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

43°North

There are about 100 links on there, read them all Vlad, or are you wearing your blinders? It shows your intellect when you quote a stinking movie. to quote a quote by a quoter used earlier..."It's not becoming to follow the strategy of Joseph Goebbels that if you repeat a lie often enough, people believe it." And that is exactly what your white savior is, a liar. More flip-flops from Willard than on the Miami Beach! god is a fairytale, don't dump that crap on me. thanks

43°North

well, Vlad, your response showed back up, but mine to this comment was missing. I believe I said something like did you read the links on that page Vlad, or were your blinders on? For someone who always requires validation, there are plenty for you to peruse on there with more truisms that you can shake a stick at. You want us to vote for someone who has more flip-flops than Miami Beach? Someone who thinks so highly of the US tax laws that he hides his money offshore and doesn't disclose his taxes? Someone who writes off his wife's champion horse as a hobby and her as a passive investor- can you do that with your hobby? Someone who thinks he has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body? Someone who truly does not care about you or Wing or TCR or any of the other far right wingers because- you don't make enough money anyway. Or for his choice 'the weasel' who called the president a liar during his state of the union speech, and then cried foul when the VP called him on all his lies in their debate? Your arguments have dried up like little worms that shrivel up once exposed to the sunlight, so you use a quote from a movie. Your intelligence/wit/wisdom is not shining through here. BTW Vlad, while enjoying your retirement from a non-union teaching job, do you get SS? Are you one of the 47%?

Vladtheimp

You have every right, of course, to obtain your political news and views from some nutjob lawyer and "activist" from New York City who spews anti-Mormon, anti-capitalist trash on that respected news venue, Facebook. I respectfully decline to drink that particular Cool-Aid.

liveyourdream

I would recommend looking at the the third party candidates. They are actually talking about things that might make a difference in the U.S.

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