Romney Wins Debate on Economy
On the issue that is uppermost on voters' minds, Mitt Romney walked away with a clear victory in his debate with President Obama at Hofstra University. That issue is the economy, and it is the state of the economy that will be the decider for voters.
On Wednesday morning, the chatter across the airwaves was about the president's and Romney's dustup over the Benghazi debacle and subsequent coverup by the president. Romney seemed hesitant to tackle the controversy head on, and framed his argument weakly. Debate moderator Candy Crowley (CNN) confused matters by misstating what the president said in the Rose Garden following the brutal murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans (the president made a generic condemnation of terrorism; he didn't specifically identify the Benghazi murders as a terrorist act). But Romney will have ample opportunity in the next and last presidential debate, which focuses on foreign affairs, to set the record straight and persuasively make the case for presidential incompetence or worse in the Benghazi disaster.
But short of an overseas crisis or a terrorist attack on the homeland, pocketbook issues will continue to dominate voter concerns. Note that the president's retorts to Romney's powerful indictment of his economic record were diversionary and feeble. The president talked up legislation to help women achieve equal pay, but didn't say much of anything about his policies helping women find jobs. Millions of women -- among many other cohorts -- are either unemployed or underemployed, and Romney pointed out that millions of women have fallen into poverty.
Romney succinctly and persuasively laid bare the president's failed record in job creation and unemployment, gas and commodities prices, oil and gas production, and the national debt and deficit. Mr. Obama didn't even try to tout the tick down in the official unemployment rate; he had nothing to say to Romney's point about his adding close to $6 trillion dollars in debt during his tenure. And the president gave a bizarre explanation of why gas prices have nearly doubled during his term. The president claimed that because of the poor economy at the start of his administration, gas prices were lower. Yet the economy isn't much better now, and pump prices are close to double. Romney, conservative talkers, and bloggers need to hammer the president's odd logic.
You can bet Romney's case against the president on the economy will resonate more deeply with voters who are concerned about their jobs, family budgets, and their ability to provide for their kids' futures. Politics are local in the main, and nothing's more local then the ability to provide for one's self and one's family... to pay bills and set aside money for retirement and kids' college educations.
Mitt Romney drubbed President Obama last night on the issue that hits closest to home for most voters, the economy. As Romney did in last night's square-off, he needs to keep asking voters why they think that given the president's abysmal economic performance during his first term, another four years for Mr. Obama will be any different. Voters need to have that question firmly in their minds as they cast their ballots.