Mitt's Hubris Shows Through in Town Hall Debate
The focus on style over substance in this fall's presidential campaign debates has been an evident and disturbing aspect for voters hungering for more enlightment on the candidates' positions.
The emphasis, at least in the debate analyses, began with President Obama's energy-deficient performance in the first one, and it continued with Vice President
In this era of near-instant fact checking of contenders' statements, there was also notable focus on who was telling the truth and who was stretching it. In a rare on-the-spot ruling, moderator
When Romney asserted that the president had not called the attack a terrorist act until two weeks after it happened, Crowley confirmed Obama's claim that he had done so on the following day in the White House Rose Garden. Obama, not surprisingly, welcomed the intervention from the moderator.
Crowley was immediately assailed by the Romney camp for taking the president's side, although she was merely affirming a fact -- and, at the same time, taking note of Romney's reference to the president's later comments on the affair. More telling was Romney's attempt to dominate the scene with a CEO's insistence on being in control, even in a debate with the president of
Whether he was arguing that it was his turn to speak, bullying the moderator for more time to answer a question, or rudely pressing Obama to respond at once to a query from him, Romney displayed a degree of hubris more suited for a running a corporate board meeting.
In contrast to his acquiescent attitude in the first debate, the president held his ground and made little effort to masquerade his irritation. As many commentators later observed, the confrontation made for great television theater, to which the event seemed at times to descend.
Left insufficiently clarified in all the smoke and mirrors was how either candidate planned specifically to end the economic stalemate, which has Obama fighting for re-election and which Romney is hoping to parlay into winning the presidency.
Obama again concentrated on how he has persevered, digging his way out of the mess he inherited. He also challenged the math of Romney's promise to reduce the deficit while continuing tax breaks for the rich and boosting defense spending.
Romney, meanwhile, again relied on his businessman-knows-best assurances that he alone could right the economy, citing the bipartisanship that worked when he was governor of
One of the anticipated outcomes of the debate's town hall format was that direct questioning from real undecided voters would test both candidates' empathy. However, the citizens' involvement appeared to have little effect; the candidates either ignored their questions or used them as a pivot to whatever topic they preferred to talk about, to one-up the other.
When one young woman asked about pay inequity, Obama cited his bill supporting it. Romney talked instead about his quest to hire more women for his office as governor. Another citizen questioner asked Romney how he and his policies differed from the previous Republican president, sending him running for cover. He said he and
But Obama argued that both Romney and Bush relied on tax cuts as the answer. The president suggested amusingly that Romney was worse, because Bush never advocated "self-deportation" of illegal immigrants or an end to Planned Parenthood, as Romney had done. For all of Romney's assertiveness Thursday night, Obama could thank the town hall format for handing him the chance to get the last laugh.
Read the latest political news.
- United States Presidential Elections in Perspective
- Early Latino Turnout Could Swing Vote
- A Letter to Women Voters
- The Final Days, The Biggest Issue and The Clearest Choice
- Another Electoral College Nightmare?
- Why We're Still in Deep Trouble No Matter Who Wins The Presidency
- FEMA vs 'Romnesia'
- An Unscripted October Surprise
- Stormy Weather Politics
- Storm Saves Obama From Himself
- A Romney Presidency Would Erase Decades of Progress
- President Obama Has Earned Our Trust -- and Our Vote
- Conservatives Long for the Sad Days of Yesteryear
- The Key Election Factor -- Hispanic Turnout
- Presidential race will be 'all about turnout'
- Romney: Obama Victory Would Mean More Gridlock
- Obama: 'You Know I Tell the Truth'
- Romney Pledges Bipartisanship in Final Push
- Gaffes and Zingers, Highlights of Mitt Romney's Campaign
- Women Voters: Kingmakers in 2012
- Obama: 'We've Got More Work to Do'
- The Uncool President
- The 2012 Choice
- Busting Myths about Benghazi
- Benghazi -- No Mere 'October surprise'
- The Vanishing Act of Dubya
- Not an Easy Makeover for Florida Representative Allen West
- What Men of the GOP Don't Get About Rape and Abortion
- In GOP View, Life is Sacred ... Except When It's Not
- Romney the Wrong Man to Handle United States Foreign Policy
- Mitt Romney AWOL in Foreign Policy Debate
- How the Election Could Go Wrong for Romney
- Mitt Romney's Question-Mark Economy
- Will Money Talk?
- With Time Short, Obama and Romney Hit Key States
- Romney: One Campaign Taking on Water
- The Winning Road to 270
- Obama Blasts Romney in Foreign Policy Debate
- Foreign Affairs Debate Analysis
- Ann Coulter Calls President Obama Offensive Name
- What Did Ohioans Think of the Debate?
- A Vote for Election Day
- Principled Pragmatism Beats Bush-style Bluster
- Teacher Would Show 'Em How To Run A Debate
- Presidential Candidates Not Speaking the Same Language
- Foreign Policy Comes to the Fore
- Mitt Romney's Foreign Policy a Puzzle that Doesn't Fit Together
- Reality: Product of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy
- The Politics of Fear and the Party of Non-Voters
- Bainport: A Taste of the Romney Economy
- Billionaire Koch Brothers Try to Buy Court
- Mitt's Hubris Shows Through in Town Hall Debate
- Obama's Economic Spin: A New Pony or Manure?
- Moderators Must Push Debates Past Talking Points
- The Second Presidential Debate
- Mitt Romney's Case to Women Fails to Convince
- Mitt Romney's 'Binders' Bind
- Obama's Recovery
- Left Wants Multiculturalism to Trump Free Speech
- Needed: A New Foreign Policy
- Quit Blaming Bush
- A Bright and Shining Libyan Lie
- Florida's Amendment 8 An Assault on Church-State Separation
- VP Debate Winner? Barack Obama
- As Vice President Role Grows, Spotlight Becomes Brighter
- Biden vs Ryan: Old vs New
- Red, Blue and Faithful
- Presidential Debates Reveal More About the Candidates and Less
- A Memo to Mitt and Ann Romney
- Mitt Romney's Biggest Problem is His Own Party
- The 'Self-Made' Hallucination of America's Rich
- Why Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are Going Down
- Four Reasons Why Mitt Romney Might Still Win
- America Needs Good Refs -- On the Gridiron and in Politics
- How the GOP Protects Its Falsehoods
Mitt's Hubris Shows Through in Town Hall Debate | Politics
(c) 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc