October 4th, 2012
01:09 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama: 'Real' Mitt Romney was missing from debate

Denver (CNN) – President Barack Obama fired back at Mitt Romney in his first post-debate stop in Denver Thursday, contrasting the Romney he saw at the debate with the Romney seen on the campaign trail over the last year.

"We had our first debate last night, and when I got onto the stage I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney," Obama told the crowd of roughly 12,300. "But it couldn't have been the real Mitt Romney."

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

The "real" Romney, he said, has traveled the country promoting tax cuts for the wealthy, education plans that would hurt teachers and was a pioneer of outsourcing jobs overseas.

However, Wednesday night, Obama said Romney reversed those views because he "doesn't want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney" and "what he's been saying for the last year."

The president's comments echoed much of what his campaign has been peddling since the showdown, largely in response to criticism Obama did not bring his A-game to the first debate.

But at the campaign event, Obama said he spent the 90 minute event "trying to hit him down."

He also took on a much talked about moment, when Romney said eliminating funding for PBS, among other programs, would help drive down the debt.

"Thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It's about time," Obama said. "We didn't know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit, but that's what we heard last night. How about that?"

Responding to the crowd, Obama said "Elmo too?"

Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Mitt Romney, defended the candidate's performance, writing in a statement, "Last night, Mitt Romney demonstrated why he should be President, laying out the clear choice in this election."

The Obama event attendees were on the receiving end of a will.i.am DJ fest before hearing from former Transportation Secretary Frederico Pena, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall and then the president.

will.i.am., of Black Eyed Peas fame, is an ardent supporter of the president and attended the debate Wednesday night. An aide to the musician said he plans to help the president's re-election effort "as much as we possibly can," adding that he will join the president next in Ohio next week.

Filed under: 2012 • Colorado • President Obama • Presidential Debates
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. Your gay best friend

    Well, if Will. i. am supports Obama, he MUST be the right candidate.

    Obama has shown himself to be inept, unqualified, churlish, egomaniacal, disingenuous, narcissistic, and that was just the first four years. NO MORE YEARS FOR BARRY! Let him be a guest host on THE VIEW...he seems more at home there, or on the golf course.

    October 4, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. trupat

    You know, Barry, you should try focussing more on the things that you have not done before focussing on which Mitt Romney showed up to the debate last night. But, this is on par for you.... you focus on the things that do not matter while looking the other way on things that do matter. Here's to "Hope and Change" actually working out this time.

    October 4, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Jumbo

    Pointless to debate who's the real leader. Obama should just go home.

    October 4, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. WhatNow

    Still voting Obama. Romney did nothing last night to change my mind. In fact, he did exactly what I though he would do, present a new tactic without specifics. I am interested in presentation and more interested in substance.

    October 4, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. RomY Monteyro

    Obama did not end the war in Iraq. Bush did and Obama only implemented what the Bush administration put in place. More than that the Iraq war was already over when Obama pulled out our troops per earlier agreement with the ungrateful Iraqis. So how did Obama end what has already come to an end? Bin Laden was killed during Obama's watch, that's all. He had no choice but to give the order to waste that animal after the U.S. military and the CIA pinpointed his location. Obama knew that if he refuse to order the raid it would be political suicide. And how far would $5,600 go in pursuit of a college education? Big deal! You are so right AnAmericanWhocares, when you said none of us can debate the three issues you crowed about as fact, because they are fantasies that exist in your and Obama's jaundiced mind, and not facts! I suggest you go back to school and learn English. LOL!

    October 4, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. trupat


    Obama had nothing to gain and everything to lose in the debate last nite. His record is there to be discussed, so it was real easy for a prepared Romney to go in there, dissect it, and tear it apart. That's the easy part, and Romney did just that. The hard part is laying out the plan, adding specifics and timelines. Romney didn't do that. Again, he went into generalities. He didn't offer specifics. And when he did, Obama consistently called him out on it. Romney won the debate, yes. But he didn't budge an inch regarding the closeness to the Presidency. Just look back on what he said regarding leading by principals, like Reagan ran on. You know, lowering taxes and the debt. But, history proves that neither ever happened under Reagan. So how can you run on principals? We need specifics. We need examples. And he's failed to deliver.


    So, let me ask you. Just looking at Obama form the 2008 debates, when did he lay out his plan for Obamacare? I seem to recall that he said, "You will be getting the same coverage that I have." Well, if that were true, why did we even need Obamacare to begin with?

    October 4, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The ONLY frustration some of us may be experiencing is that he let a renowned and proven liar like Romney off the hook way too easily last night.
    We will, however, seek comfort in his all but assured re-election and the manifestation of his end term in office.
    Obama 2012. Serioulsy America.

    October 4, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. TX

    Too funny about people accusing Romney of lying. The Obomination had ample opportunity to challenge Romney on any supposed lies and didn't. Why? Because the Obomination knows what the dumb bunnies that vote him don't which is Romney has a proven track record of success with proven ideas. All the Obomination is known for is his leftist views which are a direct reflection of the criminals & enemys of America he has associated himself with. Oh and the Obomination is also known for his history of substance abuse. If anyone has truly researched the Obomination they would realize how foolhardy it is to vote someone into the White House who couldn't even obtain a security clearance on their own.

    October 4, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. greg

    No body wants to hear about facts or bout the work that needs to be done to fix the economy, or math Mr. Obama!!!

    Mitts was blowing smoke all night and we were eating it up.

    October 4, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. Hammerer

    The real Obama showed up. An empty suit that was absolutely clueless.

    October 4, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Correction to my post:
    That should've read: "and the manifestation of his 2nd term in office".

    October 4, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Victor Lewis

    Last nights debate was Simple
    Obama = Here are my Plans for the future and, this is how I'm going to accomplish Them.
    Romney = Im going to bring down the budget, Im going to reform health care, I won't tell you how I'm going to do that because it doesn't matter, just vote for me Stupid!!
    That's what I heard last night.

    October 4, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Babyboomer

    Romney's a phoney. That's who showed up. Mr. President, please be prepared from here on out.

    October 4, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. Allan

    I was expecting more attacks from you mr President, but I have to admit I like your self confidence. Usually in the debate the person who gets nervous or becoming noisy is the one who is lying.
    I noticed the same exact same thing, look like you dealt with another Mitt Romney yesterday, who suddenly claimed that he care about the middle class. That was a straight lie, we all know his real vision of the middle class by now.

    October 4, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. John

    Seriously? I love all of the Obama drones calling Mitt Romney a liar when their 'savior' is one of the most dishonest, flip-flopping, unsuccessful presidents of all time. I had hope when this guy was elected but you people need to open your eyes. The president hasn't kept one promise that he made coming into office (unless you count wasting our tax dollars on green investments that failed), he used us and he is trying to do it again. The average American family's income has actually dropped more during the Obama 'recovery' than during the Bush recession.

    George Bush was terrible president but this guy is far worse. We need a president who can get us back to the 20 unbroken years of solid leadership we had under Reagan/Bush 1/Clinton.

    Just this independent's two cents.

    October 4, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. User-301

    It's not so hard for me to believe that 67% of the viewers fell for Romneys fast talking – cut me off back lot used car salesman tactics. It's the oldest trick in the book of communication. Telemarketers are trained to do the same thing. As long as you keep talking and cutting the other person off, their point will never get made. Obama could have been a little more aggressive but I think the decided to give Romney more rope as he has proven clearly that he knows how to hang himself and I am sure that is what we are going to see in the next debate. Anyone can criticize a current situation and say they can do it better but Romney clearly didn't relay what he was going to do to make it better or how. Most of his plans just didn't add up and they won't because he has no real plans. Just like a real hard core used car sales, Romney tried to sell a beautiful Corvette for the way it looks on the outside but once you sign the deal, you find out there's no engine under the hood.

    October 4, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. AZBlue

    To those who say that Romney lied on stage and shifted his position: Why did Obama not confront him about that? We can fact-check all we want after the debate and Obama can talk about which Romney showed up to the debate, however the basic fact remains that the President needs to say these things AT the debate, not after. President Obama is letting others carry water for him – Bill Clinton, John Kerry, his other surrogates, MSNBC and Huffington Post. However, if this is the "real" Obama, he is going to lose in November. I am a loyal Obama supporter who is now questioning his position after this first debate.

    October 4, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. jerseylou

    Romney...did'nt do squat but act like a shiny new Turd.

    October 4, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. Woman In California

    You're so right Mr. President, Mitt did show up but wait until Willard has to and those that were so captivated will soon be regretting they placed him on the national stage (again). The guy is and has always been a good salesman and Rev. Al (MSNBC) had it right last night, when he said Willard placed himself in a tuffer position, because now, he'll have to defend the lies (excuse me) the stances he took in front of 60 million people. Stay tuned for the FALL of Willard.
    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 4, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Chuck

    Let's see what happens in November. I am one of the 47% Mitt Romney does not care about. I look forward to the next 2 debates. Mitt Romney provided a lot of "cannon foddler" for the Obama attack machine last night. Gov Romney satisfied has base voters, but this is a 3 game series, and the last pitch has not been thrown. I ask myself is the President really that listless or is he playing possium? He was in debate prep for weeks, something in the air, I believe that the President will come out swinging on the next debate and remember Miit Romney has set the tone and he is on the record. He will have to explain his 47% comment. I am in that 47% and I would be interested in hearing about he is going to be President for half the country only has indicated by his earlier statements.

    October 4, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. Woman In California

    I will never vote for a so-called man who:
    1) refuses to produce at least 10 years of his tax returns;
    2) skipped out – yet promoted the Viet Nam war to write love letters to his wife;
    3) keeps his family OUT of war while he places YOUR sons and daughters in them;
    4) cheats the U.S. by not keeping his money here;
    5) LIES consistently; and
    6) plans to eliminate MediCare and social security as we know it.

    Obama ALL the way.

    October 4, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  22. Greg

    Mitt does know how to blow smoke, that's how he made his billion.

    October 4, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. Woman Independent Voter age 55

    When it comes to Romney, Like my mother always said.. Empty Wagon makes a whole lot of noise. He is a empty suit. I'm 55 an I'm concerned about this Voucher Program Romney is talking about. Mr. President could have made a better boost to get his point across. However, when you are looking at a person who is lying to the American people that close, It makes you loose your train of thought. Romney, scares me. I know I only have one vote.. But I would rather stay home then vote for him. I am very proud of our President. This Romney guy.. He is all hott air an it showed last night

    October 4, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I have to say that Romney is anticipating growth in the economy. That is something you can't count on with your numbers. To assume that means that you are dreaming and no longer in touch with the real world.

    October 4, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  25. MissButterfly

    It wasn't the real Romney last night? Then who was it? Ronald Reagan? Newt Gingrich? Who knows? :/
    Mitt Romney was wonderful, and Obama was his usual lying, smirky self.
    And you libs say Romney was lying?
    Regardless of how you prop him up, under Obama's watch the price of gasoline has more than doubled, the price of food has nearly doubled, and at a time when income has decreased. And the national debt has increased beyond all belief, the Muslims have killed our Libyan Ambassador and are rioting against us even more, while Obama blames a video, etc., etc., etc.
    You can't get any worse than Obama, and Romney is smart, confident, competent, and everything Obama isn't – thank goodness!

    October 4, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
1 2 3 4 5