President fights back the day after night before
The “take-away from this debate”, he said, was that they “can’t allow someone to stand there and manhandle the truth”.
Campaign officials said they wished Obama had called out Romney on assertions they said were untrue, although they conceded that some of the weaknesses in the president’s performance were simply part of his approach to debates, which is to shy away from highly personal confrontations. The base wants him “to gut Romney”, one adviser said, but swing voters hate that and the president was trying to find a balance.
Even so, Democrats questioned why he did not bring up a range of issues they considered favourable to Obama, including women’s rights; Romney’s taxes; the Republican candidate’s comments about the “47 per cent” of Americans who consider themselves “victims” dependent on the government; and the record of his former firm, Bain Capital. Some Colorado Democrats leaving the debate assailed Romney for misleading viewers about his tax plan and other issues. The Center for American Progress, a left-leaning organisation, posted what it called “27 myths” told in 38 minutes.
A new television ad produced by the Obama campaign for seven swing states showed Romney denying aspects of his tax plan.
“If we can’t trust him here, how could we ever trust him here?” the ad asks as a picture of the Oval Office comes on screen.
The Romney camp countered with the various ways they asserted Obama misled about the issues during the debate.
Obama’s advisers went into the debate recognising that incumbents often lose their first debate while seeking re-election in part because they have less time to prepare and in part because it is the first time a challenger is onstage as a peer with a president. They also worried that the media, anxious for a compelling story line, would be primed to write a Romney comeback story.
But what they did not count on was how universally the president would be criticised by Democrats and Republicans alike for his performance. Instead of cementing a sense of inevitability borne out of solid swing-state polls in recent weeks, Obama has now let Romney off the mat and given him momentum. Whether it changes the fundamental dynamics of the campaign remains to be seen.
– (New York Times)