe-bama is DONE

    Barrack, please start packing up. Oh and ya okay we believe everything you just told us. Oh ya by the way dont be late to the airport (flight to Kenya)

    October 10, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. 4mofo44

    Hope President Obama opens a can of whoop-azz on Rob-mey. He has the means to do it. Mr. President just start with the 47% stance of Rob-Mey and add the millions of lies Rob-mey has told and you'll do just fine.

    Obama/Biden 2012
    Rob-mey 1040

    October 10, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Bill Clinton

    Smile a lot, speak the truth, exude strength. We are the party of positive energy – let it shine!

    October 10, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Obama has priors in being polite.

    October 10, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. Erika

    boo hoo more excuses Obama

    October 10, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. amarjeet

    Yes as a President he has to be polite & courteous more so with his declared, determined & firm policy to upgrade US economy. Romney as well Ryan is using debates as weapons to humiliate President while Obama got to keep cool & human. Romney & Ryan are revising their earlier statements to people & using tactical escape through debates just attacking Obama policy with basket of lies & retractions to get to voters hearts & sycophants in audience for clapping. Voters understand such games of such people with no history of strategies.

    October 10, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Sadie

    obama was not being polite, he was just not knowledgeable. obama was unprepared, unknowledgeable, unattentive and untruthful. He has no policies that are defenseable.

    October 10, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. NameJade77

    Mr. President. You got to call Romney out on his flip flopping. You represent the people. The GOP represents the past. And the past was not a "good ole" time for everybody.

    October 10, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. Rs1201

    Bob Woodward said that the reason Obama looked so detached is that there seems to be a brewing scandal about donors from abroad. He was worried about the consequences from that scandal.
    Obama would not even know how to be polite...he's just a low life from Chicago and hopefullly he'll be going back there in Jan 2013.

    October 10, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Don

    And by the way, Borderless, it's worked quite well on the international stage. Obama is a surgeon – he uses drones to cause as little unintended damage as possible. Romney is more of a carpet-bomoer type.

    October 10, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. jailer

    Obama has priors in being polite.

    October 10, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. wally eye

    obama was not being polite, he was just not knowledgeable. obama was unprepared, unknowledgeable, unattentive and untruthful. He has no policies that are defenseable.

    October 10, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. 1termlimits

    Last I checked it was a DEBATE for election to the highest office in our land. The debate is supposed to show how well informed you are and how much you want to WIN! Too polite...LMAO

    October 10, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Paul

    A moderate, a conservative and a liberal walk into a bar:

    The bartender looks up and sais "What'll it be Mitt?!"

    October 10, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. Sean

    Maybe if everyone "voted" for God's Kindgom, mankind would not have all the problems we see today.

    October 10, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. David Murar

    I don't like either of them, Obama has failed to keep many promises and Romney is just about to do the same thing if he becomes president. Power corrupts almost any one these days..

    October 10, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Bob

    This man is such a disgrace. It is well known that David Axelrod has a history of just calling everybody a liar whenever they are losing. Give it up. This is also a town hall debate. Obama can't exactly do much at all to counter Romney's "lies" as he claims without appearing to be a jerk.

    October 10, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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