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 feel your pain, Wing. The problem is, you think I'm trying to re-write history, when I'm actually just stating facts. As a moderate Republican, I voted for Reagan (twice). I do most certainly feel what the average person feels, because I am one. Reagan raised taxes 11 times. It's on the record and you can't misrepresent that. You can put your own personal bias on it, which is what so many of the far-right extreme, radical conservatives are doing today. Like you, I am fed up with the hatefulness and divisiveness in today's politics. Remember the compromises of Tip O'Neill and Reagan? Now they were a team that worked for the American people. Politics is never perfect - far from it - but it's reached a new low these past few years. And Obama has nothing to do with it. When you look at all the charts, graphs, facts and figures, Obama amazingly has governed more conservatively than Reagan......it's just that we've been spoon-fed otherwise, and it's hard to turn that thinking around.

Wingmaster

Oh Laninvain, I gotta love your tenacity but I can't let that stand. Yes Reagan did raise taxes 11 times. Here is where you are trying to rewrite history. The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which slashed the top marginal rate to 50 percent from 70 percent. And even with the later increases, he was a net tax-cutter: He didn't rescind the marginal cuts, and lowered the rates again in a 1986 overhaul that traded rate reductions for the elimination of individual tax preferences. By the end of his administration, the top marginal rate had been dropped to 28 percent. You see he was a leader and worked with the opposition to get this country moving in the right direction that carried us thru two administrations! Obama during the 2010 mid terms told Republicans to "go to the back of the bus" because he was taking credit for all the gains in the economy (huh...what gains?) as they (Republicans) drove the economy into the ditch. Any other politician that would have said that would have been mercilessly pounded for being racist! Reagan was a uniter but Obama is a divider. He needs to go. So as Paul Harvey used to say " now you know the rest of the story". So now, back to you.

Lanivan

"go to the back of the bus" - how deep do you guys have to dig to find something - anything - to take out of context and run with it? Any inconsequential thing will do! All my comments regarding Reagan (whom I voted for twice by the way) were examples of how much can be accomplished for the good of the country when congress decides they will work with the president, whether it be tax cuts, tax increases when needed, Social Security fixes, Cobra and the mandate that hospitals must treat the indigent, and so on. Mitch McConnell, just days after Obama was sworn in, announced to the world that the sole purpose of the Republican congress was to block this new president....and this while the country was in 2 wars and neck-deep in the Great Recession. Shameful!! They should all be booted out of office. And yet Obama just about stood upside down to bring the Repubs in. Romney - and by the way, I never hear you guys singing his praises much - has waffled, wiggled, told whoppers and fibs, - who knows what he'll do. He might be more beholden to his wealthy global investors than the Tea Party who backed him (in fact, I would count on it), and you might find yourself on the short end of the stick. Big, aggressive, rich bullies like Romney are used to getting their own way, firing people who can't help them get richer, driving to Canada with their dog on the roof of the car, and pinning down and cutting the hair of a younger classmate. Read up on Herbert Hoover - even he makes Romney look like an empty suit.

Wingmaster

Oh Laninvain, there you go off the deep end. Talk about digging deep, bringing up the Romney dog story. Rather inconsequential don't you think? You don't want me to bring up his cuisine taste now do you! Obama arrogance is why he is not getting cooperation from Republicans or the country. Like when discussing tax credits for those who don't pay taxes. His comments to Eric Cantor that "on some of these issues we’re just going to have ideological differences", then adds "I won.(the election) So I think on that one, I trump you." Or how about "Nobody made these guys go to war. They had to have known and accepted the risks. Now they whine about bearing the costs of their choice?" This quote after he has a discussion regarding his decision to require the military pay for their war injuries which he ultimately backed away from. My favorite display of arrogance when he stated that anyone who has built a successful business of their own didn't build it themselves. He said that since they didn't build the roads they travel on, houses they live in, internet they do business on- that their businesses weren't self-built. Gee Lan, even you should cringe when you hear that one. An American president discounting hardworking people across this land. WOW!

Lanivan

snopes.com - "Nobody made these guys go to war" - verified totally false. Eric Cantor is an arrogant, snide, little twit and whatever Obama really said, Cantor deserved it and probably much, much worse. I have no problem with Obama's "building" statement. Read in context, it's a very positive statement and I understand exactly what he was saying. I wonder - when will you stop grasping at straws?

Wingmaster

...as soon as you stop twisting your facts! There is plenty mis information on both sides.

Vladtheimp

October 1995: On Monday night, at a $1,000-a-plate presidential fund-raiser (same venue as Romney's 47% remark) in Houston, Mr. Clinton made the same assertion. "Probably there are people in this room still mad at me at that budget because you think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much, too." I agree. I also agree with many commenters who urge you to send a larger check to the IRS instead of taking every legal deduction if you want to increase the money the feds get - instead of imposing your beliefs that all of us should forcibly pay more than we do, taking every legal deduction. If you, as a small business person (notice my gender neutrality) believe in competition. as you surely must, how can you support what Obama did to the non-union auto companies, much less than the automotive non union employees and bond holders, and how can you support the green energy give aways to companies that would never be competitive? No spin allowed.

Lanivan

I really don't know how many ways I have to say it. Obama wants to let the Bush tax cuts expire on the top 2% which would make them increase by 4%. These temporary cuts have gone on for 12 years and have NOT proved to be beneficial to the country, the economy, employment, job creation, and all the other stuff they were supposed to "cure". Reagan knew better - when he passed a major tax cut during the 1980-81 recession (a blip on the screen compared to the 2008-9 Great Recession), he and congress recognized they would have to pull back and stabilize, and they did with 11 tax increases in 8 years. In the years since, especially sine the Bush tax cuts, thanks to the lowest tax rates and all those loopholes, the super rich have seen their wealth grow by 400%. I don't know what Obama did to the non-union auto companies, and you know what? I'm not going to research it, either. When confronted with a s--t storm of the magnitude Obama did, there is going to be some collateral damage. It was damage control and stop the hemorrhaging. All I can tell you is that my friends who work in the auto industry are busier than ever and doing just fine. I support totally green energy investment. Why not? Some will grow, some will die. I suppose you'd prefer we invest in more wars where "some will die" and NO $$ is ever wasted, right? No more falling back on the stale, old "Obama as Constitutional Bogeyman" any more, Vlad. Nobody is buying it. Vlad - you have perfected your "tear down Obama inch by inch" routine, but you are strangely quiet on your guys, Romney/Ryan. Now do I have some ammunition for that discussion!

the cat mom

Supporting the right to murder babies is NOT Christian. It is not the "right of women" to kill their unborn childeren. If he believes that, he is not a Christian - you can argue that all you want but it's true.

Captain Obvious

I agree with you cat mom....but as President, you have to be the President of all the people, not just the Christians. And there are people who believe differently than you and I. Their rights must be upheld too. Or would you want to force your views on them? And then the old freedom of religion idea put in by the founders would go down the tube. Nobody is forcing anyone to have abortions and the President obviously would prefer that their would not be any.

Tri-cities realist

Captain... You state "He supports the right of women to have abortions under federal law." Abortion was not made legal by a federal law. Rather the SCOTUS overturned a state law (Texas law in Roe v Wade) that criminalized abortion. This may seem trivial, but it is not. My issue with Roe v Wade is that it should not have been decided at the federal level, it should be left up to the states to decide, as provided by the 10th Ammendment to the Constitution. Also, Obama took an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." As a "constitutional law professor" I wish he would re-read the Constitution occasionally, and quit abusing his powers as President, such as granting amnesty to illegal immigrant children by Executive Order. That is the domain of Congress, not the President alone.

43°North

ya, and W was put into office the same way - by the supreme court, not popular vote, not electoral college. did you complain about that? If you are against abortion, don't have one. Squeaky wheels.

Captain Obvious

With a recent survey showing that only a third of Americans can correctly identify Obama as a Christian, the president gave a personal account of his conversion as an adult and how his public service is part of his faith."I am a Christian by choice," Obama began, standing beneath a blazing sun, when asked why he is a Christian. From a townhall meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico September 28, 2010

"I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead," Obama said. "Being my brothers' and sisters' keeper. Treating others as they would treat me. And I think also understanding that, you know, that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility that we all have to have as human beings."

Humans are "sinful" and "flawed" beings that make mistakes and "achieve salvation through the grace of God," the president continued, adding that we also can "see God in other people and do our best to help them find their, you know, their own grace."

"So that's what I strive to do," Obama said. "That's what I pray to do everyday. I think my public service is part of that effort to express my Christian faith."

At the same time, Obama emphasized his belief that freedom of religion is "part of the bedrock strength" of the United States.

"This is a country that is still predominantly Christian, but we have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists" and others, he said, adding that "their own path to grace is one that we have to revere and respect as much as our own, and that is part of what makes this country what it is."

The same questioner also asked Obama about regulations on early and late-term abortion, a politically charged issue in the abortion debate.

Obama responded that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare" in America, adding that families -- not the government -- "should be the ones making the decision."

Restrictions against late-term abortion are in place now, he said, adding that "people still argue and disagree about it. That's part of our Democratic tradition."

Tri-cities realist

Apparently Obama is more comfortable giving away other people's money than his own. I don't recall Jesus teaching that we should confiscate someone's money, to give it to others. That isn't giving, it is taking. Charitable giving is a personal choice, and I respect an individual's right to do so or not. However, Obama is disingenuous characterizing Romney as greedy, when Romney has given much more to charity than Obama, both in terms of dollars and as a % of income. I have no issue with Obama's level of giving, as I said, it's his choice. But he should recognize and thank Romney for essentially overpaying his taxes, since Romney didn't claim over $2 million in charitable contributions, but I'm not holding my breath.

Vladtheimp

Sorry to disagree, Realist. I think you know that the puppet masters are (1) the Trilateral Commission, (2) the Bilderbergers, (3) the Skull and Bones Society, or (4) [most likely] Fox News. Own Up!

Captain Obvious

Hmmm...my life savings were in the stock market before and during the crash. After the crash, my life savings were cut in half. He carefully steered our economy back from the brink of disaster to slow, steady growth. My stocks are now back at the levels they were before the crash. Thank God for President Obama! He has restored my future.

Tri-cities realist

Yep, thank goodness for the immaculate Obama, what would we have done without him?

Captain Obvious

Lets face it, the choice is between a Lawyer and a Banker. Is that really a choice? They are both politicians with all the warts and faults that brings. I'm just going for the one who will probably screw me less.

Vladtheimp

Cap: Let's face it, the choice is between a guy who has a law degree and a Master's degree in Business Administration from Harvard; a man who has been highly successful in business, saved the Olympics from financial disaster (donating the $1.4 million in salary and severance payments to the Olympics), and served as Governor of Massachusetts; and a guy who has a law degree from Harvard, was a community organizer in Chicago, won an Illinois state senate seat by disqualifying all other candidates, ran for the U.S. House of Representatives and lost, won a U.S. Senate seat by having his opponent quit the race after sealed divorce records were made public, which he abandoned in his run for president (after vowing he would not run for president). A Lawyer and a Banker - Hardly! In their lives, how much time has Romney been a politician( 65 years old - 4 years a politician) vs Obama (51 years old - 13 years a politician). Cap - who is likely to screw you more - maybe a 51 year old community organizer and career politician. Just my opinion, based on experience.

AtomicRooster

Just supposing they gave an election and nobody came. I hear a lot of vote for the lesser of two evils. So I had to give that some more thought. And the light or should I say the walls of reality came crashing down on me. And I came to the conclusion neither Obama nor Romney can pull us out the dire straits this country is in. Oh yea politicians have done a great job...just look at what a wonderful shape our country is in. Politically, economically, emotionally, and spiritually, financially, etc. etc. Puh-leeze! LOOK AT IT! I have decided not to vote for the lesser of two evils...they are one in the same and they do NOT care about you and me. By not voting, a "real" message can be sent to Washington that we are FED UP! This country has to raise the bar on EVERY level, so let's start with US...individually. The made for TV spectacle debates...what a crock. Nobody wants to call it what it really is. Are we really free? Oh yea we are free alright....free to be told what to do or else. Wake up and take a stand. It begins with YOU.

Vladtheimp

Although I sympathize, I suggest that the real alternative is to (1) vote for Romney, who has shown no inclination to rule without regard to the Separation of Powers of the Constitution, unlike Obama (2) hold Romney's feet to the fire on the serious issues we face and the promises he has made (repeal Obamacare) and (3) start voting at the local level for candidates who will really represent West Michigan in the House and the Senate. To not vote gives everything to Obama who has demonstrated himself to be unfettered by the Constitution. Your choice, of course!

43°North

"If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice..." Rush the rock group, not the drug addict commentator.

Wingmaster

"People believe what they want to believe when it makes no sense at all" -John Mellencamp, liberal rock star!

43°North

https://www.facebook.com/notes/c... ...some entertaining reading for all.

43°North

WOW! Vlad, don't post anything, it might just magically disappear! Comments on this thread just went from 107 to 103. Big Brother (Sister) is watching...

Wingmaster

It happened to all post in the last hour or so! What the....

Lanivan

"technical difficulties"...or we overwhelmed them...

Vladtheimp

Resistance is futile - you have witnessed the power of Vlad!

Lanivan

O.M.G. - It's even worse than I thought! I want to go back to the good ole days of Eisenhower and Jerry Ford....

Vladtheimp

Thank you for referencing a link from some fool on Facebook. Since I liked this when I used it before, I will use it again - from Billy Madison :At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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