POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/5
A person close to the debate-prep process told Politico that President Obama was “supposed to have been more aggressive within the confines of civility, but opted for a more passive approach that missed ‘many, many opportunities’ – including the glaring failure to mention Romney’s infamous ’47 percent’ comments…”
“…Even as strategists downplayed the likely electoral impact of the debate, one Democrat close to Chicago conceded that Obama ‘was not happy with his performance.'”
Said the source: “Don’t expect to see that Barack Obama again.”
“When he was asked what he would do to actually cut spending and reduce the deficit, he said he’d eliminate public television funding. But I just want to make sure got this straight. He’ll get rid of regulations on Wall Street — but he’s going to crack down on Sesame Street.”
— President Obama, quoted by TPM, on Mitt Romney’s statements in last night’s debate.
The Obama campaign is up with a new ad in seven swing states hitting Mitt Romney on his tax plan after the president was roundly criticized in last night’s debate for not challenging his opponent.
Greg Sargent: “The ad’s approach is straightforward: It corrects Romney’s obfuscations with facts. It shows Romney claiming his plan won’t cut taxes by $5 trillion, then points out that the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found that it would, in fact, cost $4.8 trillion over 10 years.”
The Gallup tracking poll finds President Obama’s approval rate at 54%, his highest approval rating since November of 2009.
BuzzFeed notes that President Obama and his aides “rapidly reversed their strategic course Thursday morning, shifting the center of their attacks on Mitt Romney back toward the oldest criticisms of the Republican: That he’s a flip-flopper.”
“Democrats had long been torn over whether to portray Romney as too conservative, or too inconsistent, for the electorate — realizing that the attacks are inconsistent with one another. And since this spring, they seemed to have settled on the former, casting Romney as a conservative whose policies of cutting taxes and spending, and on abortion and other social issues, are too far right for most voters.”
Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) failed to report almost $130,000 in Missouri legislative pension income over the past 10 years on his congressional financial disclosure report, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Said Akin: “This was an unintentional oversight and I regret any inconvenience this may cause.”
“Breaking from two decades of tradition, this year’s election exit poll is set to include surveys of voters in 31 states, not all 50 as it has for the past five presidential elections,” the Washington Post reports.
“All 19 of the states with canceled exit polls — a break with more than two decades of tradition — are classified as either ‘solid Obama’ or ‘solid Romney,’ and there is only one ‘toss-up’ gubernatorial or U.S. Senate race not on the list: the competitive North Dakota match-up of Heidi Heitkamp and Rick Berg. Two other contests in the ‘leaning’ Democratic category aren’t on the list: the U.S. Senate race in Hawaii and the governor’s race in West Virginia.”
Obama strategist David Axelrod told reporters on a conference call that the campaign is going to take “a hard look” at Obama’s debate performance and that they’ll “have to make some judgments about where to draw the lines in these debates and how to use our time,”The Hill reports.
“Axelrod’s comments reflected an overall sentiment from Team Obama… They conceded the president was listless and seemingly tired and did nothing to combat a fiery Romney, who was on the attack and dominated much of the debate. And they called Wednesday’s debate a missed opportunity for Obama in terms of putting the race away after a strong month coming off the Democratic National Convention.”
“I know the president is very much looking forward to seeing Governor Romney again. He’s gotten a good look at the Romney routine, and now we’ll have another engagement, and I think it’ll be really interesting.”
— Obama adviser David Axelrod, in an interview on MSNBC.
Jonathan Chait says Mitt Romney’s two biggest pivots to the center in last night’s debate were not true by his own campaign’s admission.
“Romney won the debate in no small part because he adopted a policy of simply lying about his policies. Probably the best way to understand Obama’s listless performance is that he was prepared to debate the claims Romney has been making for the entire campaign, and Romney switched up and started making different and utterly bogus ones. Obama, perhaps, was not prepared for that, and he certainly didn’t think quickly enough on his feet to adjust to it.”
Bloomberg: Who stretched the truth?
A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Linda McMahon (R) just ahead of Rep. Chris Murphy (D) in their U.S. Senate race, 48% to 47%.
Said pollster Douglas Schwartz: “McMahon voters are much more likely to say they are very enthusiastic about their choice than Murphy voters, by about 2-1. While the horserace has barely changed, the images of both candidates have declined since August, as the campaign attacks have increased. Murphy’s negatives are up 10 points and McMahon’s are up 6 points. McMahon has done a good job defining Murphy, who was not well known statewide, in a negative way.”
First Read: “If Romney won the instant reactions from last night’s debate, it is more than possible that the Obama camp can win the next 24 hours. Why? Because Romney said several things that could make life difficult for him today or in the next debate.”
“First, Romney declared, ‘I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans.’ But in addition to supporting the extension of the Bush tax cuts, which are skewed heavily to the wealthy, the non-partisan Tax Policy Center says that Romney’s tax plan would give the Top 0.1% an average tax cut of more than $246,000. Next, he stated that “there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit.” While he has said his plan will be paid for, he’s yet to lay out any SPECIFICS on how he’ll pay for it. Romney also said, ‘I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have any plan to cut education funding.’ But the Ryan budget plan, which Romney has said he’d sign into law, leads to long-term spending reductions in education. And Romney also didn’t disagree with the description that his Medicare plan would consist of ‘vouchers’ for future retirees.”
“Winning a debate is always a two-part deal — the night itself, and then the aftermath. This is now an opportunity for Team Obama and a challenge for Team Romney.”
“I never would have guessed that you could go 90 minutes and not hear about the ’47 percent’ comment.”
— Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), quoted by the Washington Examiner, on last night’s presidential debate.
Here are some other reactions:
Andrew Sullivan: “Look: you know how much I love the guy, and you know how much of a high information viewer I am, and I can see the logic of some of Obama’s meandering, weak, professorial arguments. But this was a disaster for the president for the key people he needs to reach, and his effete, wonkish lectures may have jolted a lot of independents into giving Romney a second look.”
Glenn Reynolds: “Romney was channeling Reagan. Obama was channeling Biden.”
James Fallows: “If you had the sound turned off, Romney looked calm and affable through more of the debate than Obama did, and the incumbent president more often looked peeved. Romney’s default expression, whether genuine or forced, was a kind of smile; Obama’s, a kind of scowl. I can understand why Obama would feel exasperated by these claims and arguments. Every president is exasperated by what he considers facile claims about what he knows to be impossibly knotty problems. But he let it show.”
Brad Phillips: “This debate is an easy one to call: Romney won in a landslide, while Obama appeared flatfooted, tired, and somewhat detached.”
Nate Silver: “My own instant reaction is that Mr. Romney may have done the equivalent of kick a field goal, perhaps not bringing the race to draw, but setting himself up in such a way that his comeback chances have improved by a material amount.”
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