2nd PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: OCTOBER 16, 2012: Hofstra University, Long Island, N.Y. THE RUMBLE ON LONG ISLAND
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TALKING PAST EACH OTHER
2nd PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: OCTOBER 16, 2012: Hofstra University, Long Island, N.Y. THE RUMBLE ON LONG ISLAND.
President Obama and Governor Romney met on a red carpet for their second event, allegedly a town hall forum, where the attendees selected by the Gallup Organization would ask questions prescreened and known only to the moderator but not the debaters. Although there was a red carpet it was not a beauty show but a near pugilistic meet up with the principles physically circling each other looking for a verbal opening. Pre agreed rules like no debater asking a direct question of the other or the moderator, Candy Crowley, commenting on an answer to a question were broken with abandon.
Romney followed his aggressive style exhibited at the first debate, sparring with Ms. Crowley for more than his allotted time. She stood her ground and held the debaters in check most of the night.
When Obama said he called the Benghazi attack a terrorist one on the day after, Romney tried to question the President on that fact. The President replied that it was a correct statement and told Romney to proceed with the next question from the audience member who was waiting.
Instead Romney addressed the audience with a diatribe that the President delayed fourteen days before saying it was a terrorist attack. Ms. Crowley corrected Romney and said twice that the President had indeed said it was a terrorist attack the next day to the press in the Rose Garden. Romney went silent and asked for the next question from the audience.
Later Obama his face reddened from anger, controlled anger, said that he was offended that Romney would accuse him or his team of delaying the facts for political reasons when four of their own were killed.
Romney shrugged off the accusation that he was trying to make a campaign issue out of four American deaths.
These were other facets of his demeanor during the debate: broad generalizations about what he would do if elected, aggressive body language toward the President, misstatement of the facts and a lack of respect for Obama as a man and as the President of the United States. His attitude and physical actions also showed in his disdainful attitude toward Ms. Crowley, Chief Foreign Correspondent for CNN who was agreed upon as moderator by his handlers.
President Obama was not the subdued participant as he was in the first debate taken aback by Romney’s centrist assertions conflicting with earlier conservative to ultra conservative statements about health care (He would rescind the Affordable Health Care the first day in office) Abortion (He would work to reverse Roe v. Wade) Taxes (He would cut by twenty percent and eliminate loopholes and deductions but not capital gains or dividends) etc. Obama pointed out Romney was not in favor of healthcare providing for woman’s contraceptive or other needs and would defund planned parenthood which provides tests for breast and cervical cancer as well as parenting advice. Romney said he was in favor. Obama said Romney was for leaving it up to the employer to decide whether or not the coverage was provided. (Woman are a key independent voter group.)
The President pointed out that it was impossible to carry out Romney’s programs of cutting taxes and increased defense spending that added up to eight trillion dollars and at the same time paying down the deficit. The only way to do this was to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid which he has promised to do and to increase taxes on the middle class by eliminating the homeowner interest deduction, the education deduction and other deductions vital to the interests of the average person. Romney would not touch Capital Gains tax rates or tax dividends by which wealthy persons like Romney receive most of their income. Romney, he pointed out only paid 14% of his 20 million dollar income in taxes under the current system and the wealthy would be protected from a tax increase while the middle class would end up paying for his eight trillion dollar plan that at the same time promises to reduce the deficit.
Romney said he would allow more oil and gas drilling in the United States and offshore. Obama said he had already done this. Romney countered “not on Federal Lands.” Obama explained that private companies had been sitting on leases for twenty or thirty years and had done no drilling. They were just speculating on the value of the leases. He rescinded these leases and leased them out to companies who would drill now.
Romney stated he was for making the United States energy independent by increasing energy production by all available methods including oil, gas, nuclear, wind, solar, ethanol. He would allow the construction of a new Canadian pipeline to Houston for tar sands oil to be refined.
Obama said we had enough pipelines in the U.S. to go around the World. (He failed to point out that tar sands oil is the dirtiest environmentally wise and the oil in question would be refined in Houston but for export only to foreign countries. Also that it would cross the giant Ogallala Aquifer in the Mid- West against the wishes of many states involved and the farmers and ranchers who lived there. Alternate routes have been proposed.)
In the end Romney said he cared about 100% of Americans and that he would work to make life better for all Americans.
Obama pointed out that when he was speaking to a group of private donors he said that 47% of Americans paid no taxes and saw themselves as victims needing government support. Obama said this included retired people on Social Security and Veterans; people who had paid their dues. Apparently the only Americans Romney cared about was the 1 to 2% of wealthy Americans who abided by different rules than most Americans, they paid less taxes because of Capital Gains or dividends rates, wanted less regulation like Wall Street, wanted to strip American Companies of their assets bankrupt them send their jobs overseas and make money doing it. That he said was basically Romney’s five point plan for America. It really was only a one point plan to enrich the rich at the expense of the middle class.
In the final moments of the debate Romney appeared crest fallen.
Obama was on his game in this debate and he checked Romney at every turn pointing out his misstatements and prevarications. In the end, one would have to say it was Obama’s night.