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article imageOp-Ed: 30 Days To Victory — Facts & Fiction of the Presidential Debate

By Donald Quinn     Oct 8, 2012 in Politics
After a lack luster performance at the debate, Obama's team was quick to accuse Mitt Romney of lies and half truths. As the President swings into action with Hollywood to raise money - here is a look at some of the facts from the debate.
In a piece earlier today I looked at the performance of the two candidates as they debated the issues, in the first presidential debate of 2012. The performance given by President Obama has been called many things, not very many of them good. However, many in the media have rushed to his aid calling the claims of Mitt Romney to be a lie and branding the man as such. In the interest of fairness, here is a look at some of the claims that are being made by the President and his reelection campaign and their merit. As reported on CNN -
"If you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth," Obama said at a campaign rally Thursday in Denver. "So here's the truth: Governor Romney cannot pay for his $5 trillion tax plan without blowing up the deficit or sticking it to the middle class. That's the math."
This is what the President had to say during the debate itself - "Gov. Romney's central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut — on top of the extension of the Bush tax cuts, that's another trillion dollars — and $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military hasn't asked for. That's $8 trillion. How we pay for that, reduce the deficit, and make the investments that we need to make, without dumping those costs onto middle-class Americans, I think is one of the central questions of this campaign."
However, according to fact checking by the New York Daily News this is simply not the case. Instead Obama has taken into account the effect of Romney’s plan over the next ten years. Romney is proposing to lower income tax by 20% which would reduce Federal Tax revenue by $465 billion in 2015, according to The Tax Policy Center.
Where Obama had it right, and Romney is short on specifics is what tax credits or loop holes the former Governor intends to remove in order to balance and pay for his tax cuts. While this is an omission that is worthy of speculation and more than deserving of a watchful eye, one that would behoove the candidate to come out in the open with specifics, it does not at the moment add up to a $5 trillion dollar tax break.
Obama stated that under the plan being floated by Mitt Romney, tax burdens on the middle class would increase up to $2,000 per family. The data used by the president relies on a study by the Tax Policy Center, however, it ignores that there are more nuances than are being shared including that this is just one possible scenario.
The president continues to propound the theory that he is working towards reducing the deficit by $4 trillion dollars, stating this at the debate.
"I've proposed a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan. ... The way we do it is $2.50 for every cut, we ask for $1 in additional revenue."
There are numerous problems with this statement. First Obama is counting heavily on $2 trillion in legislation enacted by the Republicans last year that cut agency operating costs, a plan that Obama had nothing to do with. Secondly there is some creativity in the books to hide the cost of the Medicare reimbursement program for doctors. Third these numbers are dependent on cutting $800 billion plus in war savings, savings that have not be proposed by Obama and would happen regardless. Finally, what the President failed to mention is that his arithmetic requires a tax increase of $1.6 trillion to be borne by the American public.
With regard to Simpson-Bowles President Obama said this "That's what we've done, made some adjustments to it, and we're putting it before Congress right now, a $4 trillion plan."
The truth is that the President largely ignored the recommendations by Simpson Bowles until recently when he incorporated some of the less controversial recommendations.
To be honest the Mitt Romney played fast and loose with some key facts as well including some of these.
Romney stated that there are 23 million people out of work; the reality is that there are only 12.5 million unemployed with an additional 8 million under employed. Additionally he counted the 2.5 million that are no longer actively seeking work. While this is definitely a hyped up number, it is easy to see why the Governor would want to count underemployed and disenchanted out of work citizens as well. However, it could have been more elegantly stated.
Romney claimed that half the companies who had received government loan guarantees had gone out of business. In fact only three of the companies of the 26 have filed bankruptcy, officially. So to some extent the information by FactCheck.org is accurate. Many of these companies continue to struggle however and it will be interesting to watch their progress.
The former governor claimed that $90 billion in breaks were given to green energy in one year. This is wrong because it was actually two years.
The bottom line is that while there are definitely stretched truths from both campaigns, there is not really a single campaign that can afford to throw stones. This however and sadly is something that has already begun in earnest and was started by the President himself the very next day after the debates. The facts given by the candidates are designed to have an impact and to get a reaction out of the public, but when there are blatant falsehoods it does no one in the public any good. Much to the contrary we have become accustomed to hearing lies and accusation abound.
What struck me particularly today was the fact that once again the President was back on his A game when cavorting with the Hollywood elites and raising money for his campaign. Today he opened a two day fund-raising tour in California with a “30 Days to Victory Concert” that featured the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, Jennifer Hudson, Stevie Wonder, and George Clooney. Comfortable at last the President then joked about his lack luster performance at the debates saying
"Everybody here is incredible professionals, they're such great friends and they just perform flawlessly night after night. I can't always say the same,"
The price of admission to the event was priced at $25,000 per person. In some respects this speaks volumes – when faced with a debate against someone whose policies he claims to be adamantly against in the spotlight of the nation, a listless and unengaged bored President Obama showed up demonstrating reluctance and irritation at the disturbance of his schedule. When the price tag is $25,000 and the guest list are limited to the rich and A list celebrities, the cool and charismatic funny President Obama showed up demonstrating his best behavior for his great friends.
I guess the very name of the concert is a dead give away, “30 Days to Victory” indicating that Obama already thinks he has won the election and showing up to talk to the American people or debate his opponent is simply a formality.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Obama, Mitt Romney, 2012 presidential election, Presidential debate, George clooney
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