Surrogates joust over debate performances
October 7th, 2012
12:21 PM ET
10 years ago

Surrogates joust over debate performances

(CNN) – Surrogates continued to spar Sunday over last week’s presidential debate, with Democrats calling Mitt Romney’s performance “superb acting” while Republicans said the GOP candidate showed substance.

Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs conceded the president failed to perform up to expectations last week in Denver, but quickly pivoted to judge Romney’s stage presence as “a masterful theatrical performance” and “fundamentally dishonest for the American people.”

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“I think what's interesting is not - I think it's who showed up on the Republican side,” Gibbs said on ABC’s “This Week.” “You know, a clone that looked a lot like Mitt Romney, that had walked away from fundamentally every position that he'd taken.”

Also appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Gibbs said Romney “did a superb acting job. You know, he did everything but learn tap dance.”

But Romney campaign senior adviser Ed Gillespie said Romney’s style was irrelevant to the candidate’s apparent win over President Barack Obama.

“The problem they have is the debate performance on Wednesday evening was not a matter of style, it was a matter of substance,” Gillespie said on ABC. “Gov. Romney laid out a plan to turn this economy around, getting things moving again. He had a fact-based critique of Obama’s failed policies that the president was unable to respond to.”

Gillespie added: “The Obama campaign - they remind me a little bit of a 7-year-old losing a checker game and instead, being frustrated with the outcome, they sweep the board off the table."

“It's not rocket science to believe that the president was disappointed in the expectations that he has for himself,” Gibbs said on NBC. “I think part of that was because, as I said earlier, we met a new Mitt Romney. We met a new Mitt Romney that wanted to walk away from the central theory of his economic plan, which is his tax cut.”

On both programs, Gibbs repeated a claim leveled by Obama during Wednesday’s debate that Romney’s tax plan would include $5 trillion in cuts if he were president - a figure a CNN fact check has found to be false.

Gillespie reiterated Romney’s defense that his tax plan does not call for $5 trillion in cuts and he would not enact a plan that adds to the federal deficit. During last week’s debate and on the campaign trail, Romney has said his tax plan would increase economic activity by closing loopholes, which would result in increased federal government revenues.

Former Republican presidential challenger Newt Gingrich also criticized Obama’s showing in Denver, questioning the president’s preparedness.

“I think the challenge for the Obama people is pretty simple,” said Gingrich on NBC. “The president of the United States had 90 minutes. Now if he had done his homework, if he'd actually prepared, if he'd actually studied Romney, why didn't he say it? I mean, why didn't he take Romney head on?”

Filed under: 2012 • Ed Gillespie • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Presidential Debates • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. vic , nashville ,tn

    Jim Lehrer and Obama didn’t expect the lies from Romney

    Wait after second debate Media pundits will praise Obama performance

    October 7, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. myviewis

    Obama couldn't go up against Romney who is a Governor, businessman, hands-on guy, smart, intelligent and knows what he's doing, unlike Obama who had never been a mayor, governor, businessman, business owner, Obama never even studied economics, finance, public finance, frankly Obama had never even worked in any job full time and he even allowed his law license to expire 4 years after he graduated and practiced law part-time. Obama just couldn't handle it without his teleprompter, pre-prepared points, pre-rehearsed speeches. Obama is a marketing machine.

    October 7, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. kevin

    The air was too thin and it cut off his thinking, Romney was dishonest, too overwhelmed by all the lies didn't know how to respond to them all, a black cat walked across the stage, Romney had notes in his hankie and was cheating when he blew his nose, that was not the real Romney, etc etc. The most honest excuse I read on twitter was he really did need that telepromter!

    October 7, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. joselyn

    Now I confirmed we have a TELEPROMPTER PRESIDENT but in real future we will have a REAL PRESIDENT

    October 7, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Mormon leaders on Saturday lowered the age requirements for full-time missionaries in a change that could swell the ranks of the church's messengers around the world.
    The policy of delaying missionary work had allowed individuals to time their missionary service around plans for school, marriage, careers and military service, Nelson said.

    On July 4, 2007, the Romney campaign officially launched the "Mitt Mobile, A Five Brothers Bus", referring to Romney's five sons and his official campaign blog, Five Brothers. When asked why his sons were not fighting in Iraq, Romney replied that his sons were supporting America by riding from town to town in the "Five Brothers Bus," saying "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected.

    October 7, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. SafeJourney

    Mitt, the flip flopping Liar. The Mittbot 9.0 appeared on stage with a programming error and started flip flopping all over the stage spouting Democratic views. But I am sure the Repub campaign have re-programmed the Mitt bot, 10.1 and it will be back spewing the repubs talking points of the last year.

    Now Romney says he was wrong about the 47%, and the same tighrepubs who agreed with Mitt Romney for all these weeks regarding the 47% comments he made and doubled and tripled down on are now are saying that Romney is somehow great for admitting he was wrong. What a bunch of losers !!
    Do you realize how ridiculous all you repub lambs sound? You repubs are just going follow Mitt the Twit no matter what he says or does, right? You will just agree with the man on anything he says and following blindly.

    October 7, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. tony

    "On both programs, Gibbs repeated a claim leveled by Obama during Wednesday’s debate that Romney’s tax plan would include $5 trillion in cuts if he were president – a figure a CNN fact check has found to be false."

    I was watching the post debate coverage and the CNN fact checker gave Romney a huge pass and was very misleading. Romney's tax plan calls for a 20% across the board cut in tax rates. That amounts to approx. $5 trillion – which the fact checker acknowledged. The announcer then says something along the lines of "and Romney has said he will close tax loopholes and reduce/eliminate deductions to offset those cuts. If we take him at his word the Obama claim is false."

    Frankly, that is extremely misleading and horrible reporting. Until the specifics of which loopholes/deductions being targeted are announced, why would you take Romney, someone who has repeatedly flip flopped and changed positions on a huge variety of issues to the point of lying, at his word? Tax loopholes and deductions/credits that in many cases are extremely popular would have to be eliminated – which is probably why they are not being told to the american people. On top of that, anyone checking these facts that knew much of anything would know it is basically impossible to offset $5 trillion in tax cuts by closing loopholes and reducing/eliminating deductions/credits. Which was exactly what Obama said – the math doesnt add up and if the plan is so great why are the details being kept secret.

    Not to mention the fact that eliminating any tax credits/deductions is completely one sided toward low and middle income Americans because almost all tax benefits currently phase out as income increases. The main exception to this is the capital gains rates, which Romney has said will be eliminated for those under $200k (which the majority of low-middle class americans do not have capital gains anyway) and stay the same for high income earners.

    Bottom Line – Romney's plan is ridiculously bad for about 70%-80% of the country and is extremely favorable to the top 5-10% of Americans.

    October 7, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Anthony

    Romney is the person who criticized the London Olympics Committee on a goodwill trip, who jumped the gun and opened his mouth before the facts are known about the Libya consulate attack, and who ran an utterly incompetent campaign. Romney dismissed 47% of Americans as victims. He said that he will not cut taxes for the rich, even though his website says that he will cut taxes across the board, which means that the rich are included. He said that he wanted to repeal the whole Obamacare on the day the Supreme Court upheld the law, but now he says he wants to keep parts of Obamacare. Romney has won only one election in his life, the 2002 Massachusetts governor race, and he left office in January of 2007 with a 34% approval rating. Romney just couldn't do anything except debate, and he had to ignore everything he had said in the Republican primary because, quite frankly, he was acting like a conservative to get the Republican nomination. What makes people think that Romney is not acting like a moderate to win the presidential election?

    October 7, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. Michael

    Obama told the truth. RMoney lied.
    Just that simple.
    Time for CNN to repeat, again and again, out loud, that a 20% cut in taxes is 5 Trillion dollars SAID THE RMONEY CAMPAIGN until last week!
    Not only did RMoney lie, he knew he lied.
    That and his cheat sheets are good enough reason to judge the debate 82% Obama, 2% Rmoney, 16% draw.

    October 7, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. yasmine

    The president did just fine... Romney did put on quite a performance...and just lied and lied and lied and lied and lied and lied...++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    October 7, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Joyce

    This is what Newt Gingrich had to say on January 28,2012. " You cannot debate somebody who is dishonest. You just can not. The people say I am a good debater. I can't debate somebody who won't tell the truth." He was talking about Mitt Romney.

    October 7, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Mary Broussard

    President Obama let slick mitt hang himself. Mitt will show his inner being because he can not hide who he really is...a rich man trying to say he cares for the poor. Thank you President Obama for caring for everyone. GOD will continue to Bless you.

    October 7, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |