Slick Willard

Mitt Romney shook his etch-a-sketch again last night.  My husband says we should call him Slick Willard.

Right after the debate ended last night I predicted that as badly as the President did last night that the fact checkers would find that Mitt made more misstatements of fact than the President.  That at least is happening.

The Daily Kos posted this list

The results of Wednesday night’s first presidential debate are in and it’s official: Mitt Romney won round one. He was aggressive, he was decisive, he delivered. Of course he also lied through his teeth for most of the debate.

Romney lied:

  • When he claimed that “pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.” They’re not.
  • When he said that President Obama had “cut Medicare by $716 billion to pay for Obamacare.” Obama didn’t.
  • When he denied proposing a $5 trillion tax cut. He did.
  • When he said President Obama had “added almost as much to the federal debt as all the prior presidents combined.” Not even close.
  • When he resurrected “death panels.” That was called “one of the biggest whoppers of the night.”
  • When he stated that half the green energy companies given stimulus funds had failed. Only if three out of nearly three dozen is half.

Stay tuned. These just scratch the surface.

And Jackie Calmes wrote this in the New York Times

To viewers of the first presidential debate who knew Mitt Romney only from the Republican primary season or Democratic advertising, the man on the stage on Wednesday night must have sounded surprisingly moderate.

Tax cuts under a President Romney? On the whole, really wouldn’t be any. Government regulation? Good for business. President Obama’s education policies? Lots to like there. Mr. Obama’s health care plan? Would keep some of its key provisions.

Republicans are reveling in the instant analysis that Mr. Romney outscored Mr. Obama on Wednesday night, largely on style points for aggressiveness.

Yet many conservatives, who have long viewed Mr. Romney’s ideological commitment with some skepticism, might have been less than thrilled with his tone. Mr. Romney, in front of a national television audience, took the opportunity to present himself as a reasonable pragmatist who was willing to work across the aisle as governor of Massachusetts — risking criticism that this was another “Etch-A-Sketch” moment for him, potentially reviving accusations that he is a flip-flopper.

Questions from the moderator, Jim Lehrer, about whether there is too much government regulation seemed the softest of softballs to a conservative. Yet Mr. Romney’s answer was not exactly out of the Tea Party playbook.

“Regulation is essential,” he said emphatically. “You can’t have a free market work if you don’t have regulation. As a businessperson, I had to have — I needed to know — the regulations. I needed them there. You couldn’t have people opening banks in their garage and making loans. I mean you have to have regulations so that you can have an economy work. Every free economy has good regulation.”

He also said

Much like George W. Bush in 2000, Mr. Romney seized on the issue of education to signal — especially to women, who lopsidedly support Mr. Obama — that he supports a muscular role for the federal government. In Republican primary debates, the popular answer, and one Mr. Romney has floated in the past, is to call for abolishing the Department of Education.

Mr. Romney did say the primary role in education should be at the state and local level.

“But the federal government also can play a very important role,” he said, adding, “The federal government can get local and state schools to do a better job.”

As for federal spending, “I’m not going to cut education funding,” Mr. Romney said. “I’m planning on continuing to grow.”

One of his big tax cutting examples was to cut funding for Public Broadcasting by saying he is going to fire Big Bird.  James Lipton was on Hardball tonight pointed out that Romney once said that he liked to fire people – and he was a having a good time being the Bain executive and firing not only Big Bird, but Jim Lehrer the moderator.

So did Slick Willard’s act work?  Here are the first poll numbers from Ipsos/Reuters as posted on the Daily Kos.

The top-lines are encouraging for everyone—Mitt Romney improved his lot, while President Barack Obamadidn’t lose any ground. What does that look like? Like this:

Obama 48 (48) Romney 43 (39)

That four-point jump for Romney was real and significant and takes him from “getting blown out of the water” to merely “lagging quite a bit behind.”

First thing to note is that the post-debate sample has more independents and fewer Democrats than the pre-debate one. No, that’s not some major conspiracy. Please leave that shit for the other side. It just means that poll samples will float from poll to poll. Nothing nefarious about that.

So check it—Obama’s favorables are unchanged from before and after the debate, 56-44. But looking at the crosstabs, Obama stayed solid with Democrats, gained a tiny bit with Republicans, and … kicked ass among independents. Seriously, flipping his faves among independents from 46-54 to 54-46, a 16-point shift, is a pretty big deal.

Now look at Romney’s favorables. He definitely improved, from 46-54 to 51-49. He desperately needs those numbers to improve (and improve further) if he wants to be competitive. So, good news, right?

Well, Romney improved marginally with Democrats and stayed even with independents. So where did he improve? Among Republicans, where his “very favorable” jumped a solid 10 points, from 36 to 46 percent.

So is this what Romney set out to do? Solidify his GOP base and trick some Democrats into thinking that he wasn’t as horrible as they thought?

There is a very nice chart so click on the link.

Maybe Slick Willard won’t play after all.

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