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. Sniffit

    "Come on Mr. President, you know that truth and facts are your kryponite"

    Except the fact checking after the debate had a long list of Romney lies and one that they liked to peg on the president...and even that was a loose attempt to create more false equivalency because in order to call what the POTUS said false, they had to take Mittens "At his word" regarding his tax plans. Grow up. Mittens demonstrably lied through his teeth and CNN and the rest of the MSM are desperately trying to sell it otherwise in ortder to help make the race closer and more sensational. After all, CNN has a debate still scheduled and they want as many viewers as they can get for it.

    October 10, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. J.C.

    "Polite" is not the same thing as "comatose", Mr. President.

    October 10, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. FCSL1

    Unfortunately, Obama has lied more than any president in history. At this point I can't see how anyone can believe a word he says.

    October 10, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. JM

    Too polite? Goodness gracious if he thinks the only way to counter in a debate is to be impolite then we are in bigger trouble than I thought. Mitt Romney managed to be forceful AND polite.

    October 10, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Gregory

    No Mr President, the reason you lost the debate was because your economic policies are complete failures. You had your chance to turn the economy around, you were elected for this very reason, you failed and now it is time tor try someone else. Doesn't get more simpler than that.

    October 10, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. obamaphone

    Yes Mr. Obama please do a better job next time so you get re-elected and I can keep my obamaphone! If you lose to Romney, I will have to work for a living and not get all these great gov't handouts you've given to me. I need these foodstamps, I need this obamaphone and lord knows I don't want to pay for it! or work for it Let the tax payer pay the tab. VOTE OBAMA! Now I have to get back to my Judge Judy show, while I should be looking for work.

    October 10, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Kirk in michigan

    All you repo bloggers have an opportunity to check your candidates claims made atb debate, romney was anything but honest, so when your ready to do that, do it , then blog. mittens is a seasoned liar, bain capital sold out jobs and stole hard working americans retirement funds, go ahead and lie to yourself, you obviously like it, given your choice of candidates, i onlt wonder how bad it will get if the repubs win, the people who actuually think this guy even wants to help them are in for a rude awakening if he wins

    October 10, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. gt

    look out he must being going to act like a thug from the south side of chicago.....

    October 10, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. Obama Mama

    Romney specifically challanged. Factually challanged. FLIP-FLOPPER. Whomever is in the room, he cowtows to. Do not forget his blunder in the UK, offending allies. policy of might makes right policy for mideast, another war? Tax deduction for Ann's horsey, tax avoidance in the Cayman's, Son of Boss scandal (Marriott mess0, and the largest earmark in the history of america, his 600 million earmark (our tax dollars) for the Olympic's, his pride and joy. Also do not forget earasures of his computer's after he was Gov. and at the Olympics.

    October 10, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. obama is Out Of Touch with reality

    Thats just another excuse, actually obama cannot stand on his record and he had nothing, nothing at all and to tell the truth, he is not eye candy, he is a nobody.

    October 10, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. epipsyche

    You wanna be the man, you gotta act like the man. With shoulders slumped, standing on one leg, your eyes constantly down as if pleading for the whipping to be done, and letting Romney steam-roll you all over the place, you looked nothing like the man. You are our man. We chose you to represent the Democrats. You were shaking your head agreeing with things Romney said. You gotta fight to win this thing. You have to challenge him on his 47%. You have to bring up his off-shore accounts and his 401K Loans he made. You gotta have some really good ammunition in this war. You gotta win this time.

    October 10, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. 23 from Texas

    poor prez... all of his talking points are lies. He will have to be quiet at the debates because Romney is standing right there ready to call him out on them. He will have to wait for AD time, when he can say anything he wants and not have to own up to it with Romney right there next to him...
    BO is pathetic!

    Vote Romney 2012!

    October 10, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. Thomas

    I am of the opinion that his lackluster performance was intended. Yes I agree that the Dems may not have anticipated how badly this strategy would play out in hind sight, but I have to believe that with all the practice that goes into these things that Obama and his camp wanted to present a reserved, calm and collected president. Problem is, that is not who Obama is.

    October 10, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  14. Jack from Illinois

    "That's incorrect, and you KNOW that's incorrect, and here is exactly HOW it is incorrect – so why are you lying, Governor?"

    About the fifth time Obama throws that in, RMoney will crack.

    October 10, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. GloriaD

    Obama wasn't too polite to debate, he just hasn't been there for 4 years and did not know how to debate without a teleprompter. If he spent some time in the white house doing the job we are paying him to do, he could have answered the questions. Can't you answer questions about your job?

    October 10, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. george

    This article makes him sound like the whiner-in-chief.

    October 10, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. FredKelly

    That's some quality narcissism right there. And what happens when Romney trounces him a second time? Third time's a charm?

    October 10, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. David Ellis

    President Obama, I do not support many of your policies, and if you lose on those, just fine. However, if you lose this election because you are too polite than the US deserves whatever ill-mannered, uneducated neanderthal it gets.

    One should always behave with dignity, especially when the other party does not.

    October 10, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Cue up the "angry black man" blather from CNN's bobbleheads. Heck, Borger even tried to start it up after the last debate, saying some nonsense about Obama looking ""angry at times." Guess what? When people lie at me and never get called for it, I too get angry. Frankly, as disappointed as I was that he wasn't firey and delivering a smack down to all of Mittens' lying, I was somewhat impressed that Obama kept his composure in the face of such ridiculous flip-floppery and changing of positions at the last minute. You can't debate someone who is willing to simply tell lies and change their positions on the day of the debate. If THAT is Mittens' strategy and the MSM is going to support it fully, as they have 100% done so far, then we might as well put a "for sale" sign on the country.

    October 10, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. Bobby in SC

    The Democrats main line of attack against Romney is he offers no specifics.What does he plan to cut ect?So in the debate he offers up a little taste of one.Cut funding to PBS and NPR.For the past week now thats all we have heard about from the Dems and those in the media.Big bird this and Elmo that.Can you blame the guy for not wanting to give specifics on major issues?Where were the presidents specifics?He didn't offer up any either but we don't hear about that from the other side.The President doesn't have a plan other then make Romney look bad and that plan blew up in his face in last debate.Unless he gets serious and offer up a plan of his own for the next 4 years he is FINISHED!!!Getting mad or mean will not help him at this point.Expressing his vision for the future is his only chance of gaining back the momentum he's lost.It's a tall task but if he tries to take the tough approach next Tuesday he can start packing his bags.

    October 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. lovespandas

    When in heTT has he ever been polite? He just didn't know how to answer without a script in front of a TelePrompTer.

    October 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. poopyonastickmakesmesick

    Funny calling Republicans and tea partiers thugs and bullies. It's the occupy movement, who is aligned with dems, who are full of thugs.

    October 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. Brian Wickremasinghe-Woodland Hills

    Come on Mr. President. You are in politics. Nice guys come last. Rub it on his face. Tell the general public that you are not the president for 1%, 99% or 47%. Tell them that you did not let Detroit go down the tube. Tell them that you did not talk from both sides of your mouth to court NRC. Tell them you did not get rich on the backs of the middle class. Did not out source jobs to make huge profits that found it's way to off shore banks. Paid over 15% in taxes. Get on with it and make amends for your lack luster performance.

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

    Dear Mr. President.

    We need somebody in office to fight for his/her view. I did not not vote for Mr. Nice or Gentelman.

    Please stop professor level speech and express your opinion and fight for your ideologies.

    You are letting down million of people voted for you.

    If you are not prepare to fight, then you are not desrve to be president and you will NOT have my vote and many like us.

    October 10, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Thomas

    It's said when respect is only given to those that act with no class , we live in a country where we embrace the rude and corrupt .

    How do you debate a face who's voice changes every other day , who will do and say anything .

    Romney is like a Nixon , anything goes and only winning maters .

    You can't be polite with thugs , yet you can't lower yourself to there behavior .
    The truth always prevails .

    October 10, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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