The closer it gets to Election Day, the more Mitt Romney sounds like a desperate man.
Consider this: Thirteen days before the first presidential debate, Romney is already planting the ridiculous notion that President Barack Obama will lie during the debates.
“I think he’s going to say a lot of things that aren’t accurate,” Romney said in an interview ABC News’ “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos.
“I think the challenge that I’ll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true,” Romney added. “And in attacking his opponents, I’ve looked at prior debates. And in that kind of case, it’s difficult to say, well, am I going to spend my time correcting things that aren’t quite accurate? Or am I going to spend my time talking about the things I want to talk about?”
Romney is running scared. He's not known for his sharp debating skills so he’s trying to fire a shot at the Obama campaign before the two men face-off in Denver on Oct. 3.
In fact, I'm hearing that Romney has been preparing for this debate for weeks, memorizing statistics, filling his head full of facts, and plotting perfect moments to blast Obama. Word among political strategists is that Romney's had five mock debates in the past 48 hours. And with most major polls showing Obama widening his lead, Romney is starting to clutch at straws.
Truth be told, Romney always plays fast and loose with the facts; he misrepresents issues and he misleads the public on a daily basis. But now, Romney has his own factual miscues to answer for. He should be worried about explaining the comments he made to a group of wealthy donors where he said incorrectly that “47 percent” of Obama’s supporters are “dependent upon government” and are “victims” who don’t pay income tax.
"[My] job is not to worry about those people,” Romney added. “I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
In a race that’s still considered tight, the three presidential debates in October take on added significance for undecided voters and puts pressure on Romney to clearly define his vision.
Is Romney a public servant for all Americans or just the wealthy ones?
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) told me that Obama doesn’t need to do anything special to shine during the debates.
“Romney is the best weapon we have to defeat Romney,” Cleaver, the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in an interview this week. “He’ll do something that resembles the actions of the Three Stooges.”
Cleaver is right. And he also went a step further. He believes – perhaps correctly – that Romney wanted that secret video to go public.
“This wasn’t just a political faux pas,” Cleaver said. “My level of paranoia and cynicism says he wanted that release because it speaks to the part of his base that has not completely accepted him.”
“He wants voters to believe that we are parasites just looking to get something for free; that we have no sense of responsibility; that we want government to take care of us,” he added. “I’m just not ready to believe that this video release was an accident.”
Jim Lehrer, the PBS moderator for the first presidential debate, should ask Romney to explain his comments on the secret video. And Romney should also be asked to clarify his “victims” remark. Was Romney talking specifically about African-Americans, Latinos and other voters of color?
I believe so.
The Romney campaign has experienced several weeks of bad press as Romney seems to mangle every domestics and foreign policy issue that comes his way.
And when Romney gets his facts twisted as usual, he responds in a predictable way: he blames the media.
“It’s unfortunate when something gets misinterpreted like this or it’s taken out of context because if you really do listen to everything that he does say, he’s talking about what we’re facing in America right now,” Ann Romney told Fox News.
“We’re facing some really difficult situations,” she explained. “If we don’t take corrective measures soon, more and more people will be dependent on government, and that’s not what he wants. He wants to have more economic opportunity for people. He wants to have better jobs for people.”
So it’s come to this: The Romney campaign is now forced to dispatch Romney’s wife to defend her husband and explain his warped reasoning.
I hope America is listening.
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