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

TRC - I would like to respond to your recent appeals as to understanding the differences between moderate Republicans and your brand of far-right conservatism. As I've said before, facts, figures and charts mean absolutely nothing unless you put them in an historical context - look at events preceding and most current. A major problem you and folks like Vlad have is that you think looking at events and facts objectively outside of propaganda parameters is abandoning your principles. For example, did you know Reagan, as governor, passed into law the largest tax increase ever in California? As president, Reagan raised taxes in 7 out of 8 years in office, 4 times in 2 years. All in all, he raised taxes 11 times. He nearly tripled the federal budget deficit, increasing debt to nearly $3 Trillion, roughly 3 x as the previous 80 years of the century. He and Congress came to an agreement on tweaking Social Security to make it solvent for decades. In his first year, Reagan enacted a major tax cut , revenue dropped off and the country went deeply into debt, and he had to raise taxes the following year. Reagan was never able to get the deficit under control. Unemployment soared after the Reagan tax cut to 10.8%. He also helped create the Taliban and Osama bin Laden as it's leader by funneling billions of $ training, arming and equipping Islamist Afghan fighters. And yet, the far-right Tea Party types revere Reagan, frequently hold him up as a model president, and skewer Obama when in fact, all attempts to increase revenue have been blocked by the Republicans. His proposed budget cuts aren't good enough, deep enough, or on the right programs. Coming out of a much deeper and more serious recession than Reagan ever had to deal with, Obama's attempts to steady the ship through a balanced approach of letting the temporary Bush tax cuts on the top 2% expire coupled with budget cuts, and the passing of jobs programs to help with unemployment, have been systematically blocked and rejected by the conservative Republicans. You see where I'm coming from? Ronald Reagan wouldn't stand a chance in Washington D.C. today. Ronald Reagan was a moderate Republican, and Obama has governed as a moderate Republican. Nothing he has done is remotely "liberal". ObamaCare is based on the plan presented in 1989 by the conservative Heritage Institute. Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has made an attempt to pass universal health care (Nixon came closest to passing). Obama made it happen. When you say "numbers and data just confuse the left", I have to say - you are just repeating the conservative Republican echo chamber. It is disingenuous at best, and implies ignorance on your part.

Tri-cities realist

Lanivan, Thank you for clarifying, I now understand that Obama is a conservative. And your take on Reagan is enlightening. My memory tells me that it was the Democrat controlled Congress that refused to cut spending under Reagan, thus the deficits. He did not veto them, so yes, he is partially to blame. And (according to data from the BLS) unemployment rates dropped under Reagan, and much faster than under Obama. I dont recall either Presidents Bush, or Reagan promoting nationalized health care, perhaps you could show me the evidence for your claim. Do you support a balanced budget ammendment? As a business owner, you have to balance your budget, why shouldn't we as a nation do the same thing? The overspending by Congress must stop, IMHO.

Lanivan

TRC - undoubtedly you have read previous comments where I have quoted figures showing Obama will have reduced the 2012 deficit by $300 Billion with another reduction of $200 Billion more in 2013. The urban myth so popular among the Tea Party crowd that Obama has doubled the deficit without any attempts to begin reducing it, is disingenuous and intentionally misleading. Like almost all of your arguments about Obama and the economy, you and others do not and will not take these facts and figures into context (see reply to Vlad below). The implication is that Obama on a whim deciding to double the deficit, when in fact, the deficit had been on an upward trajectory for the previous 8 years, and continued under Obama because of necessary steps taken to stop the economic hemorrhaging of the Bush Great Recession, and it's aftermath. Until you acknowledge this fact, and put these numbers into an historical context, you are simply spouting off. Please take some time to dig deeper, think clearer, and form more objective reasoning. Trust me - it will benefit you much more than buying into the propaganda.

Tri-cities realist

Lanivan, did you not read what I wrote about base line budgeting in Washington? Or don't you understand the concept? The previous question, is not meant to be rude, I suspect there are a lot of people, who when they hear "cut" think that it means spending less than the previous year, when in fact in Washington it only means a reduction in the amount that was planned to be spent. If there is one thing I wish ALL people would understand about Washington, it is the bogus concept of base line budgeting. Perhaps you will give me an early Christmas present, and let me know that you understand the concept. That would really be showing the love. You state "The implication is that Obama on a whim deciding to double the deficit, when in fact, the deficit had been on an upward trajectory for the previous 8 years, and continued under Obama..." I realize the deficit was on an upward trend. So are you admitting that the deficit DID increase while Obama was president, about double in his first year? Now we are getting somewhere. And I could understand that it would increase his first year, I just thought it would have been reduced a lot more by now. I just took him at his word. God bless you man (that's your dose of TCR love for the day). Oh and I did respond to your list further down the page. Take care.

AtomicRooster

Ok first off I will say I know I am in a minority within the minority in Grand Haven because I am a Democrat and I DO NOT try to hide it and I am proud to say I am. I know it's common knowledge that Grand Haven is predominately Republican always was always will be. All anybody really knows about Romney is that he wants to be President. And anyone who lived in Michigan during the years his father George was our Governor knows the legacy of the Romney clan. I remember him well with how my late dad ranted about him when I was still too young to vote and how anti-labor the Romney clan was. My father was in the UAW for better than 41 years working for Teledyne Continental Motors in Muskegon, Michigan. You never wanted to mention George Romney's name in polite company around him because he would definitely sound off about him. He said he left Michigan in shambles and I know my father would of never said anything like that if it were not true. So in essense, father like son. Oh yea Romney is real good at filling up everyones pockets with empty promises and will say anything to get elected. He talks a good game but when it comes time to play it he doesn't have a clue and not really sure of what he is doing. He brags about bringing 12,000,000 jobs to the country. But never mentioning what kind of jobs they are and will they be good paying jobs or just jobs you have to line up at the nearest temporary job placement for barely minimum wage and little hope of the job going permanent and being treated like crap at the same time. Yea I am talking about Manpower, Adecco, and the list goes on and on. And anyone who has dealt with these services knows how they jerk you around. One thing I am very fearful of is that Romney and Ryan want to tamper with the Social Security System and my gut feeling tells me they want to privatize it. And that's what really scares me about the both of them. I am just under 2 years away of when I can collect my Social Security. And believe me when my time comes I want to collect it. I have worked hard all my life and I am entitled to it. And I really don't want any dime store hoodlums dressed in Brooks Brothers suits tampering with the Social Security System. So you have to ask yourself. Did you make over $250,000 last year? And I'd say the majority of you have not. Then you are too poor to be voting Republican. Oh yea it's cool to be Republican until you need help. Think good and hard about what I have said here. For my money, I am going with Obama again. Yea that's right Obama and I didn't even stutter when I said it. Let Obama finish the job he started and things he has implemented. The first 4 years with Clinton were not the best, but his next 4 years we were finally coming out of the dire straits. Obama walked into the Bush Administration's mess and if anyone thought it could be cleaned up in 4 years your are sadly mistaken. It always seems that Democrats are always cleaning up Republican's messes. I myself, would of not wanted to walk in after Bush. No, I do not agree 100% with Obama but I surely do not want Romney within 10 feet of the nuclear button. If he is elected it will surely be a very sad day in the history of The United States of America. And those of you who do vote for Romney I will bet that within his first 6 months of his Presidency will live to regret that you did. Mark my word.

Lanivan

Here! Here! I'll drink to this! Well said, Atomic Rooster!

Tri-cities realist

I had to re-read your post because I thought you were at first talking about Obama. I will focus on your comments about Social Security. If you think we can do nothing to it, and you will continue to receive your checks, I have news for you. The system is broke, and without fundamental change, one of 2 things will happen in a few years: payments to retirees will be slashed, or taxes on the working will be increased dramatically. So if you want your checks to dry up, sit back and let the status quo continue. If however you would like to see the system continue, drastic changes need to be made. I agree with Romney, we need to keep the promise that was made to current retirees and those about to retire. I am sorry that our govt perpetrated the biggest ponzi scheme known to man kind. You may feel entitled to it, and I can understand, since you paid into it all your life, same as me. The problem is Social Security is not sustainable in its current form. I have basically given up the notion that I will ever see a dime of any of the money I have paid into Social Security. I have to plan my retirement on my own. Thankfully I have about 25 more years to do that. I wish you good luck. One last thing about your comment "Democrats are always cleaning up Republican's messes". Do you remember the late 1970's and Jimmy Carter? Within 2 years Reagan (and the democrats in congress) had our economy growing at almost double digit rates. So I'd say he cleaned up the mess pretty well. My only problem with what happened then, was that tip o'neill and congress didn't keep their end of the bargain and control spending. That is how the deficits began.

AtomicRooster

Come back to this forum when you've grown up. You don't have a clue as to what life is all about. Vote for Romney. No one is stopping you. Yep it's cool to be Republican, until you need help.

Vladtheimp

Agreed! And I assume you will agree that Michelle Obama won the First Ladies Debate http://ace.mu.nu/archives/334005...

Tri-cities realist

Now that is funny, well actually sad, unless they knew it was fake and were just going along with the ruse.

Tri-cities realist

Rooster, thank you for your thoughtful and extremely detailed response. Well done.

LessThanAmused

Nevermind. I hate this forum's format.

PeopleAreAmazing

I support O'bummers right to retire.

the cat mom

Obama supports abortion (murdering babies) and gay marriage and those are totally against Christianity so that pretty much sums it up. Just because abortion is legal doesn't make it right - what's wrong in God's eyes is wrong on any day.

Captain Obvious

The President is required by the oath he took when he was sworn into office to support the laws of the United States. So when cat mom says "The President Supports Abortion" that is not correct. He supports the right of women to have abortions under federal law. A President can deplore and think abortion is morally wrong and still support the right to have one. They are required to by their oath.

Lanivan

Thanks Captain Obvious for stating what should be the obvious but what many refuse to see.....don't you love how some people gravitate to their own personal alternate universe?

BEARTHECARNAGE

lanivan: What has Obama done for you?

Lanivan

1) He brought this country back from the brink of disaster. He has restored the tanking stock markets, the economy is slowly but steadily improving, unemployment has slowly but steadily decreased. This means: 2) My house value is going back up, my stocks and 401K are back up to pre-Great Recession levels. 3) Sales are back up and are exceeding pre-Great Recession levels at my small business. This means hiring 3 more people in the last 2 years, bigger raises and year-end bonuses and happier/more productive employees. 4) Obama hasn't started any more wars, there hasn't been any terrorist attacks on this country - I feel safer and don't worry so much about my young military friends and family. 5) I have a pre-existing condition, and although I have health insurance now, it is a tremendous relief to me to know an insurance company can not deny me coverage if I should find myself needing insurance in the future. 6) I also am relieved that my adult children will have options with health insurance. They are young and healthy now, but I don't worry about them getting insurance as they age. 7) My adult children have gotten good jobs in the last year and their futures look much brighter than they did 4 years ago. 8) I am so grateful Obama has not privatized Social Security or voucherized Medicare like the Republicans are pushing for. I have personal knowledge through my elderly parents and in-laws of how well these programs work, how necessary they are in the final years of life, how they allow the elderly to stay in their homes and stay independent, and also how difficult it would be for them to have to work with vouchers, or a tanked retirement plan when you are arthritic, with some level of dementia, hearing, eyesight loss, a spouse needing nursing home care. My parents and in-laws had a much greater quality of life thanks to Medicare and Social Security, after years of hard work and frugal living.

Vladtheimp

Reading your post, it seemed somehow familiar, oh yeah: Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters.

He restoreth my soul: He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and lovingkindness shall follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah for ever. Back to the beginning, Eh Lanivan - halos around the annointed one's head, we are the ones we've been waiting for, healing the earth, causing the seas to lower - Hope and Change, baby! I didn't realize that Medical Mary Jane was so potent - is it covered under Obamacare?

Lanivan

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don't mean to mock some of the most divinely inspiring and comforting words in the Bible. I know some people see Obama with great emotion, and looked at him as some kind of messiah who would change everything within a few months of his taking office. Not me! I see Obama as fascinating, honest, pragmatic, brilliant, cool-headed, faithful family man, inclusive, decent, and centrist. I don't think he's perfect, godly, or even right all the time. I do think he genuinely cares about America and the American people no matter what income bracket they are in. He's certainly a lot smarter and has accomplished more than you and me, and he deserves our respect, even if, in your case, you don't like his policies. I thought it was the Libertarians who wanted to legalize weed. Thankfully, I have not had need of medical weed, but I have had pain issues in my life, and if it helps folks with pain in advanced stages of disease, I'm all for it. I do like an occasionally glass of Cab or G&T.

Vladtheimp

Speak for yourself - I don't consider Obama smarter than I am. If Obama is a Centrist I am Karl Marx. As far biblical references, I believe it was Obama who claimed he would heal the earth and lower the seas - not me. If arrogance were gold, Obama would be King Midas - unfortunately for you and for him, he is King Midas in reverse - everything he touches turns to manure.

Lanivan

So this is what it's come to, eh? God Bless.

Vladtheimp

Yeah, I think it has. I respect you and your own opinions, but I can't respect your right to your own facts - Obama's history and record as President speak for themselves. I don't think you are ignorant, or necessarily malicious - as I said in an earlier post, I think you are " intentionally deluded Pollyanna with a mean streak." God Bless.

Captain Obvious

Just Curious Imp. Which magazines, news shows, radio, or web sites do you follow to get the real facts about what is happening on the political landscape?

Lanivan

And, by the way, it's a shame you can't even acknowledge that some lives have improved in the past 4 years without becoming sarcastic and demeaning. Sorry it doesn't fit into your "Obama as Bogeyman" framework.

Tri-cities realist

Lanivan, you didn't build that. I hope you are not trying to take credit for hiring more people at your business. Everyone knows that the govt made that happen, not you. And as for no terrorist attacks, that is if you don't count 4 Americans, including an AMBASSADOR!

Lanivan

Don't be silly. Government - local, state, and federal - has helped me in many ways in building my business. There is a direct correlation between an improving economy, consumer confidence, increased sales, and more employee openings. Of course, I meant there's been no 911 terrorist attacks - the "act of terror" on our ambassador at a consulate in a highly violent and volatile country is tragic, but hardly on the same plane as 911. Actually, I consider the deranged people who have gunned down dozens of people with assault weapons in our country to be just as tragic.

Wingmaster

Well, Laninvain, your going to get your chance to pay more taxes if they let the Bush tax cuts expire. Why not pay more than your tax bill anyway if you feel taxes should be raised. It would be very patriot of you to do so because you could be helping someone else start or run their business. They could improve the facades of their stores and run more advertising. Pretty soon they will be selling more widgets then you, even though your widgets are better. But because they did not have to pay for building improvements, they could run that extra advertising or lower their prices. So, long story short, hurry up and pay more taxes while you have a business to do so. On your other point, that little terrorist attack that the Pres wants to cover up because it does not fit his narrative. That could have been avoided had he put more protection in place upon the request of the ambassador. That should have been an easy decision since as you say it is "a highly violent and violent country". Instead he found it more optimal to ignore the request. The difference between the two types of tragic killings is, one could have been avoided and that is exactly why the Pres is trying to cover it up. We don't have optimal leadership so its time for change.

Lanivan

What's with all the paranoia about Obama raising taxes? You folks were up in arms about it 4 years ago and it didn't happen. Now Obama wants to raise taxes 4% to 39% (Clinton years before the temporary Bush tax cuts) on those whose income is $250,000 or above - about 2% of the population. Just think - in 1980, the top tax rate was 70.1%!!! Trust me - I fall short of that category, as do most small business owners. I take every deduction that is legally available to me, and I always give generously when I can. Reagan raised taxes 11 times in 8 years - why always "Obama is bogeymen". Competition is a daily factor in running a business regardless of president or what the tax rate is. Too bad the Republicans voted to cut back on embassy/consulate budgets. "Cover-up"!? Let's not get silly here - Obama very wisely and diplomatically simply is doing the investigative work needed before he goes crazy in public, like Romney did. Obama came out and spoke before the people - he never hid anything. Romney jumped the gun and turned a tragedy into a political football - shameful and it was widely viewed around the country as totally inappropriate.

Wingmaster

Your funny, in 1980 when Reagan took office, were was the economy when we had 70% tax rates on the wealthy? You want to go backwards further from this dismal economy and high unemployment? Reagan cut those rates and gave us a roaring economy thru the 80's into the 90's. Quit trying to rewrite history. We saw more money coming into the feds with lower tax rates because more people were contributing. Clinton and the Democrat machine got greedy and increased taxes and increased spending. No one has pulled back on spending but you want to increase taxes. It's been entertaining watching you and Vlad going back and forth regarding politics. Both of you articulate your positions well but are you are failing to understand what the everyday person us feeling. Both parties are using the tax payer. Unfortunately most voters cannot stomach polotics and are only forming opinions off sound bytes. Mis representing history as you have above, just to drive an agenda, demonstrates how weak the left and your philosophy is.

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