A greater challenge to Obama than a strong debater – Global Public Square

He seemed engaged, forceful and punchy. Minutes after the Denver presidential debate, the pundits declared Mitt Romney the clear winner. One of his advisers had predicted that once the Republican primaries were over, Romney would erase the image from the primaries and, like an Etch-a-Sketch, just draw a new one. Romney does claim that he would eliminate deductions and cut spending to pay for it but he hasn’t given any details. He would cut funding for public broadcasting, which was 0.01% of federal spending in 2012.

By Fareed Zakaria

Sometimes the conventional wisdom is right. Medicare was 13%.

I’ve long argued that Romney is an intelligent man trapped in a party that has forced him to embrace extreme and impossible positions. Well, he appears to be doing just that. It’s only on the 5th that they diverge. And he was. Romney is also in favor of regulations, including parts of the Dodd-Frank bill, and repeatedly held up as a model his health care plan in Massachusetts, which has at its center the individual mandate, and on which Obamacare is based. President Obama seemed passive, detached and glum. and 1 p.m. In fact, he declared unequivocally that he would not cut taxes at all if they added to the deficit at all.

More:

- 5 reasons Obama fumbled

- Reality check: Romney’s tax pledge

- What’s next in the White House race?

- Face check: Pink slip for Big Bird?

But what’s more significant than how Romney said things was what he said. Now, as the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler points out in his fact checking column, for two years Romney has been campaigning on a tax cut that that would cost around $5 trillion over 10 years. He faces a moderate Republican. The candidate has been reworking his stump speech. ET on CNN..

Romney’s transformation did not happen overnight. The first four points are actually identical to Barack Obama’s stump speech: he argues for (1) Exports (2) Domestic energy (3) Retraining and (4) Deficit reduction.

If so, Obama faces something far more challenging than a good debater in the last weeks of the campaign. The Republican Party might hate Obama enough and be frustrated enough, to wink and let him do it.

But, anyway that appears to be off the table.

Romney repeatedly insisted that he was not advocating a big tax cut. Well, he offered one at the debate. Romney talks about small businesses, Obama about national security.

Watch “Fareed Zakaria GPS” Sundays at 10 a.m. In a very smart analysis, NPR pointed out that Romney now has a five-point stump speech

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