Obama takes down Romney with facts

by Kenneth Leonard

Afired-up President Barack Obama took former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to task on a variety of issues Tuesday night in an intense town hall-style debate at Hofstra University, because apparently New York University wasn’t available.

Romney, who the Republicans didn’t really want as their candidate yet who somehow made it this far, continued his tactic from the previous debate of making a lot of highly inaccurate statements. This is a real problem for voters who appreciate accuracy-based political rhetoric. Romney outdid himself in this respect, managing to stuff 31 untrue assertions into a mere 41 minutes of speaking time. Compared with Romney’s mediocre performance in the first debate, when he only lied 27 times in 38 minutes, it’s clear Romney is committed to stepping up his game as Election Day draws near. If this trend continues, Romney could break the one-lie-per-minute mark in the third debate, an unprecedented political feat.

It’s unclear what caused the difference in Obama’s performance in this debate compared to the last. Early speculation suggests the president watched “8 Mile” on Air Force One en route to New York for the debate. Perhaps he listened to the Denver Broncos halftime pep talk from Monday night. Either way, something was different and an invigorated Obama energetically engaged Romney directly when it came to the former governor’s numerous bogus claims regarding everything from Obama’s record dealing with Pell Grants to foreign policy.

As Obama got his groove back, he swiftly dispatched Romney’s attempts to gain ground among undecided voters (who presumably sat there asking themselves questions such as “Which one is Romney, again?”). Romney seemed to grow visibly uncomfortable during the debate, like a kid who doesn’t own a PlayStation getting destroyed at “Tekken” at his gamer friend’s house. He failed to offer specific solutions to any of the nation’s problems, while making odd references to his “binders full of women.” Incidentally, this would be a great answer to the question, “Who did Mitt Romney’s grandfather marry?” Romney did commit to talking smack to China on the first day of his presidency, in case he were to win the election.

After the debate, former President Bill Clinton was not quoted saying, “I have a binder full of women, too. What’s the big deal?”

Highlights of the debate included Romney and Obama squaring off Jerry Springer-style, with unusually aggressive body language for a political debate. Moderator Candy Crowley blatantly corrected Romney on his false assertion regarding Obama’s response to terrorism in Libya and Romney’s odd comments about gender equality in American labor. Obama criticized Romney’s hypocrisy on gun control, while Romney claimed it’s not the responsibility of the government to create jobs mere moments after saying he would use his presidency to create 12 million jobs. Obama concluded with remarks about Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comments, which were predicated by a “Mortal Kombat” voice coming out of nowhere, saying, “Finish him!”

It’s worth noting climate change was not brought up in the debate. References were made to green energy and the mythical concept of clean coal, but specifics were elusive as is to be expected in this type of forum. Following the debate, undecided voters still had a lot of questions for the candidates. They have questions about gas prices, because they don’t understand the U.S. government doesn’t control gas prices. They have questions about immigration, because they don’t understand how giving citizenship to international and immigrant students, especially those who study math, science and engineering, helps boost the economy. They have questions about taxes, education, military spending, foreign policy and job creation.

However, the undecided voter will probably not search for answers to these questions, even though answers are readily accessible. We live in an era

with unprecedented access to information on any given topic. It’s too easy for voters to stay informed, which is why it’s so embarrassing how many low- information voters exist in our nation. If you’re still undecided at this point, it’s pretty obvious you don’t really give a you-know-what about politics.

Incidentally, following the debate, Fox News declared the result a draw, which is as close as it will ever get to saying Obama won.