Skip to comments.Team Romney won't rein in GOP nominee during third debate
Posted on 10/18/2012 2:50:36 AM PDT by markomalley
Mitt Romney's campaign indicated Wednesday they have no plans to rein in the GOP nominee during the third and final presidential debate.
Romney's aggressive performance Tuesday night directly challenging President Obama and quarreling with moderator Candy Crowley had Democrats and even some Republicans arguing he came across as too assertive, which could turn off undecided voters.
But Team Romney claims their candidate won the night with his argument on core economic issues, which are the leading concern among voters. And Republican strategists say that Romney has more leeway to adopt the role of the antagonist because it's Obama who is so heavily reliant on personal favorability to buoy his poll numbers.
These Republicans go on to suggest that Obama's aggressive posturing necessitated by a largely listless performance in the first debate could undermine some of his crucial likability advantage among undecided and swing voters.
But an in-your-face approach is a high-risk strategy, something the GOP acknowledged in the debate aftermath. Karl Rove, former President Bush's top political adviser, told Fox News that Romney "made the mistake of getting a little bit too engaged" with the president throughout the contest.
The biggest stumble, strategists on both sides of the aisle say, was when Romney aggressively went after the president's language on Libya, only to be corrected by moderator Candy Crowley. Although Romney allies have questioned the fairness of Crowley's fact check in the aftermath of the debate, the moment undermined Romney's argument, and left the candidate appearing overly aggressive.
Romney's former debate coach, Bret O'Donnell, told Fox News the candidate "went down the wrong path" when he tried to "litigate out what happened in the Rose Garden." And conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer agreed, saying that in a "tough fight" reminiscent of Frazier-Ali, the president won "on points."
The GOP nominee also seemed, at times, to be unwilling to take direction from Crowley, who at different points asked him to take a seat or stop talking so she could move to the next question just to see Romney routinely ignore the instruction. The squabble over debate time spilled over into one of his confrontations with Obama, which resulted in Romney snapping at the president at one point: "Youll get your chance in a moment, Im still speaking."
Democrats were giddy to pile on, with Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner calling Romney's performance "rattled" and "awkward."
"Romney, certainly at moments, was aggressive, and that's been a trait of his in previous debates," said Democratic strategist Doug Thornell. "The difference last night was he came across as kind of irritated and peeved and kind of a bully, and when the president at times punched back I think that really unnerved him."
But a defiant Romney insisted Wednesday that it was the president who was on his heels after failing to articulate an economic vision for his second term.
"I have to be honest with you," Romney said, speaking at a rally in Virginia Beach. "I love these debates. These things are great."
And campaign aides repeatedly pointed to a CNN snap poll conducted shortly after the debate that showed the candidate with a lead on the economy, taxes, and healthcare.
Gov. Romney won last night's debate because he shared his plan of how he would lead the country to a real recovery and clearly laid out the case why America cant afford four more years of the last four year, said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. President Obama only had attacks to offer because he has no explanation for the failures of his economic policies or his lack of prescriptions for the future.
Republicans also noted that the president was combative at times, interrupting Crowley and pointing his finger in Romneys face. They argue that for a president whose brand is built around uniting the country and maintaining a positive veneer, his debate performance may have seemed jarring.
His being that assertive obviously fired up his base, but we just dont know how it played with independent, persuadable voters, Republican strategist Ford OConnell said. We know that when it came to substantive issues like the economy and deficits, Romney came out ahead.
And Republicans believe Romney has a unique opportunity to correct his misstep on the Libya question in the upcoming foreign policy debate, while knowing that the president is looking to undermine Romneys argument by claiming that the administration had always considered the attack to be terrorism.
I think the reason he lost stylistically on Libya was just because of the framework of the argument, meaning that he became somewhat agitated over Obamas insistence that he did say it was an act of terror, said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean.
Next time, in those heated moments, you just have to be sure to catch your breath and be very careful about what comes next and whats around the corner. Obama is going to try to trip up Romney again, but hell be well prepared.
Unsurprisingly, Democrats didn't agree that Obama should be concerned about alienating swing voters with his own aggressiveness.
When Romney plays the role of a bully or is a tough guy and the people on the receiving end kind of let it go, then the reaction from the news media and the viewers is Romneys tough or the other person is weak, said Thornell. When the person on the receiving end punches back harder, then Romneys bullying ricochets back on himself.
Good, Romney should eviscerate him on foreign policy.
Right. democrats “and some Republicans” want to tone Mitt down. Always have to make sure we take advice from the Dems about how to campaign.
The most concerning thing in the whole article is that Romney still feels the need to campaign in Virginia...
Where is the barf warning? The author ignored the fact that Romney often needed to be assertive toward the mod because otherwise she would let 0bama start and end all questions.
Those aren't "some Republicans", they're RINO pinheads.
Nor is it surprising that some Republi-tards are all wee-weed up over Mitten's exerting himself and unwillingness to let O'Bummer get away with his spinning and BS, as the Stoopid Party is filled with girly-guy wusses.
Must admit that I have been pleasantly surprised at Romney's demeanor during the 2 debates as I fully expected him to be another Juan McPain "Nice Guy" and roll over and let Barry walk all over him.
As someone who started out deciding to hold his nose and vote for Mitt I all of a sudden feel better about my decision and am starting to think he actually has a chance.
If he weren’t people would be worried that he’s given up on VA...
Justin Stinks with this article. Romney was too aggressive? Democrat consultants are faulting it? Romney’s playing a risky game? This piece could hardly have been more one-sided!
Can someone please change these folk's diapers, so we can get on with life.
you don't get the word "former" place in front of your name because your a fighter. When dealing with lying Chicago thugs,it's not time for nice nice. It's people like O'Donnell who would be saying "we did our best" after being defeated
If I was Team Romney I would say that Mitt is going to bring a switchblade knife to the debate.
Why change tactics when you’re doing well in the polls?
Don’t McCain yourself on the home stretch, Mitt!
I was impressed with Romney not backing away. Gave me a better feeling for the man.
Couldn’t help notice that in the two debates between decent candidates and jerks, the two liberal female candidates gave great deference and support to the jerks, while trying to get the decent candidates to be quiet.
Since it’s my future being decided here Mr. Stink, I would prefer that Romney keep the gloves on and keep swinging until the twelfth round is over. I don’t want him to play nice. We’ve had four years of an administration that has been “ridin’ us dirty.” The nation is being run by unknown czars and stupid, fat waddling liberal females.
So, "sneezing" would be outta the question?
Goodness gracious, pansyass republicans that don't know HOW to fight back and worry too much about what democrats and dipshinola's think. Has cow towing to the enemy whim EVER gotten any Republican any where?
I know Romney is a rino, but he has handled himself just fine against the charlatan and the bogus MSM! (They're not even REAL anymore.)
Absolutely! I am so tempted to dissect each of these debates down to the molecular level.
“...liberal female candidates (moderators, I think you meant, but I get your point meant and they certainly acted like candidates in not taking a background role) gave great deference and support to the jerks, while trying to get the decent candidates to be quiet..”
Great point - and the liberal young females in their early 20’s (I know because I have daughters that age, although mine are conservative) are the very first to bash men and complain that there are no decent men anymore! They are doing it to themselves AND it deson’t make sense.
Good - if your team is up 40 points with 5 minutes to go, then it’s ok to pull back in send in the second/third string.
If you’re team is up 10 points with a full quarter to go, you’d better stay hungry.
Romney’s in the second group...still, and nice to see that they know it.
interesting...maybe this campaign will change Romney into a conservative after he wins and finds out what RINOs really stand for in DC.
They're worried about a few undecideds being turned off if Romney stands his ground when they should be worried about the massive amount of people in his base that will be po'd if he wimps.
We've had enough of the wimp-factor, thank you!
The only way this would happened is if conservatives hold Romney's feet to the fire. No one else is going to do it!
Once again, conservatism will have to save this country.
The most concerning thing is that, while the election will be a blowout, it will be a much, much smaller blowout than it should be. The support of Obama is a sham, but it’s working, at least in a sense. They are pretty close to perfecting their system. Move voting to smart phones, and it’s over.
Fair and balanced, Romney SNAPPED.
The msm can't stand the fact that Romney is winning the real race, and so takes solace in the "victory" in debate.
I see an attack on Libya in the future and Obama claiming he’s too busy and will have to cancell the last debate. He does not won’t to walk onto THAT stage.
So Obama constantly interrupting is not considered to be aggressive or a turnoff to independents, but the republican must tip tow around in fear of offending. I see. Sounds like the independents are either democrats already, or this whole thing is a myth meant to temper the republican’s effectiveness.
oops! I meant doesn’t -
Also - hope I didn’t come across as picky - I guess it’s early ...
had Democrats and even some Republicans arguing he came across as too assertive, which could turn off undecided voters.
They have acted exactly in this manner over the past 4 years and will continue to do so until our country looks like Russia. There is no spine in the Republican Party.
Political Correctness is the minefield they walk through to keep (or get) votes...not the job of protecting our Constitution, freedoms and all that come with it.
This vote in November is our last chance to save our country and being worried that the candidate is “too aggressive” is a ploy to win women voters and gays who say aggressive men turn them off.
Are we in Hollywood or America?
When I listened to the Libya exchange in real time, my thought was that, regardless of the spin, it was a win win for Romney. Story grows bigger legs. Folks will be eager to see how it plays out Monday
“Some Republicans” believe my tagline is their Raison d’être.
Romney is doing fine.
Support him. Then vote for someone else in 2016 if you must. I may vote for Palin then,
if she runs.
Right... pressure, pressure and more pressure without a moment for O to catch his breath.
Mitt should get on dead center and stay there!
The more of these debates that I watch, the more convinced I am that O really IS a wind-up toy of the money Liberals who bought and paid for him...lock, stock and anus.
They wind him up like a wooden clown then send him out to regurgitate their predictable old, intellectually dishonest, logically flawed, worn-out and anti-Capitalist formulations! This stuff was laughably baseless when our economy was healthy! Coming from Joe Biden well thats to be expected. But this oily drivel, spewing from a guy who is supposed to be SO brilliant and articulate is TOO MUCH!!!
Cant O even improve A LITTLE on this old Liberal hype, himself?
It is intolerable to sit through any more of this!
Just go away.
Romney was rattled by a staged event— planned and coordinated by Axelrod and executed by Crowley. What we witnessed may have been criminal.
“only to be corrected by moderator Candy Crowley”
So when Justin Sink heard crowley corrected herself less than an hour later — he placed his hands over his ears and said, “lalalalalalalalalalalalala” — so he could pretend Romney screwed up?
Or is he just a lying dem hack?
The GOPe should stay out of the way.
When you are dealing with thugs like Obama, Putin, Chavez, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, etc. .... I want a President that I know won’t be a wimp. Romney showed he’s not a wimp and can/will go toe-to-toe with a thug and (in my opinion) come out a winner. Was it uncomfortable to watch? Yes ... mostly because of Obama’s behavior which was pretty disgusting and necessitated the confrontation(s) to start with. He was rude, he interrupted and he repeatedly and shamelessly (he has no shame/conscience) lied to America.
Specifically, he seems to like to engage the other guy (in this case Obama) unnecessarily and it comes off as badgering. Consider the exchange about whether Obama checks his pension. He asked repeatedly, cut Obama off with a "yes or no, do you ..." sort of thing. All to make the point that Obama's pension has foreign securities in it, a point that could have been made without Romney seem to be badgering Obama and without giving Obama the chance to slip in the zinger about his pension being less than Romneys. The same thing with Beghazi, he decided to cross examine Obama about the rose garden speech rather than stay on point and talk to the audience about the concerted effort to spin the story for weeks. That enabled Candy Crowley to pile on and stifle the discussion where if he'd stayed on point that wouldn't have occurred.
I think the strategy is "force him to answer, he can only lie so make him do it on the record". That's good fodder for commercials but the "fact checkers" ignore it That's the one thing I'd try to tone down. Other than that, he's done fantastic.
I appreciated you pointing out the error. The wee hours of the morning tend to make those errors more likely.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.