Obama’s worst fear may now come to fruition: a strong Romney appearance in campaign 2012, followed by a weak September labor report. I suggested as much during my live blog of the debate for PolicyMic.
The fallout from the first debate and the labor report will re-energize the Romney camp, but Obama has no reason to panic.
Romney has revealed his hand and between the fact-checkers and the transcripts, Obama will be able to gleam enough details to formulate an effective counter-attack.
Romney successfully forced Obama to defend his economic record. Now Obama should force Romney to defend his plan with some detail. “Where’s the Beef” should be a theme for Obama’s counter attack in the next debate.
Reuters reported that the economy grew only 1.3% in the second quarter of this year. The ADP National Employment Reportshowed that the economy added 143,000 jobs. The official labor report which will be released Friday morning is expected to show job growth of approximately 113,000. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in September for the 33rd consecutive month.
Fact-checkers have already found some issues with Romney’s statements. Factcheck.org said “Romney accused Obama of doubling the federal deficit. Not true. The annual deficit was already running at $1.2 trillion when Obama took office.”
Factcheck also found that Romney’s description of the advisory board setup by the Affordable Care Act was not true. Romney said the new board is “going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have.” The board can only recommend cost-savings and is legally prohibited from reducing benefits.
Romney said that that half the companies funded by Obama’s energy programs have “gone out of business.” The actual number is less than 1%. The New York Times said, “Of nearly three dozen recipients of loans under the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, only three are currently in bankruptcy.” The Washington Post said “the vast majority of these programs are still up and running.”
The NY Times has posted a great interactive replay of the presidential debate, using fact checks and graphics.
Romney steadfastly refused to provide any detail on how he would pay for his $5 trillion in tax cuts and his $2 trillion increase in defense spending. His plan still cannot be scored and Romney cannot be given credit for deductions he refuses to identify. In an interview with Fox’ Denver affiliate ABCNews reported that Romney suggested he would cap itemized deductions at $17,000, but he never mentioned that in the debate. Obama can’t let him get away with making these statements locally and yet not revealing them to a national audience in a televised debate. Obama said, “Governor, it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high-income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. It’s math. It’s arithmetic.” Obama should ask Romney, “Where’s the Beef?”
Romney wants to increase defense spending by $2.2 trillion. In 2013 Romney would increase defense spending by 17% over 2012 levels. CNNMoney says, “Romney's plan calls for linking the Pentagon's base budget to GDP, and allowing the military to spend at least $4 dollars out of every $100 the American economy produces.”
The report said that analysts believe "spending should be determined by the security environment, not the size of your economy." Surveys show the American people would like to see the defense budget cut and defense officials have not requested additional funds. Obama said the “$7 trillion over 10 years is more than our entire defense budget.” Obama should press Romney to explain why he wants to raise the defense budget when our military is not seeking additional funding and the American people want to reduce defense spending. Obama should ask Romney, “What’s the Beef?”
Romney has been critical of Dodd-Frank, the legislation that targets Wall Street reform. During the debate he spoke of its debilitating effect on the economy. But when asked specifically what he would do different, Romney was short on detail. Instead he said “I would repeal it and replace it. You can’t have a free market work if you don’t have regulation. We’re not going to get rid of all regulation. You have to have regulation. And there’s some parts of Dodd-Frank that make all the sense in the world. You need transparency; you need to have leverage limits for [financial institutions].”
But like every other major component of Romney’s plan, he didn’t provide any detail on what he would repeal or replace. Now that Romney has critiqued the current legislation, Obama should pin Romney down on his own plans. “Where’s the Beef?”