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2012 Presidential Debate #1 – Romney Lies, Obama Stands Firm, and Jim Lehrer Is Legally Dead

The first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, turned into what had to be the most un-enlightening 90 minutes of tried talking points, lies and vagueness ever presented at a Presidential debate>  Iy was sp badly presented that had one almost wishing for technical problem like the one which plagued the first nationally televised debate between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford where the audio feed was lost for over 30 minutes.

Veteran newscaster Jim Lehrer, who “played” moderator showed little to no ability to control the give-and-take and keep candidates to time letting Mitt Romney walk all over him and control the debate by blatantly disregarding the time limits and even taking shots at Lehrer himself by saying that “he’s stop funding  to PBS” if elected.  Former New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller summed up the Lehrer  criticism, giving him a D grade and calling him “road kill” in his Twitter  analysis of the debate.

On substance, Romney lied his ass off repeatedly. Saying and i quote: “I will not reduce the taxes paid by high income Americans.” Which forced Chris Hayes of MSNBC to say that Romney’s statement was: “Manifestly preposterous.  It’s all there in Romney’s tax plan. Will voters, media, notice, care?”

Well I do.

Romney claimed that if the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans, it will kill jobs. Forbes debunked this myth and concluded that.  The GOP meme suggesting that tax cuts equals jobs while, conversely, tax increases on the so-called “job creators” mean less work for the rest of us, simply does not survive any reasonable scrutiny. Putting more money in the pockets of the wealthy may create a few jobs for the foreign bankers who get to count the extra money funneled into the off-shore accounts of the rich, but there is nothing in the way of actual data that even remotely support the notion that putting more money into the pockets of the wealthiest Americans will inure to the benefit of those looking for work.”  Proof of that could be found that every year profits soar and jobs are still being cut by wealthy individuals and corporations.

Romney also tried to sell the subsidies for Big Oil as going to small natural gas and coal companies. The truth is that $2.8 billion in subsidies go to the five biggest oil companies. Big Oil is also allowed to write off all of their drilling costs.

Virtually every time Mr. Romney spoke, he misrepresented the platform on which he and Paul Ryan are actually running.

Romney’s strategy for the debate was what it has been from Day One.  LIE.
1. “We have to have regulation of Wall Street.”
2. “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of the scale you’re talking about.”
3. ”Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.”
4. “I’m not going to cut taxes for the rich.”
5. ”I’m not going to cut education funding.”
6. ”I’m all in favor of green energy.”
7. “I like what we did in Massachusetts” on healthcare

The President did barrel through Romney on not giving specifics on anything.  And also called out Romney for having secret plans, and asked if not telling the American people his details because his plans are too good? Romney tried to put on the Ronald Reagan suit, and claimed that he can’t give details because details won’t get things done.

President Obama also for the most of the night calmly defending his policies and taking the high road. If Obama’s and his advisors plan was to give Mitt Romney enough rope to hang himself with his lies then that worked.  If not it was a card misplayed.

The closest President Obama came to an attack on Romney was when he said “Right now, you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. I think most Americans would say that doesn’t make sense…,” off handedly referring to Bain Capital.

And again Romney lied again.  Well didn’t lie exactly but played very dumb: “The … topic, which … you said you get a deduction for getting a plant overseas. Look, I’ve been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you’re talking about.  I may need to get a new accountant.”  Romney said.

Well it looks like Mitt will be helping to add to the unemployment figures and firing his accountant.  Companies that move overseas DO get a tax break for ordinary business expense, including deductions allowed for a company if it closes its plant in the United States and moves it to another country.

But Obama’s biggest missed moment of the night was NOT using Romney’s 47% remarks.

According to David Plouffe, one of President Obama’s Senior Advisors the strategy WAS NOT to have Obama mention Romney’s 47% remark because most Americans were aware of it.

There are two words that describe such a so-called “strategy”: Political Malpractice

The critical point to remember is that there are virtually no undecideds in this election.  This is a game now of making voters switch sides.  But one thing is for sure.  After last night the President does need to be less smiling and more aggressive.

As Bobby Kennedy said to John F Kennedy before going into a debate.  “Kick him in all the balls.’

All in all last nights debate was a HOT MESS and the only real thing the American people walked away with is that Jim Lehrer should have retired 10 years ago.


Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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