The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

In the Debates, Romney Needs to Push Obama


Mitt Romney can do himself a lot of good in the debates if he can get Obama to echo one of his more dubious comments of recent years.

Ask most Republicans about why the economy has been slow since the stimulus passed, and you’re likely to hear a joke about “ATMs.” But how many Americans know that Obama blamed ATMs — a device that’s been around for decades — and more broadly automation for our economic troubles? In comments like this, Obama looks like he’s groping for excuses, and a comment like this could reaffirm those doubts that a second term for Obama would bring anything resembling serious economic growth.

Time and again, Obama makes comments that his supporters insist don’t mean what they appear to mean — “the private sector is doing fine,” “you didn’t build that,” “bumps in the road.” If Obama gives Romney one of these, the Republican candidate can call him out on it immediately. Picture something like . . .

“Mr. President, I can’t believe you would use a term so dismissive and callous as ‘bumps in the road’ to describe the violence against our diplomats overseas, and a series of continuing violent protests against American embassies and consulates around the globe. But then again, you used the same term when discussing the long-term unemployment. The first step to solving a problem is recognizing the problem, and not just dismissing it as routine and unavoidable. You’ve spent four years telling us your plans are going to work and that better days are just around the corner, and it’s time to recognize that your approach cannot get us where we want to go.”

Also. when confronted with particularly difficult questions, Obama’s instinct is to lie; when asked about “Fast & Furious” by Univision, Obama claimed it began under the previous administration. Romney can call out Obama on these lies, to his face, in a way no television interviewer has dared yet.

Tags: Barack Obama , Mitt Romney


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