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. OrionStyles

    More likely he knew flip flop Mittens would hang himself given enough rope...

    What appears as "winning" the debate was Romney shooting his mouth off with nothing to back it up, while Obama's passiveness was intentional as to spur on the egomaniac to make even more outrageous claims.

    In the next debate on the 16th I expect we'll see Romney be called out on his BS, and Obama won't even need to be indignant to make him look like the liar that he is.

    In the big picture, Mittens and his team never had a chance, because their plan is bunk + they have serious psychological flaws they can't compensate for. A losing combination.

    October 10, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. PJ, the first one

    "Too polite ??"
    ****
    Yes, something Romney knows nothing about ie:
    The Mother of Glen Doherty told Romney to quit using her son's death for politics and to tear down the President.
    She does not want her son's memory to be political.
    Romney should have known that, but then, he is who he is. Pathetic.

    October 10, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Davren

    It's funny all the people talking about Obama as if him being polite is a bad thing. Fact is, Romney lied about most of the things he charged Obama about. It's easy to fact check what Obama said and see that it's true. Obama was right in telling Romney that he flip flops and that's ultimately what going to sink Romney in this election, he changes positions too much to be trusted.

    For instance, Romney NOW says that he won't forge any new laws on ending Abortion if he gets in office, when not too long ago he said he would end Roe v Wade. Dude can't be trusted. Not to mention his 47% line, his Bane capital corporate raiders and his terrible job as Mass. gov. Cmon people, don't just hate Obama because people tell you too.

    Dislike him all you want, but he's consistent.

    October 10, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. Corey

    So that's what it is now...Hmm

    October 10, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. stwebb

    If America can be swayed that much by a single debate, Obama can simply sway it the other way in the next debate...

    Who are these idiots so easily swayed anyway, DWTS/American Idol/The Voice/X-Factor viewers???

    October 10, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. kgt

    By "too polite", I think he means that he has an indefensible record.

    October 10, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. Jay G

    I'm fine with a candidate changing his position on key issues. It's a sign of open-mindedness and willing to take input. Obama is steadfast in his poor ideas and is not open to criticism or evaluation of his own positions. His arrogance is his downfall.

    October 10, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. stwebb

    If America can be swayed that much by a single debate, Obama can simply sway it the other way in the next debate...

    Who are these people so easily swayed anyway, DWTS/American Idol/The Voice/X-Factor viewers???

    October 10, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. Canuck

    Obama needs to fight and stand up for what he believes in. Clearly the Republicans do not understand politeness.

    October 10, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. KB

    No, Mr. President....you just failed.

    October 10, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. unknown11

    Obama's real problem is that he believes his own hype. He thought that he could just invite people for a beer, and they would be persuaded by is mere presence that his was was the correct way. He thought that if he could just talk to all the parties in the middle east, then they would see that his is right and peace would break out. Remember his nomination speech? This is the day that the planet started to heal and the seas started to recede? He really believes that he is all that. He was not prepared to be president then, and he is not prepared now. His only success was when he bullied the obamacare law through congress, and that is what he will return to now.

    October 10, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. skytag

    I don't know if trying to be polite was the problem or not, but I know that more than once he let lies and bogus attacks slide. For example, Romney said Obama had added almost as much to the debt as all other presidents combined. This is factually false and intellectually dishonest:

    - The debt was $10.6 trillion when he took office, and it had grown $5.5 trillion on the day of the debate. I don't know anyone who believes 5.5 is "almost" 10.6.

    - Such simple numerical comparisons don't take inflation into account. Adjusted for inflation, the national debt grew $4 trillion under Reagan in today's dollars, and it grew $5.4 trillion under Bush.

    - The majority of that increase cannot be attributed to anything Obama has done and there was nothing he could have done to prevent it. Only about $1 trillion can be attributed to his policies, and that includes the Recovery Act. The rest can easily be shown to be attributable to other factors.

    October 10, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. California Gary

    Obama showed in the primary run against Hillary that he can take a punch, deliver a punch, and eventually win the fight. No worries.......he'll come out swinging in the next one. Question is, can Romney take the punch?

    October 10, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. WEBSPY2012

    “Romney’s 24 special advisers on foreign policy, 17 served in the Bush-Cheney administration.”

    The reason Romney team didn't mention the brave men and women in uniform is because he doesn't want to remind Americans it was his team that Accidentally killed and wounded over a HUNDRED THOUSAND AMERICANS on bad advice!

    March 19, 2003: At 10:15 p.m. EST, GOP announces that U.S. and coalition
    forces have begun military action against Iraq. said," invade and we will be greeted as liberators", then said we have enough soldiers and they don't need to be better equipped
    May 1, 2003: Aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, GOP declares "major combat operations" over, although some fighting continues.
    March 24, 2004, At Wednesday's 60th annual dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Bush makes laughs in speech, as Americans children were face down in the dirt on foreign soil dieing, on his behalf... Bush made fun in speech, yucked it up with his Republican buddies, that there are no WMD " Bush ended the hilarious speech "Gees I'm a little red in the face"!
    September 6, 2004: The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq reaches 1,000. Republican said we have enough soldiers and they don't need to be better equipped.
    January 10, 2007: A troop surge begins, increasing U.S. troop levels to more than 150,000. Republican said we "DON'T" have enough soldiers and they "DO" need to be better equipped. 3 years late but who's counting bodies?
    March 22, 2008: The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq reaches 4,000.
    March 13, 2008 Bush you can tell has never served in war because he referred to the WAR as ROMANTIC, "It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger"! My friend who lost both legs and 1/2 a hand said he doesn't feel romantic, in fact he wishes someone would romance Bush!
    Aug 2008 Bush and team rob the banks while riding out of town!
    Whats the difference between Bin Laden and GOP?
    GOP accidentally killed more AMERICANS then Bin Laden did, enough said!

    Romney said half the country sucks, now Romney says oops he wrong about half of America. Like Bush even before Romney is in the White House Romney says he has a list of countries he would like to attack, with Thermal Nuclear Codes Romney cant be half wrong!
    =========================================

    October 10, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. MrRickinNH

    That's it Mr. Prez come out swinging

    October 10, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Zimmer

    Hogging an extra four minutes, interrupting, and smirking to your cohorts in the audience as your opponent is speaking isn't "polite.'

    October 10, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. pkrbkr

    Mr. President, we've got your back......and have faith in you and your abilities to call out Romney on his "falsehoods" . Stay strong and carry on! Obama/Biden 2012 Forward by the way, your theme tells it all....look forward and hit 'em hard at the next debate, not back at what happened last time.

    October 10, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. uzalex

    It was a debate Mr. President! You should have called him out politely! He kept repeating the Medicare charge and you never once rebutted that accusation even though everyone knew he was lying. The problem was that there were millions on people tuned in for the very first time and they probably believed this person!!!! You let him off too easy IMHO!

    October 10, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. Bill O

    The Economist (a reputable pro business magazine) has published has recently published articles showing:
    1-Expert economists tend to favor Obama policies (based on a sample of over 300 experts), Google:" The economy: Asking the experts The Economist"
    2-America's stockmarket has gained more under Democratic than Republican presidents, Google:"America's stockmarket has gained more under Democratic than Republican presidents The Economist")

    Folks, this is an important election! Go volunteer, motivate your friends and family (ask them if they have registered/voted), use Facebook. Don't sit this one out, your kid future and yours may depend on it. Republicans have a bad record on governing, but they know how to win elections (and the Supreme Court decision: Citizen United made it even easier for them, Adelson gave 8 millions to conservative PACs so far, that's equivalent to 800000 people giving 10 dollars contributions...). Guys we could be stuck with Romney until 2020, and may be Ryan until 2028!!!

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

    I was too polite LOL, no you have a very poor record

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

    I would just point out at this point Romney is arguing with himself

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

    Mr. President, act like you have balls !

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

    DUH!!!!! Ya figure? The only way to debate with a lieing sack of BS is to call them on it straight and every time they deny it. Romney and Ryan have been on all three sides of every issue, for, against and maybe, with a load of let me use your stance and claim you have mine.

    R&R scare me since they have no details and what they want is what Bush did and what destroyed the ecomony. R&R, recession and repression. Lets create a recession and repress the rights of anyone we please.

    October 10, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. sayer

    Good luck, Mr. President. We are counting on you.

    October 10, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Borderless

    Obama was also too polite in Benghazi. His administration was careful not to offend the Libyans by having enough security forces to protect the ambassador.

    October 10, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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