Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Obama Bidens Romney on China, “Governor, you’re the last person who is going to get tough on China”

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October 16, 2012

Tonight was the third in the two competing party’s debates — the second between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama with Candy Crowley moderating. Using a Town hall type setting in New York, the debate revolved around foreign and domestic policy. After Obama’s lackluster debate performance during the first debate, a lot hinged on a formidable presence by the President tonight. While debates do not determine the winning candidate, they do enhance enthusiasm within the winning politician’s voter base.

Pre-debate: Obama’s team gave notice, promising a more assertive debate performance. We were not disappointed. Instead of seemingly acting as interested as when one picks fluff out of their navel, tonight’s Obama was akin to a competing force in politics willing to call out their opponent after ‘misspeaks’ and lies are utilized to win a debate. Democrats had hopes that this time, Obama would Biden Mitt Romney – and he did.

Undecided voters asked questions of the candidates on the night’s predetermined issues. Both Romney and Obama had two minutes to respond. Short and sweet, but also 90 minutes long in total.

(Some of the quotes are not verbatim but close enough)

The Republican Presidential candidate was given the first question.

As a 20 year old college student. What can you say to reassure me that I’ll be able to gain employment upon graduation?

Mitt Romney spoke of pell grants and jobs

President Obama, “I want to build on the 5 million jobs we've created. I want to build manufacturing jobs. Governor Romney said he wanted Detroit to go bankrupt.”

Obama spoke of retraining for city colleges. Investments in education. Money spent on wars, should be spent on rebuilding America.

Moderator asks Romney to clarify for students who need a job right now.

“The President’s  policies have been exercised over the last four years and haven’t worked out. We haven’t made progress which is why I made a five point plan. “When you say (to the President) that I wanted Detroit to go bankrupt, you actually did.”

Obama, “Gov. Romney doesn't have a five point plan. He has a one point plan. You can make a lot of money and pay less taxes. You can ship jobs overseas and still make money. That’s what’s been squeezing middle class families.”

Your energy secretary said it’s not his department to lower gas prices.

We have increased oil production the highest it’s been in years. We can’t just reduce traditional sources of energy. We've doubled clean energy. I want to build on that. We will continue to open up new areas for drilling. We can do it in an environmentally sound way. Gov. Romney will say he’s got an all of the above plan. He has the gas part, but not the clean energy part.

Romney: Let’s look at the President’s policies. They haven’t worked out in four years. The administration brought  a criminal action against drilling on federal land. I want to make sure we use our oil, our gas. What we don’t need is the president not taking advantage of natural gas. People grabbed me on the shoulder and said, ‘Please, save my job.’ We need energy independence. I’ll get America energy independent by more drilling. It’s about getting more jobs back.

Obama, “What Gov. Romney said isn't true. We've opened up public lands, drilling more than the previous administration. Our oil imports are down to the lowest levels in 20 years.”

Romney, “But that’s not what you've done in the last four years.

Obama, “Not true Gov. Romney. There were oil companies on public lands with leases. We said if you want to drill on public lands, use it or lose it.

Romney, “Production is down.”

Obama, “That’s not true.”

Romney, “I will fight for oil, coal and natural gas.” Then went on to blame the President’s policies for gas prices. “Part of that is bringing in a pipeline from Canada.”

Obama, “The economy was about to collapse because of the same policies Gov. Romney is trying to promote. With respect to the pipeline, is we've created enough to wrap around the world. There are thousands of people working to create wind power.”

Romney interrupts moderator. “I appreciate the jobs in oil, coal and gas. We’re going to get through an aggressive energy policy.”

Question: Gov. Romney, you've stated that if you’re elected you plan to reduce the tax rates for all the tax brackets, and that you'd work with Congress to eliminate some deductions to make up for the loss of revenue. The mortgage, charitable, child tax credit, the education credits, what would be your position on those things which are important to the middle class?

Romney, “ You're right about part of that. I want to bring the rates down. I want middle income to pay lower taxes because they've been buried. Health insurance premiums are up. I want to get relief to middle income families. I’m going to limit deductions for people on the high end. I am not going to have people at the high end pay less than they are now. Everyone gets…pick a number…$25,000 in deductions to use and fill in that bucket. Every middle income tax payer will pay tax on your savings. You don’t have to worry about filing taxes on that. I want to help people in the middle class. I will not. I will not under any circumstances raise taxes on the middle class.”

Obama, “My philosophy on taxes has been simple. I said in a town hall much like this one that I will cut taxes for the middle class and I have. I want to continue that and for small businesses. If we want to reduce spending, then sure, but we have to make sure the wealthy do their part. Gov. Romney’s allies in Congress have held the middle class hostage because they want tax breaks for the top 2 percent. Gov. Romney was asked just two weeks ago on 60 minutes and was asked if it was fair for someone like him to pay a lower tax rate than someone making $50,000. He said, yes that’s fair. That’s what grows the economy. I fundamentally disagree. What grows the economy is making sure small businesses get tax credits for hiring veterans”……”

Romney, “You heard what I said about my tax plan. The top five percent will continue to pay 60 percent as they do today.I ‘m not looking to cut taxes for wealthy people. For me it’s about jobs.  We need to crack down on China when they cheat. I want to help small businesses.”

Moderator asks Obama if Romney’s issue is settled regarding taxes.

Obama, “No it’s not settled. Look, the cost of lowering rates for everyone across the board, along with corporate changes and eliminating estate tax, costs about $5 trillion — along with $2 trillion on additional military expenditures even though the military is not asking for it. Then, continue Bush tax cuts for the wealthy – that’s another $1 trillion. That’s $8 trillion. How is Gov. Romney going to do balance the budget?  We won’t get money from Capital gains. We've heard no specifics on his tax plan. The math doesn’t add up. Either this blows up the deficit, or alternatively it’s got to be paid for by, you paying for it.”

(Again, not verbatim but politicians talk fast).

Moderator asks Romney if his plan adds up.

Romney, “Of course. If we're talking about math that doesn't add up, how about $4 trillion of deficit? That’s math that doesn't add up. He said he'd cut the deficit in half, instead we’re on the road to Greece. My plan is not a trillion dollar cut. (interrupts moderator repeatedly).

In what way would you rectify income inequality?

Romney claimed that under Obama 45, 000 women are unemployed. Break time!


That’s literally true, but the statistic is cherry-picked. Starting the count at the beginning of the recovery, rather than the beginning of Obama’s term, produces a starkly different result — a decrease of 548,000 unemployed women. And the rise in women’s unemployment under Obama pales compared to the rise experienced under George W. Bush. These important pieces of context are left out of the ad. On balance, we rate the claim Half True.

Obama, “I signed up the Lily Ledbetter. That’s an example of the kind of advocacy that we need.”

Romney, ‘ We're going to have to have employers in the new economy that are going to be so anxious to get good workers, they'll hire women.” Romney goes onto specify the need for a flexible work schedule, then cites the jobless rate. I’m going to help women by getting a strong economy.”

Obama, “When the Romney campaign was asked about the Lily Ledbetter Bill, they said, I’ll get back to you. Women need health care. Gov. Romney feels comfortable for politicians in Washington to decide their health care. This is not just a health issue, it’s an economic issue. Gov. Romney opposed contraception coverage. Gov. Romney said we should eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. Women rely on them for cancer screenings and mammograms.  These are not just women’s issues. They are family issues. What makes us grow  as an economy is when everyone participates and women get a fair deal.”

Question: I am an undecided, but I attribute much of the economy on Bush’s policies. What’s the difference between you and George W. Bush?

Romney Interrupts moderator, dodges question.

Romney again, “President Bush and I are different people and that’s why my five point plan is so different than what he would have done. We can get all the energy we need in North America. That’s where we’re different. President Bush didn't crack down on China. I will. I will get us to a balanced budget. President Bush didn’t. Championing small business. Everything I do will be designed to help small businesses. One of the things I find troubling about ObamaCare is, it keeps businesses from hiring people.”

Obama, “First of all, I think it’s important to tell you that when I first started we were losing 800,000 jobs per month when we started. We've seen 30 consecutive months in job growth. What Gov. Romney talks about getting tough on China, keep in mind that Gov. Romney pioneered in companies outsourcing jobs to China. Gov. you’re the last person who is going to get tough on China. We've brought twice as many fair trade cases against China than the previous administration. We saved jobs. The last point I want to make is this. Gov. Romney is different than George Bush. Bush never suggested a voucher program. He didn't call for self deportation. Or defunding Planned Parenthood. Gov. Romney has gone to a more extreme place when it comes to social policy.”


The Obama campaign ad says, “Even today part of Romney’s fortune is invested in China.”

The Romney campaign confirms this statement. In particular, news reports show as recently as this year, Romney had money invested in funds that owned shares in two Chinese firms. The amount is not likely to be large, certainly relative to Romney’s sizeable assets, and might be minor in absolute terms as well, due to the dilution that comes with funds with multiple investors and multiple investments.

The claim suggests that Romney had more to do with the investment decision than is the case.

We rate the statement Mostly True.

Question: I voted for you in 2008. What have you done to earn my vote now?

Obama, ” I said I'd cut taxes for the middle class. I have. We went after Al Qaeda. I said I'd end the war in Iraq. We did. I said we'd put in place health care reform so insurance companies can't jerk you around. We did. We're reigning in Wall Street. We saved the automobile industry from collapse. We need to use the savings from ending wars, to put people back to work. The commitments I've made, I've kept and the ones I haven’t. it’s not from lack of trying. Even though it’s the same healthcare plan, Gov. Romney will repeal it.”

Romney, “I think you know if you vote for him what you'll get. He said his first year he'd put out an immigration plan, he hasn't even filed it. He doubled the deficit. If Obamacare is passed, it will be another $25,000 on top. The entire record is such that unemployment has not been reduced. How about food stamps? Today 47 million are on food stamps.”

On the last question which was about misconceptions, Romney stepped in it, bringing up his disparaging 47 percent comment, then claimed that he cares about 100 percent of America.

More to come.

Image: The Daily Beast