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. James

    Too polite.. LOL... the most arrogant President of all time. Know I am afraid Barrack you are just too stupid to speak on your own. No telepromter no speaking success. No carefully canned speeches no speaking success. Obama you sir are a fraud.

    October 10, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. Debby

    Here come the excuses next he will be blaming Bush.

    October 10, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. Barry

    Polite, indeed you were but I think you were ill-prepared and did not show up fighting for the middle class and the 47 percent. Obama, you have my vote and I will be really TICKED OFF if you dont come out and say it as it is. I personnally prefer to die fighting rather than die laying down and that is what you did in the first debate. After all, you where there, you had the facts. You had the message, but you kept everything inside as if you were scared. As a democrat, you and I both know what is at stake and if you go out and blow it, then the blame sits on your shoulder. Another note, you know what the repug/GOP or planning and you know what their intentions are so why would you have entered the debate with such dismal performance? You surely displayed a person without a fight, or as it was protrayed by Clint Eastwood, and empty chair and a man of no substance during the first debate. Regardless of your inept or inert proformance, you better come out and fight for those who have supported you all these years, or else you will go down in history as a weak ONE TERM PRESIDENT. OBAMA ALL THE BEST..

    October 10, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. josh rogen

    i think if Romney uses the president's own quote on being called a lair against him the president will look even more foolish, and un-presidential

    October 10, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I laugh at one person running for office calling the other a liar. There are people whose job is to show where politicians are lying. It is so common for both politicians to be lying that the citizens do not know the truth. The POTUS has a record though and Romney doesn't. That is the difference. Its easier to throw ideas than to run from actual results. Its also easier to defend ideas than to defend results. Romney threw out ideas and the only thing Obama could do is say it will do certain things, nobody knows who is right or who is wrong until those ideas are executed. Obama has a record and it would be best for him to give more ideas than raise taxes on the rich. We are all losers though, neither can resolve the deficit, interest payments alone are way to high. But raising $100 billion in taxes will only leave us with a $1.4 trillion annual defecit. Romney can't cut $1.5 trillion in spending. We already are over the cliff. Only a matter of time till we reach the ground.

    October 10, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. unknown11

    So, in his mind it was polite to drone on and on, going over his time limits. It was polite to trot out the same tired old campaign lies in the face of facts. He got is butt handed to him and it had nothing to do with him being polite. Romney was polite. Obama was incompetent.

    October 10, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. Don Jones

    Too polite? Perhaps; but my take was that the man simply has fallen in love with the sound of his own voice. Get straight to the point and deliver the message, before you lose sight of the point and the message through your rambling diatribe.

    October 10, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. Bob

    Too Polite? Its hard to get fired up about a failed record Mr. President. Call them lies all you want, Romney spoke the truth...you just don't want to hear it.

    October 10, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. Brad

    Obama did get Mitten good on the questions about the Cost Of College Educations, when he quoted Mitten as saying "Just go get a Loan from your Parents" as his answer to fixing the problem, you could see the anger and fits in Mitten eyes and he didnt even answer the question, he just brought up the same old talking points to try to say away from an obvious bad idea. Go get him Mr. President Mitten cannot handle having his own stupid ideas thrown back at him.

    October 10, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. mark anderson

    Democrats are sore losers. I already voted for Romney so case closed.

    October 10, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. Sarad

    LOL, too polite??? Clueless.... No teleprompter... No real ideas... No solutions... Amatuer.... But not too polite. Move along... Nothing to see here.

    October 10, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. Katie

    Amen to that Lynn! Bring the Southside of you next week! The 47 percent is counting on it! Go Barack we got your back!

    October 10, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. DocReality

    Poor Lynn; she identifies with the abuser. Obama is a thug. And it appears he has two personalities: the 'teleprompter-yes-we-can' personality, and the 'no-teleprompter-no-clue-what's-going-on' personality. And whether he's polite or impolite, one essential fact remains: you can't fix stupid.

    Stop making excuses and start living in reality; he's an unhappy, confused, manipulative, calculating, cold, bigoted, anti-Israel, anti-American and ultimately, a very broken and limited man.

    October 10, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. ImWEBSPY

    “Romney’s 24 special advisers on foreign policy, 17 served in the Bush-Cheney administration.”

    And like Bush, Romney, will accidentally kill more Americans on bad advice and Intel.

    All we can hope for is this time the number killed and injured don't top a 100 thousand like the last time this group of experts were in Washington!

    October 10, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. unknown11

    Was it polite to spend the next week calling Romney a liar, when everyone comes to the conclusion that he is not? You are falsely accusing thy neighbor Mr. President. That goes beyond being impolite.

    October 10, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. jpmichigan

    Please, Mr. President it wasn't that you were to polite, it was more like you are out of touch. Some blame it on the alltatude, I say, you are disengaged with the daily comings and going of the oval office and hve replaced it with campaining using your standard pandering and hoodwinking.

    October 10, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Saboth

    Obama is going to spit fire at the next debate. Bring some jokes, sing a bit and leave the emotionless Romney-bot sputtering. "Error: Error: Lie #1021 – file not found. Bzzzt". Instead of letting Romney off the hook every time he lies, grab that lie, dunk it on his head with glass shattering all around. "Doesn't know where 5 trillion tax cut deficit is coming from?" Sure he does. "My healthcare plan covers pre-existing conditions." No, it does not!" "I don't know anything about tax cuts for offshoring, and I've been in business X years." I don't care how long you've been in business, experts state Obama is telling the truth and Romney is lying. Again and again with the lies. The man has no plan, and is running on nothing but tax cuts for the rich (tax increases on the middle class), cutting social programs, going to war and deregulating banks and corporations again. The SAME policies that got us into the huge deficit we have now (contrary to right-wing nuttery, the current deficit is a result of GW's policies, not Obama's), the financial melt-down, and the current state of our country. No thanks, Mr. Romney, I'm not an idiot. We won't try those failed policies again. Obama 2012.

    October 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Darrell

    To my friends Tom, Beau, Fair is Fair and rob...and the rest of the Romney supporters on this page...the joke is you guys: You guys are the 47% who Romney was talking about...his own base of hard working Americans who take the correct Tax deductions to provide for your families. You don't support Obama and you would never vote for him. And, the company Romney keeps are the rich folks in the room where he got caught on tape. He does not give a rats behind about you...yet, you champion him as your leader...a Severely Conservative who changed stripes to be a moderate during the debate..(hint, hint that is what we call a chameleon)...who says one thing behind closed doors and says another thing when the cameras are rolling.

    As the sports broadcaster would say, lets go to the videotape- and there is a lot of footage showing Romney changing his position from one issue to the next. Yesterday he did it again on abortion.

    You guys hate for Obama, who you will not vote for, which leads you guys to support a lair who does and says anything to get elected, even if means throwing you guys under bus, which he did in the FL videotape. Now I can officially call you guys what you are to Mitt Romney: Road Kill!!

    October 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. Syd

    Too polite... ya think??

    October 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. Mark C. Williams

    Obama will pressure Romney. Suddently, Romney will re-offend the British, Israel and 47% of this country.

    October 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. DavidE7

    This is all media-generated hype. A debate is not a boxing match, and the winner is decided by aggressiveness only by people too stupid to listen to the content. It was obvious to many with no vested interest that Romney was telling lies with a straight face, and that Obama was too dumbfounded by Romney's mendacity to confront him. In addition, Obama may have thought that unnecessary because his re-election was all but assured. Romney is a slippery customer, and will dance around Obama's attempts at confrontation at the next debate. It will then be up to the viewing audience to decide whether Obama has what it takes to deserve another term, or the country can be put in the hands of the Bain CEO.

    October 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  22. miami

    Wow this media was declare romney the winer i dont no what this man was said all liar go vote for romney but for those of you who want the true vote obama .this romney man is a big fat liars he will said to anything to ge elect . Not this time .

    October 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    Next time, when he is NOT polite, the republicans will label him an ANGRY BLACK MAN - mark my word on it. Portman knows it and Mittens knows it.

    Mttens is a liar. I'm white. He has lied about everything. I'm not angry. I'm being truthful.

    I voted for Obama/Biden las week and now I'm helping take elderly democrats to the polls to vote.

    October 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. Barry

    Hit that good for nothing D-bag hard right in the magic underwear.

    October 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. john

    The next debate will be one to watch. The last debate was partially terrible because half the time the candidates were speaking they were scrolling snarky twitter comments. This is not about what dim-wits can say in 144 characters or less this is a presidential debate and the only thing we should see is the candidates talking and relevant facts. No other opinions are required.

    Note to CNN – Don't post up stupid twitter jokes during the debate. Instead get a dedicated team to fact check and post those against either candidates mis-truths in real time.

    October 10, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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