Obama on debate: 'I was just too polite'
October 10th, 2012
01:37 PM ET
9 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. Valentina

    Good luck with that Mr. President. You will look real presidential with that kind of attitude, I can hardly wait.

    October 10, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. Chriss221

    OMG, this man is absolutely the worst loser. Ge'ez... everyone has a bad day, and he had one at the debate... but get over it already. Such a sore loser. Vote Romney.

    October 10, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    You do not have to be polite–he is not your uncle. Raise voice, ask 47%, his quotes like let Detroit go bankrupt, London quote not ready. For Olympics etc, catch up, friend. You are fighting for middle class America. Every thing is fair in loe and war...

    October 10, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. rob

    The Dems are not rebutting anything specific about what Romney said in the debate because he very effectively shot down the "LIES" that the president repeated about his plans. At the same time, he called out the President's abysmal record of the last 4 years over and over. President Obama had no reply because there was none. When confronted with the facts on that stage he had no where to run. Since then the Dems have fallen to the extreemly immature tactic of calling Romney a liar, they have no positive agenda or record to run on!

    How do you spell desperate.....D-E-M-O-C-R-A-T

    October 10, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. Logic n LA

    Can you imagine the President of the United states standing at a podium saying "sir- you're lying" repeatedly?
    It would have seemed impolite but very accurate and would have made for good television! Factcheck.com has said that most of what Romney said was untrue in some fashion. Add to that his entirely new concept for his presidency and Obama would have come across rude had he responded.
    Romney won the debate. Debates are judged on style-not content. The content issue would have given Obama a win.

    October 10, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    Too polite?? Try woefully unprepared and incapable of speaking without a prepared speech scrolling for you on TOTUS.

    What a complete steaming pile you're trying to pass off, Obama.

    October 10, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. Tom

    I suppose that's a better answer than the altitude in Denver, but really? Too polite to defend yourself against a bunch of lies and daft promises with 70 million people were watching? I don't think anyone is that polite. We'll probably never know why Obama was in a coma that night. But he needs to be conscious for the next one.

    October 10, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Too polite? You got kicked around by a seasoned liar and if you didn't realize that Mitt was like that, sir, you just haven't been paying attention. He had the same m/o. during the Republican primaries. All your debate advisors should have been fired. I realize that it's hard to debate a bowl of jello, Mr. President, but which is worse? Having to debate a bowl of jello, or LOSING to one?

    October 10, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. LegalizeReason

    Mr. President, you have the substance, now just win those style points that the pundits and uninformed are so easlily swayed by.

    October 10, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    President Obama, you acted like the POTUS and I was very proud of you. Many people know Willard was lying through his teeth and still believe he won. I don't, I don't want a POTUS that is willing to lie on cue just to get elected. I would have loved to see you give it to him but this is an election, not Celebrity Death Match. I will also give you credit because I would have been ready to knock the heck out of Willard.

    Next debate, don't be so polite.

    October 10, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Just remember to tell Romney that the national deficit is inflated simply because the GOP's Iraqi and Afghan wars which has totaled 5.2 trillion dollars have inflated the national deficit. And just remember to thell Romney that we are still fighting in Afghanistan and suffering casualties ten years later in a war that should have ended five years ago, simply because the GOP deliberately and recklessly abandoned and prolonged the Afghan war to invade Iraq. And when Romney mentions the Benghazi attack, just remind him that the attacks on 9/11/01 happened on GWB's watch and no one politicized the tragedy. And just remember to remind him that 9 years later, many of us are still searching for answers and asking where are the WMDs?

    October 10, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Beau

    Guess what Obama...the next debate is about foreign policy. You and your administration just lied about Libya. How are you going to explain Romney lying when you are 10 times worse?

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

    I also think that Jim Lehr was not doing his job very effectively as the moderator at the last debate. He either needs to retire, or he should have a team of moderaters to keep politicians from hogging the debate.

    October 10, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |

    Yes you were too polite, but you were Presidential. Next debate, bring the Southside Obama out Mr. President. If you have to call him a flat out liar, then do so. You can't let this guy off the hook without him answering some serious questions about his blatant and consistent lies.

    October 10, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Critical Thinking

    Polite? Come on Mr. President, you know that truth and facts are your kryponite. They make you weak and dizzy. Polite, that's a funny one Mr. President.

    October 10, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. Borderless

    Yes, Mr. Obama, we have seen how well that works for you on the international stage.

    October 10, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Lynn

    Maybe Obama has read my mind, I've said that for many years. They need to sharpen their elbows and mouths and give the Republicans a taste of their own obnoxious behavior. You can't be polite with thugs.

    October 10, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |

    Knock him out next time! God bless the POTUS!

    October 10, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. CRK

    Go get em Mr President.

    October 10, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. fvw50

    I think it's fair to say that Obama didn't have a good record to defend so he had to 'tuck his tail between his legs' and run away from his record – which is what he did the entire first debate. Obama will certainly try to take the offense in the next two debates, but he could end up looking fairly reticent and will have his usual problem of talking down to people.

    October 10, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  21. papanez

    Crush Mittens once and for all, Mr. President!!

    October 10, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. rosco

    more leading from behind

    October 10, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. Hinting about the next debate

    Obama is insinutating that he will bring his guns "loaded" to the next debate. I look ahead for a lame debate filled with name calling, big birds and the funding information for cartoon network and nickelodean. Bwahahaha!

    October 10, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. Howard

    NOW, it's time for Barack and Michelle to abdicate their throne, so Mitt Romney can begin repairing the excessive damage caused by Obama's terrible policies. Good bye Barack, Michelle, Nancy, Harry, Jarret, and Axelrod, and all the unelected czars ... and, GOOD RIDDANCE TO YOU ALL ... I'm sure you all will find another way to pick the pockets of hard working Americans !!!

    October 10, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. Kirk in michigan

    I should hope so, america is the land of, i won because i shouted the loudest, and my lies were bolder than your truth

    October 10, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
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