Presidential Debate Preview: Obama, Romney defend their campaign visions on ’60 Minutes’
President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney both sparred with the hosts of ’60 Minutes’ on Sunday evening — facing a series of tough questions that focused on the economy and each candidate’s vision for the next four years.
President Obama has repeatedly said that, “this election presents the clearest choice American’s have seen in more than a generation,” and Sunday’s interview solidified his claim.
Mitt Romney laid out a plan that will shrink government, begin work on crucial entitlement reforms and put Americans back to work. More specifically, he discussed adding means testing to Social Security and Medicare, as well as streamlining the tax code while easing rates by 20 percent across the board.
In addition, Romney made a humble effort to clarify his “47 percent gaffe,” which has been enthusiastically laid on the executioner’s block by the mainstream media.
“I am with 100 percent of America…But not everything I say is elegant.” Romney told Scott Pelley.
In contrast, President Obama took a slightly combative tone as he faced challenging questions from Steve Kroft regarding the sluggish recovery.
Obama began his interview segment with all too familiar “Blame Bush” rhetoric, while attempting to present a credible defense of his last three years in office.
“I think it’s important to know where we’ve been and how far we’ve traveled,” Obama told Kroft. “We came in, made some tough decisions. Everything from stabilizing the financial system to making sure that the auto industry survived…”
When asked about stubbornly high unemployment, President Obama blamed an obstructionist, Republican Congress for preventing the full passage of his JOBS Act. When prodded for details of his vision for the next four years (if re-elected), Obama pledged to do more of the same.
“Do we keep moving forward and continue to make progress, or do we go backwards to the very policies that got us into this mess in the first place? The problem that Gov. Romney has is that he seems to only have one note: tax cuts for the wealthy and rolling back regulations as a recipe for success. Well, we tried that vigorously between 2001 and 2008. And it didn’t work out so well.” Obama asserted.
While the President’s comments work well as lofty rhetoric, they do not hold up well when faced with facts.
Obama’s repetitive blaming of deregulation is blatantly wrong in two ways. First, there was no period of real “deregulation” under the Bush administration. In fact, Clinton’s administration passed MORE “deregulations” than former President Bush did.
During Clinton’s years in office, the SEC released nine substantive rules that lessened regulatory burden on the financial sector. However, under the Bush administration, the SEC released only eight similar rules, which debunks the myth that 2001 to 2008 was a period of “radical deregulation.”
Likewise, independent economists and former President Clinton himself have claimed that deregulations during the late 1990s and 2000s helped to mitigate the financial crisis, rather than cause it. While it is true that President Bush lowered tax rates for the wealthiest Americans by 3.6 percent, he also lowered rates for all brackets across the board with the “Bush-era tax cuts,” which were not responsible for the recession either.
The financial crisis in 2008 was brought about by government polices which distorted prices in the housing market by incentivizing banks to offer risky loans to borrowers who could not repay them. Government INTERVENTION in the free-market brought about our present crisis, not the other way around.
Yet, Obama argues that more intervention by an even larger government is the only cure for America’s economic malaise. From healthcare to student loans, the President is committed to growing the role of government in the daily lives of individuals and trampling on the possibilities that a true, free-market economy can offer.
Governor Romney offers a clear alternative to the President’s proven vision for the United States.
When Scott Pelley asked the Governor what “big idea” (or) “vision” he has for the United States going forward, Romney answered with one word.
“I want to restore the kind of freedom that has always driven America’s economy. And that’s allowed us to be the shining city on the hill. The kind of freedom that has brought people here from all over the world…I want the best and brightest to say America’s the place of opportunity, because of the freedom there to pursue your dreams. So my message is restore the kind of freedom that allows America to lead the world.”