Apparently Mitt Romney likes government regulation, loves Medicare the way it is, agrees fairly regularly with President Obama, and does not, in fact, want to cut taxes very much.
Those are gross simplifications of Romney’s economic platform, and ones very much at odds with the antitax, antiregulation, pro-entitlement-reform campaign the former Massachusetts governor has waged for more than a year.
But if you were tuning into the presidential race for the first time on Wednesday night, you’d be forgiven if you thought the simplifications were actually the crux of Romney’s plan for the country.
Romney did his best to give off that impression in the first debate of the general election in Denver.
He didn’t break out an array of new details for his policy proposals, as his campaign hinted he would. Instead, he defended his lack of specificity as a Reagan-esque strategy for shepherding legislation through Congress.
It's possible that, by softening the edges of most of his platform, Romney reassured voters that he's a safe bet for improvement over Obama. It's possible that he just gave them an even hazier picture of what he stands for. And it's possible that both those things are true. Read more
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S N2K PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
5 Reasons Why It’s Too Early to Write Off Obama
[National Journal, 10/4/12] NJ’s Ron Fournier writes that, although the narrative of the race is poised to shift after Romney thumped Obama on style points in their first debate, there are many ups and downs to come. To keep in mind: Anything can happen, and the fundamentals still favor Obama.
Obama: Guy On Stage Was Not The ‘Real Mitt Romney’
[TPM, 10/4/12] At his first campaign event since last night’s debate, President Obama said the man he debated last night was the not the “real Mitt Romney.” Throwing out some of his own zingers and feeling more comfortable in front of a teleprompter, Obama looked like his old self.
Obama Campaign Shifts Attack Strategy After Debate
[BuzzFeed, 10/4/12] Obama and his aides rapidly reversed their strategic course Thursday morning, shifting the center of their attacks on Mitt Romney back toward the oldest criticisms of the Republican: That he's a flip-flopper.
Obama Campaign: Adjustments will be made in Debate Strategy
[The Hill, 10/4/12] In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said the campaign is going to take “a hard look” at the president’s debate performance. He said they would “have to make some judgments” about future strategy.
The First Presidential Debate, by the Numbers
[Washington Post, 10/4/12] Reporter Sean Sullivan breaks down the major numbers of the debate: from how many times “Medicare” was mentioned to the number of minutes Obama spoke more than Romney.
Romney’s Test: Sustaining Momentum From Strong Debate
[National Journal, 10/4/12] Romney hit his stride Wednesday night, but the real challenge starts now, as NJ’s Beth Reinhard writes. Romney must seize his most pointed attacks from the debate and turn them into a winning streak, while keeping Obama as snippy and humorless as he was during the faceoff.
FiveThirtyEight: Polls Show a Strong Debate for Romney
[New York Times, 10/4/12] Earlier, Nate Silver said that Romney was down a touchdown in the race. On Wednesday, Silver said he kicked a field goal, “setting himself up in such a way that his comeback chances have improved by a material amount.”
Romney Supporters Confident After Debate Performance
[National Journal, 10/4/12] Surrogates for Romney took to morning television on Thursday with a newfound sense of confidence: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Romney delivered a “knockout,” while Sen. John McCain called Obama’s performance “rusty.” Even Obama surrogates acknowledged Romney’s strong night.
Romney Boasts Jobs Plan in New Ad
[CNN, 10/4/12] The Romney campaign released a new 30-second ad on Thursday that pitches the Republican nominee’s plan to create 12 million jobs in his term of office. Besides touting his tax and energy plans, he also said he would crack down on China. The Obama campaign released its own ad on Thursday, as well.
Debate Renews GOP Confidence in Down-Ballot Races
[National Journal, 10/4/12] After Romney’s surprisingly strong showing in his first presidential debate, Republicans have a new spring in their step and renewed confidence in their ability to get down-ballot races back on track.
Most of the World is Yawning at the US Presidential Election—Except the Chinese
[Quartz, 10/3/12] Europe is in the midst of a financial crisis. The Arab world is involved in intense fighting. The world was not paying attention to this presidential debate as much as they were in 2008, except for China. Why? Maybe it’s the increase in internet access.
Post-Debate Polls of Voters Declare Romney the Winner
[National Journal, 10/4/12] Several polls show that uncommitted voters who watched the first presidential debate said by a two-to-one margin that Romney was the winner. Romney far exceeded expectations, while the opposite was true for Obama – although a CNN poll found that nearly half of respondents said the debate didn’t make them more likely to vote for either.
WSJ Editorial: ‘Where Has This Romney Guy Been Hiding?’
[Wall Street Journal, 10/4/12] Calling it “the best debate effort by a Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan in 1980,” The Journal’s editorial board joined many in offering praise for Mitt Romney following his debate performance Wednesday night.
Six Takeaways from the First Presidential Debate
[National Journal, 10/4/12] From his view that moderator Jim Lehrer didn’t help the candidates with broad, unfocused questions, to the idea that Romney effectively managed to dislodge the perception that Obama’s lead in the polls is irreversible, Ronald Brownstein offers six takeaways from the debate.
Media Piles on Moderator Jim Lehrer
[Politico, 10/4/12] The consensus: Lehrer did not control the debate, failed to enforce the time limits, did not press the candidates enough, and generally was steamrolled by Romney in particular. The Denver Post compiled a list of everything Lehrer said during the debate – and it isn’t very long.