The long anticipated first presidential debate was held in Denver Wednesday. It appeared to the audience that there were two men on the stage: President Obama and Mitt Romney. The debate, however, was actually between Mitt Romney and “Debate” Romney. In the end, Mitt Romney lost.
Romney debated himself
Mitt Romney spent the night debating himself. The Romney who showed up contradicted the policies and positions the other Romney has taken for the last 18 months. He flip-flopped his way into the winners circle while a non-combative Obama just watched and grinned
Take a look at what Debate Romney said last night and compare it to what Mitt Romney has been saying for the last 18 months.
First up is Debate Romney’s position on regulation of Wall Street Banks. Debate-Romney said that as a “free market businessman,” he knows that we “need regulation.” He added “People can’t open up a bank in their garage and make loans.” Debate Romney said he just rejects Obama’s regulation
Mitt Romney, on the other hand has said for 18 months that “regulations on the banking industry are killing jobs and hurting small business.” Mitt Romney promised to repeal all those regulations on day one.
Another example can be found in the $4 billion a year oil subsidies. President Obama has tried repeatedly to eliminate them. Debate-Romney said he is all for eliminating them too. In response to a question, Debate Romney said “Absolutely, those $2.8 billion in oil subsidies will be on the table.”
What Debate Romney was vague on is what he would do about the other $1.2 billion in subsidies above the $2.8 billion that are on the table. Total subsidies equal $4 billion a year.
Mitt Romney, by comparison, is absolutely opposed to any move to cut a penny from those oil subsidies.
Another issue was health care. Debate Romney said that he would keep many of the features of Obamacare especially the provision prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
He did not indicate how insurance companies would afford covering the pre-existing conditions without the additional revenue from new customers they would gain from Obamacare. Debate Romney’s health care plan would put a huge burden on insurance companies since Debate Romney said he was all for keeping premiums low. Debate Romney would not allow those to be passed on to insurance companies it seems.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has said for 18 months that he would absolutely “Repeal Obamacare in its entirety.” He vowed to do that on day one.
The biggest debate was over tax policy. Mitt Romney has said for 18 months that he has a tax plan to cut 20% across the board. He submitted that plan to the CBO to be scored and it was also scored by the Tax Policy Center. That plan was posted on his campaign website for all to see.
Debate Romney, however, said that plan “was not my plan. I have never proposed cutting taxes like that, he said.” Debate Romney went on to describe an entirely different plan than the one the CBO scored or the Tax Policy Center reviewed.
Debate Romney’s new plan is same as the old plan. As the President pointed out, his math does not add up. He is lowering tax rates, but eliminating deductions and loopholes on the wealthy to make it revenue neutral. But, there are not enough tax deductions and loopholes to make up the $5 trillion his tax cut will cost. So either the overage goes to the deficit, or he must raise taxes on the middle class.
The second problem is in the logic. If one believes tax cuts create jobs, then a tax plan should cut the amount of tax small business owners and other “job creators pay so they can spend that extra money creating jobs. Debate Romney says his new tax plan is revenue neutral. So, either it will not cut taxes to create jobs with, or it will raise the deficit—or taxes on the middle class.
Mitt Romney has acknowledged that before. Debate Romney denied it.
So the next debate will feature President Obama against the winner of the Romney v Romney debate. We just need to see which Romney shows up. He has ammunition for both.
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