That sure was a different Barack Obama we saw in Tuesday night’s debate, wasn’t it? We were promised aggressive, and we sure got that. Many commentators are calling it the most confrontational Presidential debate ever. The lead story in The New York Times the next morning carried the headline “Rivals Bring Bare Fists to Rematch.”
While no one actually struck a blow that night, neither Mitt Romney nor Obama hesitated to challenge each other verbally — and sometimes physically. This was the most “in your face” Presidential debate I’ve ever seen.
Unlike the first debate, Obama had clearly done his homework this time. He was primed and prepared, rattling off one assertion after another. But while what we did get from him was aggressiveness, what we didn’t get was candor. The Obama who took the stage Tuesday night bore no resemblance to the big-spending liberal we’ve known (and opposed) for the past four years. In fact, anyone who didn’t know better could be forgiven for thinking he was the more conservative candidate up there.
Do you think I’m crazy? Consider some of the things Obama actually said that night:
- He declared himself a fervent admirer of the free enterprise system.
- On a question about gun control, he voiced his strong support for the 2nd Amendment, which guarantees our right to keep and bear arms.
- He claimed to have done more to encourage drilling for oil and gas on government land than George Bush, whom he described as “an oil man.”
Where was the President who has increased government spending so much that we’ve run trillion-dollar-plus deficits every year that he’s been in office? Where was the man who caused the national debt to explode from $10 trillion to more than $16 trillion? Where was the leader who’s presided over massive unemployment, soaring numbers of food-stamp recipients and billions of dollars in new entitlement spending? That guy was nowhere to be seen.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. The real Obama sure wasn’t on stage at Hofstra University Tuesday night. If the recent debate had been my first exposure to the Obama record, I might have concluded the guy is a conservative — or at least a whole lot less liberal than his record proves him to be.
Ah, well, we’ve just got to hope that enough voters will remember what his Administration has actually done over the past four years, rather than how his handlers are positioning him now, when they vote on Nov. 6.
The talking heads on TV will be parsing what each candidate said (or didn’t say) virtually nonstop until they have something new to quibble about. And that is sure to happen four nights from now, when Obama and Romney meet in the third and final Presidential debate. That one will be devoted to foreign policy. And here is where I think our President is in really deep doodoo.
The Obama Administration has been deliberately deceptive with the American people about what happened at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. The official “line” — repeated ad nauseam by White House spokesman Jim Carney; our ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice; and even the President himself, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly — was that the assault on our consulate and the subsequent murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans grew out of a “spontaneous demonstration” against an anti-Muslim video on YouTube.
In Enough Lies About The Attack In Libya!, I wrote how ridiculous the assertions were. But for nearly two weeks, the Obama Administration stuck to that fairy tale and bitterly attacked anyone who dared to challenge it. The main target for the vituperation, of course, was the Republican challenger.
Now we know the truth. There was no demonstration and not a single protester. The attack on our consulate was a planned terrorist assault by a group with links to al-Qaida, armed with hand-held rockets and grenade launchers. The president of Libya confirmed what happened days before our own government finally began telling the truth about what really happened.
All of that is enough to give Obama’s campaign team a severe migraine. But now the campaign has something else to deal with: the president’s incredibly deceptive comments in Tuesday’s debate about his own remarks.
Obama claimed that the day after the murders in Libya, he called the assault a terrorist attack. And the debate moderator, CNN’s Candy Crowley, supported his assertion.
But it isn’t true. If you listen to Obama’s complete statement in the Rose Garden that afternoon, you will realize that he never called the attack in Benghazi a terrorist attack. He refers to it as an “outrage” and an “assault.” But he doesn’t use the word “terrorism” until the very end of his remarks, when he says that “no acts of terrorism” will lessen our resolve.
The truth is: Obama didn’t say what he claimed he said. Moreover, none of his spokesmen or spokeswomen did either for almost two weeks after the murders. As more and more Americans realize just how duplicitous our government has been, it’s going to be very hard for the Obama team to bluff and bluster its way past this one. Look for it to be one of the hottest topics Monday night.
I can’t end this column without saying a few words about the Vice Presidential debate, where Joe Biden set a record for ill-mannered and boorish behavior. Yes, his smirks and grins and constant interruptions were incredibly annoying.
But even worse than how he acted was what he said. Time after time, he’d lay a whopper on us while pointing his finger and angrily declaring, “This is a fact.” And time after time, the moderator let him get away with it.
Biden claimed that the reason for the Administration’s misstatements about events in Libya was that the information it received from the intelligence community was wrong. That may have been true for a few hours. But we now know that less than 24 hours after Stevens’ death, Washington had been notified that there had been no demonstration outside our consulate in Benghazi and that his murder was the result of a planned attack.
Yet for another week, various White House spokesmen and spokeswomen and the President himself continued to blame angry crowds and an inflammatory video for what happened.
That isn’t true. We know it isn’t true. And we deserve to know why our government tried so hard to foist this falsehood off on us.
So far, all we’ve gotten is deception and obfuscation. I don’t believe this will still be the case after Monday’s debate. So stay tuned; there’s a lot more to come. And the result could go a long way to determining who sits in the White House in January.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.