Obama Vanquishes Romney With 5 Brutal Quips
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Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
As he described planes landing on aircraft carriers, Obama made a gesture with his hands illustrating the landing, in case Romney required a visual aid. Romney’s color began to rise, and his skin began to look dewey.
With the horses and bayonets line, Obama also tied Romney to the imagery of the Tea Party movement, for whose members the sound of the fife and drum is music to their ears.
The Obama campaign purchased the URL, cavalrymenforromney.com.
And a Tumblr was born.
2. The 80s are calling... In an exchange over who would be tougher on al Qaeda, Obama reminded viewers that Romney recently cited a different foe as America’s Enemy Number One:
Governor Romney, I'm glad that you recognize that al Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not al Qaeda -- you said Russia...And the 1980s, they're now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War's been over for 20 years.
In two quips, then, Obama placed Romney’s foreign policy in every era but the here and now. Summoning the 80s brought forth images of skinny ties and fiercely gelled hair -- and a time inextricably linked with an elderly president.
3. Wrong and reckless and all over the map. Both men, in a bid for the votes of women, sought to depict themselves as peacemakers. (While polls still show Obama winning among women, his percentages have dropped over the past two weeks.)
As part of the volley over al Qaeda, Obama sought to paint Romney as a man who would embark on risky adventures, throwing Romney’s primary-season rhetoric back at him. Romney, for his part, has been blaming unrest in the Middle East and North Africa -- from Syria to Libya to Egypt to Iran -- on Obama, who hit back hard (emphasis added):
You said that we should still have troops in Iraq to this day. You indicated that we shouldn't be passing nuclear treaties with Russia despite the fact that 71 senators, Democrats and Republicans, voted for it. You said that, first, we should not have a timeline in Afghanistan. Then you said we should. Now you say maybe or it depends, which means not only were you wrong, but you were also confusing in sending mixed messages both to our troops and our allies. So, what we need to do with respect to the Middle East is strong, steady leadership, not wrong and reckless leadership that is all over the map.
4. Exploiting his opponent’s age and inexperience. Ronald Reagan, the oldest person ever to win the presidency, famously deflected a question about his age in the 1980 presidential debate by pledging not “to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” In October 2012, Obama offered a post-millennial mash-up on the theme. In addition to painting Romney as a relic of eras past, Obama offered this (emphasis added), which had the added punch of tying Romney to an unpopular war:
You say that you're not interested in duplicating what happened in Iraq. But just a few weeks ago, you said you think we should have more troops in Iraq right now. And the challenge we have -- I know you haven't been in a position to actually execute foreign policy -- but every time you've offered an opinion, you've been wrong. You said we should have gone into Iraq, despite that fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction.