Where Was The President?







Last night, during President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney’s first debate, Obama looked like he would rather be on a date with his wife celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary.

By night’s end, Romney proved to be more assertive, aggressive, confident and landed memorable lines, calling Obama’s economic policy, Trickle Down Government and countering the President’s description of his plan as “inaccurate.”  Obama did get in his own lines, but failed to take advantage of opportunities like Romney saying high income earners had done just fine during the economic collapse.  He should have compared high income earners like Romney who pay 14% in taxes, to the 47% Romney mentioned in the Mother Jones video, as also dependent on a government entitlement program that allows them to pay a lower percentage.

The President was too cautious.  He didn’t look like the President who has made tough decisions approving bailouts for the auto and banking industry, stimulus plans, or a successful raid on bin Laden’s compound.  More importantly, he didn’t say why his ideas have worked or where we go over the next four years.  He was a boring law professor not the person we saw in 2008 who excited voters.

When discussing his signature health care reform bill, Obamacare he didn’t say, yes Governor Romney you’re right, Obama Cares!  Or effectively hit three important provisions of the bill that resonate with middle class voters.  An individual cannot be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, children can stay on their parent’s insurance until they are 26 and preventive care measures like mammograms are free.

Romney won the debate with numbers, figures and did a commendable job looking at the President throughout the debate.  In the coming days, we will learn if those numbers stand up, but by then many undecided voters will be watching the vice presidential debate.  The President overall will be remembered for looking down, writing, smirking and nodding to Romney.  Unfortunately, he won’t be remembered for key things he didn’t mention like the auto worker’s jobs he saved, women, immigration, Bain Capital, or Romney’s flip flopping.

If the President wants to win, he needs to show passion and a quick detailed analysis of his plan.  Stay away from using the full two minutes to answer questions.  His campaign operatives need to stop worrying about lowering the bar of expectation and raise the president’s level of preparation.  If they don’t and Obama looks unprepared in round two, they too will be asking, “Where was the President?”

The Debate Preview

Image Image

Tonight when President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney take the stage, they will seek to convince undecided voters that their plan and vision are best for the nation without alienating their voting base.

Obama appears to be in the best position as the incumbent but needs to capitalize on the energy he picked up from the convention. He has to communicate a clear, concise message without being long winded. Former President Bill Clinton provided him with a great road map peppered with things that touched voters.  Obama not known for sound bites must clearly give answers that provide a vision for the next four years without making excuses for the past four by focusing on the past.  Last despite Romney’s blunders, he has to treat him as a formidable candidate.

Romney behind in the polls for weeks wants to be the comeback kid like Clinton was in ‘92.  He has a more difficult task because he has done a poor job communicating a policy plan.  And for fact checkers he has been a flip flopper on one too many issues.  He has to be assertive but compassionate.  He has to show Americans that he can be President for more than just the 53% who he believes are not dependent on government.  Look for Romney to try to win the debate by giving sound bites that the networks can use to paint him as the winner.

Voting for The Pursuit of Happiness


During the Great Recession just before the 2010 midterm elections, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” 

That’s just one of the reasons why the 2012 election is so important.  The number one priority then and now should be to ensure that every American has the opportunity to responsibly pursue happiness.  Our vote not only influences the course of America for the next four years, but determines its course for years to come.

This election is about Americans accepting that hope and change is in our hands.  The vote for President, Senate, US House of Representatives and in local elections will determine America’s path to prosperity and the choice is too.  And our choices should not be based solely on party affiliation.  It should be based on shared values.  Those values should include making our nation a more inclusive one that makes us a better society.

Voters share one common thing, we have the opportunity to vote for officials who will unite or divide.  My vote will always be for uniting.  That is why President Clinton’s quote at the DNC “America is a better place when we have “shared responsibility, shared opportunity and shared prosperity” appealed to me.

Change is hard when there are those like McConnell who promote politics and power over sound policy.  Our nation’s resolve was challenged during the Great Recession.  Those who are rich, middle class and poor were affected.  The housing market collapsed, the banking industry failed, the auto industry came to a screeching halt.  More importantly people lost jobs and families lost their homes.

Heavy government spending was required to protect our families and American interests.  Now, four years later, we see the auto industry rebounding, the banking industry lending again, the housing market selling and commercial centers popping up all over the country.

That’s why we have to vote smart.  Hope and change are part of the pursuit of happiness.  The Framers of the Constitution knew that.  That’s why they offered hope in the mist of change when they wrote, we are “endowed with certain inalienable rights among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

That’s the greatness and power of the vote.  So when you vote, think about where you want to be two years from now.  Four years from now.  Happiness is a byproduct of the courageous decisions we make sometimes long before we see the product of the decision.  And sometimes those decisions lead us to the greatest joys of tomorrow.  That is beauty of the pursuit of happiness.

Every American will not have the same success.  But every American can vote for people who provide them the best opportunity to pursue success.   Each elector has the power to vote for people they believe will work well with others.  Our number one priority is to elect policy makers who will get and keep America working, strengthen our education system, protect our businesses, secure our borders and make sure every American has the best opportunity to pursue happiness.