A more aggressive President Obama followed up last night’s debate today by saying that viewers did not see “the real’ Mitt Romney.
The Romney at Wednesday’s debate refused to own up to the impact of his proposed tax cuts for the wealthy, education cuts, and past sympathy for outsourcing, Obama told some 12,000 backers at a park in Denver.
“The man on stage last night, he does not want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney’s decisions and what he’s been saying for the last year,” Obama said. “And that’s because he knows full well that we don’t want what he’s been selling for the last year.”
Obama also mocked Romney for advocating cuts to public broadcasting, even though he likes the “Big Bird” character.
“Thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird!” Obama said, “We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit.”
At the prompting of a member of the crowd, Obama added: “Elmo too?”
During the debate, Romney listed PBS as part of a series of programs he would cut to help reduce the federal debt, a list that includes Obama’s health care law and programs that can be shifted to state and local governments.
Romney aides said it was the real Romney who appeared on stage Wednesday night. not the caricature painted by Obama and his campaign in recent months. Poll respondents gave Romney a victory over the president at the debate, and GOP aides said the president and his team are trying to recover.
“In full damage-control mode, President Obama today offered no defense of his record and no vision for the future,” said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams in a statement. “Rather than a plan to fix our economy, President Obama simply offered more false attacks and renewed his call for job-killing tax hikes.”
He added: “Last night, Mitt Romney demonstrated why he should be President, laying out the clear choice in this election. We can’t afford four more years of the last four years. We need a real recovery — and Mitt Romney has a real plan to deliver it.”
Obama, criticized by even some Democrats as passive and listless during the debate, turned aggressive in his first post-debate speech.
“When I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney,” Obama said in beginning his speech at Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver.
“But it couldn’t have been Mitt Romney because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy,” he added. “The fellow on stage last night said, he didn’t know anything about that.”
He maintained the “real Romney” riff on other issues:
“The real Mitt Romney said we don’t need anymore teachers in our classrooms, but … the fellow on stage last night, he loves teachers, can’t get enough of ’em.
“The Mitt Romney we all know invested in companies that were called pioneers of outsourcing jobs to other countries. But the guy on stage last night, he said that he doesn’t even know that there are such laws that encourage outsourcing. … He said that if it’s true he must need a new accountant.
“Now, we know for sure it was not the real Mitt Romney because he seems to be doing just fine with his current accountant.”