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. Rick McDaniel

    Obama is just too INEPT!

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

    @Boderless- you are also clueless.

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

    Had a conversation with a worker down the road, very pro romney, so i asked Why, he gave me the 5 5rillion deficit, apologizing to foreigners, and said 47% sit on their as*s and do nothing, and pay no taxes, wow, i tried to tell him he can check theese facts for accuracy, but he didnt need to, he is a bad person to try to encourage to seek the truth, hated the big 3 bailout, and defended the banks, .. a perfect republican, believe what i say, no time for fact checking

    October 10, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Big Bird

    RIGHT-WING nuts cry: Obama is the worst loser!

    That's because you are scared and wished there was only 1 debate. But you know there 3 more debates.

    The worst kind of loser is a FLIP-FLOPPER. Someone who one week stands by his 47% VICTIMS comment and then the next week then says he was WRONG.

    Mitt knows he just opened a pandora box and he knows it! It's gloves off now and its on.

    Rule #1 and #2 in the debate are:
    1. Do not say things that will repeatedly FACT-CHECKED in the media over and over.
    2. Do not say things that make you look like a clown because you will get SNL and YouTubed! ie. Big Bird

    October 10, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. beevee

    I hope that President obama realizes that you can't be civil with bullies. Throw two punches at every one punch they throw at you will soften them up. Americans percieve nice guys as weak and applaud the bullies. Now that the gloves are off go for the jugular in the up coming debates and finish Romney off.

    October 10, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    Yes, President Obama was presidential!

    Mittens, on the other hand, looked like he'd just had his first cup of coffee, and flip-flopped on the tax policy he's been touting for 18 months, lied through his teeth and prattled on about how he suddenly cares for the 47% of Americans he considers blood-sucking ticks.

    Every Independent voter I've talked to listened to the debate and said it was a tie at the most. They also all saw through Mittens lies and fakeness.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    October 10, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Annirich

    OMG. what else is this goof going to come up with? He has NO record other than FAILURES! And he's dumb; YES DUMB! The man is not only a fraud, but he's stupid; he doesn't know business, he doesn't know foreign affairs, he's a muslimmarxist and his only thought is to re-distribute MY wealth!

    October 10, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. i'm confused

    Mr. President,

    A mistake is only a mistake if you learn nothing from it. Sounds like this one is just a lesson learned so I look forward to watching you bury this clown in the upcoming debates....

    When you're dealing with someone who has PROVEN themselves to pretty much be a compulsive liar, you've got throw civility out the window & get aggressive! I truly am convinced that Mitt Romney is a COMPULSIVE LIAR because what other reasonable explanation could there possibly be for Mitt's opinion regarding almost all of our nation's most significant issues to be as "fluid" as they are? It's time to take out the trash sir!!!!!!

    October 10, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. trex

    .....Obama, AFTER a poor debate STILL HAS THE SWING STATES IN HIS POCKET....................bye bye Mittens.......

    October 10, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. Josh King

    Obama needs to stop being 'too nice' not just in the debates, but in general. He needs to toughen up and be a president with balls, passion and vigor. He needs to be tougher on people using the govt. for handouts, he needs a tougher foreign policy, he needs to be tougher in general. It's not just the debate. I think it's too late, and we need to try someone else.

    October 10, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. rosco

    more excuses, no plains, no leadership, end of story kept kidding yourself oblameo

    October 10, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. VonRam

    For all of you who still think Romney didn't go through that whole 1st debate and didn't lie, need to take the gauze out of your ears. Whatever lies he told that night there's months and months of audio/visual evidence that he said the opposite. The man has been flip flopping for the last two weeks and everyone ones see's it. The next debate will be another story because POTUS will call him out on all his crap this time around.

    October 10, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Darrell

    I appreciate the fact he tried to remain civil and all but in a debate you bring everything. Many claims by Romney were flat out wrong or lies. Love how he kept saying his state was number one in education when it wasn't. Like how he didn't mention in was in the bottom quarter of the nation in economic growth. He simply told folks what they wanted to hear whether true or not and Obama should have called him out on it. He also should have called him out on the fact Romney still has yet to dictate what his plan is if elected other than repeal this law and that. You have to hold something to replace those laws with after all which he still has not presented.

    October 10, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. R Dean Moudy

    We are close to BANKRUPTCY and our fearless leader, says he is just too polite! That is like a robber in your home as you are walking in, that he apologizes and wishes you the best as he walks out with all your jewelry AND furniture while you are too stupid to call the police. Real politics just isn't polite particularly since O'Bama and his administration is OJT without ANY experience except as a "community organizer", (whatever THAT is). Barry keeps making excuses or blame Bush while "Rome burns!"! WAKE UP!!!

    October 10, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. Kirk in michigan

    He who lies the best wins, an important part of voting is to make sure that the info you use to make a decision is in fact the truth, now is not the time to dismiss thruth so quicky, gulf war?

    October 10, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Elephant Memory

    Mr. President during the foreign policy debate ask Romney why he and Bain were involved with the Russian Mafia during the early 1990's.

    October 10, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. kel

    During his entire presidency Obama has given one excuse after another. He never takes responsibility. So juvenile for a grown man and the president of the United States! When is he going to take personal responsibility? He sure always takes credit for others achievements, such as Clinton's successes and even the Navy Seals killing Bin Laden. He sure could learn from Truman's motto: "The buck stops here".

    October 10, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. Mary Ann

    Obama needs to stop being nice to the republicans,you can not treat them with respect,They are liars,obnoxious,crude ,they are the worst man kind has to offer.Treat the GOP the way they deserve to be treated.

    October 10, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Why Why Why

    Romney is so concerned about Libya, which of his 5 sons are in the military and prepared to go to war to back up his big mouth?

    October 10, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. kiwisepp

    The president though that he just lets Romney says what he wants to say and let American people judge what they think is right or wrong. Unfortunately, regular American are just too stupid to make that judgement. Many American do not know what is 1/3 + 2/3.

    October 10, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. Polar Bear

    Seems as if America is waking up after a four year slumber. Just hope we're fully awake come November.

    October 10, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. rtrMicky

    @Rob It is very difficult to rebut specifics about Romney's "plans" because he hasn't bothered to offer any. "trust me" and "based on projected economic growth" is not a plan. It's conservative fantasy.

    October 10, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Bill from GA

    Nothing wrong with being polite, if the company you keep is polite.

    But you never want to bring a slingshot to a gunfight.

    October 10, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. mfoxman

    99 % of Obama's commercials is spent being critical of Romney cause he himself has no record to stand on. Both the debates and the commercials have one common element for the Obama campaign. Make fun and poke the other guy. With the white crowd its in one voice and with the black crowd he uses his ghetto language. He is like a drama queen or a bully. Let me see how many times I can talk about your momma to make you look bad. Very Ghetto. And you guys want this to be your president. This is not a day on the playground with the cool kid. This is the President of the United States. The highest position in the land. He didn't even look presidential.

    October 10, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  25. Polar Bear

    Really, a Chicago political thug talking about "politeness?" How bizzare!

    October 10, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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