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In my post-debate post, I argued that, despite the outcry from Ed Shultz and the gang, President Obama made the right decision in not raising Romney's remarks dissing half the country. i didn't expect there to be such strong reinforcement of my position so quickly. But tonight, the other shoe dropped. From an AP story appearing on the Huffington Post:

In an interview Thursday night with Fox News, Romney was asked what he would have said had the "47 percent" comments come up during his debate in Denver on Wednesday night with President Barack Obama.

"Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right," Romney said. "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong."

He added: "And I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100 percent and that's been demonstrated throughout my life. And this whole campaign is about the 100 percent." [emphasis added]

It's clear that the Mittster was just waiting for Obama to raise this at the debate. The moment he did, Romney would have gone into his mea culpa. And would that have left Obama? In an impossible position. If he continued to pound, then he seems ungracious. If he accepts Mitt's apology, them Romney has effectively diffused the issue.

That's because the American people are, at their core, a forgiving people. If we hear an apology that seems sincere, we are willing to forgive many sins.

But this way, Romney continues o seem ingenuous. When placed against the narrative that Mitt lied his way through the debate, his statement comes across as deeply cynical, and just another example of him being willing to say anything to get elected.

A few other observations:

As pointed out in multiple venues, including the National Journal, incumbent presidents have a very poor record in first debates.

Incumbent Gerald Ford was bested in debate by challenger Jimmy Carter; incumbent Carter was outdebated by challenger Ronald Reagan; incumbent Reagan lost badly in debate to challenger Walter Mondale; incumbent George H.W. Bush was topped in debate by challenger Bill Clinton; incumbent George W. Bush was seen as the loser in debate to challenger John Kerry. The only exception was incumbent Clinton, who had no trouble dispatching challenger Bob Dole, a notoriously bad debater, in their contests in 1996.
Josh Marshall passes along some food for thought about why Obama has difficulty in this kind of setting.
I’m not sure I’d agree with this. But I did see several readers who cast President Obama’s debate performance last night as part of a larger problem of resisting or retreating from confrontation.
The skinny on that CNN flash poll from The SilverMonkey:
Notice anything funny? According to the breakout, all the people surveyed are white, 50+, and from the South.
And poll guru Nate Silver weighs in with an historical perspective
Over all, the relationship between the winner of the instant-reaction poll and the change in head-to-head polls is positive, although not statistically significant.
Finally, the latest Ipsos-Reuters poll has some good news for everyone, especially the president:
The most essential stat of the Ipsos-Reuters poll? Despite some positive movement for the challenger, he still trailed by five in the post-debate sample. And that was after a night of fawning coverage in the press, and excoriations across the board of Obama's performance.
The take-away? The sky isn't actually falling.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Why the FUCK didn't Romney volunteer (11+ / 0-)

    an apology?!?!

    But this way, Romney continues o seem ingenuous. When placed against the narrative that Mitt lied his way through the debate, his statement comes across as deeply cynical, and just another example of him being willing to say anything to get elected.
    Fuckin'-a right!  The fucking lyin' sack-o-shit's still lyin'!  Somebody from the Obama campaign should say that, unlike David Koch, Obama doesn't have a hand up Romney's asshole to move Romney's mouth.

    Fuckin' Romney could have volunteered an apology last night!  
    He had an audience of 60 million people!  If he was sincere, nobody would have had to bring anything up to get him to take advantage of the opportunity to apologize to the whole fucking world!

    I loathe Mitt Romney.

    Have you googled Romney today?

    by fou on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 11:08:36 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, I kind of figured that's what was going on. (18+ / 0-)

    Mitt had some kind of pat response ready and Team Obama figured there was no point in feeding him a straight line so he could wiggle out of the 47 percent comment.

    Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

    by Bush Bites on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 11:23:48 PM PDT

  •  I'm starting to wonder how Mitt saying... (11+ / 0-)

    ...."my positions on x, y, z, are close to Obama's" really helps Mitt.

    I mean, if he's so goddamned moderate (which I know he isn't, but let's assume for the sake of argument), why wouldn't voters just stick with the moderate they already have in the White House?

    Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

    by Bush Bites on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 11:28:19 PM PDT

    •  I think because (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lovepolitics2008

      Mittens' base won't abandon him even if he abandons their positions.

      Anything to get The Dusky Muslim out of the White House, I suppose.

      The Republican Party is now the sworn enemy of the United States of America.

      Listen to All Over The Place - we play all kinds of music!

      by TheGreatLeapForward on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 05:31:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are exactly right and... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheGreatLeapForward

        This was their gameplan all along.  Eric the Etch said it long ago:  the reset button would be hit at some point.  I think people just assumed if he hadn't hit it by now he wasn't going to (or that the change was from his positions as MA governor to his "severely conservative".  But, what he meant was it would be the end game for the debates.  To get there, he needed to first make sure that his right wingnut base would support him no matter what he said (out of fear).  Had Romney said half the things he said at the debate earlier on, the right would have eaten him alive (and when he tried, they did).  but, now, with a loss in sight, he has a free hand to move center...if he can.  It's "our" job (and Obama's) to make sure that he can't.

        And I repeat:  I never expected the 47% to come up from Obama.  Nor, frankly from a moderator such as Jim Leher who never goes for this stuff.  Either Romney needed to open it up or it wasn't coming up.  Because, I repeat, you never, ever, give your opponent another shot to clean up a mistake on your dime.

  •  I have to think that Obama (8+ / 0-)

    has spies either at faux or even in the rmoney camp.  

    Obama team just too perfectly did not challenge rmoney too hard and didn't fall into the angry black man trap set up for up by the releases of those stupid old tapes that weren't news from a couple of days ago.  You think that Hannity/Carlson didn't have a plot hatched up with that?

    Then, Obama doesn't bring up the 47%...... hmmmmm.... second trap avoided....... and rmoney has to do his apology over at faux...... to the very people who don't want to hear it......

    What a friggin joke.......

  •  Get Out the Vote ... please (4+ / 0-)

    All these debates results are nice and sweet. but there is only ONE thing that matter: Get Out The Vote. Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer NOW.
    Please get out there this week end and work out your behind.

    Don't forget to register to vote here: http://netrootsradio.blogspot.com/p/register-to-vote.html

    by bepanda on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 12:31:20 AM PDT

  •  All Lies, All the Time Strategy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaurenMonica, a2nite

    Romney always prefers to lie if it sounds better than the truth. He took it to new heights during the debate. By the time the next debate rolls around his lies will be catching up to him. If he continues to add new lies the exposure he is getting from the debates will only make it worse.

    Help! The GOP is NUTS (& the Dems need some!)

    by Tuba Les on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 12:32:56 AM PDT

  •  He was too prepared for the question. Let an (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, annecros, a2nite

    ordinary person at the Townhall meeting asking him about the 47% comment. Let put a face on the 47% comment.

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 01:37:16 AM PDT

  •  Romney sounds so sincere when he says 100%. Not. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Da Nile is a river in Egypt. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, Hillbilly Dem

    Obama lost that debate, and any corrections to those lies will not be heard by the large audience that walked away believing them.     The next debate is on foreign policy.  There is no way any of them will get corrected then, and I'd bet the audience will be smaller.  

    If Mitt had said to the 47% speech, I was totally wrong.   I would have parlayed that - so did you lie to your donors at that meeting and Americans the next day when you said you were right but said it inelegantly, or are you lying to Americans now?   Either way, how is anyone suppose to know when you are or aren't telling the truth since you flip-flop on everything you say?

    Obama blew it, and Democratic supporters are entitled to express their dismay at a President who won't fight for  - eliminating the bush tax cuts,  the public option , and protecting Social Security.   Oh yeah I forgot.  Obama promised not to "slash" it, which is equivalent to Romney's, "protecting" it.

    If money is speech, then speech must be money. Call your mortgage company and pay your rent now.

    by dkmich on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 03:28:20 AM PDT

  •  Applies to many of the obvious attacks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4mygirls, Clues, Quantumlogic, a2nite

    that the president could have launched. Those would be the ones for which Romney would have prepped.

    One thing which is missed in the 47% discussion, which is harder for Romney to dodge, is the following, said in the same tape.

    "I'll never convince these people to take responsibility for themselves, for their own lives."

    That's quoted from memory, by the way, so...

    This is a real statement of Romney's attitude and perception of the rest of us. It is much harder to spin, and it, not the number 47, needs to be hung around his neck till the day he dies.

  •  Yes and no and agree with oxon (0+ / 0-)

    I agree with you that it's probably a good thing this didn't come out at the debate, but something I don't think anyone is looking at yet is the wording of Mitt's apology.

    He says he "cares" about the 100%, but he never walks back that comment about 47% of people feeling that they are victims, that they don't take personal responsibility, and that they feel entitled to FOOD.

    There's so much more to explore in that comment that Romney has never disavowed.

    Does he understand who those 47% are?

    Does he really hold the opinion that senior citizens aren't entitled to food?

    And no matter what he answers to those questions, the mere fact that he's made to answer them is a winner.

    This needs to come up before Nov., even if Romney thinks he's ready to answer it, he's not.  Any way he answers these questions is going to make someone unhappy.

  •  Biden will have a much easier time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clues, a2nite

    deconstructing Ryan's claim that 47% of Americans are unemployed. He'd better do that.

  •  Big Bird takes flight abroad (0+ / 0-)

    I've been reading several European news websites, and the narrative went from "Obama loses big time" to "Obama, the sore loser, accuses master debater Romney of lying" to "In yet another campaign misstep, Romney goes after Big Bird."

    What a difference a day makes.

    261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

    by MaikeH on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 05:48:07 AM PDT

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