Obama Mauled in the First Round
If the first showdown between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney Wednesday evening in at the University of Denver was a boxing match, then the verdict would probably be a split decision with Romney getting the nod for aggressiveness.
This was akin to a championship fight with Romney the challenger having to wrest the title from Obama, who seemed content just to keep a defensive mode, warding off blows and pulling his punches.
There were ample opportunities, plenty of openings for Obama to slip a telling left hook or right cross, but he passed them up, apparently unwilling to risk not looking presidential.
Romney’s aggressiveness was merely an arsenal of lies, the kind of mendacity that has characterized his campaign, and neither Obama nor moderator Jim Lehrer chose to rebut them.
Many Obama supporters were waiting futilely for him to counterpunch Romney’s assertion about the charge the president had cut $716 billion from Medicare. And Romney battered away with this attack, which he has stated again and again, indicating that the reductions would come from current beneficiaries.
But there was nary a word about this or the 47 percent allegation Romney made earlier about this segment of the population dependent on government handouts.
Romney slammed with everything from the elimination of PBS’s Big Bird to Vice President’s Biden comment about the “buried” middle class, a comment largely taken out of context to impugn the Obama administration.
The challenger claimed that Obama had doubled the deficit, which is another falsehood. When Obama took office he was already facing a $1.2 to $1.4 trillion deficit for 2009. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the deficit for 2012 is expected to be $1.1 trillion, an appreciable decline in the overall percentage of the economy.
Obama had gaping openings on Romney’s comments about the 23 million unemployed, which is again not true; the federal debt, and the repealing of Obamacare.
But Obama, in what many pundits claim was a lackluster performance, failed to take advantage of these distortions and lies, hoping that Romney’s attack would not be enough to close the lead, if we can believe the recent polls.
After all is said and done, to keep the fight metaphor alive, this was only the first round and there are two more to go and it’s to be seen if the champ has learned anything at all from this first round mauling.
Herb Boyd is a New York based educator, author and journalist.