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Democrats’ focus: Attacking Romney, not defending Obama

In the wake of the debate, writes Ed Morrissey, Democrats are

. . . not talking about a second-term agenda; all they’re talking about is how bad Romney will be for America as President.  They have focused more lately on his tax plan, misrepresenting it as a massive middle-class tax hike, but that didn’t work for Obama in the debate when Romney was on stage to answer that attack.  Nor did the character attacks work particularly well as a knock-out blow to Romney over the summer, when Team Obama dominated the airwaves with those attack ads.  Now that voters have seen Romney on stage with Obama and looking at least as presidential as the incumbent, if not more so, [Fox News analyst Peter] Johnson’s right — those attacks are likely to backfire.

But, given the Facebook posts of my liberal friends, these attacks do seem to be increasing.  Even as the Obama campaign tries to spin the jobs numbers (job growth which is really quite anemic), his “acolytes” are focusing on how horrible, no good and very bad is Mitt Romney.  Obama seems to be trying the tack himself.

SOMEWHAT RELATED: Examiner Editorial: To believe Obama is to forget the last four years

Obama upset that* he no longer gets to define Mitt Romney

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:10 pm - October 5, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Obama Arrogance

It’s not just Obama acolytes, to paraphrase George Will’s expression, who are convinced of the power of Obama’s “rhetorical gifts”.  The man himself oftentimes seems certain that with just words alone he can change the power of a narrative.  And yesterday, in the wake of his disastrous debate, he acted as if his words alone could change people’s minds about the Mitt Romney they saw on stage Wednesday night in Denver.

Under fire from fellow Democrats,” reports the New York Times,

Mr. Obama came out swinging, accusing Mr. Romney of lying to the American people about his plans for the nation. “I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney,” Mr. Obama told 12,000 supporters during a lakeside rally. “But it couldn’t be Mitt Romney, because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy.[**] The fellow onstage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.”

“The vigorous assault on Mr. Romney”, Mark Landler and Peter Baker added, “suggested just how worried Mr. Obama’s campaign has become.”  Glenn Reynolds quipped, “I think [Obama would] be better off trying to persuade people that it wasn’t the real Barack Obama we saw” in the debate.

Seem Barack Obama thinks it unfair that Mitt Romney have the opportunity to define himself rather than let the Democrat do it for him.

RELATED:  Obama comes out swinging after debate flop, Team Obama goes into emergency-restrategizing mode, Doubling down on the petulance (UPDATE:  wherein Jennifer Rubin offers, “In the Obama mindset, because Romney’s actual plans differ from Obama’s stump speech version of those plans, Romney must be a liar.“)
* (more…)

When you wish upon a star . . . .

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:42 pm - October 5, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Biden Watch

Dems hope Biden can blunt Romney momentum post-debate:

Democratic strategists are eyeing the forthcoming debate between Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) with a mix of hope and nervousness in the wake of President Obama’s widely panned performance in his leadoff encounter with Mitt Romney Wednesday night.

On the plus side, some Democrats feel that a strong performance from Biden next Thursday could turn the page on the president’s near-debacle in Denver.

But they also worry that Biden’s legendary capacity to state his views in an inartful fashion could backfire.

Joe Biden’s “legendary capacity to state his views in an inartful fashion” backfiring?!?!?  Oh, come on now?  How could it backfire?  Frankly, this um, well, this  “legendary capacity” is, well, well, it’s just quite endearing.  Most endearing. (H/t: Michelle Malkin, Buzzworthy.)

George Will: Obama’s “supposed rhetorical gifts are figments of acolytes’ imaginations”

In his delicious dissection of the Denver debate, George Will manages to tie Obama’s performance to his self-regard and world-view:

Barack Obama, knight of the peevish countenance, illustrated William F. Buckley’s axiom that liberals who celebrate tolerance of other views always seem amazed that there are other views. Obama, who is not known as a martyr to the work ethic and who might use a teleprompter when ordering lunch, seemed uncomfortable with a format that allowed fluidity of discourse.

His vanity — remember, he gave Queen Elizabeth an iPod whose menu included two of his speeches — perhaps blinds him to the need to prepare. And to the fact that it is not lese-majeste to require him to defend his campaign ads’ dubious assertions with explanations longer than the ads. And to the ample evidence, such as his futile advocacy for Democratic candidates and Obamacare, that his supposed rhetorical gifts are figments of acolytes’ imaginations.

Read the whole thing, particularly for his description of Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board

Watcher of Weasels Winners — 10.05.2012 Edition

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:00 pm - October 5, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Conservative Ideas

Council Winners

This is not the change we were looking for

Yesterday, releasing this clever ad, contrasting Obama’s lofty rhetoric with his real record, on Facebook, Rightchange was trying “to reach 160 million adult Facebook users in one day across the country.”   (more…)

Obama’s appeal remains his promise rather than his achievements

A few weeks ago,” wrote the National Review’s Jay Nordlinger,

I read the transcripts of the 2008 debates. I did this in order to write a piece for National Review. (Available here.) I was amazed, watching this first 2012 debate, at how much Obama repeated what he’d said four years ago. He used just the same lines.

He debated as though he hadn’t been president for four years

Maybe that explains why he continues to blame George W. Bush for his, er, the nation’s, problems.  Or why he has so much trouble talking about his record.  No wonder. “He had always run“, writes Richochet’s Paul Rahe

. . . for chairman of the Harvard Law Review, for the Illinois state senate, for the United States Senate, and for the Presidency — on promise. Now he was an executive running for re-election, and he was going to be held responsible for what he had done and for what he had failed to do.

This helps explain why he prefers to go on television talk shows and hold interviews with radio DJs than to face the questions of reporters who might dare to ask about his record.

UPDATE:  This morning, Jennifer Rubin cited this from her Washington Post colleague Dana Milbank, no conservative he:

No more hiding. “For the past four years, he has worked assiduously to avoid being questioned, maintaining a regal detachment from the media and other sources of dissent and skeptical inquiry. Obama has set a modern record for refusal to be quizzed by the media, taking questions from reporters far less often than Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and even George W. Bush.”

UP-UPDATE: Jim Geraghty quips, “the Barack Obama of 2008 didn’t know what he was in for.

Does large debate audience indicate dissatisfaction with country’s direction?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:12 am - October 5, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Random Thoughts

It is often a challenge for those of us who blog about politics to gage how our fellow Americans, less interested in such matters, view the political landscape.

As long as they’re free to live their lives and pursue their passions, most Americans really don’t care all that much about politics. So, sometimes I wonder if Americans only pay close attention to politics when they think the country is headed in the wrong direction.

This thought came to mind when I heard that the debate Wednesday night attracted the largest audience for any presidential debate since 1980. As one reader put it, in a private communication with me, “so people ARE interested because they are feeling the heat of the last few years” (his emphasis).

They’re now saying the debate “reached more than 70 million”.  By contrast, in 2008, only 52.4 million watched the first debate between John McCain and Barack Obama four years ago.  More people watched this debate than watched the Palin-Biden face-off in 2008, an event which drew the largest audience of any debate since the Clinton-HW Bush-Perot exchange in 1992.  But, according to Dan McLaughlin at RedState, “While the Kennedy-Nixon debate remains the most-watched by audience share, the single largest debate audience remains the sole Reagan-Carter debate in 1980, which drew 80.6 million viewers.”

We had large audiences for presidential debates in 1992 and 1980, both years in which incumbent presidents were running for reelection.  But, the audiences were not so large in 1984, 1996 or 2004, also years when incumbents were seeking a second term.

How to explain the difference?

What’s your plan to reduce the debt, Mr. President?

Great ad put out by College Republicans that’s going up in Iowa:

H/t: Reader Spartann.