Presidential Debates 2012

Did Mitt Romney Execute His Greatest Flip-Flop Yet at the Presidential Debate?

By a wide margin Americans thought Mitt Romney won yesterday's debate, was it because yet another Mitt Romney showed up?


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The Mitt Romney that showed up to last night's Denver debate was a distinctly different Romney from the one that campaigned for the Republican primary. Aside from the new tax plan, Mitt Romney identifying much of Barack Obama's professed priorities as his own as well;  though he stuck to the "repeal Obamacare" rhetoric, he described how he'd reform it, not how he'd repeal it, he agreed with the president on prioritizing education "investments" and on protecting Medicare.  While the lack of many substantive differences between Obama and Romney did not surprise any avid observers of the process, it was a surprise to anyone expecting substantive differences who was actually listening.  When the two weren't debating in the weeds, Romney was adopting  Obama's priorities and goals and arguing that he could achieve them better.  The debate looked more like a discussion between a conservative Democrat and a moderate-to-liberal one than between two candidates who are supposed to come from parties that are substantively different. There were certainly two contrasting paths for America displayed last night, but both lead to the same place, bigger government and a more managed economy

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  1. I thought the story from last night was :” Obama Sucked”? Why is Reason providing covering fire?


        1. Maybe they want Shrike and Tony to feel better?

          Personally, none of this is “news” to me – a left wing statist running against a squishy center-right technocrat..who knew?!

          1. I knew! I’ve been posting it for weeks. I learned it on Hit AMPERSAND Run.

  2. As far as the Republicans are concerned, Romneybot performed exactly as programmed. He handed Obama a major ass-kicking. The actual details of policies really don’t matter to them. It’s GO TEAM time.

    1. This. From my conservative friends on Facebook you’d never know that the debate was over table scraps compared to the issues this country faces.

      1. “table scraps”

        Ah, so that is what is left in the Treasury!

        1. It was.

          Then they let Schumer in there.

    2. Romneybot performed exactly as programmed.

      Why is everyone surprised by this? If you can’t beat Obama with his record, you really suck.

      Thing about debates…the media talking points don’t work when there is actually someone there to rebut them.

  3. Of course Romney and Obama are going to say whatever they think the public want to hear at any given moment, even if it’s the polar opposite of what thaey said the previous month or even the previous day. For both candidates it’s victory by any meams necessary.

  4. Ha, you idiots watched the debate last night.

    1. I didn’t. I watched about 25 minutes of it on YouTube this morning before getting bored half to death and giving up.

    2. I did laundry, dishes, pulled weeds, swept my patio, refilled Mr. Bento for my lunch today, then had some beer. I got more done for the country than those two did last nite. No charge 🙂

    3. It was worth it for the post-debate reactions.

  5. Mr. Krayewski, please, get with the narrative: this is The Most Important Election Ever!

  6. I am shocked! A Republican ran through the primaries as a conservative then swerved towards the center for the general election? Surely this has never happened before!

    1. it’s crazy, I tell you! CrAzY!

      1. It’s a trap!

      2. So crazy it just might work?

        1. Crazy like a FOX!

    2. He ran as a conservative in the primaries? I missed that part.

  7. There were certainly two contrasting paths for America displayed last night, but both lead to the same place, bigger government and a more managed economy.


    1. All roads lead to Rome, if you catch my drift.

      1. You’re saying I should get my fiddle ready?

  8. obvious article is obvious.

    1. Reason’s verson of derp?

  9. Romney is doing exactly what he did in the other debates. Using other people’s ideas standing next to him and saying what the crowd wants to hear. How many times in the Republican debates did he say “I actually agree with so-n-so” after so-n-so had just got applause for some idea? Glad he did well though. Still probably won’t vote for him.

    1. Meet the new President, same as the old President.

  10. Romney was adopting Obama’s priorities and goals and arguing that he could achieve them better.

    Romeny must dislike the anyone-but-Obama rationale for voting for Romney more than me because he’s actually doing something substantive to prove it absurd.

    1. The spelling of his name is something else he flip-flopped on.

      1. If “Mittens” became a popular enough nickname for him, he’d probably adopt it, too.

  11. Oh, boy. I can’t wait to see the wailing and gnashing of teeth from some commentators because Reason writers simply won’t get on board the Romney Express because “Obama is worse, therefore we should all vote for Romney”.

    1. Do as you’re told, dammit!

      1. Everybody get in line
        Everybody turn and cough
        Everything will be all right
        This won’t hurt at all…

    2. 10.4.12 @ 9:03AM

  12. Of course, you have to realize that all that blather about education investment doesn’t mean anything. I don’t expect either one of them to cut education much, or increase it much. Obama would probably bail out the states so they can keep unionized teachers on the payroll. Romney wouldn’t.

  13. I wish Reason would decide exactly what Romney is. Half of the time he is the worst major candidate in living memory. The other half of the time he is an evil genius politician who flip flops and co-opts the other side.

    1. “I wish Reason would decide exactly what Romney is”

      “Reason” for the most part has decided. So, subsequent statements reflect what they’ve already decided and not so much on what is actually said. Sort of like Obama in a debate.

      1. Maybe because Romney’s words mean jack and shit? You’d know that if you took your head out of his ass

    2. Has it occured to you, John that if Romney wins the Republican party gets less libertarian? he turns the party into the party of slightly-less-generous social democracy.

      1. If you think that Hazel, come out and support Obama as the lesser of two evils.

        1. Or support Gary Johnson instead of this “screw the longterm, think short-term!” idea.

    3. he is the worst major candidate in living memory

      he is an evil genius politician who flip flops and co-opts the other side.

      Wait, these are contradictory HOW?

  14. You have to consider the audience. Who are you talking to in a national debate? You are talking to the 20 or so percent of the population who doesn’t have a strong opinion of your or your opponent. So of course you are going to say a lot of platitudes and try to come across as a centrist who will lead the country. Reason wants read meat. But that doesn’t appeal to the voters you are trying to win right now.

    1. Honestly this is true. Reason should spend more time focusing on how stupid, ignorant, distracted, apathetic and worthless most Americans are, rather than just calling out the scumbags pandering to them.

      1. Dear Reader,

        You’re an idiot.


        Sure to boost the subscriber numbers.

  15. “though he stuck to the “repeal Obamacare” rhetoric, he described how he’d reform it, not how he’d repeal it”

    “LEHRER: You want it repealed. You want the Affordable Care Act repealed. Why?

    ROMNEY: I sure do.”

    “ROMNEY: In my opinion, the government is not effective in — in bringing down the cost of almost anything. As a matter of fact, free people and free enterprises trying to find ways to do things better are able to be more effective in bringing down the cost than the government will ever be.

    Your example of the Cleveland Clinic is my case in point, along with several others I could describe.

    This is the private market. These are small — these are enterprises competing with each other, learning how to do better and better jobs.”…..z28Kq6SD6y

    Why do the words not reflect how you describe them?

    1. I think you are missing a few lines in there.

      I remember correctly, Romney gave a long list of (mostly incoherent) reasons for repealing it, and then only towards the end of the debate did he talk about free enterprise and competition bringing down costs.

      I think the question about repeal was halfway through the debate and the Cleveland Clinic examples was at the end.

      1. “If I’m elected, we won’t have Obamacare. We’ll put in place the kind of principles that I put in place in my own state”

        1. “We’ll put in place the kind of principles that I put in place in my own state and allow each state to craft their own programs to get people insured and we’ll focus on getting the cost of health care down.”

          Partial quotes are partial quotes.

          1. He’s not running for government. His “we” is the feds. He’s conceded the role of the feds in keeping medical costs down, the philosophical lynch pin of government intervention in healthcare and Obamacare

            1. “He’s not running for government.”

              I thought the president was part of government.

              “He’s conceded the role of the feds in keeping medical costs down”

              Since the feds have already taken a role in health care then how would giving more private options to states and individuals to keep down costs be inappropriate? If you were expecting a candidate to state that the feds should no longer be involved in health care at all then I’m not sure there’s an option for you. No candidate has made that case, including the Libertarian candidate.

              1. He’s not running for state government I mean. When he says “we’ll put in place” elements of Romneycare, he means the feds, not a state-by-state exercise

        2. “The federal government taking over health care for the entire nation and whisking aside the 10th Amendment, which gives states the rights for these kinds of things, is not the course for America to have a stronger, more vibrant economy.”

          In case it’s not clear enough. It’s the same thing he said in 2006. It’s a state issue.

      2. “I remember correctly”

        You don’t have to remember correctly, the transcript is right there.

      3. “Romney gave a long list of (mostly incoherent) reasons for repealing it”

        “…And as a matter of fact, when the president ran for office, he said that, by this year, he would have brought down the cost of insurance for each family by $2,500 a family. Instead, it’s gone up by that amount. So it’s expensive. Expensive things hurt families. So that’s one reason I don’t want it.

        Second reason, it cuts $716 billion from Medicare to pay for it. I want to put that money back in Medicare for our seniors.

        Number three, it puts in place an unelected board that’s going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have.

        Fourth, there was a survey done of small businesses across the country, said, what’s been the effect of Obamacare on your hiring plans? And three-quarters of them said it makes us less likely to hire people. I just don’t know how the president could have come into office, facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis at the — at the kitchen table, and spend his energy and passion for two years fighting for Obamacare instead of fighting for jobs for the American people. It has killed jobs.

        And the best course for health care is to do what we did in my state: craft a plan at the state level that fits the needs of the state. And then let’s focus on getting the costs down for people, rather than raising it with the $2,500 additional premium.”

        Exactly what is “incoherent” about it?

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