Romney, Obama message to voters: “Trust me”

President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney teed up the last three weeks of the presidential election as a question of which man voters can trust to improve the economy. Who do you trust?
AP Wire
Oct 17, 2012

If the undecided voters who questioned the two men in Tuesday's fast-paced debate are an indication, then the Nov. 6 contest may turn on whether like-minded Americans decide to stick with a disappointing-but-progressing president, or gamble on a challenger who swears he knows how to create jobs, but provides few details to shore up the claim.

Obama, vastly more animated than in his first debate, accused Romney of misleading voters about his record on China, the U.S. auto industry and U.S. energy production.

"What Governor Romney said just isn't true," Obama said in one of several exchanges in which he practically called his opponent a liar. He was referring to Romney's description of the 2009 bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, when Romney opposed the heavy infusion of federal funds to help the companies survive bankruptcy.

Obama used similar language to describe Romney's assessment of U.S. oil production, and the president's immigration policies.

Romney took his own whacks at the president's trustworthiness. But Romney was at his best when he kept things simple and forward-looking. He said Obama's four-year record is the best indicator of what a second term would bring.

"If you were to elect President Obama, you know what you're going to get," Romney said. "You're going to get a repeat of the last four years. We just can't afford four more years like the last four years."

"We don't have to settle for what we're going through," Romney said, urging Americans to fire a president they generally like, according to polls. "We don't have to settle for unemployment at a chronically high level. We don't have to settle for 47 million people on food stamps."

Given that unemployment just recently fell below 8 percent for the first time since he took office, Obama cannot make rosy promises without looking foolish or insincere. He acknowledged that Americans are struggling. But he urged them to stick with policies showing slow but steady improvement.

"We've created 5 million jobs, and gone from 800,000 jobs a month being lost, and we are making progress," the president said. "We saved an auto industry that was on the brink of collapse."

Obama was most animated when claiming that Romney is trying to sell voters a bill of goods. He said Romney outlines feel-good plans for lower tax rates and higher military spending that would cost $8 trillion over 10 years. The only possible ways to absorb such costs, Obama said, would involve sharply increasing the deficit or finding new ways to tax the middle class — or both.

Slyly complimenting his opponent as "a very successful investor," Obama said that if someone approached Romney "with a plan that said, 'Here, I want to spend 7 or 8 trillion dollars, and then we're going to pay for it, but we can't tell you until maybe after the election how we're going to do it,' you wouldn't take such a sketchy deal. And neither should you, the American people, because the math doesn't add up."

Romney indignantly said he can fulfill his promises. He would limit tax deductions for the wealthy, among other things, he said.

But independent analysts say Romney's plan would have to embrace more painful tax hikes or painful spending cuts to make the numbers work. Rather than offer such details, Romney repeatedly asked Americans to trust his skills and intentions.

"As president, I'll get America working again," he said. "I will get us on track to a balanced budget. The president hasn't."

Romney hit the "trust me" theme time and again.

"I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years, and balanced the budget," he said. "I ran the Olympics and balanced the budget."

Don't believe it, Obama kept saying. Look at details of Romney's past, not his vague summaries, he said.

"When he talks about getting tough on China, keep in mind that Governor Romney invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing to China," the president said. He was alluding to Romney's time as head of Bain Capital, a private equity firm.

Tuesday's debate brought huge relief to Democrats despondent over Obama's flat performance in the Oct. 3 forum.

"Whatever bounce Romney got from the first debate was stopped in its tracks," said Democratic strategist Doug Hattaway. "President Obama relentlessly drove the narrative that Romney can't be trusted, and put him on the defense much of the time."

Republicans said Romney's performance was far from shabby, but not quite as sharp as the president's.

"Obama was SO much better that he has to get the win," GOP consultant Rich Galen said in an email. "He was well-prepped to have at least one fact about Romney (true or not) that he could use in every question. I thought Romney looked as strong as he did in the first one, but because Obama was so much better, it may not look that way."

The two men have one more debate, on foreign policy, next Monday.

Between now and Nov. 6, the economy is unlikely to make a dramatic move one way or another. Voters have lots of facts, figures, disappointments and hopes lying before them. In the end, they'll have to decide whom they trust.

 

Comments

Lanivan

I have a few questions for Romney, for starters: 1) Why do you keep your money in other countries if you believe in the US as you claim? Wouldn't a patriot invest in his own country? 2) If your father were still alive, what do you think he would say about your refusal to release more tax returns (like your father and all other presidential candidates)? 3) How can you say you will be able to increase job growth when your expertise in business was outsourcing jobs to other countries and making money from shutting down companies or selling them as a corporate raider? 4) Why should any woman vote for a man who wants to limit her freedoms in the job market and health/reproductive choices? How can you say you are for smaller government when you want to increase government interference in women's control of their own bodies?

LessThanAmused

All good points although #1 and #3 concern me the most. Good luck trying to get a clear, concise answer to those questions. "Trust me?", Isn't that what every shady used-car dealer says just before they sell you a lemon?

truthhurts

what about obama saying he was going to cut the deficit? instead, he doubles it...wrong direction, but trust me, he will double it again for all the free loaders and support of failing companies. I thought he said I will be a 1 term president...trust who? and that is just the start. He says Romney's numbers don't add up...how would he know, he doesn't know what to look for when adding the numbers up. Neither of these yahoos will better America, but at least Romeny will sustain it. Also, i am pretty sure that obama was flip flopping like a fish out of water when it came to immigration. My question would have been, will you bail out GM again in 2 years?

LessThanAmused

I don't want to play tennis with you. Democrat, Republican, Republican, Democrat....they're all the same. The whole process these days is designed to keep us fighting amongst ourselves over small details so they can plod on ahead with their real program. Divide and conquer, ever hear of it? The president's position these days is as a figurehead with about as much to do with what happens in this country as the queen of England does in the U.K. These guys are the marionettes on the end of the strings, dancing to the song their master plays. Eisenhower warned us of the Industrial, Military complex 60 years ago and that's pretty much where we're at these days. I just hope that 4 years from now we're not under military control and martial law.

Tri-cities realist

So who are the puppet masters? Please name names.

LessThanAmused

How is knowing their names going to change what happens over the next 4 years? You either agree with my opinion or you don't and I'm ok with that either way, but please, don't try to stroke your own little ego by trying to catch me in some silly "gotcha" moment. I doubt anyone knows what their names are, but if you think they don't exist you're in serious denial. It matters less what they're names are and much more what their agenda is for the global community. If you don't agree then just go back to your neverending Republican/Democrat, good/bad, debate that solves nothing and only distracts from what is really important. That's all from me on the topic. Good luck to you.

Tri-cities realist

No "gotcha" moment intended. And I think we agree the "illuminati" are not intent on making our lives better, correct?

Wingmaster

Laninvain, points 1., 2. Do not have anything to do with his qualifications for president. That's just liberal blather trying to make him look bad to voters....I got news for you....THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT IT. The rest of your points are recycled tired talking points as well. Isn't it funny that your guy cannot talk about the positive he has done. He can only try to tear down his opponent because that's all he has...nothing to run on. Think the community organizer is going to have to find a new gig shortly

Lanivan

Wing - you're getting a little musty these days. Republicans are counting on wearing people down with lies (oops - "misinformation") so folks reach a point where they don't care. You have now passed the test - congratulations!! You are now a member of the "I'm too worn out to care" fraternity. I write not for you, but for others who are interested in hearing another side to this election. Who aren't too tired to care.

Wingmaster

Hey Laninvain, speaking of lies, when is the unemployment level going to get down to 5 an a half percent? Or when is Washington going to change like the Pres said it would after he was elected? Oh, almost forgot how the world would respect us 'cause he is President. Those fires in the middle east must have been celebrations that got out of hand and accidentally killed our people huh! Sure hope he doesn't pull an October surprise and bomb something in Libya to avenge that upsetting video he claimed caused the violence.

Lanivan

The unemployment level will come down when the Republicans quit blocking every single jobs bill - even for our veterans, for the love of Pete - that Obama has presented. Or when they offer a jobs bill of their own, which as of right now, is zero. These are unusual times, remember - we are getting out of a deep ditch, the deepest in 80 years. Washington will never change when you have a Republican party so extreme and radical, they reject every attempt to come together and work for the American people instead of for themselves and their wealthy global investors. Washington will not change, unemployment will not go down, and the US will no longer be a super power in anything if wealth inequality continues to run rampant and we get a president who looks at you and me as debits on the bottom line.

Wingmaster

So what your saying is Obama squander the first 2 years of his presidency when the Dems where the majority party. Why didn't he work his magic then. He had the votes, what happened? Oh, thats right he was too busy apologizing for America around the world and bowing to Arabs. Don't forget ramming thru Obama care (just pass it to see what's in it). It was a big F'ing deal according to Joe Bite me. Sure was Joe can't wait to see the full bill on that beauty...Oh thats right its about to get repealed, thank god, when Romney takes office in January.

Tri-cities realist

No reply indicates that you are right. As you know, If Obama was really concerned about the economy when he took office, he had 2 years of democrat controlled house and senate to implement his agenda. Then the American people woke up in 2010. Hopefully we'll stay awake and right the ship.

Lanivan

TCR - I have responded in detail to many of your inaccuracies, fallacies, and biases over the last few months. As sparring buddies, I recognize you are a Tea Party sympathizer, and fall back over and over on Tea Party talking points. By now, I have come to the conclusion that you, and others that post comments here like you, hold firm convictions, enjoy responding repeatedly with those talking points, and when those points are refuted by myself or others, simply ignore the comment or change the subject. Hey - it's the American Way! I couldn't possibly respond to every point you make (especially those that I feel are inaccurate) - it'd take too much time at the computer, and I do have another life beyond this! My only motivation these past few months has been my growing awareness of the pleasure many of you take in believing things that are untrue about Obama, what he stands for, what he has accomplished, and how quick you are to find only the negative and what is wrong with America. You actually think Obama has accomplished nothing in the last years, that everything should be perfect in a few years. You never talk about Bush and "Mission Accomplished", Cheney's statement "Deficits don't matter", the wars, wealth inequality, 30 years of failed "Trickle Down Economics" that rigged the system for the rich and against the middle class. Until you own up to the failings in your own party, and the extreme, radical, John Birch-style viewpoint the Tea Party holds, and begin using objective sources for your research, I couldn't possibly begin to have a real, honest debate with you about the issues.

Wingmaster

Hey Laninvain, these words sound familiar? You're getting a little musty these days. Democrats are counting on wearing people down with lies (oops - "misinformation") so folks reach a point where they don't care. You have now passed the test - congratulations!! You are now a member of the "I'm too worn out to care" fraternity. I write not for you, but for others who are interested in hearing another side to this election. Who aren't too tired to care. So as long as your there spinning your "truths" so will the conservatives. What you are not used to as a liberal is for a conservative to push back. Conservatives by nature do not voice there discontent but have tried to get along and compromise. We are finding the only compromising has been on our principles and we are tired of it. We are waking up and you don't like to answer to the nonsense your side puts out there. TOUGH! Get used to it because the silent majority has awoke and more change is coming!!!

Tri-cities realist

Lanivan, thanks for the reply, honestly. I did find it odd that you wrote a few paragraphs rather than answer even one of the questions I posed or comment on base-line budgeting, etc. And since you asked, I will tell you my thoughts on the subjects you listed. 1. " You actually think Obama has accomplished nothing in the last years" Regarding Obamacare, I wish I could say he accomplished nothing. He accomplished it, and we know each others positions on it, so no more discussion is really needed. Regarding the economy and jobs: I would say he has accomplished little. I blame him and the democrats, you blame the republicans. End of story. 2. "You never talk about Bush and "Mission Accomplished" That was a gaffe on Bush's part. At the time it appeared the battle had been won, but the war had not. It was a photo op, as all presidents do. But it was premature of him to say that. Do we agree? 3. Cheney's statement "Deficits don't matter" Honestly I don't remember him saying that, perhaps it is my selective memory. But I disagree with that statement. Deficits always have mattered to me, especially when they are a larger % of GDP, which adversely affects the economy. 4. the wars. Hmm, how to keep my response brief. I think that both wars were justified, I know you do not. Saddam Hussein had continually disobeyed the UN demands that were made after the first Gulf War (Do you believe the first gulf war was justified?) There were something like 14 UN resolutions that Saddam disobeyed over a long period of time. At some point there needs to be consequences, and Bush had had enough after 9/11. And to me Iraq's role in 9/11 didn't really matter, since there was not a direct connection. The UN resolutions were enough justification for me, and it didn't matter if we found WMD's or not. And the senate did authorize the use of force. As for Afghanistan, al-Qaida attacked us on 9/11, so we were justified in retaliating against them and the Taliban. Do I wish the wars had not lasted as long? Of course. And I had hoped the people of Iraq and Afghanistan had taken control of their countries sooner, so we could bring our troops home. But the last thing I want is for those countries to be a bigger haven for terrorism if we withdrew too early. I disagree with setting a date for withdrawal, as it allows the terrorists to wait until we leave, to continue their murderous ways. Withdrawal should be based upon achieving our goal of having the iraqi's and afghans take control of their countries. But it is a bit of a catch 22. As Biden said in the debate: if we don't give them a time frame, they may not assume their responsibilities in a timely manner. I would hope that they would want to control their own countries, but I know that apathy could hinder that, when we are doing the work for them. I think that setting a withdrawal date jeopardizes the long term success of our mission. If we are succeeding, then gradually bring the troops home, without setting a date. But as usual, dealing with the middle east can be a no-win situation. 5. wealth inequality. I am all for the upward financial mobility of all Americans, but I don't think the way to achieve this is to take more and more from the producers and give it to those who are not willing to work for it. As I've said before, I support the safety net, but not welfare as a long term way of life. People deserve better than relying on someone else or the govt to provide for them if they are able bodied. To me it is about personal responsibility and the dignity of providing for yourself and family. 6. 30 years of failed "Trickle Down Economics" that rigged the system for the rich and against the middle class. Ronald Reagan took a horrible economy and with his vision and the help of the democrats, turned it around in 2 years, bringing taxes down to a more reasonable level. The 80's were pretty good economically, and so were the Clinton years. 30 years? Are you saying that Clinton was responsible for continuing Reagan's policies? If not, then I would have thought you would have said 12 years of trickle down? Or was the continuation of Reagan's policies partly responsible for the good economy under Clinton? If it's 30 years then clinton is partially to "blame", no? I'm confused, that's not meant to be a trick question. As for the decline of the middle class, I don't see how lowering taxes for everyone could cause that, over spending yes. Perhaps social issues like divorce are partly to blame. What are your thoughts?

Tri-cities realist

Ho hum. I will be glad when we don't have to refute these rediculous claims. Do me a favor, and check out Bain Capital on Wikipedia. "Since inception it has invested in or acquired hundreds of companies including AMC Entertainment, Aspen Education Group, Brookstone, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Clear Channel Communications, Domino's Pizza, DoubleClick, Dunkin' Donuts, D&M Holdings, Guitar Center, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Sealy, The Sports Authority, Staples, Toys "R" Us, Warner Music Group and The Weather Channel." Hmm seems like good old fashioned American companies to me, for the most part. And i realize some of these were acquired after Romney stopped actively managing Bain 10 years ago. Did some of these companies outsource? Sure, along with a LOT of other companies NOT owned by Bain. And why is that? Our corporate tax rates are higher than most other countries. Did some of the companies lose money and have to lay off employees or even close? Sure, just like other companies. But Bain's performance was better than most. Ever hear of STAPLES? Bain's $4.5M helped start that company. Tell the 10's of thousands of Staples employees that you would rather that Romney and Bain had not taken a risk on that company. Obama's takeover of the auto industry still has not paid back the money borrowed, let alone make a profit. So it seems Obama is great at investing money in companies that are losers. What a great resume enhancement. So Lanivan, do you have a 401(k) or other investments? Do yourself a favor, and make sure you sell any shares of any companies that invest money outside the US, or have outsourced jobs. Your portfolio choices will shrink dramatically. And I wish you good luck on your investing. As for women, look at Romney's record, he sought out and hired women in his administration in Massachusetts. And the dirty little secret is that the women in Obama's administration make 18% less than their male counterparts. Now who is better for women? And what increased govt interference in women's bodies?

Lanivan

You are truly a misguided, misinformed, "truth-challenged" pompous, arrogant twit. Romney was CEO of Bain Capital (not Bain & Co, the management arm of the business). I quote from wiki, "Bain Capital is an alternative asset management firm. It is a private investment firm that specializes in private equity, leveraged debt assets, venture capital and absolute investments. It does not provide management consulting services to it's clients". Let me make it easy for you to understand - Bain Capital is the kind of company that helped bring about the tanked economy and near global collapse that Obama inherited and has spent the last 4 years turning around in spite of unwavering and unprecedented Republican obstructionism. Romney is a corporate raider, a hedge fund manager, beholden to his wealthy global investors. And yes, things are looking up. 401K's are up, the stock market in Jan 2009=600's. Nov 2012=1300's. As you your last questions - your ignorance is showing.

Wingmaster

If I were you, I would get used to the words President Romney. Obama had his chance...your fired!

Lanivan

Wing - By this rather juvenile comment, I can only assume you are in the top 1% of the US economic ladder (or perhaps underdeveloped mentally or otherwise). If so, congratulations! If not, be careful what you wish for. It just might come true, and you just might find yourself sitting on the street corner, by the poor house, wearing a tattered "Romney/Ryan t-shirt, eating your words for your daily meal, and pledging allegiance to President Romney.

Wingmaster

Now, now Laninvain. No need to start insulting people. Its rather juvenile don't you think. Don't worry, President Romney will help bring us together rather than divide us with class warfare. Obama had his chance now its time to fire him!

Tri-cities realist

We tried "hope and change". It's time to try something else, since "change" in our pockets is all we have. Get on board or get out of the way.

Tri-cities realist

Thank you for your "juvenile" comments as you call them. Really, you have to resort to name calling? I realize the difference between Bain Capital and Bain & CO. And if companies like Bain "tanked" the economy, don't blame Mitt, he hasn't played an active role at Bain in 10 years. Why won't you address my comments about your 401(k) and outsourcing? Don't get me wrong, I would have preferred we keep these jobs here, but to suggest that Bain was responsible for all of it is just not rational. And wouldn't you consider Staples a success? Perfect no, but provided many jobs to people who have the choice of whether to work there or not. Isnt freedom grand? And as for my ignorance showing, when you make broad claims with nothing to back it up, my only response was to ask a question of you for more clarification. So yes, I am ignorant as to how you can make such a claim. I apologize for trying to have a rational conversation with you.

LessThanAmused

Nevermind

Wingmaster

Get ready folks, we are about to see an October surprise from Obama. Desperation is going to set in after he sees Gallup. www.gallup.com/poll/election.aspx

Captain Obvious

In West Michigan the choice should be obvious. Trust President Obama the "Christian" in the race. The President is a man who has accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Don't trust Mitt Romney, a man who belongs to a religious cult. "Mormonism" according to the CRC and other Protestant Churches is not considered a "Christian" Religion. Letting this man run the country would be a huge mistake.

DKS523

President Obama is not a Christian. He just pretends to be.

Lanivan

Oh really? And where did you get this inside scoop? And while you are at it, please enlighten me on any scandalous, immoral, unethical, or illegal behavior on Obama's part, seeing how you know all about him. And don't give me any of that Muslim, socialist, Kenyan, excrement. That's so, so old. And remember - it has to be PROVEN - not just your biased opinion or snarky gossip!

the cat mom

Anyone who supports abortion (murdering babies) and gay marriage CANNOT be a Christian. Sorry, that's just the way it is!

Lanivan

And to follow your line of thinking, a true Christian would have to want gun control, be anti-war, be against capital punishment, and in order to follow Jesus as he commands, give up all riches and love your fellow man. That means supporting all social programs, especially those for the borne - impoverished children, the indigent, the unemployed, the disabled. That means loving all your neighbors, whether they are black, white, or any color, of any or no religion, gay, straight. And since abortion is murdering babies, all forms of abortion should be made illegal and a crime, with a charge of murder including cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother (clearly Romney/Ryan are not Christians because they think these 3 things are allowable for abortion). And if a true Christian believes in the sanctity of marriage, then no Christian should ever divorce, commit adultery (in the heart or otherwise), abandon their family, ever be abusive to their spouse or children. And by the way, I was taught that God does the judging, not us sinners.

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