Sadly, all his policy proposals point to a U-turn back to the failed policies that got us in this mess in the first place.
Joe Biden, take it from here. Get some rest. Get ready for a workout next week.
Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking With Grease." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.
Paul Begala: Obama debated the Etch A Sketch man
There were no knockout punches in the first presidential debate, but Mitt Romney landed more jabs. The problem for Romney is, jabs alone won't win the title for him.
The Romney campaign told people they wanted to create "moments." There were not a lot of them, but Romney hammered the incumbent, attacking the Obama subsidies for clean energy, the alleged $716 billion "cut" in Medicare and claiming Obama would raise taxes on small business.
President Obama never mentioned that Romney pays a lower tax rate on his megamillions than many middle-class Americans do on their hard-earned wages. He did not challenge Romney to release more of his tax returns, as Romney's father did. He never said Romney has insulted 47% of Americans by suggesting they're freeloaders. And when Romney said he was not aware of tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas, the president did not point out that Romney's company has been the Hank Aaron of shipping jobs overseas.
He never mentioned that under Romney, Massachusetts was 47th in job creation. Most frustrating for me were the two words never uttered by our president: Bain Capital.
Obama seemed frustrated by Romney at first, especially as Romney seemed to disavow the tax cuts for the rich he has campaigned on for years.
Obama is a man who deeply wants to believe that politics is on the level. It seems to me he prepared to debate a man who agreed. Trouble is, he debated Etch A Sketch man, who promptly ran away from his $5 trillion tax cut for the rich.
In the days after the debate, journalists, fact checkers and policy wonks will have a field day with Romney's desperate desire to deny his own tax policy, but Romney has always been a man who will say or do anything in the moment.
Later in the debate, Obama got the better of Romney, as the discussion moved to Obamacare and Medicare. Romney returned to his default argument that Obama tried to cut $716 billion from Medicare, but Obama nailed him to the wall by noting that health insurance premiums are growing at historically low rates and that Romney's running mate has a plan that would end Medicare as we know it.
There is no doubt Romney had a good night. But I strongly doubt whether it was good enough.
Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor, is senior adviser to Priorities USA Action, the biggest super PAC favoring President Barack Obama's re-election. Begala was a political consultant for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 and was counselor to Clinton in the White House.
Maria Cardona: Obama should have challenged Romney
The first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney was fascinating, but this wasn't any knock-down, drag-out fight.
Romney was very prepared and surprisingly personable. The chatter is that he won because, as many who were playing the expectations game said all along, just standing on the stage with President Obama and being able to convince Americans he was a human being would put him in a different light. And he needed that desperately.
President Obama, perhaps not wanting to appear too aggressive, maintained his presidential demeanor, was great on substance and spoke to the middle class. His move to look directly at the camera was deft, as were his words about where we have been and what he would continue to do to fight for families, students and seniors. But he missed some key opportunities.
President Obama didn't challenge Romney on some important issues that would have underscored his strengths and highlighted Romney's deficits with the common man.
President Obama never brought up the "47 percent." He should have. He didn't fight hard enough to correct Romney on his accusation that the president had taken $716 billion out of Medicare and cut benefits. He didn't challenge Romney's dismal record as governor of Massachusetts. He never detailed the rescue of the auto industry that Romney wanted to go bankrupt. He didn't challenge Romney's view that the housing industry should hit bottom.
The president did do a great job at pointing out that Romney essentially made up another tax plan since he threw the one he and Ryan had talked about for months under the bus in front of 50 million people. But even there he didn't go after Romney hard enough.
What does this mean? In addition to the fact-checkers working overtime, we now have a real race and the next two debates will have even greater weight.
And be assured that a different Barack Obama will show up next time.
Maria Cardona is a Democratic strategist, a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton and former communications director for the Democratic National Committee.
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