President Obama performed so badly in the debate last night that Amy Davidson from the New Yorker was able to cite seven opportunities he missed to nail Mitt Romney. I think her most egregious example was the President's failure to swoop down on Romney's comment that he needed to tell his attorney about the tax deduction Obama said U.S. corporations receive when they move American jobs abroad.
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Romney said: "You said you get a deduction for getting a plant overseas. Look, I've been in business for twenty-five years. I have no idea what you're talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant."
Obama should have said, according to Davidson:
a) "Sounds like you have a lot of experience moving jobs overseas." b) "Governor, you're the one who is wrong. You might even find that deduction in the hundred of pages of your own returns" c) "I don't know, Governor, based on what we know about the rate of taxes you pay, you might want to keep that accountant." (Nick Paumgarten came up with that one in The New Yorker's live chat.)
The President's failure to catch that rhetorical softball was bad, but far worse was his glaring refusal to confront and sting Romney for flip-flopping on big matters like his tax plan. The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Factcheck.org all agree that Romney has proposed a $5 trillion tax cut. As a Facebook friend of mine suggested, Obama could at any moment have pulled back and said, "Ok, yesterday you had one tax plan. Now you say have another. What exactly is your plan? I have time for you to explain it."
Romney changed his entire tone during the debate, largely by parroting Obama's talking points, leading a lot of viewers to wonder -- egged on by moderator Jim Lehrer's questions -- how the two men actually differ. Smarter people than me, including Gene Demby writing for Dominion of New York, say the impact of Presidential debates is overstated. But if this debate is an exception, Romney's parroting of Obama could very well be a major blow to Obama's campaign.
Most likely, Romney's logic is that if white independent voters are given a choice between a black man and a white man with the same ideas, the white voters will choose the white man, because he makes them feel more "comfortable." It's a very cynical way of thinking that could actually help Mitt Romney win this election.
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SOURCE: The Huffington Post
Dominion of New York | By Kelly Virella