October 10th, 2012
05:51 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama on debate: 'I had a bad night'

(CNN) – President Barack Obama conceded in an interview Wednesday his first faceoff with Mitt Romney last week in Denver was a "bad night" for him, but maintained his performance at the debate didn't alter the state of the presidential race.

"Gov. Romney had a good night," Obama said in a sit down with ABC News. "I had a bad night."

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"It's not the first time I've had a bad night," he continued.

Following last week's matchup in Denver, most observers named Romney the clear winner, saying Obama seemed unenthusiastic. Many of Obama's supporters wondered why he didn't raise some contentious campaign issues, including Romney's remarks on the 47% of Americans reliant on government support, or his time at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he co-founded.

Obama said in Wednesday's interview those omissions from the first debate would not be game changers come November.

"What's important is the fundamentals of what this race is about haven't changed," Obama said. "Gov. Romney went to a lot of trouble to try to hide what his positions are."

"One thing, maybe this is because I played a lot of sports when I was a kid and still do, if you have a bad game, you just move on," the president continued. "You look forward to the next one. And it makes you that much more determined. The difference between this and sports is that the stakes are so high."

One of those high stakes is abortion, which became an issue on the campaign trail Wednesday after Romney said in an interview with the Des Moines Register he was not aware of any abortion legislation that would become part of his presidential agenda.

Obama said that remark was "another example of Gov. Romney hiding positions he's been campaigning on for a year and a half."

"He thinks that it is appropriate for politicians to inject themselves into those decisions," Obama said of Romney's position on abortion.

During the primary campaign, Romney maintained he would support efforts to remove funding for Planned Parenthood, a women's health clinic that provides abortion services. Several House Republicans have introduced legislation that would strip funding from the group.

On Wednesday, Romney said he would support removing the group's funding through the federal budget, which must be passed by Congress.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (310 Responses)
  1. nagrad

    Obama has consistently been in the lead. Between the two debates remaining, and the actual facts and issues behind this campaign, he has plenty of opportunity to seal the deal. Romney just needs to be himself to lose.

    October 10, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  2. Sam

    Obama could have done what Bush and Co. did after his first debate with Kerry: declare victory anyway.

    October 10, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  3. aceblazin247

    I'm putting my money on Obama on round 2. Let's go!

    October 10, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  4. Derek

    Maybe we should get Obama his blankey, pacifier & teleprompter. The reason Oblamo couldn't debate Romney is because Leftards can't justify their socialistic policy's. The only clowns voting for Obama are the stupid, poor & losers in life. Congrats losers, you're gonna lose in November 7th!!!

    October 10, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  5. JohnRJohnson

    I think the President was gobsmacked by Romney's blatant 180¬ļ turns on every single one of his previous positions. Romney was so self-assured and strident in his lying that Obama was caught totally off guard. I also think Obama wanted to use the debate as a way to talk directly to viewers. That took his focus off what Romney was saying. Major mistake that I'm sure the President not make again. Even the press is finally catching on to Romney' strategy of talking like a moderate then letting his campaign staff push it back to the far right a few hours later. Happened today with his position on abortion.

    October 10, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  6. Justeeny

    Re: abortion.

    This is not a pressing issue for women. Women care about jobs. Obama is trying to make this issue bigger than it is for this election, anything to take attention away from jobs, the economy, and the massive debt, which is crushing our future and our kids future.

    Romney has said he is pro-life. When he was governor of Massachusetts he also did not force his views on that state, which was predominately pro-choice. Romney has said he has no plans for any legislation on abortion.

    Obama is grasping at straws. Trying to make headway on things that are not forefront in people's minds.

    Women care about jobs. Jobs and economic opportunity is the single most important factor in giving women a better life. That is Romney's priority and should have been Obama's priority. Obama keeps trying to re-frame the reality to fit his perspective.

    Millions of women saw during the debate that Mitt Romney brings an incredible skill to the commander-in-chief job. Women will fare much better under a Romney administration, than an Obama administration.

    October 10, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  7. Iron J

    He had a bad night? It was more like Barry was too lazy to prepare for a debate. ūüôĀ

    October 10, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  8. Truth be told...

    Thus I'll be voting again for President Obama. I still can't tell who Mitt is from day to day.

    October 10, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  9. givemeabreak

    This President is inept in everything he does. Fire him in November. INEPT!

    October 10, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  10. Rachel

    There is one thing that will put our great President back into the seat at the White House come this next election.

    The man represents true grace and dignity, and shows his human side in that we all have bad days, including him. Romney and the rest of the GOPs are in it solely for power/greed/money.... and showing yourself of having a bad day is simply out of the question.

    President Obama shows his emotions, as transparent as they are (thank you, dear President!), and this is who we must vote for. I am proud that he is overseeing our great USA and Obama WILL have my vote next term. You can count on it.

    October 10, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  11. blaze562

    He had a bad night, He has had a bad and untruthful administration also but he will never dive into that. He has accomplished nothing in the interest of the American people and has blown smoke over serious issues. Please consider your candidates in this election seriously and take in consideration of all accomplishments that each have made, Only the truth shall prevail.
    There is no more room for error as time is getting short and so is our way of life.......

    October 10, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  12. MP Pennsylvania

    I watched the debate. Romeny lied alot. I was suprised and I think Obama was suprised too about the flip flop. When he said he is not aware of tax credit that corporations get (out sourcing), I knew he was hiding. Romney had not plans. Everything is going to be worked out!!!!!! GEEEZ he is asking my vote for that.

    October 10, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  13. vowel movement

    lamebrain making excuses

    I had a bad night

    no parrrteee = bad night

    October 10, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  14. dreamer96

    Trying to pin down Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan on any details is like trying to catch a greased pig...

    October 10, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  15. Al

    Let the Obama excuses come out. I'm still waiting for the excuse that he was worried about Turkey being offensive with the air attacks. This is funny it took a week for him to admit that he was not concerned. Or as he said distracted. Just another excuse.

    October 10, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  16. glenn friedman

    Bill Clinton today was right on in describing Mitt. "It was like one of these Bain Capital deals, you know, where he's the closer. So he shows up, doesn't really know much about the deal and says, 'Tell me what I'm supposed to say to close.' The problem with this deal is the deal was made by severe conservative Mitt," and now he is trying to appear as a moderate to appeal to Independents though he or his campaign walks back moderate statements to try to continue to appease the extreme right base. The Stretch Armstrong of politics (Stretch Armstrong (1976) a rubber and gel action figure of was in the shape of a small well-muscled blonde man. Its most notable feature was that the doll could be stretched from its original size (about 15 inches) to four or five feet. However, if a tear did develop, it could be fixed with an adhesive bandage.) Mitt is just hoping to get away without too many adhesive bandages before Nov. 6th.

    October 10, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  17. 0rangeW3dge

    Boy, you can say that again....So, what you gonna do about it? Throw in the towel?

    October 10, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  18. Meki60

    Obama is an empty suit without his teleprompter, charlatan, fraud, etc.

    October 10, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  19. Nathaniel

    Romney seem to be a lier, who is determine to win the white house race by all means. American people can put the affairs of this nation to a person who is not truthful.

    October 10, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  20. labman57

    Mitt apparently thought he was a contestant on the old 1960's game show, "To Tell the Truth" - "Will the REAL Mitt Romney please stand up."

    Romney was clearly more assertive than Obama during the first debate ... perhaps because the POTUS was indeed stunned by the extent to which Mitt "the Master Panderer from Massachusetts" flip-flopped on tax policy and health care coverage issues.

    Mitt was giddy during the debate as he gleefully contradicted his own previous policy positions, feigned concern and compassion for struggling middle class Americans, interrupted his opponent and the moderator at will, and filled the void created by his lack of specifics with snark and scorn.
Obama only appeared to be sedate because he was standing next to Mitt ... who was as frenetic as a meth addict.

    Romney's supporters claim that his performance was "presidential", apparently believing that the ability to be rude, rewrite your personal history by reversing your own positions (claiming that this has been your political agenda all along), and generally making crap up are qualities that are desirable in a national leader.

    Furthermore, Mitt now claims that he will do nothing with respect to economic growth and tax policy unless the "numbers work". Well, it has been well-established that the math simply doesn't work.
Ergo, we can conclude that Romney's master plan is to DO NOTHING.

    Now come the campaign ads.
Mitt spent most of the evening debating against his own prior public statements on his policy positions. Alas, there's this little thing called videotape. Cue the juxtaposition of Mitt v.1 vs. Mitt v.2 vs. Mitt v.3 vs ....

    October 10, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  21. Canchange

    Too many problems for Obama, lack of sleep studying all the lies he can said all night, very bad performance and can't said anything rational, thanks

    October 10, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  22. Wyatt

    Nah, you just had a bad 4 years is all

    October 10, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  23. gdaym8

    When you're the President, you better not have a "bad night" or a bad day. That's why WE hired you, to be "on" all the time............that's YOUR JOB!

    October 10, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  24. Liz the First

    I'm praying this one bad night and RMoney's lies aren't going to swing this election. Obama's the one working to save this country from all the damage done by RMoney's party. all the good he's managed to do so far will go down the drain if we hand the reins back to the folks who created the mess. i can't draw, but if i could, i'd draw a political cartoon with Obama as a firemn putting out a huge fire while an elephant stands with one foot on his hose and a gas can in his hand. the caption would be, 'see, he's not putting the fire out, give me another crack at it.'

    October 10, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  25. ObamaFanForLife

    You've had a bad four years, but so have the colonialists.

    October 10, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
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