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. Mete Krop

    Yes Mr. President you were toooooooooooooo polite. Your being polite is beyond reasonable. You needed to tell this guy about:
    His Bain Capital venture
    His 47% comment,
    His words like "let detriot bank rupt",
    I like to fire people,
    Ofshoreing of Jobs,
    About his Camelyn, Bermuda and other foreign bank account,
    That he is full of lies, that even Gingrich blatantly said "Romney is a liar"
    And so on…

    October 10, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. Curt29

    That's right Obama, don't give the Republicans an inch! When your in the ring with Republicans you have to fight dirty, we all know they're going to.

    October 10, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. Jeff Cox

    Actually, you've been too polite your whole freaking first term in office! Geesh, grow a spine and go after these liars!

    October 10, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. jon

    Maybe we SHOULD just elect another Republican President and have him promptly rip us a new one just like before. Nice.

    October 10, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. Pepou27

    You should NOT have been polite. This debate was important and you missed an opportunity to tell Mittens what truth is Mr. President.
    Gloves off, thanks.

    October 10, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. avalanche

    Since the Harvard Economist, Rosen, that you have been quoting the $5 trillion tax increase BS on has refuted that he ever said that and has since said Romney's plan is feasible, how will you defend the fact that you have been lying about Romney's plans for the last month?

    October 10, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Johnny

    bwaaahaaahaa. Polite? How about you don't have a leg to stand on so you looked like a fool.

    October 10, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Kenny

    Mr President. Please you can't let your people down on the last one. We are counting on you. God will help you and help Unite State of America

    October 10, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Mete Krop

    I am really astonished you even mentioned any one of the above on the debate. AMAZING!!!!!

    October 10, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. EdS

    What the President aught to say to exlain his "politeness"

    Is "I practice the principle taught by Jesus 2000 years ago, ..."Resist not Evil""

    Anyone with any observation skillls could see that Romney talks out of the side of his mouth at any point where he is insecure ...he did it again and again ....that is more then just an old saying ...it says he is going by "lets see if they belive this one"......he could put all used car salesmen is shame!!!

    October 10, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. John

    Obama cares primarily about 99% of Americans
    Romney " " 53% of AMericans

    This is why Obama will probably edge out Romney.....he is fighting for more of us, than will Romney.....

    October 10, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. nbgb

    Don't be POLITE, be factual. Tell him he is a LIER because he is, tell him he is divisive, tell him he is untrustworthy because he is. Tell him he is scary because he wants to start wars in the mid East. He is.

    October 10, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. PeterD

    How about Just Simple Truth that You are a Weak Debater?

    October 10, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. Nevada Swing

    I can't keep track of the excuses.

    October 10, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. NISHTHAR IDROOS

    Very strange, how can you continue to remain polite at a man who was virtually at your throat. Well, it may be interpreted as maturity and civility on the part of Obama but he should have known early that it was not reciprocated instead capitalized. May be Biden may give a tip or two Obama in his much anticipated speech with Paul Ryan.

    October 10, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. GOP LIARS!

    We don't need a Liar like Romney in the White House. Barack did point out Romney's untruths several times. He just didn't yell and get in his face. The stupid people bought the Romney lies. This guy said he was a severe conservative and then he ran to the middle. He really did what his campaign manager said he would do. He etcha sketched. He wiped out everything he said he stood for and now he stands for something totally different. OR so he says.... because the next day his campaign and party chairs walkback his remarks to say ...... well he didn't really mean that. What did this lying stack of horse manure really mean than? AND why are people will to allow him to lie to them. Pathetic.

    October 10, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Glazed

    If you retards get Romney like you claim to want.... your ass is going to feel like an elephant worked it over by 2016

    October 10, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. Vic of New York

    Here! Here! I'm with Lynn!

    October 10, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. liberal disease

    you had no answers for your pathetic record, you were outclassed by a man who know's how to get things done
    you were vetted for the first time in 4 years and you failed!

    October 10, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Me IN HOUSTON

    Obama on debate: 'I was just too polite'

    OH!!! YA THINK?!?!?
    yeah...if you don't get your $#!% together you are going to lose and all of MY hard work will be for nothing
    you need to be on the attack
    you need to break down romney lies
    Don't take Romney to school...take him to church
    right now you are competing for the votes of the uninformed and the stupid...style is everything
    I STILL believe in you

    OBAMA 2012

    October 10, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. pattianne

    It is hilarious that the POTUS considers that he was just polite during the debate. He has never been shy about defending his policies (good or bad). He just can't understand that he was beaten by someone he doesn't like because that person has made a success of his life. This is a continuation of the whining I have seen for years from President Obama. He cannot imagine that people don't adore him. The ads about lying since the last debate, have shown the poor sportsmanship of the Obama Democrats. Some of my best friends are Dems and they are even turned off by someone who has to use all kinds of excuses as to why he failed that night in Colorado.

    October 10, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. jo an

    I love Obama...he is as 'out of touch' as Romney...I will vote for Obama....he is 'in touch' with issues that are important to me.

    October 10, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Mete Krop

    The fact that Mr. President couldn't and unable to mention any of the above points openly and blatantly, Mr. Romney finished the debate with lies with vitory point. It is shame and shame.

    October 10, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. Me

    And by "polite," he means "clueless" and "slow to comprehend."

    October 10, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. Tzar of Common Sense

    It's hard and exhausting to debate a man who is running on lies knowing when caught he'll just move to the next lie. Romney's biggest lie during the debate, "I want to cut tax rates by 20% across the board," is in direct contradiction of the tax plan he is currently running on his website. His 59 point plan for jobs and taxes starts with 1) Maintain current tax rates on personal income and 2) Maintain current tax rates on interest, dividends, and capital gains. Those are directly from his website, go see for yourself. Perhaps Mitt should debate himself next time. It will be far more entertaining.

    October 10, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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