by Marilyn Assenheim
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
For those of you who think the president could not have displayed greater dishonesty, more disdain for his opponent than he did in the first presidential debate, well, clearly, you didn’t see the second debate. Inadvertently, the choice the president confronted America with on November 6th could not have been made clearer.
The president must have prepped for this encounter by following Joe Biden’s lead. He smirked, he interrupted, he made jokes only drunken reporters at the back of the room found funny; he studiously ignored Governor Romney and even refused to look at the Governor when asked direct questions by him, preferring instead to speak to the “moderator”. The only occasions the president addressed Governor Romney directly were:
1. When he interrupted Governor Romney … which he did just about every time it was the governor’s turn to speak or when Candy Crowley hadn’t already done so. The president’s interjections consisted of “That’s not true”. Followed up by … silence.
2. When it was his turn to speak: He attacked Governor Romney’s positions. He never outlined a clear policy direction of his own but rambled on about his glorious “record” of the past four years (let’s just say if you were applying for a job and presented a resume with that level of falsehood, a security guard would detain you until the straight jacket squad arrived). He never gave a direct answer to a question either from the audience or from Governor Romney but would launch into whatever talking points he chose to gas on about.
3. When he took issue with Governor’s positions: More often than not, “positions” the president made up for Governor Romney out of whole cloth.
I’m certain that fact checkers will be a good while trying to unravel the incredibly brazen fabrications the president presented. Having paid close attention, however, it wouldn’t be too far off the track to state that if the president’s mouth was open, he was lying. The president’s answer to a direct question from the audience, about whether the Benghazi incident was a terrorist attack, should be particularly difficult for him to walk away from: “I said it was a terrorist attack in the Rose Garden the day after the attack”. The “moderator”, Candy Crowley, in a colossally unethical but predictable move, rushed to the president’s aid by insisting his statement was true. Except, that it isn’t true.
What the president actually did say that day is preserved for posterity on tape. The president’s stance and that of the rest of his administration camp followers during the ensuing fourteen days is well documented. The fairy tale about the “disgusting” anti-Islamic movie trailer being to blame is something we are now supposed to forget I guess.
On a comparatively trivial note, it was strangely mesmerizing, like watching a snake-charmer, to hear the president insist, again, that he’d “saved a million jobs in the automobile industry” by having the government take over General Motors. One is forced to consider that the entire automobile industry in the United States, including Ford (never part of that “rescue”) and foreign car companies employ a total of less than 750,000 people. It was equally fascinating to hear him describe himself as a champion of business.
These weren’t the only such “facts” the president pulled out of his … well … that he made up. From an emphasis on killing “Big Bird” to the Romney outsourcing of jobs to the tune of $8 trillion dollars in supposed tax cuts “for the rich” (up from $5 trillion in the first debate).
The president said he was going to come out fighting. His faithful demanded it of him. He was animated, he was aggressive, he got loud; but even if you say it fast enough, often enough and vigorously enough, a lie is still a lie. The problem for the president, as Joe Biden has discovered to his detriment, is that lying is not the same thing as “winning”. And the president’s fans weren’t the only ones watching.
The contrast between the two candidates for the presidency could not have been more apparent. Despite having 10% less time to speak (CNN poll), despite never being given the opportunity to rebut, despite the lies, interruptions, distractions and insults, Governor Romney conducted himself brilliantly.
It would have been impossible for Governor Romney to dispel every lie hurled at him. But he was powerful. He returned direct answers to the questions asked of him. He offered a clear direction with a plan. He was confident and decisive. He was factual. He was a “winner”, presidential.
Immediately after the debate a Frank Luntz focus group of undecided voters in Las Vegas was polled. Roughly half of the group had voted for the president in 2008. Of that number, three planned to vote for him again in November. Most of the group now plans to vote for Governor Romney. Most significantly, a number in this group decided to vote for Governor Romney as of last night’s debate. The words used above to describe Governor Romney were their words. Oh yes, and an MSNBS focus group? Well, they declared Governor Romney the winner, too.
The media chose to spin the debate results a different way: The president somehow won on “points”. But the voters saw it and they aren’t buying it. They are paying attention to what’s happening to them. Joe Obama doesn’t seem to have the edge any more.
Marilyn Assenheim was born and raised in New York City. She spent a career in healthcare management although she probably should have been a casting director. Or a cowboy. A serious devotee of history and politics, Marilyn currently lives in the NYC metropolitan area.