A day after suffering what was roundly considered a defeat in the first of three debates in the 2012 presidential campaign on Wednesday night, President Barack Obama targeted some tough talk at rival Mitt Romney, accusing him of not being truthful with Americans on his economic policies.
At a post-debate rally in Denver on Thursday morning, Obama questioned Romney’s evasiveness and said being president means being truthful. He added that the GOP nominee doesn’t want to be held accountable.
“Gov. Romney may dance around his positions but if you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth,” Obama was quoted by the Associated Press.
Obama was a day late in aggressively hitting back at his challenger, who he said on debate night was a “very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn't have been Mitt Romney.”
“[The] real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy,” Obama said. “The fellow on stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.”
Continue Reading Below
What $5 Trillion Tax Cuts?
The night prior, Romney aggressively countered Obama’s statements, saying he wasn’t aware of any promised $5 trillion tax cuts.
“I don’t have a tax cut of a scale that you’re talking about,” Romney said. “My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people. High-income people are doing just fine in this economy. They’ll do fine whether you’re president or I am.”
Romney has proposed a tax plan that would offer a 20 percent reduction in income tax rates and eliminate tax on long-term capital gains, dividends and interest income under $200,000. Romney's plan would also repeal the federal estate tax. Analysts at the left-wing Tax Policy Center couldn't make Romney's plan add up.
Romney continued to apply pressure on Obama, pointing out that middle-class Americans are struggling under the current policies.
“Middle-income Americans have been buried,” Romney said, playing off of a blunder Vice President Joe Biden recently made. “They’re just being crushed.”
Multiple snap polls have shown that Romney won Wednesday nights’ presidential debate and performed better than expected. A CNN poll indicated a 67 percent to 25 percent win while a CBS poll showed a 46 percent to 22 percent take down for Romney.
Still, Obama’s senior advisor David Axelrod also questioned Romney’s character, calling it “devoid of honesty.” Axelrod told reporters on Thursday that the president will now have to adjust his strategies if he is going to get the upper hand on Romney when the next debate rolls around on Oct. 16.
“You evaluate after every contest and you make adjustments and I’m sure that we will make adjustments,” Axelrod told the AP. “I don’t see us adding huge amounts of additional prep times. There are some strategic judgments that have to be made and we’ll make them.”