On Thursday, President Obama and Mitt Romney both gave speeches in the battleground state of Ohio. Romney delivered a short, hammering speech that dissected Obama’s record piece by piece. President Obama on the other hand, gave a speech that was long-winded, repetitive and bitter.
The event marked the latest in Romney’s prebuttal strategy. After initially having their speeches scheduled to go on at the same time, Romney moved his speech up ten minutes at the last minute so that he could get all the important parts in, and effectively cut the legs off of Obama’s speech before it was even made. So far, the cutthroat tactic is proving quite effective.
Romney’s speech in Cincinnati was short, but like the perfect blues solo, it hit all the right notes. His delivery was fluid and direct. He used his brief time to encourage anyone listening to go talk to those who own their own business, and ask if President Obama had made their lives any easier. Romney then went on to effectively debunk each of Obama’s major ‘accomplishments.’
Romney discussed how the bloated stimulus bill failed to keep unemployment beneath 8%. He also talked about how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce carried out a survey of 1,500 businesses across the country, during which 75% of them said Obamacare made them feel less likely to want to hire new people. He brought up how ObamaCare’s price tag has doubled, and offered some new ideas on what to replace it with.
Romney hit Dodd-Frank, and the negative effect it had on both bankers and small businesses trying to get loans. After that he hammered Obama on energy. He reminded the audience how as a presidential candidate, Obama said that anyone who opened a coal power plant would go bankrupt if Obama's policies were implemented. And of course, he brought up the Keystone Pipeline, which Romney has promised to approve his first week as president.
Across the state in Cleveland, President Obama’s speech had a different tone. Dragging on for nearly an hour, it was lackluster and repetitive. Obama once again used class-warfare rhetoric, claiming that the top 1% have been getting richer, while the poor were getting poorer. He repeatedly harped on things that happened between 2001 and 2008 for some reason or other.
He attacked the Bush tax cuts once again. At the end of the day, Obama’s best strategy to attack Romney is to once again blame Bush.
Obama's doom-and-gloom speech went on to discuss how 10 million college students would lose a thousand dollars of financial aid. He warned that 200,000 children would suffer when the Head Start program was cut. After that, he reminded people how apparently Republicans do not care about curing AIDS, Cancer, or Alzheimer’s.
Obama blamed the gridlock in Washington, failing to mention that for the first two years of his administration he had majorities in both houses of Congress that did everything he asked of them.
The president also reminded the public of how Romney and the Republicans wanted to send back those who’ve snuck into America illegally, apparently letting his audience know that he was in favor of such law breaking.
President Obama’s speech was equivalent to those ads that showed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) throwing granny off of a cliff, except without all the flash and pizazz. Obama’s speech was sullen, downtrodden, and showed a touch of bitterness. Romney has caught up with him in several different liberal and swing states, and has overtaken him in several national polls. The president’s policies haven’t worked. His three-year time limit is up, and that one-term proposition he mentioned in 2009 is now a very real possibility.
It was the first speech Obama delivered that clearly shows him as a man on the defensive. In a speech that was supposed to offer new ideas, it fell horridly flat. There were no new jobs ideas, and nothing substantive other than blaming George W. Bush and trying to link Mitt Romney to him.
Romney’s energetic, speech laid down a three-point plan for growth that included more American energy and the completion of the Keystone Pipeline, the reduction of the deficit through sharply decreased spending, and a complete repeal of Obamacare. Obama’s speech was sour and tense. He blamed Bush and Congress. He blamed the oil companies and the wealthy. He attacked Romney’s wealth while forgetting his own. He offered nothing new, other than the idea that we should just forget what a disaster his first four years have been.
Romney made the case that over the past three and a half years the president has failed the American people. He seemed to speak almost off the cuff, without a teleprompter, and without losing his audience. The once stiff man was smiling, confident, cracking jokes, and optimistic.
President Obama on the other hand offered no sign of change, and is clearly beyond hope.