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The President Stands Firm in Final Debate

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is a Founding Partner and Publisher of the N.E. Wisconsin - Green Ba
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on Tuesday, 23 October 2012
in Our View

obama-romney-debateBOCA RATON, FL – When President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney ended their debate Monday night on foreign policy, it was clear one man was the veteran of four years in the role of Commander-in-Chief and one was new and awkward trying to play in the big boys league.

On point after point, President Obama dominated the debate as he displayed a clear vision of what it really takes to make America safe and maintain our country’s leadership in the world. It was simply no contest.

Mitt Romney tried talk his way around a lack of specific new ideas, throwing words like “weak” and “retreat” at the President carelessly, but in the end he could only agreed with what the President was already doing in each situation. Romney could offer nothing he would do differently on Iraq, Afghanistan, bin Laden, al Qaeda. Syria, Russia and defense spending.

Anyone who has spend some time in the military will tell you that a good commander must be clear and consistent in giving orders. Confusion costs lives, on the battlefield and in world affairs. Obama demonstrated that he knows a President has only one chance to get it right, that he understands the complexities of the real world, that he knows from experience what it means to send troops into battle, and he cited his achievements in foreign policy to prove it.

Mr. Romney liked to speculate on the motivations of world leaders, saying several times “what would … think” in discussing their reactions to Obama's foreign policy as justifications for his charges. But Mitt Romney himself failed the Commander-in-Chief test, because he had no clear and consistent policy alternatives to offer.

In perhaps the high point of the debate, Romney tried to claim our current Navy was weak because it had less ships than the Navy of years ago. President Obama quickly pointed out that the United States had less horses and bayonets than it had in World War I too, but that didn't make it any weaker. The modern military uses different tools in more refined ways to meet the needs of the twenty first century.

As President Obama said, Mitt Romney would take us back to the foreign policy of the 1980s, social policy of the 1950s, and economic policy of the 1920s. President Obama’s policies would build on the progress of the last four years, honor our veterans, do some nation building here at home, and move us forward, not back. Mitt Romney had no come back.

Round three to Obama.

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President Obama Comes Through In Second Debate

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is a Founding Partner and Publisher of the N.E. Wisconsin - Green Ba
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 18 October 2012
in Our View

debate_prez_2HEMPSTEAD, NY - When President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney met Tuesday night in their second debate, it was almost as if the Obama Campaign had taken a page directly out of TV’s “West Wing”, as they implemented the strategy of “Let Obama be Obama” to perfection.

In this debate, the President was fully direct and quick on his feet. He challenged Mitt Romney's assertions from the beginning. He scored points and clearly left Romney reeling on the defensive.

The President started out hard, listing the many accomplishments and kept promises of his first four years in office. He was strong, steady and decisive and offered an affirmative vision to move this country forward and build the economy from the middle out, not the top down. When Romney tried to change the discussion to his view of the state of the economy, the President forced him to defend himself instead.

"Governor Romney doesn't have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan, and that plan is to make sure folks at the top play by a different set of rules," Obama said. "That's been his philosophy in the private sector, that's been his philosophy as governor, that's been his philosophy as a presidential candidate."

Pacing back and forth on a stage at Long Island's Hofstra University in New York, Obama and Romney talked over each other at times and quarreled periodically over whose turn it was to speak and how much time they had coming.

"I want to make sure our timekeepers are working here," Obama said at one point.

At another, Romney condescendingly told the President, "You'll get your chance in a minute. I'm still speaking."

Both men played their part in a hard-hitting, contentious debate that touched on taxes, jobs, health care, equal pay, energy, immigration and other issues. Moderator Candy Crowley tried to manage the give-and-take. Over a roughly 90-minute debate, it appeared that President Obama wound up with about 4 more minutes of speaking time than Romney did.

This reporter watched the debate on CNN, which featured a running reaction graph from men and women as the debate proceeded. The dancing line appeared to jump higher and more often toward positive feelings when the President spoke.

Asked by a member of the audience how he would differ from President George W. Bush, Romney clearly dodged the question. He would only say, "President Bush and I are different people and these are different times."

Perhaps the two high points of the debate came in the discussions on foreign policy and the role of women in the economy.

In one sharp exchange, Romney criticized President Obama's handling of the aftermath of the assault on U.S. diplomats in Libya, chiding him for traveling to campaign fundraisers, suggesting his administration was too slow to explain what happened because it feared the election fallout.

Obama said Romney was trying to politicize the event.

"The suggestion that anybody on my team, the secretary of state, the U.N. ambassador, would play politics . . . when we lost four of our own, governor, is offensive. That's not what we do. That's not what I do as president," said Obama.

When Romney continued to try press a claim often stated from inside the conservative media bubble by insisting the President had not called the assault on U.S. diplomats in Libya an act of terrorism, Moderator Crowley had to interrupt Romney to tell him he was mistaken.

When asked about equal pay for equal work, the President talked about women as breadwinners for American families. Romney refused to answer the question. Instead he talked about women as resumes in “binders.” He didn’t seem to understand the challenges women face or believe in helping them fight for equal pay.

President Obama knew that when women make less than men for the same work, it threatens the economic security of entire families. That’s why the first bill he signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps women fight for the equal pay they earned.

Romney’s plan would turn women’s health decisions over to their bosses and politicians in Washington. President Obama believed women and their doctors should make women’s health decisions.

President Obama closed the debate by reminding voters of Romney's 47% comment.

"I believe Governor Romney is a good man. Loves his family, cares about his faith. But I also believe that when he said behind closed doors that 47% of the country considered themselves victims who refuse personal responsibility, think about who he was talking about," said Obama, referring to retirees, veterans, students and low-wage workers. "I want to fight for them. That's what I've been doing for the last four years."

The election is three weeks away. The third and final debate is Monday in Boca Raton, Fla.

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President Obama Needs To Be Candid Tonight, Holding Romney Accountable

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is a Founding Partner and Publisher of the N.E. Wisconsin - Green Ba
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 16 October 2012
in Our View

the PresidentHEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - When the President and former Governor Mitt Romney meet tonight to debate in Hempstead, New York, President Barack Obama needs to speak candidly about his vision and plan for moving America forward. He can't let Mitt Romney get away with dishonestly he was hiding in the last debate.

In the first debate, Romney offered a "new moderate Mitt" that had very different ideas from the “severely conservative” positions he has been stating repeatedly during the last two years. The President, the moderator, and the people in the town hall need need to hold the newly “moderate Mitt” accountable tonight.

President Obama can use tonight’s debate as an opportunity to speak directly with the American people about his plans to move our country forward. He needs to be candid about his vision for an economy built to last from the middle out, not the top down, and his concrete and specific plans to get us there. The real Mitt Romney would take us back to the same failed policies that got us into this mess.

As we learned at the first presidential debate, Romney will say anything to win even if it’s not consistent with his often stated policies or web site. Ahead of the second debate, he is probably practicing more ways to hide the “severely conservative” positions that the real Romney has run on for more than a year.

Everyone can remember what the real Mitt Romney said during the many town hall meetings he held during the GOP primary. His comments reveal his real, extreme positions, the same ones he has been trying to hide during the last weeks before Election Day.

  • He said he would “like to see” Roe vs. Wade overturned.
  • He promised to “cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.”
  • He said he would veto the DREAM Act.
  • He called it “tragic” when President Obama brought our troops home from Iraq.
  • He told students to “shop around” and “borrow money from their parents if they’re worried about college tuition.

The American people should not be fooled by Romney. With a little research, they can compare his real positions to the ones he claims to support in the final weeks of the campaign. As one ordinary American put it, “Instead of really saying what he’s going to do, he’s saying what people want to hear.”


Must Watch: This new OFA video on Romney’s dishonesty, “Don’t Be Fooled.”Must Watch: This new OFA video on what the real Romney told voters in some of the many town hall meetings he held during the Republican primary.

Must Read: To help voters and the media interpret the deceptive answers Romney will likely give at the second debate, OFA released a new memo from Campaign Manager Jim Messina translating Romney’s dishonesty into his real positions. To read it, click HERE for a link.

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Lively Biden Takes It To Ryan in Debate

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is a Founding Partner and Publisher of the N.E. Wisconsin - Green Ba
User is currently offline
on Friday, 12 October 2012
in Our View

debate_stageDANVILLE, KY - The “Thriller in Manila”  it was not, but when Janesville Congressman Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden met across the table in a lively, combative debate Thursday, the VP was not about to let Ryan get away with any of the “malarkey” the Republican had been spreading about his President.

Biden, 69, took after the Republicans with far more aggression than President Barack Obama had displayed in his Denver debate, questioning and challenging the other party's ideas and opinions. Ryan, 42, was far more methodical and less demonstrative than Biden. Ryan spent part of the debate on the attack, but mostly he was on the defensive.

It was the sort of debate in which both candidates likely gratified their own supporters and left the other side shouting "liar" at the TV screen. Biden presented a relentless populist critique of GOP policies, while Ryan tried to shift the debate to an indictment of the Obama administration on the economy and foreign policy. The outcome was probably in the eye of the beholder, with activists on both sides hearing what they wanted to hear.

But there is no doubt Biden succeeded in energizing the Democratic base, a factor that was missing after the Denver debate and will become critical in the final weeks of this close campaign. A snap CNN-ORC International poll showed voters who watched Thursday's debate saw it as basically a statistical draw, while a similar poll had given GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney a clear debate victory in Denver.

The 90-minute debate moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News was divided between domestic and foreign policy issues. The moderator and candidates sat a few feet apart, a more intimate format that encouraged informality and interaction that often gave way to rapid-fire interruptions, especially on Biden's part.

On defense and security, Ryan talked in generalities, "We should always stand up for peace, for democracy and individual rights. And we should not be imposing these devastating defense cuts."

Biden responded: "With all due respect that's a bunch of malarkey. Not a single thing he said is accurate."

While Ryan characterized the Obama foreign policy as passive and "unraveling," Biden suggested the Republican ticket was too ready to go to war.

"The last thing America needs is to get into another ground war in the Middle East," Biden said.

Ryan seemed on the defensive over gaps in the details of the Romney tax plan and accusations it would help the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. At one point, Biden ridiculed him for attacking the stimulus plan while writing letters of support for constituents seeking stimulus funding.

Biden said Republicans would end Medicare as we know it. Ryan said they would save it from going bankrupt with market-based payout to the insurance companies.

At one point, Raddatz asked both Biden and Ryan how being Catholic would guide them in the job of Vice President. Ryan said his Catholic views would guide him on making abortion illegal for everyone, regardless of their religion, through the legislative process.  Biden felt his religious views should guide him in his own life, but he did not feel his job in government gave him the right to impose them on others.

In the end, it came down to an issue of trust, with Vice President Biden looking straight into the camera and offering a career record standing up for people and middle class values as evidence of where he stands. He contrasted his record with the Republicans, who just seemed to discover 100 per cent of the people in the last few weeks of the campaign. Ryan’s closing was more prepared, a restatement of the points he had been making throughout the campaign.

Both men will be in Wisconsin in the days following the debate. Biden has a campaign event planned in La Crosse Friday, his first post-debate event. Ryan goes to Ohio Friday, but will headline a fundraiser for Senate candidate Tommy Thompson Sunday, and hold a town-hall meeting Monday morning at Carroll University in Waukesha.

The next presidential debate is Tuesday at Hofstra University in New York.

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Where Has the New Moderate Mitt Been these Past Years?

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is a Founding Partner and Publisher of the N.E. Wisconsin - Green Ba
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 10 October 2012
in Our View

mitt_romneyGREEN BAY – It seems that Mitt Romney is constantly trying to refocus his campaign, yesterday it was on foreign policy, and today it’s on agriculture. It is all a continuation of the NEW “Moderate Mitt” that appeared in last week’s debate. But he still hasn’t offered any specific ideas to fill out his new positions.

For the past two years, Mitt Romney has reset his campaign over and over again, apparently to appeal to different voters as he goes along. Yesterday he tried out a new stand on foreign policy, and today he’s moving to agriculture, but neither speech offered any specific plans.

In trying to outline his agriculture policy, Romney dodged the details because he knows his plans would hurt rural Americans.

  1. He didn’t mention the wind production tax credit he opposes, risking thousands of jobs in Iowa and Colorado.
  2. He barely mentioned the Farm Bill, failing to say what should be in it or call on Republicans in Congress to pass it. That’s probably because his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, and their allies in Congress keep blocking it.

Earlier, Romney gave his seventh foreign policy speech, each one less specific than the last. He said he would go back to the same policies that weakened our standing in the world and drove us billions of dollars into debt under the Bush Administration.

  1. His speech was widely panned for lacking policy details and ignoring facts.
  2. Romney doubled down on an indefinite troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Romney’s constantly changing stands are just as dishonest as his debate performance, where the “New Mitt” appeared after nearly two years of the “Severely Conservative Mitt”  used to sell his candidacy to the Republican conservative base.

  1. He was dishonest about the size of his tax breaks for the wealthiest because they’re so big, he’d have to raise taxes on middle-class families to pay for them.
  1. He was dishonest about his health care plan because it would leave millions with preexisting conditions uninsured when they need coverage the most.
  2. He was dishonest about his Medicare plan because it would take away seniors’ guaranteed benefits and raise their health costs by thousands of dollars.
  3. He didn’t honestly lay out a specific plan for dealing with the deficit. Instead he said we should cut funding for Sesame Street.

It all makes one wonder “which Mitt” they would be voting for in November. When a candidate will not give you specifics, and keeps changing his beliefs to satisfy this voter block and that, can you trust them to be our President?

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